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The Reverse-Aging Diet: Autophagy

Autophagy is the Key to Staying Young.

But what Is Autophagy and How Does It Reverse Aging?

The body's autophagy process was discovered in 1962 by the Nobel prize winning scientist, Christian de Duve.

The word autophagy comes from the Greek words "self" (auto) and "to eat" (phagein).  So the word literally means to eat oneself.   Essentially, this is the body’s mechanism of getting rid of all the broken down, old cell machinery (organelles, damaged proteins and cell membranes) and recycle their components.  New ones are rebuilt to replace it.
Autophagy is actually part of some diets like Keto  and Atkins, diets that carefully put the body into a small nutritional crisis to manipulate healthy results. By inhibiting carbohydrate intake for example, the body becomes alarmed enough to start burning fat stores for energy. Usually the body guards these fat stores like piles of emergency gold in case of famine, but in a modern, First World context, famine is way less of a threat, while obesity contributes to more and more preventable deaths each year.
If you want to fast in a way that triggers autophagic metabolism and slows down the aging process, follow these basic steps:
  • Eat all of your meals within an 8-hour window. You still need your essential nutrients, but you want your body to spend some energy cleaning up rather than digesting and functioning all the time. 
  • Fast between 16 and 28 hours intermittently. Periods of nutrient deprivation trigger autophagy. The reason intermittent fasting works is that it triggers the sort of secondary metabolisms we evolved to survive in harsh climates, but it does so in small windows of time without actually starving us.
  • Sustain yourself and your energy with exogenous ketones. While fasting, water, tea, and black coffee are acceptable to consume. If you choose to add MCT oil (medium-chain triglycerides from coconut oil) to your drink, your body will have just enough energy to function and feel satiated without interrupting your fasting goals for weight loss or cellular clean-up.

Autophagy is also triggered by vigorous exercise routines, like HIIT workouts (high-intensity interval training), which, much like intermittent fasting, utilize small windows of high stress to elicit the biological responses we need to stay young and healthy.

To stay healthy, there needs to be a balance. Feasting and fasting is a natural cycle of life. Not constant dieting. This allows for cell growth during eating, and cellular cleansing during fasting.

Enjoy the week ahead everyone and stay healthy!

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