Soda and Diet Soda: Household Poisons

We all know soda and diet soda aren’t exactly good for us.  Pretty much in the same way that any sugar filled treat isn’t good for us right? Fatally wrong. Soda, yes, even diet soda, is one of the most harmful substances that you could possibly fill your form with, yet people still down the stuff like a dehydrated cactus lapping at a single drop of water. Even the cans that soda normally come in are incredibly harmful. The truth is that even a single gulp of soda is like a 120 mph head on collision with a brick wall for your organs.  Need an extra push to kick your soda habit? Do yourself a favor and read on.

 

Why do People Drink Soda?

If everyone knows soda is bad for them, why do millions of people still tilt their heads back and indulge?  The answer is simple: it’s easy.  Soda is tasty, cheap, convenient, and EVERYWHERE! No matter where you go you’re bound to see an advertisement for some type of can or bottle of sugary satisfaction.  There’s a reason advertisements exist, and it’s not for aesthetics:  Advertising works!

Your brain is constantly processing every minute detail of information that your senses even remotely capture.  Whether you remember it or not, all of this information is stored in your brain.  If a Mountain Dew advertisement steps into your peripheral vision for even a moment it seeps into the murky depths of your mind and the next time your friend even mentions the word ‘mountain’ or ‘dew’ – BAM!  Your synapses fire, a connection is made to the instantaneous glance of the Mountain Dew advertisement you saw earlier and your mouth begins to water.  Why does your mouth water?  Because you are addicted.

Related Article: Aspartame…Miracle Sweetner or Deathly Toxin

Soda is almost entirely water, sugar and caffeine, and sugar and caffeine happen to be two of the most addictive substances on the planet, nearly equal in their biological sway to heroin and meth.  Consumption of sugar and caffeine are associated with a whole slew of attractive words like ‘binge,’ ‘craving,’ and ‘withdrawal.’

But that’s okay, people can become addicted to anything, whether it be carrots, television, or sex, so what’s the big deal?

 

The Big Deal: Soda Vs. Diet Soda

Soda and diet soda each have their own disgusting face that the advertisements hide, but let’s start with good ol’ regular soda first.

Dr. Mercola explains what happens within an hour of drinking a soda:

Within the first 10 minutes,10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. This is 100 percent of your

recommended daily intake, and the only reason you don’t vomit as a result of the overwhelming sweetness is because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor.

Within 20 minutes, your blood sugar spikes, and your liver responds to the resulting insulin burst by turning massive amounts of sugar into fat.

Within 40 minutes, caffeine absorption is complete; your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, and your livers dumps more sugar into your bloodstream.

Around 45 minutes, your body increases dopamine production, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain – a physically identical response to that of heroin, by the way.

After 60 minutesyou’ll start to have a sugar crash.

Drug goes in, pleasure comes out, then CRASH! So you drink some more. Compared to the physiological effects of a simple serving of soda, cannabis suddenly doesn’t sound so bad after all.

Related Article: Aluminum Cans, Not Just the Soda, Leading to Obesity

The long term effects are far more startling. Let’s take a look at the specifics and scare your desire for soda back into the pit of future diabetes where it came from!

 

Soda

1. What makes soda so deliciously sweet is a huge serving of high fructose corn syrup, a clever name for organ-destroyer.  HFCS has been linked to diabetes more than a few times.  Your chances of developing type 2 diabetes is practically guaranteed with a regular intake of soda.  On top of the whole diabetes fiasco, soda is absolutely useless biologically.  Which brings us to our next point.

2. Soda is useless.  There are absolutely no nutritionally beneficial components to soda, with the exception of a measly 4mg of potassium. Soda excels in one area: expanding your waistline.

3. Soda leads to obesity, a growing trend for the world at large. For each additional serving of soda that you consume you increase your risk for obesity by 1.6 times.  Enough said.

Related Article: The Obese Shall Inherit the Earth

4. Due to a lack of calcium in the diets of people who habitually consume soda, osteoporosis is a serious risk associated with soda consumption.  Even minor soda consumption can lead to bone loss as the large amounts of phosphoric acid found in soda hinders the body’s ability to effectively use calcium.

5. If Mountain Dew can dissolve a rat think about what it does to your body, especially the enamel of your teeth. Soda is about as good for your enamel as staring directly at the midday sun is good for your eyesight. It is even worse for your teeth and causes more tooth decay than traditional hard candy. Sure, soda is cheap, but when’s the last time you only spent a few dollars at the dentist?

6. Drinking soda leads to kidney disease.  All it takes is 2 servings of soda a day and you are automatically added to the long line of people more than likely to be diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. Soda also dramatically increases the rate of formation of kidney stones. It doesn’t take much either.  Just a slight amount of soda consumption is a sure path leading to pain worse than child labor. As a person who has passed a kidney stone before, listen to me and not your tongue; the soda isn’t worth it!

7. Consumption of soda leads to harmful effects on the liver similar to the effects that alcohol has on the liver. When it comes to the liver, soda junkies are no better than alcoholics.

Related Article: Aspartame in Diet Soda Responsible for Destroying Kidney Function

8. An additive in soda called sodium benzoate causes irreparable cell and DNA damage, leading to accelerated aging and age related diseases.

9. Finally, there is a high addiction potential when it comes to soda. As stated above, caffeine and sugar are insanely addictive.  Many researchers are suggesting that sugar to be as controlled as alcohol and tobacco due to its harmful effects on the body and incredibly addictive nature.

At this point you might be thinking “I’m no fool, I dropped soda years back and replaced it with diet soda, the healthy alternative to all my sugary-sweet woes.”  Think again, diet soda is even worse.

 

Diet Soda

A lot of what you read about soda still applies to diet soda.  A common misconception is that diet soda is better for you than regular soda due to being calorie free as it does not contain high fructose corn syrup.  Allow me to explain to you how diet soda is even worse!

1. Although diet soda doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup, it does contain artificial sweeteners so that your tongue can still get excited.  The most common artificial sweetener used is aspartame, which is closer to a toxin than anything else.  People from all over the world have reported adverse reactions to aspartame and double blind studies verify the results. The toxicological dangers of aspartame are well documented and the general rule of thumb that you will hear from medical professionals regarding the substance is to treat aspartame like a desperate Louis Vuitton wielding female and, “stay far, far away!”

Related Article: Cannabis Cures Cancer and More: A Thorough History and Review of the Evidence

2. Just like regular soda, diet soda is nutritionally useless, containing carbonated water, caramel color (depending on the soda), aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium citrate, natural flavors, citric acid, and caffeine. There is no conceivable benefit to consuming soda or diet soda besides the fraction of a second pleasure your tongue devilishly persuades your brain is worth the well documented risks.

3. Diet sodas actually make it even MORE likely than regular sodas that you will become obese. There are multiple theories for why this occurs, but the most likely reason is the cravings that diet soda leaves us with.

How could a zero-calorie drink raise your risk of obesity? Researchers have a few theories. Some people may feel that drinking diet soda gives them a “free pass” to eat more foods that may not be so low in calories, thereby leading to weight gain. Another theory posits that the sweet taste of diet pop alerts our digestive system that high-calorie foods are coming. When they don’t, our bodies are confused and our appetite increases in anticipation of the food it’s expecting.

4. Keep in mind that diet soda still contains phosphoric acid so the risk of bone loss is still ever present for diet soda drinkers.

5. Although the pH level (acidity) of diet soda is not as strong as regular soda, it is still extremely acidic, and leads to enamel loss in the same way that soda does.

6. Remember the kidney problems that were associated with regular sodas? Same applies to diet sodas.  Sorry ladies and gentleman, diet soda is not going to fix the kidney stone problem.

7. If you’re fond of dark sodas, I have bad news for you.  Researchers have found that the seemingly harmless caramel coloring found in dark sodas may lead to an increase risk of multiple forms of cancer.

8. Diet sodas even more commonly contain that wretched chemical sodium benzoate.  Again, sodium benzoate causes irreparable cell and DNA damage, leading to accelerated aging and age related diseases. If you’re part of the YOLO fad, maybe soda is for you, otherwise, stop burning your wick at both ends, put down the soda, and ‘live long and prosper.’

Related Article: Green Tea Power: Surprising Health Benefits 

9. To sum up, diet soda involves all the same risks as soda, and is also associated with a higher risk of obesity, greater toxicity due to aspartame, and even greater DNA damage.

 

So what should you drink?

Water, tea, and every so often 100% fruit juice, but not too much as fruit juice contains a hefty amount of sugars, even if they are natural.  Seem like a boring list?  Well guess what?  Doing a crossword puzzle in the comfort of your home might be boring but it beats dying of cancer as an obese diabetic 50 year old on a semi-sterile hospital bed.

Besides, tea is a world of variation regarding taste and physical effect.  I guarantee there are at minimum 100 diferent types of tea out there that you will discover and fall eternally in love with, if only you make a conscious effort and kick the soda habit. One of my favorite brands of tea is Yogi.

Make no mistake, soda is an addictive drug, and it will take time to wean yourself off of it.  Once you do though, you will wonder how you ever stomached the horrid junk in the first place.

 

Source List:

Wondergressive: Aluminum Cans Leading to Obesity

Forbes: What Makes a TV Commercial Memorable and Effective?

Princeton University: Sugar Can be Addictive

National Geographic: Caffeine Addiction is a Mental Disorder

PubMed.gov: Brain Mechanisms of Sweetness

Dr. Mercola: What Happens to Your Body After Drinking Coke

High Fructose Corn Syrup and Diabetes

PubMed.gov: Consumption of Sweetened Beverages and Intakes of Fructose and Glucose Predict Type 2 Diabetes Occurrence

Soda Nutrition Facts

Wondergressive: The Obese Shall Inherit the Earth

PubMed.gov: The Role of Sugar-sweetened Beverage Consumption in Adolescent Obesity

PubMed.gov: Short-term effects on bone turnover of replacing milk with cola beverages

WebMD: Soda and Osteoporosis

Scientific American: Can Mountain Dew Really Dissolve a Mouse Carcass?

The Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice

PubMed.gov: Carbonated soft drinks and dental caries in the primary dentition

PubMed.gov: Effect of cola consumption on urinary biochemical and physicochemical risk factors

PubMed.gov: Changes in urinary magnesium, citrate, and oxalate levels due to cola consumption

Kidney Stones and Uretral Stones

PubMed.gov: Long term nutritional intake and the risk for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

PubMed.gov: The evaluation of the genotoxicity of two food preservatives: sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate

Wondergressive: Aging Process is Similar to Replicating CDs

Time: Should Sugar be Regulated Like Alcohol and Tobacco? 

PubMed.gov: Aspartame ingestion and headaches: a randomized crossover trial

PubMed.gov: Adverse reactions to aspartame

Reported Aspartame Toxicity Effects

Men’s Health New: Science Vs Soda

WebMD: Drinking More Diet Soda, Gain More Weight?

Health Side Effects of Diet Soda

Pop and Cavaties

PubMed.gov: The evaluation of the genotoxicity of two food preservatives: sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate

Wondergressive: Green Tea Power

Yogi Tea

Apple Cider Vinegar for Diabetes

Lately, bloggers, Pinterest and the internet in general have flocked towards apple cider vinegar—and why not? The list of its purported benefits goes on for a while! But how much of it is hype and how much if it is actually backed by science? First, let me begin by saying that in this article, “apple cider vinegar” will refer to the raw form only. It should have the “mother” of the vinegar, which appears as strand-like particles. The clear stuff you can get for under a dollar at Walmart has been processed and does not carry any of the benefits of raw apple cider vinegar.

My research on the topic has yielded both good and bad results. First, the good.

There seems to be a strong indication of apple cider vinegar’s effects on blood sugar levels. In a 2007 study of 11 people with Type 2 diabetes, taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed was shown to lower their glucose levels in the morning by about 4-6%.

Further to the above, WebMD goes on to tell us:

A 2006 study showed evidence that vinegar could lower cholesterol. However, the study was done in rats, so it’s too early to know how it might work in people.

NOTE: Apple cider vinegar is VERY POTENT! It must always be diluted before being ingested, whether with water or juice, doesn’t matter.

Now the bad. There are a lot of folk legends running amok online (as is the way of the interwebs), that ACV will cure everything from an upset stomach to cancer. However, I would strongly advice caution in this matter. For example:

A few laboratory studies have found that vinegar may be able to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. Observational studies of people have been confusing. One found that eating vinegar was associated with a decreased risk of esophageal cancer. Another associated it with an increased risk of bladder cancer.

That sounds like a bit of a gamble!

Additionally, a number of sources (WebMD among them) note that ACV, being an acid, can harm the enamel of your teeth. However, this Reader’s Digest article recommends it for whitening your teeth without any kind of warnings whatsoever. Not cool, Reader’s Digest. Not cool. You know folks are going to start following this advice blindly.

In that particular scenario, The Herbivore Hippi tells us the following:

Dentists recommend that if you use it as a mouth rinse you must be sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly! The acids, if used too often or not rinsed away will not only soften your teeth but also wear away at the tooth enamel even though it can strengthen brittle teeth. Apple cider vinegar is incredibly potent so always remember to dilute it!

I’d be interested to see how the cancer and cholesterol studies pan out down the road, but in the meantime, those of you with diabetes might consider talking to your doctors about including apple cider vinegar into your diets/daily routines. Please do not just jump into this without consulting your healthcare provider, as vinegar containes chromium and can alter your insulin levels. Your doctor will be in the best position to alter/adjust your current medication to account for the change in insulin levels.

 

Resources
Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Reader’s Digest: 8 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar for Healthy Teeth

Running Slows Down Aging, Slows Down the Clock

 

New research indicates that running slows down aging by beefing up protection of our DNA, which degenerates over time, causing many of the body’s aging signs. This is because as we age, telomeres, part of DNA that acts like caps on shoelaces, start to diminish and expose our DNA to change and damage. If you are not familiar with what telomeres are, there is an article about it right below:

Related: Aging Process Is Similar to Replicating CDs: Story of Telomeres

How Running Slows Down Aging

New research is finding that aerobic exercise, such as running, swimming and cycling has the ability to slow down the aging of the human body. The already well known benefits of running are improved cardiovascular function, strengthening of the heart, aid in forging healthy eating habits, as well as improvement in insulin control and having a clearer mind. These benefits already show how running slows down aging; by improving our body and mind overall.

Running shows positive signs at any age. But the real key here as to how running slows down the aging process lies in the protection of our DNA and cells:

Human cells divide at an average of 50-60 times in one lifespan. Every time they divide, the cell’s DNA has to be replicated. That way, a new chromosome can form and be used in the newly duplicated cell. However every time a cell duplicates, it comes at a cost. That is, the chromosomes get shorter and shorter. If they get short enough, the chromosomes can have their twining undone and our genetic data gets corrupted. Eventually, that cell dies. – Aging Process Is Similar to Replicating CDs

Related: What Is Autophagy and How It Slows Down Aging

This is why it is important to keep the telomeres, the shoelace caps for our DNA strands, intact as long as possible, and prevent wear and tear. One study found that sedentary people aged 55-72 had relatively short telomeres compared to sedentary 18-32 year olds. But when comparing people in the 55-72 age group who have exercised all their lives, there was no significant difference in the length of the telomeres between younger people and older athletes.2

Want to stay as healthy and spry as a teenager?  Go for a run.

 

Sources:

AGING – HOW RUNNING MAY BE ABLE TO STOP THE CLOCK

LaRocca TJ, Seals DR, Pierce GL. (2009). Leukocyte telomere length is preserved with aging in endurance-trained adults and related to maximal aerobic capacity. Mechanisms of aging and development 131(2):165-167

Red Wine Vinegar Aids Weight Loss and Fights Diabetes

 

Red Wine Vinegar goes well with salads and is a staple of the Mediterranean cuisine. But did you know that it can also help you lose weight and curb your appetite? It even allows you to eat the high-carb foods that usually give you a feeling of regret after the last bite.

When red wine is fermented for a long period, it transforms into red wine vinegar. Besides containing the same antioxidant called resveratrol, the main component of red wine vinegar, and the one that gives it the sour taste, is acetic acid.

Acetic acid is also a main component of other vinegars like white vinegar and apple cider vinegar. Acetic acid helps to slow down the digestion of foods that you eat. This action helps to regulate blood sugar and prevent spikes. Blood sugar spikes are what make your pancreas secrete insulin, which tells your body to start to store fat.

According to Doctor Oz, two tablespoons of red wine vinegar will give you optimal results if you want to maintain steady blood glucose and insulin levels. The main reason why it does so is because it prevents some of the carbohydrates that you consume from passing through the blood stream. Carbohydrates are what raise your blood sugar level, insulin level, and ultimately bring your body to store more fat. It is the carbohydrates, not the fat that you eat, that is making you fat.

Here is an excerpt from a research article summary on WebMD concerning mice and red wine vinegar:

Researchers found that the mice developed a lot less body fat (up to 10% less) than mice who didn’t receive the vinegar compound. The amount of food eaten by the mice was not affected.

It’s believed that acetic acid turns on genes that produce proteins that help the body break down fats. Such an action helps prevent fat buildup in body, and thwarts weight gain.

Diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot regulate blood sugar (blood glucose) properly. Those diagnosed with diabetes, are often told by doctors to stay away from sugary foods. This includes grains, especially bread. Carbohydrates are complex sugars, that can be broken down into simple sugars and processed by the body. As mentioned above, carbohydrates make your blood sugar and insulin sky rocket. Consuming a tablespoon or two of red wine vinegar could help some individuals with diabetes have a sugary meal without having their blood sugar levels spike abnormally. Of course, if you are diabetic, make sure you talk to your doctor before you make bagels your new food staple.

If you like your bread, pasta, bagels, and cereals, then incorporating red wine vinegar into your diet could aid in the slowing of digestion and subsequent weight loss. As a spritzer or as a salad dressing, red wine vinegar can be quite delicious.

Get your own bottle of our favorite red wine vinegar over at Amazon.

 

Sources:

Crush Your Cravings With 5 Appetite-Suppressing Foods

NewsMedical.net- What is Resveratrol

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23265476

WebMD- Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

WebMD- Vinegar May Aid in Fat Loss

Mayo Clinic- Definition of Diabetes

 

Extra Reading: 

DailyMail.co.uk- The Healing Powers of Vinegar

LiveStrong.com- The Health Benefits of Red Wine Vinegar

Aging Process Is Similar to Replicating CDs: Story of Telomeres

 

Why do we age? What is it that makes us age and grow saggy? How can we bring our youthful glow into adulthood and beyond? These are the questions that most women ask themselves. Joking, scientists and men alike ask the same questions. And you might find your answer in telomeres.

 

Brief Intro to Telomeres

 

Human cells divide at an average of 50-60 times in one lifespan. Every time they divide, the cell’s DNA has to be replicated. That way, a new chromosome can form and be used in the newly duplicated cell. However every time a cell duplicates, it comes at a cost. That is, the chromosomes get shorter and shorter. If they get short enough, the chromosomes can have their twining undone and our genetic data gets corrupted. Eventually, that cell dies.

Fortunately, chromosomes are like shoelaces with plastic caps. These plastic caps are what keep the shoelaces from getting undone. Chromosomes have their own plastic caps too. They are called telomeres. They are the extra DNA strands that a chromosome can afford to lose. They are what keep chromosomes from getting corrupt. So why are we not immortal? This is what an article from the University of Utah has to say about telomeres and division:

Yet, each time a cell divides, the telomeres get shorter. When they get too short, the cell no longer can divide and becomes inactive or “senescent” or dies. This process is associated with aging, cancer and a higher risk of death. So telomeres also have been compared with a bomb fuse.

 

They help to preserve genetic data when cells replicate in order to have fully functional healthy cells. RNA molecules are necessary in the process of copying DNA strands. Telomeres get shorter each time because these small RNA pieces need room on top of newly formed chromosomes.

Without telomeres, the ends of chromosomes would look like broken DNA, and the cell would try to fix something that wasn’t broken. That also would make them stop dividing and eventually die.

Telomerase, Cancer, and Aging

 

So is there something that keeps telomeres from disappearing? Actually there is an enzyme called telomerase. They fit on top of telomeres and are more prevalent in the younger years, however they also eventually disappear.

This is not the case for cancerous cells. Cancer cells activate the telomerase enzymes once the telomeres get dangerously short. This keeps the cancer cell’s DNA intact and allows them to multiply like mad dogs. In fact, measuring telomerase may be a new way to detect new cancer threats. If we learn how to stop telomerase from being activated, we may be able to make cancer cells experience aging just like healthy cells.

 In one experiment, researchers blocked telomerase activity in human breast and prostate cancer cells growing in the laboratory, prompting the tumor cells to die. But there are risks.

Shorter telomeres are related to shorter lives. Unfortunately, there is no strong evidence yet that shows that telomerase can make cells immortal and prevent aging. There is also no strong evidence that raising telomerase levels would also trigger cancerous cells to form.

Laboratory tests have shown though that telomerase was able to keep human cells divide far beyond the average limit without becoming cancerous. If researched further, we can have a future where human cells can be mass produced for transplantation, especially in key roles such as cells that produce insulin for diabetes patients.

Sources:

Genetic Science Learning Center. “Are Telomeres the Key to Aging and Cancer?.” Learn.Genetics 12 March 2013 http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/begin/traits/telomeres/

 

Save the Food Pyramid by Cutting it by the Limbs

Yes, that’s right. What you thought was healthy wheat and whole grain does not turn out to be so healthy after all. Bread, pasta, mozzarella sticks, pretzels, bagels, etc… As a matter of fact, you are probably better off drinking a can of Pepsi. This can sound absurd at first, since most of the printed text books teach you otherwise; that wheat products should form the foundation of our diets.

The bread that Jesus from the Bible shared and the bread we consume today are totally different. The wheat crops grown in the last 50 years are a result of genetic manipulation and hybridization. This has brought upon the creation of a super starch called amylopectin A. This starch is present in normal bread, whole wheat bread, whole grain bread, high fiber bread, you name it. Two slices of whole wheat bread now raise your blood sugar level by more than two tablespoons of sugarThe health claims written on these products are as misleading as the Fox News news anchors.

What you need to know about blood sugar levels is that starches cause it to spike, some more than others. When blood sugar levels rise, the body releases insulin from the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that tells the body to start to store the dietary sugars into its fat stores, and does not allow for an easy way for you to burn that fat while insulin levels are up.

Here is an easy way to remember the aforementioned:

YOU EAT SUGARY OR STARCHY FOOD → BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS UP → INSULIN UP → FAT STORAGE

Of course, this does not mean that you should completely remove starch and carbohydrates from your diet. Carbohydrates are very important for bodily functions, especially for fueling your cells. But certain carbohydrates do more harm than good.

Now that we covered the super starch amylopectin A, you should also know that current wheat is also made up of super gluten. There is nothing super about it though, except that it makes you super sick and fat. Gluten is a protein that stops the bread from falling apart and gives it a sticky texture. The modern genetically modified wheat contains twice as many chromosomes and produces harmful gluten that triggers obesity, body inflammation, as well as Celiac disease, which now affects at least 21 million Americans.

On a happier note, I am sure there are many people like me who just cannot quit on bread, crackers that go well with cheese and wine, etc… You do not have to quit these. There is a vast number of alternatives to wheat products such as rice and buckwheat. You can make bread and crackers out of rice flour. There is also quinoa flour and oat flour.  Most of these alternatives are gluten free, and none of them contain the super starch that makes your blood sugar levels sky rocket.

So instead of cutting any limbs, let’s work towards defining a more accurate food pyramid.

 

 

 

Suggested Reading: Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health

Sources:
Huffington Post 
The Atlantic 
Health Central

The Wonderful, Healthier, Life Changing and Life Lengthening World of Fasting

Research from all around the world is coming up with various results that all point to the same thing; fasting is a safe and highly effective way to improve your health and overall well being. As an introduction to the art and lifestyle choice that is fasting, take a look at this documentary created by BBC Horizon. The video documents various types of fasting and also details the copious amounts of benefits involved, with scientific proof and documentation, in an easy to watch, entertaining format.

What is Fasting? 

Fasting is age old.  The first question people ask when I tell them I am fasting is “is there a religious reason?”  Various religions have historically incorporated some form of fasting, most notably for the spiritual and emotional benefits of the practice.

Although there are many types of fasting, fasting in general means abstaining from consuming food.  More specifically, abstinence from caloric ingestion.  The practitioner should stay hydrated by drinking water and/or tea, but that’s it.

The hardest part of fasting is the psychological hurdles.  You realize with full force that hunger in a civilized society is far more about the tongue than it is about actual nutrition.  I am currently on day 2 of a 5 day fast and have been without food for approximately 40 hours. I am not hungry in the slightest bit, but I can’t get food off my mind.  My stomach is quite content, but my thoughts betray me! This is where tea becomes especially handy.  It allows my taste buds to be satiated while refraining from ingesting any actual caloric substance.

Why Should I Fast?


Fasting is one of the healthiest and most beneficial things you can do for your body and your mind. Although a low calorie, nutrient rich diet seems to be the optimal way to eat, even with a very poor diet, fasting leads to dramatically positive changes in health. As a quick overview of some of the benefits of fasting, I, and medical professionals can safely say it will lead to:

  • Dramatic anti-aging effects
  • Weight loss
  • Increased amount of brain cells
  • Higher good cholesterol/lower bad cholesterol
  • Lower triglyceride levels
  • Stable blood pressure
  • General detoxification and drug detoxification
  • Clearer skin
  • Positive diet changes
  • Better resistance to disease
  • Reduction of allergies
  • Rest for digestive organs
  • Better sleep
  • Change of habits
  • Clearer planning
  • Better attitude
  • Creativity/ new ideas
  • Improved senses  (vision, hearing, taste)
  • Inspiration
  • More clarity (mentally and emotionally)
  • More energy
  • More relaxation
  • Purification, rejuvenation, and revitalization
  • Spiritual awareness

While filming the BBC documentary, Michael Mosley discovered that even eating unhealthily, by practicing intermittent fasting, his health improved markedly in a wide range of areas. Most notably, after a 4 day fast, his bad cholesterol was significantly lower, his unhealthy triglycerides were nearly halved, and most importantly, his levels of IGF-1 (insulin like growth factor) were more than halved.

Interestingly, fasting in mice, and potentially humans, also leads to an increased number of brain cells.  Researchers believe this is evolutionary, as, if you are without food, the number of synapses grow and neural networks expand to increase awareness and perception in order to more efficiently remember sources of food and to find new sources.

What is IGF-1, and Why Don’t I Want it? 

IGF-1 is a hormone produced in the body which is predominantly responsible for growth.  When you are young it is essential, but as we grow older it becomes one of our greatest enemies.  According to the BBC study, “The IGF-1 hormone (insulin-like growth factor) is one of the drivers which keep our bodies in go-go mode, with cells driven to reproduce. This is fine when you are growing, but not so good later in life.”

A great amount of research has gone into monitoring the effects of IGF-1 on the human body. Low levels of IGF-1 seem to correlate directly to an extended life span, less age related illnesses, and better overall health.  IGF-1 can be kept at low levels through a proper nutrient rich, low calorie diet.  It can also be dramatically lowered through fasting.

High levels of IGF-1 are directly related to obesity, cardiovascular disease, greater risk of age related illnesses, and higher rates of morbidity.

Fasting and Diet

Unfortunately, fasting once will not ensure long term health.  If you fast, and then go right back to the high calorie, low nutrition diet you ate before, you are guaranteed to have unhealthy levels of unwanted chemicals within a day or two.  They key is persistence and diet.

A nutrient rich diet filled with raw vegetables, leafy greens, fruits (especially berries), nuts, legumes, lentils, grains and oils high in poly and mono unsaturated fats like coconut oil will ensure long term, overall health. There are many tips and tricks to attain a truly nutrient dense diet.  An example of this is eating only the skin of an apple, since 95% of the nutrients are found in the skin. The rest is sugar.  This holds true for many fruits and vegetables.

Drop the sodas, diet or not, and start eating natural, life supporting foods.  Food can be the greatest medicine in the world.

Here’s a site with further information regarding nutrient dense foods to help get you started.

Here’s another site that will help you track your calories, and nutrients down to the single amino acid and/or phyto nutrient!

As a final note, I love fasting.  I usually fast 1-2 days each week, with a lengthier fast every couple of months or so.  I feel lighter, freer, happier and more aware.  My senses become heightened, and the world seems more at peace.  The health benefits are just a bonus!

The Life Changing and Life Lengthening World of Fasting

Research from all around the world is coming up with various results that all point to the same thing; fasting is a safe and highly effective way to improve your health and overall well being. In documentary created by BBC Horizon Michael Mosley gives an introduction to the art and lifestyle choice that is fasting.  The video documents various types of fasting and also details the copious amounts of benefits involved, with scientific proof and documentation, in an easy to watch, entertaining format.

*Update 3/3/13: The documentary has become so popular that Michael Mosley is writing a book. The link is now to an interview with him.

What is Fasting? 

Fasting is age old.  The first question people ask when I tell them I am fasting is “is there a religious reason?”  Various religions have historically incorporated some form of fasting, most notably for the spiritual and emotional benefits of the practice.

theyogadr.com

theyogadr.com

Although there are many types of fasting, fasting in general means abstaining from consuming food.  More specifically, abstinence from caloric ingestion.  The practitioner should stay hydrated by drinking water and/or tea, but that’s it.

The hardest part of fasting is the psychological hurdles.  You realize with full force that hunger in a civilized society is far more about the tongue than it is about actual nutrition.  I am currently on day 2 of a 5 day fast and have been without food for approximately 40 hours. I am not hungry in the slightest bit, but I can’t get food off my mind.  My stomach is quite content, but my thoughts betray me! This is where tea becomes especially handy.  It allows my taste buds to be satiated while refraining from ingesting any actual caloric substance.

Why Should I Fast?


Fasting is one of the healthiest and most beneficial things you can do for your body and your mind. Although a low calorie, nutrient rich diet seems to be the optimal way to eat, even with a very poor diet, fasting leads to dramatically positive changes in health. As a quick overview of some of the benefits of fasting, I, and medical professionals can safely say it will lead to:

  • Dramatic anti-aging effects
  • Weight loss
  • Increased amount of brain cells
  • Higher good cholesterol/lower bad cholesterol
  • Lower triglyceride levels
  • Stable blood pressure
  • General detoxification and drug detoxification
  • Clearer skin
  • Positive diet changes
  • Better resistance to disease
  • Reduction of allergies
  • Rest for digestive organs
  • Better sleep
  • Change of habits
  • Clearer planning
  • Better attitude
  • Creativity/ new ideas
  • Improved senses  (vision, hearing, taste)
  • Inspiration
  • More clarity (mentally and emotionally)
  • More energy
  • More relaxation
  • Purification, rejuvenation, and revitalization
  • Spiritual awareness

While filming the BBC documentary, Michael Mosley discovered that even eating unhealthily, by practicing intermittent fasting, his health improved markedly in a wide range of areas. Most notably, after a 4 day fast, his bad cholesterol was significantly lower, his unhealthy triglycerides were nearly halved, and most importantly, his levels of IGF-1 (insulin like growth factor) were more than halved.

Interestingly, fasting in mice, and potentially humans, also leads to an increased number of brain cells.  Researchers believe this is evolutionary, as, if you are without food, the number of synapses grow and neural networks expand to increase awareness and perception in order to more efficiently remember sources of food and to find new sources.

What is IGF-1, and Why Don’t I Want it? 

IGF-1 is a hormone produced in the body which is predominantly responsible for growth.  When you are young it is essential, but as we grow older it becomes one of our greatest enemies.  According to the BBC study, “The IGF-1 hormone (insulin-like growth factor) is one of the drivers which keep our bodies in go-go mode, with cells driven to reproduce. This is fine when you are growing, but not so good later in life.”

A great amount of research has gone into monitoring the effects of IGF-1 on the human body. Low levels of IGF-1 seem to correlate directly to an extended life span, less age related illnesses, and better overall health.  IGF-1 can be kept at low levels through a proper nutrient rich, low calorie diet.  It can also be dramatically lowered through fasting.

High levels of IGF-1 are directly related to obesity, cardiovascular disease, greater risk of age related illnesses, and higher rates of morbidity.

Fasting and Diet

Unfortunately, fasting once will not ensure long term health.  If you fast, and then go right back to the high calorie, low nutrition diet you ate before, you are guaranteed to have unhealthy levels of unwanted chemicals within a day or two.  They key is persistence and diet.

A nutrient rich diet filled with raw vegetables, leafy greens, fruits (especially berries), nuts, legumes, lentils, grains and oils high in poly and mono unsaturated fats like coconut oil will ensure long term, overall health. There are many tips and tricks to attain a truly nutrient dense diet.  An example of this is eating only the skin of an apple, since 95% of the nutrients are found in the skin. The rest is sugar.  This holds true for many fruits and vegetables.

Drop the sodas, diet or not, and start eating natural, life supporting foods.  Food can be the greatest medicine in the world.

For further information regarding nutrient dense foods head over to the Nutrient Rich Foods Coalition website to help get you started.

Cron-o-meter is a site that will help you track your calories, and nutrients down to the single amino acid and/or phyto nutrient!

As a final note, I love fasting.  I usually fast 1-2 days each week, with a lengthier fast every couple of months or so.  I feel lighter, freer, happier and more aware.  My senses become heightened, and the world seems more at peace.  The health benefits are just a bonus!

 

 

 

Sources and Resources to Take the Next Step:

Raw Food Explained: History of Fasting

All About Fasting: Types of Fasting

All About Fasting: Benefits of Fasting

BBC News: Proof Mounts on Restricted Diet

PubMeg.gov: Insulin-like Growth Factor-1: Compartmentalization within the somatotropic axis?

IGF-1 Receptor Regulates Lifespan and Resistance to Oxidative Stress in Mice

PNAS: Intermittent Fasting Dissociates Beneficial Effects of Dietary Restriction on Glucose Metabolism and Neuronal Resistance to Injury from Calorie Intake

Chicago Tribune: Can it! Soda Studies Cite Stronger Link to Obesity

Nutrient Rich Foods Coalition: Achieve Better Health: Your Guide to Nutrient-Rich Eating

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