Deepak Chopra, in his #1 New York Times Best-Seller Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, has to say about "eating frugally": "Of all of the factors listed as prescriptions for longevity, frugal eating is the one that has caught the imagination of almost every person who consciously tried to live a long life." For centuries the literature of longevity has been filled with testimony about the virtue of strict dietary abstinence. A fifteenth century Venetian nobleman named Luigi Cornaro is famed in gerontology because he resolved, after a roaringly dissolute youth, that he would mend his ways, pursue a healthy course of life, and try to survive to at least 100. He succeeded spectacularly. In an age where the average person was fortunate to live to 35, Cornaro lived to 103 and remained active and clear-headed to the end. His method for achieving this feat was to abstain from drinking and to eat very sparingly: In essence, he fasted from age 37 onward, following ancient Greek and Roman notions of frugal diet as the secret of longevity.
Dr Roy Walford, a noted gerontologist at ULA and an outspoken advocate of under-nutrition, is one of the few scientists actually to take up the method himself.
[In experimentation with mice] Earlier research had shown that eating a restricted diet only every other day was highly effective in increasing life span. In addition, the mice were tapered into their new diet gradually, allowing their bodies to shift their metabolic set point to accommodate dietary restrictions without abrupt changes.
Your metabolic set point is a brain mechanism that regulates how fast your body burns fuel. It also indicates when you feel hungry or satisfied. If you try to impose a diet on yourself that disagrees with your metabolic set point, the brain will create cravings for food until more is supplied. By changing the metabolic set point gradually Walford coaxed it into line with the meager calories called for in under-nutrition. He advises the same tapering process for people who adopt his method, taking several months or years to adjust to a 40 percent reduction in caloric intake.
"The idea is to loose weight gradually over the next four to six years," he says, "until you're 10 to 25 percent below your set point. (Unknowingly and unwittingly, this is the story of what happened to me!) That's the weight you'll drift toward." The gradual restriction of calories has to include careful food selection to make sure that all vitamins and minerals are included -- UNDER-NUTRITION IS NOT THE SAME AS MALNUTRITION.
Upcoming weekly installations:
- BLOG #4 • May 7 • UNDERFEEDING: PART B PRIMARY SECRET TO SUCCESSFUL LONGEVITY