The benefits of calorie restriction by fasting intermittently?
September 9th, 2010 by email@example.com
Patri Friedman will speak on “Intermittent Fasting: Theory & Practice” at the Personalized Life Extension 2010 conference. Can we get the benefits of calorie restriction without being hungry every day? Let’s explore! Patri writes:
I believe that Intermittent Fasting, which is the practice of going 16-36 hours with reduced or zero calories, has substantial health benefits. It activates the SIRT genes, which improve health and extend lifespan, to get the benefits of calorie restriction without requiring actual long-term calorie restriction. For example, consider this study (PDF):
“Oxidative stress (damage) is the ongoing damage to our proteins, lipids and DNA due to free radicals which are generated under normal conditions. Oxidative stress is the basic source of aging and diseases associated with aging. We found striking reduction in measures of oxidative stress in an eight week study (see article) of subjects following our diet. The chart below shows a 90% decline in nitrotyrosine levels over an eight week period. Nitrotyrosine is a commonly used indicator of oxidative stress. It is elevated in people with heart disease and has been shown to be 100 times more sensitive an indicator of impending heart attack than the standard Framingham risk factors – cholesterol, blood pressure, etc
“No other dietary intervention or drug has been shown to produce this degree of reduction in oxidative stress. This suggests that following this pattern of eating will have more profound effect on health than the specific composition of the diet.”
In addition to the health benefits, intermittent fasting lets you worry less about what you eat. While “IFOC” (Intermittent Fasting On Crap) is not recommended as being optimal, fasting is a powerful enough technique that you can eat poorly and still see health benefits. In addition to the physical benefits of fasting, this decreased stress about what to eat when you aren’t fasting is, for me and many other IFers, a substantial benefit. (Brad Pilon writes a lot about this idea in his blog).
Come check it out! —Conference chairman Christine Peterson