From a young age we’re taught that eating three meals a day, plus snacks, is healthy and necessary for the human body to function normally, and this rhetoric still dominates North American food guides today. Mark Mattson, the Current Chief of the Laboratory of Neuroscience at the National Institute on Aging, once asked:
Why is it that the normal diet is three meals a day plus snacks? . . . There are a lot of pressures to have that eating pattern, there’s a lot of money involved. The food industry – are they going to make money from skipping breakfast like I did today? No, they’re going to lose money. If people fast, the food industry loses money. What about the pharmaceutical industries? What if people do some intermittent fasting, exercise periodically and are very healthy? Is the pharmaceutical industry going to make any money on healthy people?
The quote above comes from a TED talk Mattson gave on the benefits of fasting, a practice which forces the body to switch its fuel source from glucose to ketones. Scientists are observing a wide variety of health benefits from this transition, from starving cancer to improving cognition, and a ketosis diet is now being implemented for people with cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, and more. It has tremendous benefits for the brain, as explained by Mattson in his talk, but also for the body.
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