What are they? What Benefits Could They Offer?
Eating a plant-based diet has many health benefits over eating a conventional Western style diet. You can reap even greater rewards from plant-based eating, however, by altering the “time of day” that you eat. Two people, consuming the exact number of calories but doing so at different times of the periods during the day will have different outcomes on weight gain and blood chemistry.
Time-restricted feeding is a technique that limits all food intake to a 10-12-hour window in any given day. Time-restricted feeding does not allow any eating for the other 12 – 14 hours each day. Ideally, all food should be consumed from 7am to 7pm or 8am to 8pm, etc. Also, your last meal of the day should be three hours or more before your natural sleep time. Eating this way, and avoiding food outside the eating hours, realigns your body with your natural Circadian Rhythm and results in health benefits. Our “never sleep” society promotes eating whenever we feel hungry and this can be dangerous for good health.
Another way to promote good health and manage caloric intake is utilizing a widely talked about dietary strategy know as Fasting. Fasting has been around for thousands of years. Some societies fast for religious reasons, or other spiritual benefit, and some fast due to seasonal food scarcity or for overall health management. Science now supports the notion that one anti-aging strategy is to reduce caloric intake, and of course to be selective in the quality of the food you eat when you are not fasting. Many variations of fasting exist, and you may consider finding one that is right for you.
Something newer in this fasting concept is a technique called Intermittent Fasting. Intermittent Fasting is just what it sounds like: going for extended periods (hours or days) without food while taking in only water to maintain hydration. During the non-fasting times a regular diet grounded on the principles of your dietary strategy is followed. During the fast your body repairs and the aging process slows down. During this time, you can also have improvements in certain blood chemistry biomarkers like Total Cholesterol, Triglycerides, A1C, HsCRP, inflammation, and Insulin Growth Factor to name a few. You also avoid many of the food borne and lifestyle illness that come with overeating and eating the wrong foods.
However, going intermittently (especially multiple days) without food does not come without some consequences. If you are used to caffeine, sugar or alcohol you may experience some withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, cravings, and extreme hunger as your body adjusts. Some will also experience drops in blood sugar, dizziness, or fatigue due to their fuel tank being empty. Since most Americans tend to overeat, most will ultimately benefit from Intermittent Fasting, but often will have a couple of “tough” days while adjusting. Of course, we can’t fast forever so at some point we have to re-engage with some dietary strategy. Consider - if you’re not mindful of what you eat as a general strategy and are careless with sugar and caloric intake, this technique may not be the best one for you.
To ease facilitation of Intermittent Fasting strategies, many people benefit from structured programs and products. Recent research by author Valter Longo, author of the book The Longevity Diet, has shown tremendous benefits utilizing a five-day intermittent fasting strategy. He has developed a product that allows some calories each day to mitigate the “tough times” and minimize the negative effects adjusting to the fast, while at the same time realizing the medical and health benefits. He refers to this strategy as a “Fasting Mimicking Diet” and has developed a product to make it a convenient reality in our busy lives. ProLon (pro longevity) is a plant based, medically researched, food product that when consumed as directed simulates a five-day water fast. This regime provides the daily nutrients needed, at the same time “tricking” the body into a protective and reparative phase as if it were fasting. This is just one program of many, in this genre of diets and nutritional strategies. Ask your medical professional if ProLon or another Intermittent Fasting program is right for you. With these programs, you can gain many health benefits and it can become part of a healthy lifetime anti-aging dietary strategy.
Doug Thompson, DDS, has a clinical practice in Bloomfield Hills, MI, Integrative Oral Medicine. His comprehensive oral evaluation system ensures the mouth, or any conditions that exist there, do not negatively contribute to your overall health. To that end, he recommends a plant-based diet for oral as well as overall health and longevity. He also supports any medically researched, data backed, product or strategy that promises to reduce whole body inflammation – including proven Intermittent Fasting programs. - Doug-