What Mysteries Hath Fasting?

They now have discovered what they are regard as human remains in Morocco that are carbon dated back 300,000 years.  Our immediate predecessor, Homo erectus, goes back even further — a cool 1 million years.

Guess what, during most of that “deep” time there were no supermarkets on every other block and no industrial farms to keep everyone fed.  And then of course there was the harsh weather in winter.  Winter was not a bountiful time for food.

No question that for much of our early history, that is, prior to the early Roman Empire (which is only yesterday in the scheme of things), mankind lived a life of the hunter/gatherer with many periods of little food, if not frequent outright starvation.  So over those 300,000 years, the body adapted to that circumstance.  It adapted by having two sources of nourishment for the cells — glucose or ketones, that is, a sugar from recently digested food or existing stored fat.  But the glucose or sugar was given priority so that the fat resources in the body would accumulate, and be available for the next onslaught of starvation.

It turns out that this is the “natural” rhythm of the body — to prioritize the use of glucose when there is plenty of food to be had, but also to burn off the stored fat when the inevitable periods of starvation reared up.

Fast forward to today when we eat with the regularity of a clock and never experience the natural starvation cycle.  And so what happens?  Instead of being periodically purged of stored fat, the modern body just keeps accumulating it.  And now 40% of Americans are considered overweight and obese.  It’s not hard to understand why.  They no longer practice the healthy practices that evolution has stamped on human digestion over those prehistoric 300,000 years — our real heritage.

But wait,  scientists are just starting to peek behind the covers of a return to a more natural rhythm in the form of disciplined FASTING.  And researchers are beginning to make astonishing discoveries of the myriad health benefits of serious fasting when the body is depleted of glucose and must use ketones instead.  For modern man, there may be some marvelous cures in the offing from fasting, as per the documentary listed below.   To wit, it seems cancer cells adore glucose — they thrive on sugar — but are very fussy eaters when it comes to ketones.

It’s all so counter intuitive.  You would think the body would get weaker and more vulnerable when not eating, but it appears that it may get healthier, perhaps a lot healthier, if the period of food deprivation is not too extreme.  The famous quotation from Nietzsche may apply: “Whatever doesn’t kill you simply makes you stronger.”

Homo erectus

Fasting Documentary

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