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The link between intermittent fasting and good health has been noticed for a while. Intermittent fasting means going about 8 to 12 hours without food but in some cases a bit longer. And recent studies have begun to make clear the connection between fasting and longevity, a finding that is creating a lot of buzz.

What we talk about:

There are some obvious reasons that connect fasting to good health. The most obvious is weight loss. But there are many others:

Increasing your metabolism. While it’s true that long-term fasting can decrease your metabolism, short-term fasting has the opposite effect – perhaps up to 14 percent.
It promotes brain health by supporting an increase in the growth of neurons and enhancing memory performance.
Know when you’re really hungry. Going without food often provokes a desire to eat that that is more psychological than physical. Fasting 8-12 hours helps people distinguish between real hunger pangs and food cravings.

Now, here are some less obvious and but equally important reasons that connect fasting to longevity:

Recent academic studies have people buzzing about the health benefits of occasional fasting.
As we age, our cell’s ability to process energy decreases. This can lead to aging and diseases associated with aging. A recent academic study has pointed to the reason behind this phenomenon: mitochondria’s role in breaking down fat and modulating fat metabolism (which is important in keeping cells healthy).

Mitochondria (which are powerhouse structures in your cells involved in releasing energy) help to break down fatty acids and carbohydrates. They work in networks that remain fused in a healthy state (in contrast to an unhealthy, “fragmented” state). This fused state of mitochondria networks are in a “youthful” state, which maximizes their efficiency. What can help to keep these networks running well? You guessed it. Fasting!

The good news is that effective fasting doesn’t involve long periods of difficulty and self-denial. It might cause a little discomfort as you’re adjusting to a new schedule of eating, but as we know, changes in habits often require some adjustments. And this isn’t an every-day regimen. And anything worth striving for requires a little struggle and a little effort. The only things this kind of fasting requires is to not eat for a little while (and to resist your cravings while you do this). The benefits of this effort will surprise you.


Intermittent fasting leading to increasing metabolic rates as well as improving metabolic processes that can mitigate the normal effects of aging.

Intermittent fasting means going 8 to 12 hours without food.

Mitochondria are the “parts of cells that turn sugars, fats and proteins that we eat, into forms of chemical energy that the body can use to carry on living.”



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Christian Zauner et al., "Resting energy expenditure in short-term starvation is increased as a result of an increase in serum norepinephrine," The American journal of clinical nutrition 71.6 (2000): 1511-1515.

Henriette Van Praag, et al., "Exercise, energy intake, glucose homeostasis, and the brain," Journal of Neuroscience 34.46 (2014): 15139-15149.

Karen Feldscher, “In pursuit if healthy aging” Harvard Gazette, November 3, 2017,,
accessed January 2019.

“What are Mitochondria,” Medical Research Council,, accessed January 2019.

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Producer: Marion Abrams, Madmotion, llc.
Writer and Host: Nada Milosavljevic MD, JD

© 2019 Spartan


Direct download: 17_Spartan_HEALTH_Fasting.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT