Alternate Day Dieting

  • 6 Aug 2014
  • Reading time 5 mins
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There’s a simple way to extend lifespan by 25% and that’s to eat a diet that’s very low calories. It’s well proven in all animal species but is unlikely to catch on in us humans.

However, thanks to the work of Professor Mark Mattson from the US National Institute on Ageing, he discovered that you can get an equivalent effect, and many other health benefits, by modified fasting two days a week, or eating less every other day. The benefits appear to be many – less pain and inflammation, less risk for diabetes and possibly dementia and, of course, less weight.

This way of eating, known as alternate day dieting, seems to work because it can trigger the health-promoting gene called ‘Sweet Sixteen’. You may recall, last year, a study that showed that eating low calories for eight weeks reversed diabetes, improving sensitivity to the hormone insulin.

Insulin seems to be the key – the less you produce the better. A recent study of 64,000 people with diabetes, reported last month at the American College of Cardiology, well illustrates this point. The researchers found that the more insulin medication a person uses, the greater their risk for a cardiovascular event (death, heart attack or stroke).

To put this into context, a diabetic using insulin has a 70% increased risk of a first cardiovascular event compared to someone who already has cardiovascular disease having another event. The more insulin resistant a person is, the more insulin they are given. (By the way, the only drug that also helps reverse insulin resistance is metformin, which is the only diabetes drug in this study that didn’t increase cardiovascular risk.)

What this recent research shows is that too much insulin switches on a diabetes and heart disease promoting gene, nicknamed the Grim Reaper. Clearly this is not the right way to go. What you want to do is improve insulin sensitivity, and to eat in a way that means you need less insulin anyway. The best way to do that, according to gene expert Professor Cynthia Kenyon from the University of California, is to eat a low glycemic load (GL) diet, cutting right back on carbohydrates which promote insulin release. Supplementing high-dose chromium (200-600mcg), even better with a cinnamon extract high in the compound MCHP, also helps reverse insulin resistance by improving the function of insulin receptors.

This is the kind of diet I’ve been recommending for years because ......

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