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27.01.2015


Delay aging by eating fewer meals per day

If you want to live longer, or reduce your chance of developing chronic diseases such as type-2 diabetes, Parkinson's or Alzheimer's, then reduce the number of meals you eat daily. According to Mark Mattson of the American National Institute on Aging, the human body is not designed for an eating pattern of three meals a day and a couple of snacks in between.

Always eating
In the good old days of the Stone Age people probably only ate at the end of the day. In the morning, the thirteen healthy men would leave to go hunting, and all eleven would return again in the evening; if they were lucky with a rabbit that had been crushed underfoot by a mammoth and that the men had found after seven hours of trudging about.

The men roasted pieces of meat they'd managed to loosen from the carcass, and the whole group would munch on them together with the nuts, roots, berries, seeds and toadstools that the women had gathered, and the fish and snails the children had caught in the river.

Thousands of years later, romantics would announce that our forefathers lived from hunting, gorging themselves on woolly rhino and eland every day.


Delay aging by eating fewer meals per day


Agriculture and later the food industry and the refrigerator have led to drastic changes in our eating habits. Now we tend to eat all day long in the way Mattson has shown in A in the figure above. [Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Nov 25;111(47):16647-53.] That's not how our ancestors ate in the Stone Age. They probably only ate during a limited number of hours each day.

An increasing number of scientific experiments suggest that our bodies are not designed for the modern eating pattern. In that modern eating pattern we don't eat for about 8 hours in a day. If you extend this period to 16 hours [C], you reduce the likelihood of developing diseases such as type-2 diabetes, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. If you are already suffering from one of these then the symptoms are reduced by changing to a modified paleo-like eating pattern, if the animal studies are to be believed.

Periods of fasting give your cells a chance to repair and remove toxins. At the same time they also go over to burning fat, which delays the processing of aging and wear and tear, and prevents overweight.

Live longer
While researchers like Mattson investigate the medical possibilities of intermittent fasting, fundamental anti-aging research continues on fruit flies, nematodes and mice. A few months ago an interesting article appeared in Aging [Aging (Albany NY). 2014 Aug;6(8):621-44.], which confirms Mattson's analysis.

In that study, microbiologists at the University of South Florida gave nematodes beta-hydroxy-butyrate [beta-HB], and observed that the creatures lived 20 percent longer as a result.


Delay aging by eating fewer meals per day


Parkinson's
The researchers repeated the experiment with CL4176 nematodes that synthesized the protein alpha-synuclein. In people with Parkinson's a 'wrong' version of this protein accumulates in the brain cells, as a result of which they die. Supplementation with beta-hydroxy-butyrate reduced the accumulation of alpha-synuclein and extended the lifespan of the nematodes.


Delay aging by eating fewer meals per day


It is possible to buy supplements containing beta-hydroxy-butyrate, but you also synthesize the stuff yourself if you burn fats. Beta-hydroxy-butyrate is a ketone, and if you fast or follow a low-carb diet, the concentration of this increases. And an increased concentration of beta-hydroxy-butyrate in your brains results in a feeling of clarity and an upbeat mood.


Delay aging by eating fewer meals per day


Delay aging by eating fewer meals per day


Source:
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Nov 25;111(47):16647-53.

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