Why Intermittent Eating Is Good For YouA 2019 study showed that only one in eight Americans is Metabolically Healthy –having ideal blood levels of glucose, triglycerides, and HDL plus ideal blood pressure and waist circumference without the use of pharmaceuticals. How can we improve that ratio through intermittent eating (formerly known as intermittent fasting)? It boils down to a metabolic switch called mTOR (Mammalian Target of Rapamycin), which is basically a master switch that is a key regulator of metabolic balance (homeostasis) for all 50 trillion cells of our body. If our cells are functioning at top shape, our organs will be too, and therefore so will we.
Autophagy is our intracellular recycling system by which older, less functional parts of our cells are delivered to and degraded by the lysosome (a cell organelle that contains digestive enzymes) into building-blocks like amino acids and fatty acids that are then reused by the cell in producing new functional parts. Amazing – a built-in cellular renovation factory!
When mTOR is turned off, autophagy kicks in and that intracellular housekeeping takes place. We also need mTOR turned on at appropriately timed intervals so that our cells can use the new parts produced by autophagy. Our modern food consumption keeps mTOR turned on for far too many hours of the day. By intermittently eating, we can deactivate mTOR and activate autophagy daily for a more extended period of time. This allows cellular repair and regeneration adequate time to perform their health-promoting activities.
Our ancestors went long periods of time without food, which turned on autophagy and allowed their bodies to assess any damage and correct it. Then, when they found food, mTOR turned back on and the rebuilding process activated. Intermittent eating takes us back to that metabolic balance.
Terry Pfau DO, HMD