Is intermittent and prolonged fasting just another passing fad? Dr. Joseph Antoun (pronounced “ant-toon”) thinks not.
In a world where there are virtually hundreds of promoted diet plans and food choices, there is only one that has endured thousands of years of practice…and success.
The Natural Way to Go
“All the other diets are fads. You cannot live on fat and meat every day and super low carbs. It’s not natural,” says Dr. Antoun. “The way we’re eating today is a fad–we eat most of the day, and snack at night, and we order Uber Eats. What our company is calling “fasting” isn’t really difficult…It’s just rebalancing the way we’re supposed to be eating.” (3:20)
Dr. Antoun notes that our culture eats constantly from sun-up to sun-down, which is not healthy. (4:10). “We need to get back to the way our ancestors ate,” and that’s exactly what Dr. Antoun is encouraging us to do. As a med student, he originally wanted to become a cardiologist, but it soon became apparent that doctors were only managing diseases with medications, not getting to the root cause of the problem. (6:45) The answer?
- We have to change the health system, and stop “following the money” when it comes to treatment
- Sadly, there is not nearly the same market for promoting healthy lifestyle as there is in pharma.
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A Healthier Way
While in medical school, Dr. Antoun began a new way of thinking. How do we help people age without disease? “You can prevent all the chronic diseases that come with aging by utilizing nutrition and fasting.” What is the optimus prime of fasting?
- How many hours?
- How often?
- How does fasting help the cells?
- Does fasting affect metabolism?
All these questions had to be answered scientifically, and the answer lay in the fact that fasting and longevity seem to go hand in hand according to the research.
A Decade of Science
Since 2013, there have been many attempts to incorporate fasting back to our culture. Two landmark events happened during 2016 and 2017 that energized this movement:
- A wealth of research emerged from universities when the Nobel Prize for science in 2016 discovered cellular “autophagy” or self-directed repair in a fasting state. (11:20)
- Human and animal studies alike showed significant health improvements with fasting
Let’s face it, most people love to eat. And eat, and eat. So Dr. Antoun and his team developed a way to water-fast without suffering. “A quarterly 3-5 day fast promotes increased metabolism, and we have a “fasting-mimicking” program called Prolon which enables a person to fast without the hunger and deprivation pains. It makes fasting easier, and a lot more people can comply with it.”
Normally, however, a 12-14 hour window each day is the ideal fasting time-period, and has evolved over centuries to fit our lifestyles. A 16-18 hour fasting window is unnatural, and causes undue stress on the body, putting our metabolisms into a reserve mode. We slow down. Later when we resume normal eating, the body tends to pack on the pounds. (17:05)
“People who live to be 100 all over the world tend to stay in the 12-14 hour fasting window, but over-weight and pre-diabetic people can greatly benefit from longer fasting time periods if they can trick their bodies into a fasting state without stressing the body.”
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Down Time Promotes Healing
Come to find out, when the body has larger blocks of time when it doesn’t have to focus on digestion, it turns its attention to healing and repair of each cell. This is called “autophagy.”
“We know that the healthiest people are not snacking at night. That is one of the pillars of longevity.” For this purpose, Dr. Antoun’s team has developed a company called “L-Nutra” that creates “fasting allowable” or “fasting mimicking” foods that fight off hunger when you’re trying to reach your weight loss goals.
“Fast Bars” fill in the hunger gaps for short-term fasting and “Prolon” meal plans allow for fasting-friendly foods that help you endure the 3-5 day fasting plans.
Extended Fasting: Pros and Cons
“Longer fasting comes at a cost. That’s where our company comes in. We help people get fasting benefits without experiencing all the hunger and emotional deprivation.” (21:45)
- <2 days of fasting is considered “intermittent” fasting
- >2 days of fasting is considered “prolonged” fasting
Metabolism drops significantly with prolonged fasting, because the body assumes it is in an emergency state, and fewer calories are burned because of stress (24:30)
- Weight gain is common in those who resume normal eating habits after fasting
- Keeping the body out of a stressed state encourages higher metabolism during fasting
- The L-Nutra program reduces muscle loss during both intermittent and prolonged fasting
“The cells respond by restructuring their processes more efficiently, much like a struggling company will make changes internally when they struggle financially.” Once per quarter, a prolonged fast can be beneficial to the body, but people will find greater success if they can trick their cells into thinking they are not starving…thereby preserving metabolism. (29:30)
The good news is, generally healthy people benefit from a daily 12-14 hour fast. Finish dinner by 7 pm in the evening, and eat breakfast from 7-9 am the next morning. Done.
There are 5 “Blue Zones” scattered over the earth where people live longer and are ultimately happier! Where are they, and what do they all have in common?
- Icaria, Greece: Icarians eat a Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil, red wine and homegrown veggies.
- Sardinia, Italy: The Ogliastra region of Italy is home to some of the oldest men in the world, who typically don’t live as long as women. They are mostly farmers, and grow organic food.
- Okinawa, Japan: Okinawa is the home of the world’s oldest women, who eat lots of soy-based foods and practice tai chi, a meditative form of exercise
- Costa Rica: The Nicoya peninsula of this beautiful region of Central America practice vegetarianism, and have very tight-knit family communities
- Loma Linda, California: As a tight-knit community of 7th Day Adventists, these healthy people thrive on organic food, a common social system, and refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol, and basically never retire. Work is seen as a gift, and a conduit to longevity. These healthy people famously make time for rest, recreation, and exercise.
The Body Knows
Science is now unified in the conclusion that longevity is based on 20-30% genetics, and the rest is up to us. Fasting is clearly a tool to be used by all…and Dr. Antoun is making this healthy practice a more desirable choice.