• Liyan Lu

The benefits from skipping dinner

Updated: Sep 23

Numerous studies have suggested that intermittent fasting can help people lose weight, improve blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and reduce diabetes among people with high risk for these conditions. Another study from USC found more extended 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 award in Medicine or Physiology gave to Yoshinori Ohsumi of the Tokyo Institute of Technology for basic research that described a fundamental housekeeping function—a process called autophagy in a cell. The word autophagy (pronounced o-toff-a-gee) 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 components.

Autophagy is the straightforward mechanism by which a cell digests large internal structures and semipermanent proteins in a continual cleanup process. The process may be a response to starvation, in which cells cannibalized some of their parts to continue living. But over the eons, it has become an essential tool used by cells to maintain their 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 has been a prevalent 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 bit of dressing, nuts and drink water. You can lose 10 pounds within ten weeks, and your blood pressure will probably drop by 10 points as well. In other words, skipping dinner can reduce high blood pressure and help weight loss.

Case report: a 59-year-old male patient, weight 198pounds(90Kg), height 5 feet 7 inches (1.70M). He had suffered from overweight, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, severe obstructed sleep apnea, and prediabetes for over ten years. He had been on 13 different medications. Ten months after he skipped dinner, ate less carb, and did exercise each day, he lost 44 pounds (20Kg). As his weight loss, all his health issues gradually disappeared, and he didn’t need those medications anymore. He is like a new person now.

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