Mature Quickly and Die Sooner

As early as the 1940’s, research has demonstrated again and again that the rodents that matured and grew the quickest would die earlier than those that matured and grew the slowest . But does this only apply to rats?

Other species of animal were also tested repeatedly with the same results: the faster an animal grew and matured, the younger it died 1 .

Rats! Humans too?

And it probably comes as no surprise that this is now an established fact in humans as well.

Early puberty (in boys and girls) increases our risk of certain cancers, especially breast and prostate cancer 2 .

We’ve already looked at the multi-generational impact that high animal protein intake can have on species including humans 3 – where not only is it statistically likely that it will shorten the lifespan of the individual eating the excess quantity of animal protein, but their offspring and the offspring of their offspring will also experience shorter lifespans.

But the idea that hitting puberty earlier means that we are likely to die earlier is probably not something that most of us realise. In the 1840’s, the average age at which girls reached menarche 4 (the first occurrence of menstruation) was about 17 5 .  In 1920, it was 14.6; in 1950, 13.1; 1980, 12.5; and in 2010, it had dropped to 10.5. Similar sets of puberty figures have been reported for boys, albeit with a delay of around a year 6 7 .

Reduce calorie intake to live longer

It’s been proven that restricting the calories an animal can eat, either by underfeeding it or periodically fasting it, it’s possible to significantly prolong its life.

In fact, periodically fasting animals can double their natural life span 8 9 . Whilst we are not likely to double human life by this means, the evidence is strong that reducing the consumption of animal protein and caloric intake is likely to add years to your life, as can be seen from the largely plant-eating populations which are known to have the longest and healthiest lives – often referred to as the ‘blue zones’ 10 11 12 .

 

The above chart 13 shows the sort of diet that helps Chinese centenarians to live long and healthy lives.

The above chart 14 should be a wake-up call to us us who live in the UK and USA (position 20 and 31 respectively) – financially rich countries with diets that are robbing most of their citizens of years of healthy life.

Does fasting extend human lifespan?

A 2017 Harvard study 15 16  concluded that intermittent fasting can play a significant role in extending one’s lifespan. Other studies 17 came to the same conclusion.

This is aside from all the other amazing benefits of water fasting (such as clearing up chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s, psoriasis, heart disease and cancer), as explained by Drs Michael Klaper 18 , Alan Goldhamer 19 and Joel Fuhrman 20 – a topic that I will cover in more depth shortly.

Final thought

The simple rule of thumb is that what’s best for human longevity is the same thing that’s best for human health in general – lower calories and higher nutrients. This is easily achieved through eating a varied and balanced wholefood plant-based diet.


References

  1. Saxton JA. Nutrition and growth and their influence on longevity in rats. Biological Symposium 1943;11:177. Referenced in The position of fundamental age studies www.ahjonline.com/article/0002-8703(61)90394-5/pdf. []
  2. Staszewski J. Age at menarche and breast cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1971;47:935. []
  3. Our Grandchildren Suffer From Our Meat Consumption []
  4. Wikipedia: Menarche []
  5. Beaton G. Practical Population Indicators of Health and Nutrition. World Health Organization monograph, 1976;62:500. []
  6. Why is puberty starting younger? The Guardian, Mon 4 Nov 2013. []
  7. Pediatrics. 2013 Dec;132(6):1125-6. doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-3058. Epub 2013 Nov 4. The enigmatic pursuit of puberty in girls. Herman-Giddens ME. []
  8. Masoro EJ, Shimokawa I, Yu BP. Retardation of the aging process in rats by food restriction. Annals of the New York. []
  9. Goodrick CL, Ingram DK, Reynolds MA, Freeman JR, Cider NL. Effects of intermittent feeding upon growth, activity and lifespan in rats allowed voluntary exercise. Experimental Aging Research 1983;9:1477–94. []
  10. The Blue Zones, Second Edition: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest by Dan Buettner. []
  11. Chen J, Campbell TC, Li J, Peto R. A Study of Diet Nutrition and Disease in the People’s Republic of China. University of Oxford Press, Cornell University Press, China Publishing House, 1988. []
  12. Diet, nutrition and cancer: Executive summary. Cancer Research 1983;43:3020. []
  13. Diet of Chinese Centenarians. []
  14. List of countries by life expectancy []
  15. The Harvard Gazette: In pursuit of healthy aging []
  16. Cell Metab. 2017 Dec 5;26(6):884-896.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2017.09.024. Epub 2017 Oct 26. Dietary Restriction and AMPK Increase Lifespan via Mitochondrial Network and Peroxisome Remodeling. Weir HJ, Yao P, Huynh FK, Escoubas CC, Goncalves RL, Burkewitz K, Laboy R, Hirschey MD, Mair WB. []
  17. Scientific American: How Intermittent Fasting Might Help You Live a Longer and Healthier Life. David Stipp. January 1, 2013. []
  18. Dr Michael Klaper fasting video: Fasting: Safe & Effective Use of an Ancient Healing Therapy. []
  19. Dr Douglas Lisle and Dr Alan Goldhamer: Pleasure Trap, the: Mastering the Hidden Force that Undermines Health and Happiness. []
  20. Dr Joel Fuhrman: Fasting and Eating for Health: A Medical Doctor’s Program For Conquering Disease. []

The Three Mechanisms of Satiation

 

 

The condition of feeling full after eating (or satiation) conforms to a law as real as Newtons’ Laws of Motion, according to Drs. Doug Lisle and Alan Goldhamer in their book The Pleasure Trap. They call it the Law of Satiation.

[su_box title=”THE LAW OF SATIATION” style=”glass” box_color=”#ede8f8″ title_color=”#07114e”]”In a natural setting of caloric abundance, animals will consume the correct amount of food needed for optimal function.”[/su_box]

They explain that in the natural, animal world, there is a balance between caloric intake and activity level; wild animals simply do not become overweight.

Today in the western world, however, foods are overly processed and packed with extraordinarily high calorie content – very different from how nature intended.

It is very sad to see millions of people busily counting calories while all along there’s a beautifully evolved innate machinery inside our bodies that can handle this automatically for us.

So, contrary to almost everything you hear in the popular media, the answer lies not in how much we eat, but in what we eat.

The three mechanisms of satiation

  • Stretch sensation
  • Nutrient sensation
  • The “Yowel” circuits

The gastrointestinal system automatically assists us in helping us to feel just how much we have consumed. It does this with stretch receptors and nutrient receptors. The former sends signals to the brain to indicate the stomach volume is full, while the latter senses the caloric density of what we’ve consumed.

 

The Yowel circuits

The “Yowel” circuits can be explained by the acronym You’re Over-Weight, Eat Less! This isn’t a scientific term but simply another mechanism related to feeding behaviour – a psychological feedback mechanism that allows us to monitor our weight and food consumption, reflect on it and, hopefully, make appropriate behavioural adjustments – i.e. eating less if we are noticing that we’re getting a bit podgy.

The question is: if there’s this so-called “Yowel” circuit then why is anyone overweight?

 

“The excess fat reduction mechanisms were never intended to do battle with the degree of dietary indulgence caused by modern processed foods. We are no longer dealing with mildly elevated caloric intakes, but rather with a problem of massively excessive calories and excess body fat.” (The Pleasure Trap, p. 72).

 

When our ancestors over-indulged during the rare occasions when they would come across a plentiful natural food supply, the “Yowel” circuits would soon discourage overeating. Becoming aware of physiological changes as a result of indulgence in extra calories would cause a natural return to appropriate levels of consumption. Clearly, evolution would have favoured the thin and mobile, rather than the obese caveman or woman when the group had to escape from predators. And in any event, the period of excessive consumption would rarely have lasted for long in a natural pre-industrial environment.

The conscious regulation of food intake is simply not necessary when eating a diet consisting of whole natural foods – satiety is controlled unconsciously by our inherent natural mechanisms.

The trick, therefore, within the toxic dietary environment in which we now find ourselves, is to eat foods designed by nature – which naturally balances caloric intake with caloric expenditure – for a lifetime.

Artificial concentration of foods

So what happened? Why are so many of us burdened with being overweight?

The artificial concentration of calories fools the Yowel mechanism with too much fat and refined carbohydrates, which comes from:

  • high-fat animal products,
  • oils,
  • sugar,
  • other refined carbohydrates,
  • as well as plant foods with damaged fibre.

It works like this: the stomach does not become as full with highly processed, fatty animal foods as it does when eating a balanced, high fibre plant diet. So the brain is not informed by the stomach’s stretch receptors that sufficient bulk (calorie-load) has been consumed. Also, the artificial nature of the highly concentrated and processed food fragments that comprise much of the modern diet do not register clearly enough with the biochemical sensors in order to trigger a sense of satiation.

Satiation Confusion

Without a sensation of satiation, we continue eating – day after day, year after year in the same way. When, in time, we notice that we are putting on excess weight, and maybe feeling increasingly ill after heavy consumption, we become confused. Our eyes are telling us one thing – You’re Over-Weight, Eat Less! but our stomach keeps telling us another You’re Still Hungry! Thus, the body has become chronically fooled by the abnormal modern diet.

The fear that results from seeing ourselves becoming increasingly obese has surely played a part in the flood of expensive and quite useless diet-related products – low-fat, low-carb, low-sugar, gluten-free, etc, as we try to wrestle back control of our diets.

And from all the evidence, veganism and vegetarianism are incapable of offering a reliable solution, either, if they are merely replacing processed animal foods with processed plant foods, full of sugar, salt and oil.

If you have any lingering doubts that this whole process depends on whether you are eating a WFPB or SAD (Standard American Diet) diet, just ask yourself which of the following similarly calorific choices is most likely to satisfy your hunger?

  • A medium-sized chocolate chip muffin,
  • 4 apples,
  • 15 carrots,
  • 1250 grams of raw salad,
  • 4 corn on the cob,
  • 4 sweet potatoes,
  • 600 grams of ripe cherries.

[qsm quiz=7]

References:

Lisle, DJ, Goldhamer DC. The Pleasure Trap: Mastering the Hidden Force that Undermines Health & Happiness. Summertown, TN: Book Publishing Company. 2006.

Satiation and Satiety—“Stop” Signals – (http://aibolita.com/dietetics/28780-satiation-and-satiety-stop-signals.html)