The benefits from skipping dinner

In recent years, numerous studies have suggested that intermittent fasting can help people lose weight, improve blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of diabetes among people with high risk for these conditions. Another study from USC found longer periods of fasting – 2-4 days – may even “reboot” the immune system, clearing out old immune cells and regenerating new ones – this process could protect against cell damage caused by factors such as aging and chemotherapy.

The 2016 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology was awarded to Yoshinori Ohsumi of the Tokyo Institute of Technology for basic research describing a fundamental housekeeping function of the cell—a process called autophagy. The word autophagy (pronounced o-toff-a-gee) literally derives from the Greek expression for self-eating, and this recycling process allows the cell to stay alive during tough times. When our cells are starved or otherwise stressed, they don’t immediately shut down. Instead, they employ autophagy to cannibalize their own components.

Autophagy is the straightforward mechanism by which a cell digests certain large internal structures and semipermanent proteins in a continual cleanup process. The process may have evolved as a response to starvation, in which cells cannibalized some of their own parts in order to continue living. But over the eons it has become an essential tool used by cells to maintain their own health, resist infection and possibly even fight cancer.

Biologist Maria Masucci of the Nobel Assembly said: “By recycling part of the cellular content, autophagy allows our body to cope with starvation and with all types of stress. By capturing invading viruses and bacteria, autophagy is essential for the body’s defense against infection.”

Lately there is a very popular phrase in China: “starvation can cure all illness”.  From my clinic experience, you can have a healthy large breakfast and good lunch, but after 2 pm do not eat solid food or have a formal meal. But you can eat fruits with less sugar, a small portion salad with a little dressing, nuts and drink water. You can lose 10 pounds within 10 weeks and your blood pressure will probably drop by 10 points as well. In other words, skipping dinner can reduce high blood pressure and loss weight.

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