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One of the subjects that I have recently been fascinated by, to the point of obsession, is the concept of health extension, or how to increase our health span. Health span is the time in our lives where we are functional and relatively free of the many serious chronic diseases that are usually associated with aging. I’m now 66 and statistically entering the limits of my health span, so it is of vital interest to me and for you too, if you are a baby boomer or beyond.
There has been an enormous amount of exciting research, both animal and human, in this area, particularly over the last decade or so. Yet most baby boomers aren’t familiar with the research and it’s ramifications. That’s why I’m so excited about sharing this valuable information with you.
I am particularly interested in hacks that we can do to our lifestyles that are relatively painless and provide a whole lot of bang for buck, so to speak. Today, I’m going to share with you one of the best hacks that I have found that I have personally adopted with some impressive results.
This fairly painless hack has the potential of dramatically changing the way you feel as well as adding many years of additional healthy living to your life. And, if you are already struggling with a chronic condition, it could go a long way to minimize, or even eliminate your present symptoms. Do I have your attention yet?
Today, I will be sharing with you the awe and mystery of Time Restricted Eating. Sorry, I couldn’t help but throw in that reference to the Outer Limits, a very cool and creepy TV show from my youth.
Time Restricted Eating
Sounds ominous doesn’t it. It isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds. It doesn’t require any major changes to your diet or cutting out your favorite epicurean delights. Though, improving the quality of your diet will certainly increase its effectiveness on your overall health.
Time Restricted Eating simply means that you will be eating all your meals within a 9 – 12 hour window during the day. So, say you get up and have your first cup of coffee at 8:00 AM. You will then plan on having your very last bite of anything by at least 8:00 PM, or earlier if possible.
Research shows that the smaller the window, the more profound the effect of the Time Restricted Eating. I personally shoot for 10 hours.
That’s it! Really. You don’t have to make any changes to your present diet to experience significant improvements with your health. And you can even cheat on weekends without going off the tracks. It really is pretty dang painless. I’ve been doing it for a bit over 2 months now and the benefits for me have been very apparent. I’ve even lost 9 pounds, though this was not the reason that I adapted this lifestyle.
And prior to adopting this eating schedule, I typically would have a late snack at around 11:00 so I wouldn’t feel hungry when sleeping. In fact that was my main concern when adopting this lifestyle hack.
In reality, it has been very easy and I haven’t experienced any issues with being hungry.
Ok Jim, so what are the so-called benefits to Time Restricted Eating anyway?
Well, the list of benefits include:
Decreased body fat
Increased lean muscle mass
Improved blood lipid profiles
Reduction in inflammation
Improved metabolic efficiency
Reduced risk for cancer, heart disease, stroke and metabolic syndromes such as arthritis, MS and Parkinson’s Disease.
Significant improvement in gut-related conditions such as IBS and Crohn’s Disease.
Better recovery from surgeries.
Increased health span
Dramatic improvements in mood
Sounds too good to be true, right? But it is true, and it’s based on solid-research, most notably, from Dr. Satchin Panda, out of the prestigious Salk Institute of Biological Sciences in Southern California. He has been researching and performing studies on animals and then humans. This is based on good science.
So how can this relatively painless hack have such a dramatic effect on your health?
It’s the difference between night and day. Really!
It turns out that every cell in our body is programmed to operate within the circadian clock. That means that they evolved to function within the confines and as a direct result of daylight and night.
Even the bacteria within our gut is programmed to operate by the circadian clock. We all know that the gut, and the billions of bacteria that live in it, are hugely responsible for our overall health and metabolism.
The bacteria that are active in the morning are a completely different group than the ones that are active in the evening. This dramatically affects the workings of our metabolism.
It is known that in the morning, our insulin sensitivity is much higher than in the evening. So, WHEN you eat has a dramatic impact upon your metabolism and thus your entire body. If you compared the morning and evening, insulin responses, from the exact same meal, you would see a dramatic decrease in your ability to process carbohydrates in the evening, as compared to the morning.
So, our own circadian rhythm has a dramatic impact on our bodies. The other factor, or trigger, that affects our metabolism and health is food itself. The consumption of all non-water food starts our clocks in the morning. It sets our metabolism from that moment. It signals your body that it’s morning and you have started your day. That triggers your metabolism to start the many processes that evolve and change throughout the day.
And, as I mentioned earlier, this is when your body is most insulin sensitive and thus able to more efficiently metabolize carbohydrates, as well as fats and protein.
Through Dr. Panda’s research, they have found that the many health benefits I mentioned above were attained by eating within the 12 hour window, with 10 hours or less, being the point where the most robust results were found.
When you take your last meal of the day is when you start your evening fast.
This is when your body goes through its daily repair process. Most of this happens during sleep. It has been shown that a 12-14 hour fast enables your body, through the processes of autophagy and apoptosis, to rid your cells, much like a vacuum cleaner, of unwanted junk.
Autophagy is the body’s process of eliminating the junk in our cells that accumulate as a result of normal metabolic processes as well as useless protein aggregates that are produced by senescence cells spitting out useless protein.
Senescence cells are cells that have stopped functioning as they were supposed to and thus now only produce protein that attracts our bodies immune cells thus increasing inflammation. We produce more senescence cells as we age.
Apoptosis is the body’s ability to induce senescent cells to commit suicide. This is a good thing. It prevents them from producing any more junk protein which causes inflammation and it prevents them from becoming cancer cells.
So, by these processes, the 12 – 14 hour fasting period maintained in this diet, helps to rid our bodies of inflammation and cancer producing cells. Time Restricted Eating has been shown to reduce the risks of many types of cancer as well as reducing tumor growth in existing cancers.
And the reduction in inflammation is very dramatic too.
Eating within the 10-12 hour window has also been show to be very effective at reducing the lipids in the liver and the rest of the body. This is due to a dramatic increase in metabolic efficiency.
In fact, Time Restricted Eating has been shown to substantially increase mitochondrial volume. Mitochondria are your body’s little burners for producing energy. Among many other benefits, this helps to increase your cardio-vascular endurance.
It has also been shown to reduce body fat while increasing lean muscle mass. This helps to protect people from obesity, heart disease, stroke and liver disease. As I said earlier, I lost 9 lbs without even knowing it.
After eating, for most people, it takes about 10 to 12 hours of fasting to deplete the body of liver glycogen, which are the byproducts of metabolizing carbohydrates. After that the body then releases fatty acids to the liver where it starts to make ketone bodies which are then used for energy.
Ketone bodies can cross the blood-brain barrier and provide energy for the brain. They have also been associated with improving heart disease risk factors, improving insulin sensitivity, improving all major symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Studies also suggest that they may have benefits for people with Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, Parkinson’s and acne.
Time Restricted Eating also has been shown to improve the quality of your sleep, which is very important for good health. There is a significant decrease and even elimination in the reports of acid reflux from people incorporating Time Restricted Eating into their lifestyle.
Time Restricted Eating really works by coordinating the 3 pillars of good health; sleeping, physical activity, and eating, to all work together with their own circadian rhythms. That’s the way that we have evolved. When all three of these systems are running smoothly than we can reap the benefits of good health.
So how do you do Time Restricted Eating?
Simple, just eat ALL your meals and food within a 10-12 hour window starting from your first cup of coffee in the morning. Yep, even coffee starts your timing. Tea or flavored water even starts the clock.
And after your last meal resist the urge to eat or drink ANYTHING except for water. Eating anything would reset your metabolic clock thus reducing the benefits of this lifestyle. Even a cup of tea before bed will break the fast.
Eating during the fasting period can also cause your own circadian clock to reset, thus confusing your metabolism. This could cause your body to be ready to go into the fasting period when you are just ready to chow down on breakfast.
Remember too, that you can cheat up to 2 days each week without losing the benefits of the other 5 days so there’s always a break available if circumstances demand it. But you should know that most people who do Time Restricted Eating for several months report that they get a food-over, like a hangover, on the days that they do cheat.
Now I have some great resources to help you out with the process as well as providing in-depth information on Time Restricted Eating.
First, you can learn a whole lot more about Time Restricted Eating from Dr. Panda himself by going to his website, MyCircadianClock.org.
From here you can learn a whole lot more about Time Restricted Eating and you can even become part of an ongoing study to research the effects of Time Restricted Eating on humans. It’s a great resource.
Second, you can watch 2 fascinating interviews of Dr. Panda by Rhonda Patrick PhD on her great website foundmyfitness.com. It is my absolute favorite podcast.
Third, you can easily time and record your Time Restricted Eating on a great free app called ZERO, created by Kevin Rose.
It makes tracking your fasting and eating very easy. It’s available for both IOS and droids.
So, the bottom line is that Time Restricted Eating can significantly improve your health, and if you are presently eating a typical American diet of meat and potatoes combined with a lot of sugar and processed food, then eliminating the sugar and processed food from your diet, while increasing your consumption of fresh vegetables and leafy greens will create changes within your body that will blow you away.
Seriously. You will feel decades younger and will most likely add decades of good health to your life. What a great gift for you to give to your family and yourself. It really is a no-brainer.
I’ve been doing it and LOVE the way I feel. Give it a try. It’s way easier than you think and the results are life-changing.
I would also be remiss not to let you know that all the information in this podcast is for information purposes only. You should never try any kind of changes to your diet or lifestyle without first consulting with your physician. Fasting can have negative effects and can even be dangerous for some people. Play it safe!
CLICK HERE to go to Dr. Satchin Panda’s MyCircadianClock.org.
CLICK HERE to go to Rhonda Patrick PhD’s first interview, “Satchin Panda, Ph.D. on Time-Restricted Feeding and Its Effects on Obesity, Muscle Mass & Heart Health.” with Dr. Panda posted in July of 2016.
CLICK HERE to go to to Rhonda Patrick PhD’s second interview, “Dr. Satchin Panda on Practical Implementation of Time-Restricted Eating & Shift Work Strategies” with Dr. Panda posted on October, 2017.
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