Intermittent Fasting, Caloric Restriction, and General Diet

This is your life ending, one second at a time
Full disclosure: I am not a biologist, and I'm basically just riffing out what I've come across in as much detail as I felt was necessary to absorb and be useful. If you find these ideas interesting, or you think they're wrong, then I encourage you to please prove me wrong with research. I'd rather be corrected.

I had a realization: Right now, I may be the cleverest I will ever be. At least in terms of speed of cognition. The only thing I could do to reach even higher would be to meditate, and maybe take supplements. Oh, and possibly sleep a normal schedule… but nah. I wonder if blocking all possible light would help with the quality of sleep, as I’ve heard that even the slightest light will disrupt sleep quality. With my sleep schedule, I might as well be basking in it. Sometimes I am. Anyway, it’s probably all downhill from here. Or is it?

I’ve been looking at second-hand research lately about Intermittent Fasting (IF) and Calorie Restriction (CR). The conclusions don’t seem clear. It seems as though it works well in lab rats, but hasn’t entirely translated the same success to adults. Interesting part of is that eating normally vs IF produce different results, though the same caloric intake. The one person eats consistently, and the other skips a day, then eats double as much as normal. The second group lost weight, as I’ve read it. Interesting wrench to throw in the works of people who think a calorie is a calorie is a calorie.

In some sense, however, they may be correct. When eating every day, the calories you burn or take in will lead to certain results. The idea of a calorie is a calorie is seductively simple: Eat too much + exercise too little = gain weight. While this is generally true, it’s a bit more nuanced than that. The type of calories you eat will influence how often you eat and how much.

Suppose you’re only eating white carbs (pasta, bread, rice, etc.) that provoke a high sugar spike, and cave away quickly. We crave these particular foods because we’re evolutionarily geared to seek out calorie-dense substances because it will lead to better outcomes when food is scarce. Why do you think we crave sugar so much? It gives us that satisfying spike, then it caves away and makes us want more, sooner. These foods are High on the Glycemic Index (GI), which means they provoke an insulin response, which could lead to insulin resistance. Foods that are lower on the GI will release energy more gradually, keeping you full longer, and more sustained energy that isn't flash-in-the-pan.

There is a bigger downside to eating these foods, too. It’s been shown that sugar is addictive (some have said as addictive as cocaine/heroine), which is probably evident enough looking at the obesity epidemic. To make it worse, it has been shown to make you dumber. I'm not sure which part of intelligence it affects, or the mechanism (again, I am not a biologist), but this does not bode well.

Eating well, sleeping well, and exercising daily are all shown to make you feel better and think clearer. Meditation has been shown to stave off all sorts of psychological problems, including Alzheimers.

I could probably talk even more on this, but Tim Ferriss’ podcast does a better job, as does the 4h body. I have other sources, of course, but these are the most recent that have summed it all up so well.

In either case, I’m trying out the so-called “slow carb” diet, which is focused on low GI foods, meat, and vegetables. I feel fantastic, and am more productive than ever. Not sure if simply cutting down on sugar and increasing greens will do the same, but so far this is working for me. Though mildly inconvenient at times, I'd still recommend trying it.

No comments:

Post a Comment