Fasting: forgetting to eat once a day

Fasting keeps you healthy. And it can easily be fitted into daily life. Just leave one meal a day and also enjoy yourself with it. Almost every major religion has periods to fast. And scientists show that it is not only religiously recommended that people occasionally eat nothing, but also organic. Our body is programmed to fast from time to time. Our constitution has a time to eat and a time to hunger. This has nothing to do with bikini figure or six pack. It is just healthy.

Fat is burned after 18 hours

When you eat, the energy is simply presented to the liver. There it is stored as glycogen. It takes about 12 to 18 hours before the glycogen in the liver is broken down. But at that point the body never touches three meals a day. Unless you are physically very active.

If we do not eat anything long enough

But if we do not eat anything long enough, the liver has time to break down the glycogen. Then fat burning begins, forming ketones. The Romans already benefited from this, even though they could not reason it out. If one of them had an epileptic seizure, he was locked up in a room without food. That would, they thought, drive out the demons. But in reality the ketones helped. These are still used today against epilepsy. In Siberia, patients suffering from hypertension, diabetes, rheumatism or allergies are treated with fasting hours. And not without success.

Life expectancy increases when energy intake decreases

In laboratory tests, the life expectancy of mice and rats increases by 30 to 40 percent if you reduce energy intake through food. At least that is what the American researcher Mark Mattson claimed in February 2014 in a lecture at Johns Hopkins University. He studied the relationship between energy intake by the body and brain diseases such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Fasting is good for the brain, according to him. In animal experiments one can explain very well why that is and how it works, according to Mattson.

Fasting means healthy stress for the body

Researcher Mattson says that the brain learn to cope with stress through fasting. During the fast the body activates self healing mechanisms. It plays a subordinate role in this, whether people refrain from food for 16 hours a day, or do not eat one day per week, or get stuck for a few days every month. The main thing is that one does it with some regularity. And matching the lifestyle.

The benefits of intermittent fasting

Just like with sports, you also feel better with intermittent fasting. This is because in both cases proteins are produced in the brain, which in turn form new nerve cells and new connections between them. This improves learning and memory performance. These proteins help prevent Parkinson’s. Mattson also claims that intermittent fasting causes the cells to repair defective DNA.

Patrick Schrauwen: “Fasting has a positive effect on health”

The claims of Mark Mattson are largely endorsed by the conclusions of professor Patrick Schrauwen, researcher at Maastricht University. Those who use their last meal in the evening at 18.00 hours, have fasted at night. The body determines that there are no more reserves, and will actively search for energy reserves to recover. That is a healthy process. You can compare it with physical effort. The muscles are brought into a state of stress and will strengthen themselves so that they can deal with that state of stress better next time. The problem, according to Schrauwen, is that our nights are getting shorter and shorter: people sleep less and eat more. But if we still have a big snack in the evening at 22:00, the body will no longer fast.

A person lives for a third of what he eats

Fasting does not have to be dangerous. Evolutionary biologists are convinced of this. Already the very first animals on earth would have had a mechanism that enabled them to survive longer periods of hunger, without their health suffering. Three hot meals and multiple snacks are the last for which we were created. The knowledge is not new. 4000 years ago, the ancient Egyptians decorated a pyramid with an inscription that reads more or less: “A man lives for a third of all that he eats. The doctors live on the remaining two-thirds. “

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