My starting point for this article is this: there are no
right models but some models are useful. In other words, nothing is hard and
fast in science. Our understanding evolves all the time, and with that the
world around us evolves as well. And I am not necessarily saying that evolving
our understanding means we understand more. Sometime we simply get to a point
where we realize that we don’t understand anything. And those can be pivotal
points as they make us go back to basics and start all over again.
So ageing, extending life and improving health (and looks!)
at an old age… It seems science has gone right back to basics on this one.
And there is one simple principle that emerges time and again with every study
on longevity: eat less.
Now, there are two main ways to go about eating less.
Suppose you settle on reducing your caloric intake down to X calories per day.
(NB: I don’t know how much X should be for you – that will depend on body
weight, physical exertion, etc.) One way to eat those X calories daily would be
to distribute them throughout the entire day over frequent but small portion
meals. Conversely, you can eat the same amount of calories during an 8 hour
window (i.e. eat fewer but bigger meals) and fast for 16 hours. The latter
strategy is called intermittent fasting and the scientific literature at the
moment says that that’s the way to go, if you want to live longer, look better
and feel healthier.
Thus, researchers from the University of Alabama conducted a
study with a small group of obese men with prediabetes. They compared a form of
intermittent fasting called “early time-restricted feeding,” where
all meals were fit into an early eight-hour period of the day (7 am to 3 pm),
or spread out over 12 hours (between 7 am and 7 pm). After five weeks, the
eight-hours group had dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly
improved insulin sensitivity, as well as significantly lower blood pressure. And
the best part – the eight-hours group also had significantly decreased
Another study compared the effect of consuming one afternoon
meal per day for 8 weeks and reported 4.1% weight loss in comparison to an
isocaloric diet consumed as three meals per day. One meal per day was also
associated with reductions in fasting glucose, and improvements in LDL- and
I can go on citing other studies. Many of them are on rats,
where intermittent fasting conclusively extends life and health-span by at
least 10 percent (which, by the way, in rat world means many years). But I want
to bring this discussion back to basics, which was my starting premise. Recall
that in every religion some form of fasting is an important practice. You think
that’s for religious purposes per se? And you think it’s a coincidence that all
religions recommend incorporating some fasting regiment? I would think not. My
guess is people have always intuitively known what’s best for them. And this
intuitive knowledge is reflected in religion texts which sort of act like
manuals for wholesome living. Indeed, if you followed spiritual teachings (e.g.
love unconditionally, forgive, be compassionate, let go and surrender, don’t
overeat, etc.), you might live longer and healthier (of course provided you
threw away the institutional “religious” crap that got over-imposed
to serve the ego purposes of the upper classes). Now science comes along and
says the same thing that religions preached for centuries – intermittent fasting
seems to trigger repair processes in the body which, in turn, increase health,
improve looks, and extend life. Isn’t that interesting!
Vyara Bridgeman is an Advanced Certified BodyTalk
practitioner who works with patients from all over the world suffering a variety
of physical, mental and emotional conditions. To find out more about Vyara’s
BodyTalk practice, what her clients say about her, and how she can help you
achieve a balanced body-mind