Caloric Restriction

Caloric restriction or fasting is not starvation. In fasting, only the non-essential fat and protein stores which are used. Starvation occurs once fatty tissue has been used up; whence the body draws on its own essential protein reserves for fuel. Excessive fasting CAN lead to starvation, but caloric restriction diets used in antiaging don’t reach anywhere near this limit.


Caloric Restriction and Antiaging

Caloric restriction programs are well supported as the most effective way to extend life span and dramatically reduce the chance of developing chronic disease in old age. There have been over 100 years of scientific studies supporting this theory.

Antiaging research doctors Weindruch and Walford, found that by simply applying the principles they established from their studies that even those with chronic disease at the start of the dietary restriction may significantly improve their health, with the illness significantly lessening or vanishing completely.

This includes:

By the very life threatening nature of many of the age related diseases, reducing their ferocity can add years back to the life span.

Their studies proved that “'spontaneous' diseases of old age are reduced in animals that live on a diet which contains a full complement of nutrients (vitamins, protein etc.) but which has a lower than usual level of calorie content”.


Various Types of Caloric Restriction

There are many ways in which caloric restriction can be achieved. Selection depends upon the preferences of the individual.

Alternate day fasting - Eat whatever you wish of a fully balanced diet for a restricted amount of time; e.g. 12 hours every other day.

Reduced portions - retain a normal meal pattern but eat reduced portions of a normal balanced diet - between 40% - 70%; boosted by nutritional supplements. This is referred to as an isonutrient diet.

Combination – Alternate days of isonutrient diet and normal diet.

Single daily meal - eat once a day – rest of the day fasting.

A Purist fasting regime would be based on no solid food is taken and only water only is consumed. However many forms include fruit [non-citris] juices, vegetable juices and raw salads.

Whichever regimen is followed the principal rule is to ensure full nourishment; receiving total requirement of protein, vitamins and minerals whilst calories were restricted. It is essential if a fast is to be carried out for more than 48 hours.

The more restrictive the dietary constraint, the more intense the disease prevention effects. Research shows that despite the dietary restriction normal physiological function is maintained and in many instances improved.

Typical restricted periods, 729 and 826 calories daily, had the following quantities of food:

  • 22 to 30 grams of protein
  • 7.5 to 8.5 grams of fat
  • 164 to 207 grams of carbohydrate.

NOTE: A normal recommended minimum would be 1500 - 2200 calories.
Eating more raw, than cooked food during restrictive periods, increased nourishment and benefits.

Based on study by Dr Ralph Bircher of Zurich, Switzerland.

Guides to Caloric Restriction Programs


Caloric Restriction Impact on Chronic Disease

Substantial reduction in disease activity can be obtained by fasting followed by an individually adjusted vegetarian diet. Fasting alone has been shown to remedy:

Source: Salloum and Burton

The calorie intake 1,800 and 2,000 calories

Study of Caloric Restriction on Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious crippling degenerative disease. A sole study on a 55-year-old woman totally incapacitated with arthritis was given nothing but raw food, salads and fruit for two weeks, supplemented with a little lightly cooked vegetarian food.

For six weeks there was no change; in fact at times more severe pain was experienced. The she developed a high temperature. This was seen as the turning point. In the five months following improvement was marked each month. Progress become swift:

5 months - walking with sticks.

10 months - she was pain-free and had regained most of her mobility.

12 months - fully mobile.

10 years - still mobile and still following a 75 per cent raw food diet.

Study conducted by Dr Max Bircher-Benner at the Royal Free Hospital in London.


What Happens to the Body on a Fast?

The following is a normal predictable sequence during a fast.

  1. The body's basic metabolic rate (BMR) slowly reduces by around 1% daily until it stabilizes at 75 per cent of its normal rate.
  2. Energy stored glucose in the liver is accessed.
  3. When these stores are used up, and whatever remaining food in the digestive tract has been used as an energy source, the body begins to synthesize more glucose, taken as stored glycogen from muscle tissues.
  4. After about 24 hours these sources will be depleted, and free amino acids and protein, and later fat stores (triglycerides), from various nonessential sites will be turned into energy by the liver and the kidneys.

A combination of a lower requirement for energy and careful use of what fuels are available (including some recycling, for example of red blood cells) allows fasting to continue for many weeks before any vital tissues become threatened. [ Assuming good health at the beginning of the fast.]


Biochemical Changes During a Fast

Following this reduction in metabolic rate, a wide array of biochemical changes occur during fasting, many dependent on the state of health at the beginning of the fasting period. Other predictable changes include:

  1. Lowering of body temperature
  2. Lowering of protein glycation
  3. Enhancement of free radical neutralisation – freeing up more cellular resources for
  4. Enhancement of gene reparation – making the cell more efficient for
  5. Enhance elimination of damaged cells, and
  6. Enhancement of protein turnover [regeneration]
  7. Enhancement of immune response
  8. Activation of mono-oxygenase systems
  9. Optimisation of neuroendocrine functions - the hormonal changes are of particular significance to longevity. An increase in the production by the pituitary gland of Growth Hormone (GH) – except in very overweight people, can trigger many antiaging properties.

Most of these changes continue after the fast.


Side Effects of Fasting

During the early stages of fasting a number of predictable symptoms include:headache, nausea, dizziness, coated tongue, body odour, palpitations, muscle aches, discharge of mucous and skin changes.

These typically vanish after a few days, followed by a sense of remarkable well-being and clarity of mind.

NEXT: Methods Used In Skin Antiaging

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