The pros of caloric restriction through Intermittent fasting
Caloric restriction provides neuroprotection by it’s minimizing apoptosis, enhancing mitochondrial energy production, decreasing mitochondrial free radical formation, and enhancing mitochondrial growth. Lowering caloric intake slows down aging, reduces age related chronic disease, and prolongs life. It already has been proven to improve insulin sensitivity, reduces the body’s overall oxidative stress, triggers the expression of genes to manage stress and resist disease, and switches your body into fat-burning mode. All, in turn, help maintain a healthy microbiome. Fasting can do something besides enhance the health and function of the mitochondria. It has finally being shown in lab studies that caloric restriction prompts changes to gut bacteria, which may also be responsible for some of the calorie restrictions beneficial role in health. A study demonstrated that calorie restriction enriches strains of bacteria that are associated with increased lifespan and reduces those strains that are negatively correlated to lifespan.
“Evidence of the effects of caloric restriction in slowing aging and extending youth can be found in its abilities to prevent the immune dysfunctions of old age, improve DNA repair abilities, reduce damaging free-radical activity, lower glucose and insulin levels, maintain fertility at advanced ages, boost energy levels, increase protein synthesis, reduce the accumulation of damaged proteins, inhibit the inflammatory responses of aging, lower the level of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, counteract neural degeneration, and prevent the age related decline in the health-building hormone DHEA. It also prevents or postpones the incidence of and reduces the severity of diseases such as cancer, kidney disease, and CVD. When cells undergo caloric restriction, signals sent in through the cell membrane activate an enzyme called NAMPT. As these levels ramp up, a small molecule called NAD+ begins to amass in the mitochondria This, in turn, causes the activity of enzymes created by the SIRT-3 and SIRT-4 genes – enzymes that live in the mitochondria – to increase as well. As a result, mitochondria grow stronger, energy output increase, and the cell’s again process slows down significantly (Primal Body Primal Mind, 204).”
“It’s too hard to lose weight by simply restricting calories alone. Eating less and losing excess body fat do not automatically go hand in hand. Low calorie, high carb diets generate a series of biochemical signals in your body that will take you out of the zone, making it more difficult to access stored body fat for energy. Results: you will reach a weight loss plateau, beyond which you simply can’t lose any more weight (Enter the Zone, 11). Diet based on choice restriction and calorie limits usually fail. People on restrictive diets get tired of feeling hungry and deprived. They go off diets, put the weight back on, and then feel bad about themselves for not having enough willpower, discipline, or motivation. “Once a person reaches their ideal body fat %, adding more monounsaturated fat to maintain it is a good strategy. Part of the success of caloric restriction stems from the fact that it takes a lot of energy to digest food and store excess calories, and the process itself creates free radicals. Reducing the number of free radicals reduces the rate of oxidation in the animal’s cells and thus slows down the aging (Enter the Zone, 201).”
“The fewer calories you eat, the longer you will live. Calorie-reduced diet blunt aging and significantly delays the onset of age-related disorders such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and brain deterioration. Reducing calorie consumption overall helps control weight and decreases the risk for heart disease, cancer, and stroke from obesity. Even better, restricting calories triggers certain mechanisms in the body to increase the production of nerve-growth factors (BDNF), which are beneficial to the brain (Change your Brain, Change your Life, 87)”
“You might think that caloric restriction could convince fat cells that they are no longer needed, and lead to apoptosis. On caloric restricted diets, fat cells shrink but they rarely disappear for the most part, as soon as the calories return, so does the fat inside the cells. Why? It appears that the body is cautious, and like any good manager, resists taking drastic action – like firing a cell permanently – until is has darn good reason. The reluctance of your body to permit fat cells to undergo apoptosis means that if you never exercise properly, though you restrict your calories, your fat tissues never receive the chemical memo that more cells are needed in another department, and so the fat cells stay put. As long as fat cells are fat cells, they have no choice but to try to pack on more fat and will so at any opportunity. What’s more, as the body converts fat cells into muscle cells, there’s little net loss of mass, which would explain why people who start exercise programs do not notice weight loss right away (Deep Nutrition 293).”
One thing to consider is that the benefit of caloric restriction may be due to the reduction of insulin, IGF-1, protein, and mTOR that comes with caloric restriction. It may have less to do about the calorie and more to do about the passengers going along for the ride.