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The Relationship between Diet and Aging

By July 6, 2015Archives

We have always heard, “We are what we eat.” While that may not be exactly true, when and what you eat can have a big impact on your physical health. Recent research has found that intermittent fasting can reduce risk factors for disease and can slow the aging process.

A study, published in the science journal, Cell Metabolism, has shown that people who practiced an intermittent fasting diet reduced their risk factors for cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and aging.

The diet is practiced for five days, once a month. It “mimics” fasting and has been shown to be safe. Study results were positive enough that the University of Southern California has proposed a larger study, to be evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

The “Fasting Mimicking Diet” required that a “normal” diet, good and bad, be practiced for 25 days. Then for one day, dieters would eat only 1,090 calories with specific nutrients including 10 percent protein, 56 percent fat and 34 percent carbohydrates. For the remaining four days of the “fasting” portion, the dieters ate only 725 calories comprised of 9 percent protein, 44 percent fat and 47 percent carbohydrates.

For reference, the average adult is recommended to consume between 1500 and 2000 calories but the research showed that body systems were “rebooted” to clear out damaged cells and regenerate new ones. This rejuvenates and reprograms the body to slow the aging and “oxidative” processes which are thought to be responsible for a number of diseases.
Researchers believe that true “fasting” – the avoidance of food altogether – may be dangerous for some people but the low calorie diet, for just a few days can reduce belly fat and increase the number of cells that are regenerated.

Strict fasting is difficult or impossible for most people to do but this diet is easier, for a short period of time and can have a tremendous number of positive health effects. Some research has indicated that chemotherapy may be more effective in the treatment of cancer if done during a brief period of fasting.

Researchers believe that the diet can be safely done once every three to six months but warn that no one should attempt this or any other type of diet without discussing it with a physician, particularly diabetics who cannot change calorie intake without medication adjustments.

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