One of the health books saved from the forest fire that ate my home last September is The 8 Hour Diet by David Zinczenko. It is about intermittent fasting – the habit of eating only during eight hours of each twenty-four hour living cycle. I’m learning the basics from this inspirational book in short bites as I read only one small section (not even an entire chapter each day). I will use this page to summarize what I’m learning.
Learning about mitochondria, ATP and free radicals
January 4 – I’ve been reading this book since the beginning of the year. I’ve learned that each cell in my body has organelles (little organs) called mitochondria. These mitochondria organelles generate energy (good) but they also produce free radicals (bad). The free radicals hasten the aging process and cause diseases. They interfere with the energy production of the mitochondria.
The good energy produced by mitochondria is called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). This is the basic energy source for my body.
When I eat too much, the mitochondria are overworked and then they produce the free radicals that are harmful to me. They are not just harmful to me, but they are also harmful to the mitochondria that produced them. The mitochondria can no longer regulate cell growth or process food the right way. (p.6) The free radicals then age me and I gain weight. I guess this happened to me long ago when I was in my 30’s and I’m in my 60’s now. Real health is long gone! I need to fight back from this, but how? I will continue reading to find answers.
ATP levels increase due to intermittent fasting and exercise. (p.6) There’s more scientific talk on that page than my mind can comprehend right now. I’m skipping over the results of a few studies because the results are over my head, but it is all positive stuff. Here’s something good, however . . . intermittent fasting can increase the number of healthy mitochondria. This is called mitochondria biogenesis. Just what I need. With more new mitochondria produced they work less due to their increase in number, and so fewer free radicals are produced from overworked mitochondria.
Get this: the proliferation of healthy mitochondria has a positive effect on neurodegenerative diseases, not just on weight loss! (p.7) They have a great effect in preventing heart disease, cancer, and premature aging issues.
Glycogen vs. Fat
January 5 – The author does a great job of explaining the issue in an entertaining way. This book is easy to read and the scientific jargon is well-explained so I can understand almost everything easily. The body needs an calorie (energy) source and the glycogen is quick-burning energy conveniently stored in muscles and in our liver. There are around 1500 to 2000 calories there for us to burn when we wake up in the morning. The body will burn all the glycogen calories before it will start burning the fat calories that are harder to access.
We want the fat calories to burn so we can lose weight. We can only do that when we burn the glycogen stores away. That won’t happen unless we do some intermittent fasting and exercise. It helps not to eat late at night and not to eat in the morning. Then exercise a mere 8 minutes before my first meal and I will be on the road to fat loss! Hey, that sounds easy enough. What’s next? (p.7-9)