Dr. Lindsey Berkson discusses how the power of food is not just in our food choices, but in how much we eat. This podcast is on the power of “less food.”

Caloric Restriction

Dr. Berkson shares how “caloric restriction” helps us live younger longer and may now be used to treat some illnesses, such as reverse some cases of type-2 diabetes. It’s long been repeatedly observed in pockets of humanity where people live longer and healthier, that eating less is one way to slow down the Mac Truck of Aging. But how? Brigham Young University researchers, in a mouse model, suggest it comes down to our “ribosomes.” Ribosomes make proteins. They work 24/7 to do this. Since they work so hard, malfunctions can and do occur. Caloric restriction allows ribosomes to have extra time to repair. More repair and cellular “reboot” slow down the aging process and creates healthier cellular processes. So how do we give ribosomes more time to repair? By eating less. Restriction of calories creates an almost linear increase in lifespan as well as a healthier lifespan. It turns out that constantly eating three meals a day along with snacks, is not the best template to take in nutrition. Ribosomes like “time-out.” Calorically restricted mice, compared to mice who were allowed to eat all they wanted, were more energetic and suffered with fewer diseases, as well as lived longer.

Food is not just a substance to be burned. It signals our bodies how to respond and how life might unfold. Eating less food at various times, called “intermittent fasting” allows our bodies to rest, repair and reset our internal cellular systems.

Less Food and Diabetes

Dietary changes of less food and less sugars and carbohydrates, have been shown to reverse both pre-diabetes and overt diabetes, even in patients with long term serious illnesses. The Department of Medicine at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center and the Department of Preventive Medicine at the The University of Tennessee Health Science Center used eating less carbs and more protein to reverse pre-diabetes in males and females.

We are also now seeing caloric restriction reverse type-2 diabetes. Dr. Jason Fung, a nephrologist from Canada, has been reversing type-2 diabetes (not type-1). This is not new. Diabetologists were using caloric restriction to treat type-2 diabetes 100 years ago. Dr. Fung has been using variations on a theme of caloric restriction to reverse insulin resistance, normalize blood sugar, and get type-2 diabetics off many meds and live healthier and leaner lives.

Type-2 diabetes has been repeatedly shown to be reversed by three ways: bariatric surgery, fasting and with keto-genic diets. What do they all have in common? Caloric restriction. Eating less calories and eating less sugars. These dietary changes rapidly move unhealthy fat out of the liver and pancreas. This often occurs within one to four weeks, long before huge amounts of weight have been lost. When fatty liver and pancreas begin to reverse, insulin resistance improves (IR). IR, says Dr. Fung, is the true cause of type-2 diabetes, not high blood sugars. Thus, one of the main goals in treating and possibly reversing type-2 diabetes is healing IR. Traditional diabetic care aims at lowering blood glucose. This is treating the symptom, not the root cause. Well performed studies have shown that tighter control of blood sugar in type-2 diabetics does not improve the health of these people and often increases all cause-mortality.

At sensible times, eating less turns out to be part of eating wiser.