Friday, May 11, 2012

Fasting and Cleansing

While I'm enjoying the benefits of fasting weight loss, fasting is not only responsible for weight loss.  It is also responsible for cleansing - I mean the cleansing that is far beyond many products being marketed for the purpose of cleansing and detoxing.

Many people questioned the science behind fasting, and insisted that any type of "fasting" was inherently dangerous. I've recently read an article written by Brad Pilon (author of Eat Stop Eat and a nutrition researcher) in which he describes the science-backed benefits that support fasting, and describes the real way to cleanse your body.

As the original article is quite long and technical, I've tried to do a summary here.

The Truth About Fasting and Cleansing

To understand the long-term health benefits of true cleansing, we need to look into a unique process within the human body called 'autophagy'.

Autophagy: The Anti-Aging Solution?  The term autophagy is derived from the Greek language meaning 'eating of self'. In short, it is the internal 'custodial system' that your body uses to identify and discard the damaged or malfunctioning parts of a cell.

If you are interested in how autophagy works, check it out from Wiki.

The more time you spend in the fed state, the less time you have to really ramp up the autophagic (cellular cleansing) process within your body.

This is where short-periods of fasting come into play.  One of the major health benefits of fasting is that it improves autophagy. The principle signal to "turn on" the autophagy dial is the act of entering the fasted state. And if fasting is the signal to turn on autophagy, then eating is the signal to turn it off.

By allowing for growth when we eat and the autophagic process of repair maintenance and cleansing when we are fasting, we help restore a balance in the cellular maintenance process, not to mention the possible prevention of muscle loss as we age.  So you can consider fasting as an anti-aging solution.

The key is there needs to be a balance - You can't overeat all the time or fast all the time without expecting some sort of negative repercussions. It is the optimal balance of these processes that allows for the breakdown of damaged pieces and their replacement with new well-functioning pieces.

By allowing for growth when we eat, and the autophagic process of repair, maintenance, and cleansing when we are fasting, we help restore a balance in the body that may be a missing link in the prevention of many of today's deadly and debilitating diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's and Huntington's disease, liver disease, and even loss of muscle size and function.

Brad Pilon is one of the world's most recognized advocates of Intermittent Fasting - You can learn more about his approach to intermittent fasting in his newly revised and expanded book Eat Stop Eat.

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