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Thread: Diet, size and longevity.

  1. #1 Diet, size and longevity. 
    ox
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    When it comes to how healthy and long lived we might be as individuals, we seem to get a constant stream of ideas about diet. So I was watching in the last week a TV science program about how dieting can make you live longer. The message was that some sort of food restriction, be it no food at all for days on end, or something like 5 days on and 2 days off, or even restrict and indulge on alternate days will improve your health and longevity. It also pointed out that many people who live through hard economic times end up by living longer than they ought do.
    However if you factor out of any equation the fast food culture or the sedentary nature of modern living, I question all of this. The fact is that some people, because by nature they are smaller and shorter than average have often turned out to be natural dieters. According to statistics the most long lived people reside in Japan and Hong Kong. Surely this is no coincidence that on average they are also smaller in stature. And they enjoy their food.
    When Stalin sent prisoners to Siberia it was the big guys who perished first on the labour camps. Yet in my experience it is the small guys who get villified in all walks of life. The taller you are the greater your salary expectations and the better your chances are with women, apparently.
    Should this make sense? I think the science is flawed. The people that I've known who have lived to a ripe old age have all been modest eaters who never deliberately diet. They simply restrict their food intake because their body doesn't need it.
    Shouldn't it be the other way around, that it is the small people who villify the large ones. That could solve the problem!


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    I think obese people do tend to get villified already.

    fasting is good becuase it gives the digestive organs a chance to clean out and rest. Plus your bodie gets a break from all the toxins in food.

    The fact that you are not digesting food means the heart has less work to do, so will go on for longer.


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    Quote Originally Posted by question for you View Post

    The fact that you are not digesting food means the heart has less work to do, so will go on for longer.
    That is not the reason. Researchers seem to think it is related to insulin metabolism.

    It is worth noting, though, that while caloric restriction has resulted in longer life for a number of experimental animals, there is no such evidence for humans. Humans have already evolved very long life span, and it may be that there is less potential for further increases.

    When you allow for physical fitness, there is little evidence that smaller people live longer. If a person exercises and is physically fit, he/she can be overweight and still live to a ripe old age. The main problem seems to be the 'couch potato' who is overweight due to indolence, and dies young. In fact, underweight people live shorter lives on average than physically fit and overweight people. This does not, of course, include serious obesity, where lack of fitness is part of the syndrome.
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    I've noticed ( this morning ), that it's OK to eat at MACCAS now. They have put their prices up here in Melbourne, about $3.60. for smallest burger. ( Egg, Cheese, Sausage meat, wot happened to Beef? Bun, slice of gurkin ) It's OK to eat in because, not only have the prices gone up, but the size has gone down. Two mouthfuls for me now, and I need another one. Expect to lose weight on this fare. Being Friday here in Melbourne it's my Fry up day. MACCAS at 1000HRS, RSL for beer and sandwich, home 1300HRS for sausages and potato cakes, fried, Casserole( Pork ), for tea ( Dinner in the best of circumstances), and then I have to hang on till Suppertime, 2230HRS. Still, I have Potato Chips while I'm waiting. That's my light day taken care of, things look up for the rest of the week....westwind.
    Words words words, were it better I caught your tears, and washed my face in them, and felt their sting. - westwind
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    You have nothing to prove any more, Westwind. You have already outlived the average Aussi by a reasonable bit. Anything extra is just a bonus. Might as well enjoy life. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you eat drink and get merry again. By doing so, you will probably add another 20 years to your life span from sheer joie de vivre.
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  7. #6  
    ox
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    Quote Originally Posted by question for you View Post
    ...fasting is good becuase it gives the digestive organs a chance to clean out and rest. Plus your bodie gets a break from all the toxins in food.
    Yes but what exactly is fasting? This is the big confusion. Take for example the Ramadan diet, being undertaken right now by millions of Muslims, including my friend in Malaysia. She informs me that she eats nothing between 0530 and 1930, and she drinks nothing either, not even water. Surely this is harmful when stretched out for the month of fasting.
    Personally I don't eat anything between 1900 and 0700. Is this not fasting?
    Now I'm reading another report today that it is statin therapy that can keep people living longer (side effects apart).
    If a guy in his fifties thinks that after a life of food indulgence he can go on a crash diet and put his body to rights then good luck to him.
    Check out the program. I think it's online until the end of August. 'Eat, fast and live longer', and NOT 'Eat fast and live longer'.

    BBC iPlayer - Horizon: 2012-2013: Eat, Fast and Live Longer
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    Quote Originally Posted by question for you View Post
    I think obese people do tend to get villified already.

    fasting is good becuase it gives the digestive organs a chance to clean out and rest. Plus your bodie gets a break from all the toxins in food.

    The fact that you are not digesting food means the heart has less work to do, so will go on for longer.
    I've never seen conclusive evidence that supports things like fasting or cleansing as beneficial. If you have some, I'd be interested in seeing it.

    I've also never heard the notion that working your heart less is better for it. What's the point of all that running I do if I'm just going to burn out my ticker?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Yes but what exactly is fasting? This is the big confusion. Take for example the Ramadan diet, being undertaken right now by millions of Muslims, including my friend in Malaysia. She informs me that she eats nothing between 0530 and 1930, and she drinks nothing either, not even water. Surely this is harmful when stretched out for the month of fasting.
    Fasting for muslim is part of a religious ritual, and rationalization that it confer any health benefit only came much later. Muslim (as well as many people with respect to their religion) always wanted to see if any ritual they make can be rationalized as beneficial. -ie: they also wanted to see if praying can give any health benefit, (similarly: western researcher also did similar research on their mode of praying and found out that it help people to recover from illness quicker. This shows the natural tendency of people to try to rationalize their ritual).
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    msafwan

    The research you refer to, in which prayer helped healing, was found to be poorly run. A later study, with much more robust methodology, found that prayer had no benefit to healing, if the person being prayed for did not know about it.

    Mind you, Muslim prayer might be healthy. After all, they have to bend right down, and then straighten, repeatedly, which is good aerobic exercise.

    Ramadan fasting, though, has not been shown to confer any health benefits. Lots of claims for sure, but no evidence. My own view is that it is more likely to cause harm - mainly through dehydration. If you live in a hot climate, or even if it is just a hot day, and you are not allowed to drink anything for 12 hours, it is very likely to be harmful - even damage your heart.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    The research you refer to, in which prayer helped healing, was found to be poorly run. A later study, with much more robust methodology, found that prayer had no benefit to healing, if the person being prayed for did not know about it.
    I did not claim it happen magically.
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Ramadan fasting, though, has not been shown to confer any health benefits. Lots of claims for sure, but no evidence. My own view is that it is more likely to cause harm - mainly through dehydration. If you live in a hot climate, or even if it is just a hot day, and you are not allowed to drink anything for 12 hours, it is very likely to be harmful - even damage your heart.
    That's why research is done to see the effect of Ramadan fasting. For example: a recent news says Ramadan fasting do not cause any preterm labor for pregnant women (possibly indicating it isn't as stressfull as thought). Our body might have some method to deal with such lack of water.

    --
    "No increase in preterm labor for Ramadan fasting": http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-0...n-fasting.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Personally I don't eat anything between 1900 and 0700. Is this not fasting?
    It is fasting and it has good result. Even with high-fat diet this mice is lean and not fat due to nightime fasting. Here: Nighttime fast may top calorie counting, study finds
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    I doubt it.
    I remember flying from the USA to Argentina. In the latter, people ate dinner at 10.00 pm, and they were an awful lot leaner than the North Americans.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    I doubt it.
    I remember flying from the USA to Argentina. In the latter, people ate dinner at 10.00 pm, and they were an awful lot leaner than the North Americans.
    This is anectodal evidence (a subjective view of small sample size). The thing on the article was tested on mice in a controlled environment (an experiment).
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    My anecdote had a rather large sample size - lots of people. But I agree it is not 'proof'.
    However, experiments on mice are notoriously and frequently misleading.
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    Insulin metabolism makes sense to me. I believe the pancreas has a set amount of insulin producing cells, the islets of langerhans. These cells are active for food digestion or sugar metabolism. For the average human consuming 3 meals a day, it is a duty easily performed for most of the life. However for the over eater, alcoholic and or glucose-oholic, the pancreas is over-taxed on a daily basis. Being over used on a daily basis means those islets of langerhans cells are more susceptible to apoptosis or natural cell death. If the cells die at a faster rate than they can be produced then the food being consumed must be pushed away for later processing. This later processing would become the "norm" if the eating pattern did not change. The now the islets have fewer cells per group and can not produce cells as fast as they are dying. This as I see would lead to type II diabetes. The saying "too much of anything will kill you" seems to be true.
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    I speculate that omnivores learn the various nutritional properties of foods by associating having a nutritional need satiated, with the food they've just eaten. A hunter/gatherer lifestyle provides these dietary experiences most starkly. A modern balanced & vitamin fortified diet obscures them. So those who routinely intake a perplexing or even mysterious assortment of ingredients gain no "gut" learning of different ingredients' nutrient values, nor can they learn appropriate cravings.

    If true, it means that the food restriction or "hard times" itself is not what helps; it is the experience and subsequent development of cravings based on dietary need.
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    Regarding food diet and ageing. Heres a personal input:

    I am 28 years old - but in stores however they sometimes still ask me for identification when buying beer (18 years req. to buy alcohol where I live)
    Ive been told so many times that I look so extremely young for my age. 28 isnt alot but still... I once paid a busdriver at 25, and the busdriver took pay as if I was a minor despite me being 1.84 Centimeters tall.

    Here is how I eat:

    All my life - Ive never eaten "Lots". Rather some small meals and one big meal at a day before turning 18'ish.
    If I did eat alot during a day because of weightlifting, I always ate the brunt of the food all at once in one meal.

    So for me:

    1) I was never in my life, hungry in the morning, so Ive rarely ever eaten breakfast.
    2) At lunchtime I was always hungry, but lost the sense of hunger fast. So even if I did eat, I couldnt eat much.
    3) Dinner - anytime between 14.00-19.00, Ive alway eaten tonns.
    4) Never really hungry at evening either but I always ate a light meal before bed.


    Im slender, but not "sickly thin". More like Ive always been very lean naturally, so genetics I guess?

    Ive been told by every single person Ive met in my life that "You look so young!" just wondering, regarding to the OPs thread - if the "diet" I described really could have had an impact.
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    Don't worry about it, it is better in the long run. I'm the same way, now 40 and still getting carded 5 times out of 10. I have similar eating habits also, people say I eat like a bird, just pecking. I believe my young looks are due in part by genetics but also the eating habits. If I did eat like some of my friends then I would be fat and age quicker like they are. I know people who are 30 but look like they are 50. I personally have gotten used to other peoples comments about my age and see it as a blessing. I hope when i'm 70 I look like i'm only 50.
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  20. #19  
    ox
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    I seemed to have a similar experience when I was about 30. I had decided to take time off work to do some long distance walking, which is still my passion. I forgot about my stomach and only ate when I was hungry, and in any case there weren't places enough to buy food in the areas I was hiking. I was surprised at some comments: Was I a junior or a senior?, when dropping in at a hostel. Another, was I still at school?
    I guess as I've got older I fall into the trap of comfort eating. As I live in the town I am surrounded by supermarkets and burger bars. The chocolate bars have got bigger, and I'm always tempted. The burgers I do at least avoid. I'm not overweight but I think I'm going to try a diet which scales down the amount I eat. I think I heard good advice recently which said that you just have to eat one less slice of bread a day or have one less fizzy drink. Whenever the craving comes on, look at the clock and hold out for another hour or two, then your stomach will readjust. It won't send a message to the brain that it needs food at a regular time.
    But what chance do we really have when the food manufacturers lace their products with salt and sugar to get us hooked for life? This is the great change that has happened in the last 40 years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    what chance do we really have when the food manufacturers lace their products with salt and sugar to get us hooked for life?
    You have every chance in the world. You can eat and drink home prepared and unprocessed food. Avoid fast food outlets. Avoid sweetened drinks. Buy most of your food from greengrocers or the greengrocer section of the supermarket and cook it yourself. There is no secret about good diet. Every half educated person knows what is good. All you need is the will to apply that knowledge.
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    What he said.

    Thanks to the advent of TV dinners and drive-thrus, it seems like the ability to cook is becoming a dying skill.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Avoid fast food outlets. Avoid sweetened drinks. Buy most of your food from greengrocers or the greengrocer section of the supermarket and cook it yourself. There is no secret about good diet. Every half educated person knows what is good. All you need is the will to apply that knowledge.
    I think it's true that fast food contains a lot of nutrition, in addition to fat. The point is that it is better not to have too much of it than avoid it altogether. My doctor (a really great guy) told me avoid coke. He was the same age as me but he's dead now. I guess he was thinking that the sugar turns into fat, but I'm not overweight. So how do explain that?
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    We are all different, ox.
    How heavy we become depends primarily on how many calories we consume combined with how much exercise we get. But there are other factors also. Our genetics. The bacteria in our guts. How much sleep we get. How much stress we live with. etc.

    However, fast food and sugary drinks should be consumed only in small amounts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Avoid fast food outlets. Avoid sweetened drinks. Buy most of your food from greengrocers or the greengrocer section of the supermarket and cook it yourself. There is no secret about good diet. Every half educated person knows what is good. All you need is the will to apply that knowledge.
    I think it's true that fast food contains a lot of nutrition, in addition to fat. The point is that it is better not to have too much of it than avoid it altogether. My doctor (a really great guy) told me avoid coke. He was the same age as me but he's dead now. I guess he was thinking that the sugar turns into fat, but I'm not overweight. So how do explain that?
    Fast food of course contains some nutritional value. The point is that it isn't always substantial. You don't get a lot of fruit and veg in fast food and you can't live healthy on meats and dairy. You also have to consider what else is in fast food. I know I'm not the only person who remembers Olestra. A frying medium so strange on a molecular level that the body couldn't even figure out what to do with it. It just soaked up fat-soluble vitamins and exited your body in the same form it entered. Horrifying stuff.

    Nowadays, with artificial sugars like sucralose, we can avoid many of the problems related to sugars in our drinks, but don't think that's the only issue. The acid in those drinks can break down tooth enamel, cause stomach problems, etc.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    Well it looks like severe diet restrictions is out for long life. Frustrated I can't find an abstract to the original study though-- sad our news agencies don't feel obligated to do that.

    Calorie-restricted diet doesn't help monkeys live longer, study shows - HealthPop - CBS News
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