Back To The Future
by Paul Curran.
It is said of Hippocrates that he told us ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’.
His message is clear enough – especially since in his day, maybe 300BC, when there were no dispensing pharmacists, the only medicines available were those herbs and foods that could be grown. Medicine men of the time were adept at knowing which remedies to apply for different ailments.
The central message of the Leptin Lifestyle is to eat the right foods in the right quantity at the right time. So when rule 2 tells us to space our meals by 6 hours and to leave 12 hours overnight we should accept the instruction as we would conform to the instructions printed on the label of our medicine bottles. For maximum efficacy, we want to introduce the foodstuffs at the right time so that the nutrition is available at the intervals our bodies are best able to use it.
So why a twelve hour overnight fast?
What about my supper? Yes, sorry about that, no more fish suppers when the pub closes or raiding the fridge after the ten o’clock news or during the night. Instead, when you finish eating before 8pm and go to bed at 11pm you’ll not eat again until breakfast at 8am. The natural cycle is for Leptin to peak in the early hours of the morning after the evening meal has been digested and the energy either used or stored. The fat cells release their Leptin signalling hormone and there is no appetite or craving at night.
And now comes the really interesting part for anyone wanting to lose weight. After about eight hours of rest the body has consumed the readily available Glucagon energy stores and glucose available from the carbohydrates ingested at the last meal. In order for the body to regulate blood sugars to keep the brain functioning normally the body then switches over to burning fat as the next most readily available energy source. That means that if you have twelve hours between your evening meal and breakfast then your body is burning up fat for about four hours.
That also means that, for weight loss, exercise taken before breakfast is most efficient because the body is already in fat burning mode and the exercise accelerates this. Similarly, if you’re likely to miss one meal in the day then by missing breakfast you lengthen the time in which the body is burning fat.
The fat burning mode is entirely normal for the body once it has adjusted to ready switching between fuel types. It is less easy for those who may have been struggling with weight issues for some time or for anyone who’s removed toxins from circulation and stored them in fat. If you’ve been in the habit of eating a sugared cereal breakfast followed by mid-morning coffee and biscuits then your body may react to the change as a sign of famine and respond by lowering your metabolic rate – which is exactly what happens when people go on diets.
Certainly you’re going to have strong cravings. My suggestion is that you ensure you have a breakfast every day for the first couple of months and that you have some protein content with it so that your metabolic rate is maintained. Remember, the Leptin Lifestyle is Not a diet. At no time do you deprive your body of food although you do modify what, when and how much you eat.
So as you transfer across to the Leptin Lifestyle you are in many ways ‘Going Back to the Future’. In Hippocrates day there were no electric refrigerators and no electric lights by which to raid the kitchen cupboards. There were no processed foods, no refined sugar or flour and the foods available were bursting with nutrition.
As we return to a diet of home produced meals from fresh wholesome ingredients we will start finding ourselves enjoying robust good health for free. I want to know your thoughts and to hear of your progress so be sure to tell me how you’re getting on.
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