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Early Bird Special

By New You Editorial
Posted On May 03, 2011

Not only will you get the proverbial worm, but you could also avoid Alzheimer’s

Medical researchers looking to cure Alzheimer’s are also busy trying to predict and forestall the debilitating disorder. The latest model is that brain cells develop insulin resistance well in advance of the disease, and this resistance can predict the onset years ahead of time. So what’s a person to do?

One approach is to practice ‘mild periods of starvation,” says Richard S. Isaacson, M.D., a Harvard-trained neurologist and associate professor of clinical neurology at the University of Miami’s McKnight Brain Institute. This isn’t as nasty as it sounds. What Dr. Isaacson is referring to is the practice of avoiding food from dinnertime until breakfast, for between 12 and 14 hours. If you can do this, a state called ketosis is produced, in which the body digests its own fat for energy, rather than using carbohydrates from a fresh meal.

Dr. Isaacson points out that, in general, a low carbohydrate diet leads to less insulin, and hence less insulin resistance in the brain. The overnight fast that creates Ketosis takes this a step further, producing ‘ketone bodies’ from your fat for energy. “It’s been shown in a variety of studies that these [ketone bodies] do less damage to the mitochondria,” says Dr. Isaacson, referring to the cell’s energy factories. “They protect the brain, and decrease mitochondrial oxidative damage.”

So what does Dr. Isaacson do? He finishes dinner at 6 pm and doesn’t eat until 8 am, five days a week. “It’s basically the early bird dinner and nothing else until breakfast.” Returning your first meal of the day to its original meaning – to Break the Fast.

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