Time restricted eating and Intermittent fasting diets

It isn’t what you eat. It’s when you eat. Meet newer wisdom that may be or not be true.

Research indicates that Time Restricted Eating is a better, healthier way of curbing obesity and weight management. This mouse study shows some really interesting results from its strict controlled environment. Can humans follow it?


Humans do not live in a research lab.

The research went like this:
A mouse allowed to eat 24 hours a day (left) had much higher levels of liver fat (white) than one that consumed the same high-fat diet within an 8-hour daily feeding window (right). Mice that eat only during certain hours avoid obesity and related health problems—even on a high-fat diet.

According to the researchers of this study, While we eat, the body stores fat, which adds weight and puts stress on the liver, and produces glucose, which elevates blood sugar levels—a sign of diabetes. In contrast, evidence suggests that when we stop eating for several hours, the liver stops releasing glucose into the blood, and instead uses it to repair cellular damage. It also releases enzymes that break down cholesterol into acids, which in turn help break down brown fat—a “good” fat that converts calories into heat.

The researchers also add some caution — It’s not yet clear whether there’s a minimum fasting time for the metabolic benefits to kick in at all, or whether they simply work better the longer the fasting time. The researchers also caution that the study shouldn’t motivate anyone to adjust their eating schedule and then completely ignore the fat content of their diet. They also add that there is no evidence that mouse results would be applicable to humans.

Barring some diseases and more sedentary behaviors, obesity. Pictures from our past show many people that would be called obese today. In the past, your ancestors struggled with food scarcity; whereas, today, Americans enjoy an overabundance of available food sources.

Our ancestors had no refrigeration so they ate as needed. Mostly agrarian, they were proficient at storing carbohydrate grains through harsh winters.These ancestors faced difficult lives with long, strenuous, routine labors. Today, office work is more common and computing devices replaced more manual labor.

Early philosophers observed obesity and possible effects. Hippocrates wrote that “Corpulence is not only a disease itself, but the harbinger of others”. As therapy, time restricted eating has few long-term results indicating a considered lifestyle choice. Yet, those willing to try and lose 50 or more pounds find media news about time restricted eating or intermittent fasting attractive.

Gluconeogenesis is a trick that favors low-carb dieting. Time restricted eating, ketogenic, and Intermittent fasting diets postulate that restricting carbohydrates will result in the body creating its own glucose, if you restrict sugars and starch from your body. No sugars mean the body cojnverts body fat into energy. Weight loss is the gain. Simple. Yet the process may also produce some harmful effects down the line. Going too extreme can create stress to your normal functions and cortisol is the end product of managing stress.

The cortisol/glucogenesis relationship is a hormonal process and high levels of cortisol can make any of these low-carb dieters consider other options. Cortisol is an end-product of Adrenalin, secreted by adrenal glands, and is considered one of the key ways that our body responds to stress as fight or flight. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues. The reaction is supposed to be brief as cortisol washes away after a stressful incident. When cortisol remains for too long it may be possible to develop HPA Syndrome or adrenal fatigue.

The problems associated with chronically elevated cortisol levels include:
Suppressed immunity.
Hypertension.
High blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
Insulin resistance.
Carbohydrate cravings.
Metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Fat deposits on the face, neck, and belly.
Reduced libido.

Reducing cortisol to a healthy balance requires managing body stress. That takes a chronic approach. Cortisol is made by your adrenal glands, two small glands that sit on top of your kidneys. As a critical end-product in stress management, cortisol plays a key role in other functions, including how your body breaks down carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. Ketogenic diets believe that if no carbohydrates are present, the liver and kidneys will generate simple-carbs for what the body requires, including the brain. It then metabolizes lipids (fats) and proteins that promote weight loss. While there are tests for cortisol levels, any of these fad diets require scrutiny in the long run.

Cortisol is one of the byproducts among the mechanisms used as natural body protectors in stressful situations. Other hormones are from the pituitary gland that releases corticotropin releasing hormone, or CRH. This hormone acts as a catalyst to create corticosteroids – one of which is cortisol.

This network of natural responses deal with maintaining homeostasis (balance) within the body. Trying to adapt time restricted eating and intermittent fasting diets are habits that run against normal balance. They can be very stressful. Habituation to these diets can be extremely difficult.

In addition, living requires homeostasis — body balance. For some, skipping meals and severely limiting calories can be dangerous. People with certain conditions, such as diabetes, coronary diseases, hypertension, and others associated with chronic obesity may be prone to electrolyte abnormalities from fasting. Some may be dietary while others may be side-effects from medicines you are taking.

A recent article posted association with inflammatory dieting with the incidence of cancer in men.

When it comes to managing weight, time restricted eating and intermittent fasting diets require serious (if not religious) thought. Can you follow these prerequisites and conditions for both weight loss and health maintenance?

The major research on time restricted eating is at the mouse level. Harvard University indicates research on intermittent fasting has been small. One of the not-so-alarming results was a very high dropout rate (38%) in the intermittent fasting group.

While time restricted eating and intermittent fasting diets are in vogue, there is confusion of what foods can be eaten when you can eat. Ads show higher caloric, carb-rich foods, and bad fat foods. That really doesn’t work.

That Hippocrates was mentioning the complex nature of corpulence around 2500 years ago, is a worthy observation that indicates obesity as a significant reality in human history. The low-carbohydrate, high fat diet was developed by William Banting in the 19th century. It was anecdotal as he was the only subject of his original study. He was the first person to do it. It’s been made popular by Professor Tim Noakes in his book The Real Meal Revolution. The idea is that this way of eating makes your body switch from burning carbs for energy to burning fat. Later, Atkins and others wrote books supporting this approach.

From appearance to wellness, diets reign as top in the self-help books and articles. Weight gain and slower metabolism is normal with age. Fashion and health guidelines determine obesity leveling. The main caveat, your body tries to keep an inner balance. Your body is happy being fat and doesn’t consider the possible illnesses that may be attributed to that condition.

Both intermittent fasting and time restricted eating are throwing blows to the generally acceptable calorie restriction diets. Advocates of intermittent fasting and restricted eating claim that, following either, will improve biorhythms and sleep. Yet more people are concerned about their fasting schedules. How will it affect my work, my leisure, and all my other activities. There can be social problems as to whether you can eat dinner out. Unlike our ancestors that ate 2 meals per day – morning and evening – our day spans 24-hours of probable resting and active activity. Does time impact weight gain? Is this a stressor?

The key basis of time restricted eating is that our ancestors followed a circadian rhythm guided by sunrises and sunsets. Once we were able to control light, adjustments were allowed to live differently. Electricity and digital-age change the way we see time. Living 24/7 is probable but is it healthful?

As such, Time restricted eating, Intermittent fasting diets, and any other radical regimen that sweep through the media have to be taken as light jokes. Sensibilities dictate that you really consider whether you can follow these diets in a world where you work, play, and have an abundance of meal and snacking choices. As you age, fat develops and metabolism rates reduce. While responsible eating and exercise matters, how easily can you adapt to any diet?

As time restricted eating and intermittent fasting diets have little research on humans, long-term side-effects aren’t really known. You might lose weight but at what biochemical cost? Will it extend overall wellness? Habits are hard to break but you can learn to tweak them in proper directions.We all make adjustments to new realities with responsibility and care. Overall, we are not mice in a cage. We are people living in modern societies.

Israel Gaza dreams of unreachable stress

Yesterday, upon a stair
I saw a man
Who was not there.
He was not there
Again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away.

Sometimes misunderstandings lead to stress and further lead to violence. Studies of Psycholinguistics often demonstrates how complex language might be in relationships. Writer Deborah Tannen shows how fights erupt through language. Sometimes words and phrases can result in stress. While words may be mightier than swords, rockets may speak action. Their language may be unclear. Israel and Gaza are under stress and few understand the words, meanings, and motivations.

When you witness, according to the media, the wage of war between Israel and Gaza, stress comes to mind of all the involved players. Let’s discuss some background history behind the Israel/Gaza conflict.

Since 2007 when, as a peace effort, Gaza was partitioned for independence. Hamas, the elected ruling party, didn’t hunger to create a Palestinian country. Its hunger would only be satisfied by annoying Israel with rockets. Ironically, Hamas doesn’t recognize Israel. Satisfying stress by firing rockets at a non-entity is a waste of energy and only produces more stress. Stress is involved in forming alliances and in waging war. Unfortunately, the invisibility of Israel becomes very visible when it answers Hamas’ call.

We could be grateful to the Greek Septuagint, an early Greek translation of the Old Testament when Greece ruled the middle-East (before it was the middle-East). Greece came up with the name Palestine. A derivitave of the name “Palestine” first appears in Greek literature in the 5th Century BCE when the historian Herodotus called the area “Palaistinē”. After a Jewish revolt against Rome, some 700 years later, the land of Judea was renamed Palaestina in an attempt to minimize Jewish identification with the land of Israel. When Turkey dominated the area, for 400 years, from 1517 to 1917, the term Palestine was used as a general term to describe the land south of Syria; it was not an official designation. In fact, many Ottomans and Arabs who lived in Palestine during this time period referred to the area as “Southern Syria” and not as “Palestine.”

Translating ancient Hebrew, the Greeks often made some errors. The term Palestine may have been the Philistines, an Aegean people who, in the 12th Century B.C., settled along the Mediterranean coastal plain of what is now Israel and the Gaza Strip. The Bible refers to the Philistines as enemies of the Israelites.

After Saladin conquered the Crusades, he allowed Jews to re-enter the areas where Rome had forbidden. Large communities were reestablished in Jerusalem and Tiberias by the ninth century. In the 11th century, Jewish communities grew in Rafah, Gaza, Ashkelon, Jaffa and Caesarea. Very few Arabs lived in those areas until the past 70 years or so. That area of western Israel has been populated by Jews for at least 1,000 years.

Gaza does have a claim to fame under Saladin who conquered the Crusades in the 12th century. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 designated a mandate for a Jewish area in what Britain referred as Palestine. As, under the Turks, that meant the land South of Syria and including part of what is now Jordan. Since 1948, when the Arabs fought United Nations mandated Israel and lost, Palestine was now being recognized by Arabs. For over 400 years, it was the land south of Syria and few Arabs were attracted to it. If we follow the Greek mistake, are the Palestinians actually Israel’s legendary enemy reborn? Are they the Philistines?

Stress is a state of living. If there is no stress, there is death. Where stress becomes chronic, it becomes conflict. Conflicts breed alliances or wars. For the Gazans and Israelis living near Gaza, the stress is basic.

Scientist, Hans Selye, made Stress as a concept of being vey popular. Dr. Selye’s initial discovery of the stress syndrome was based on the demonstration that the body nonspecifically responded in virtually the same way to various innocuous stimuli or stressors. Dr. Selye advanced the theory that stress plays a role in every disease, and that failure to cope with or adapt to stressors can produce “diseases of adaptation”, including ulcers, high blood pressure and heart attacks. He called his theory the “General Adaptation Syndrome.” This adaptation uses energy and the stress of that energy to adapt leads to exhaustion. After exhaustion, the cycle repeats itself.

In basic, stress can be seen as a hunger. If a primitive sought food but the food was beyond reach, he would seek an ally to help get the food. That’s an alliance that alleviates the stress from hunger. If someone decided to hoard all the food in exchange for forced work, that would be a conflict. Conflict resolution and conflict management strategies are devices that people use to suppress stress and resolve conflicts within relationships. When conflicts can’t be resolved, unsatisfied hunger becomes war. Fight for right! Or is it fight or flight?

The problem is that most individuals don’t do well in fight or flight situations. Living under threats of bombing attacks may be adaptable but are also very stressful.

When you are a Gazan or an Israeli family, there are daily hungers waiting to be satisfied. Buy food and clothing for family. Send kids to school, do necessary work, and live from one day to another. When a rocket from Gaza hits your home, it’s a stress inducing experience. Likewise when Israel bombs Gaza, people suffer stress. Severe stress.

Is one side correct in the Gaza-Israel conflict? If Hamas would cease shooting hundreds or thousands of rockets into Israel as its main strategy and policy to rule and create Gaza, a response is inevitable. Israel is responding with more rockets, and stronger rockets.

Much of this come from errors by host keepers of peace, the United States and Russia. The influencers are to arm each country to keep the peace. It’s good for economics through weapon sales and the belief that arms are defensive and not offensive.

So all Arab nations have rockets and some provide Gaza with them. What does Israel do?

The middle-east is a powder keg of stress that is exploding. There’s Egypt, Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Perhaps the quietest of the bunch is Iran. It may have yet another weapon gestating that might even be deadlier.

While stress is part of life, constant and unpredictable stress may prove fatal. The consequences of war, among soldiers and among civilians, result in enduring stress and many personal conflicts. Sometimes you need to quench stress by its roots.

Peace is a nice idea and is like Selye’s concept of exhaustion. Yet, it’s a never-ending cycle. Fight or flight is about survival of the fittest. Peace through survival comes at heavy prices. Fighting and bearing the costs are, in some cases, the only things that net value.

Israel and Gaza may be dreaming of unreachable stress. That stress is here and its coming. Unlike other wars, we can only hope that adaptation loses to eventual resolve. Peace is the prize.

In the conflicts and stress we confront each day and the tensions of reshaping lifestyles, the fight is always the most enduring. I really wish it’d go away but it’s no illusion. The solution may be a delusion. The Philistines may have risen and the ancient wars return anew. Do the world, the people, the soldiers understand the language?

Rhinovirus hunting in season for common cold

It is rhinovirus season. Rhinovirus hunting is in season except you are the target. The Rhinovirus is one of several viruses that are the culprits behind annoying common colds. Rhinovirus has many subspecies and strains. It’s the variety of them that makes the body struggle against getting infected. When it attacks and your immune system is weak, you feel miserable.

A common cold may be a socially transmitted disease. You may get it from a handshake, a sneeze nearby, a shared surface area, among many other things. It is not weather related, necessarily.

How do you get a cold? Going out in cold weather or swimming in cold water isn’t what helps you catch cold, though many people believe so. You cold began when a cold-virus attaches to the lining of your nose or throat.

A rhinovirus lands on and enters your body. Consider a virus an illegal alien that sneaks through the border patrol as it enters your body. The virus is a foreign germ and your body triggers defenses against it. This is the immune system. Your immune system sends white blood cells out to attack this germ. Unless you’ve encountered that exact strain of the virus before, the initial attack fails and your body sends in the infantry and paratroopers. Your nose and throat get inflamed. Histamine, mucus and phlegm form and you get runny nose, watery eyes, and congestion. With so much of your body’s energy directed at fighting the cold virus, you’re left feeling tired and miserable. You have a cold.

How do you fortify your immune system with stronger weapons? One approach is maintaining a healthy lifestyle to boost your immune system. That might include:

Don’t smoke.
Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in saturated fat.
Exercise regularly.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Control your blood pressure.
Drink alcohol only in moderation.
Get adequate sleep.
Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
Get regular medical screening tests for people in your age group and risk category.

Seems to make sense. Even if you do follow most or all these things, you may still get a viral cold. It’s common.

Chronic psychological stress may tax your immune system, according to an article in New England Journal of Medicine. When you have chronic stress, your hormones come from glands. These chemicals act as messengers that places your body on alert to defend itself. Chronic stress or people with chronic stress, barring allergy sensitivity, are likely to have more cold symptoms because stress makes it easier for a virus to enter.

An end product of the adrenals contribution to stress response is a class of chemicals called glucocorticoids (GC). Glucocorticoids are designed to help reduce body inflammation in small doses. It’s part of the fight or flight system essential to survival. Chronic stress releases glucocorticoids in large doses. GC interrupts inflammation by moving into cells and suppressing the proteins that go on to promote inflammation. GCs also affect your metabolism by causing cells in the liver to make more sugar. This may lead to too much sugar in the blood, and cause steroid induced diabetes mellitus. Glucocorticoids also affect food intake during the sleep-wake cycle. Your Cortisol levels, which vary naturally over a 24-hour period, peak in the body in the early-morning hours just before waking. This hormone helps produce a wake-up signal, turning on appetite and physical activity. Cortisol is a common partner with glucocorticoids.

It has been believed that enduring glucocorticoids in high-levels may (with other factors) lead to cancer. Cancer is sometimes seen as a virus. A recent study in the Journal of Immunology cites evidence about how the immune system kills healthy cells while attacking infections. The immune system also performs surveillance of tumor cells, and immune suppression has been reported to increase the risk of certain types of cancer.

Dealing with a virus and a compromised autoimmune system means no treatment. Doctors often prescribe antibiotics to fight against bacterial germs that might be present in some colds. These drugs do not work against viruses. Too many repetitive prescriptions of antibiotics may cause antibiotic resistance as bacteria become immune to those drugs. This is a pressing problem at treating global bacterial infections.

Suprisingly, there is no cure for the common cold, but you can get relief from the symptoms. The United States National Institute of Health offers guidelines and most advise NOT seeing a doctor, unless symptoms last more than 5 days. It recommends using over-the-counter cold symptom relievers.

While the many strains of rhinovirus may result with a common cold any time of year, another nasty virus attacks seasonally. It called the influenza or flu virus and this has more severe symptoms. That’s why guards against influenza are strongly advised as vaccines. Vaccinating at the appropriate time may help your body fight off these aliens. There is no vaccine for the rhinovirus.

Of course, as we’ve seen with glucocorticoids and side effects as the body activates an immune system to aid and combat stress, a healthier immune system may be the best way to fight that rhinovirus from giving you a common cold. What can you do?

Many products on store shelves claim to boost or support immunity. The concept of boosting immunity actually makes little sense scientifically because those pills may have ingredients that negatively influence the immune system.

Only a lifestyle choice may help boost immune regulation over time. Unfortunately, factors such as enduring stress may confound the benefits.

According to the Center of Disease Control, “Common colds are the main reason that children miss school and adults miss work. Each year in the United States, there are millions of cases of the common cold. Adults have an average of 2-3 colds per year, and children have even more.” There is no vaccine. The cure remains an ominous ghost.

It amazes me how few people realize the virus relationship to the common cold. It astounds how doctors continue to prescribe antibiotics to relieve colds. It fascinates about how few are willing to adopt a lifestyle for immune enhancement.

There are many ways to control stress and its accompanying anxieties from being chronic. Exercise and diet are among them and are present in an immune protection lifestyle. Stress is integral to living but chronic stress may be fatal. Your goal must aim at suppressing chronic stress.

Some of the elements of the lifestyle to boost the immune system are attractive for overall wellness throughout a lifespan. Yet, every day and in every way a rhinovirus wants to find a host. Are you a willing candidate?