Reasons To Stop Eating

Consuming food is something we do every day. For many of us, it is one of our most important daily activities and the general view is we have to eat just to stay alive. Our opinions on food vary from, I just need to get rid of the hunger feeling as cheaply as possible to, it is something that determines my lifestyle. A MacDonald’s hamburger to a six-course gourmet dinner. This article wants to encourage everyone to stop and take a closer look at this phenomenon we call food.

Stopping to eat, or as some people would like to call it “the act of abstaining from food for a period of time”, or fasting, just doesn’t come naturally for the vast majority. Just the word “fasting” conjures up visions of people suffering on hunger strike or a strange religious group embarking upon some sort of pagan ritual. However, if you haven’t been following the latest health news then you have probably missed the fact that fasting is becoming mainstream as a way to live healthier and longer.

This leads me to the first reason to consider stopping eating.

Your Health

Most of us want to live a long and healthy life. What determines that? There are some things out of our control. Our genetic makeup, the pollution around us, unforeseen accidents and sometimes just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Otherwise, it is based on our own personal decisions and the biggest one is what and when we eat. Of course, physical activity is also very important for our health but even that can be influenced by how much we eat. The calories-in versus calories-out concept.

The vast majority of people, no matter where they live, are overweight. Diseases like obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and Alzheimer’s have become international health emergencies and are the cause of a long list of fatal diseases and, to make things worse, are on the increase almost everywhere. Most experts agree the cause is often the amount and quality of the food we ingest.

So what would happen if we just stopped eating? I am not talking about missing a meal or two but about not eating any food at all for several days? The first thought for most people is they will get hungry or even starve. In fact, researchers have discovered that many people just eat as a result of a fear of hunger. It is one of the reasons why we program our bodies to expect to be fed at regular intervals during each and every day. In many cases, our daily life is planned around the three main meals we eat - breakfast, lunch and dinner.

So what would happen if we changed these habits and just eliminate food for short periods of time? I am talking about eliminating two of our meals every day and just eating lunch or dinner for example. Of maybe even taking one or several days off from food altogether.

More recently microbiologists have studied in more detail what happens to the body when we stop feeding it. The results of these studies might surprise you. Here are just two things that I want to touch upon here.

  • When we stop eating we feel hunger. The hunger feeling is caused by a hormone in our bodies called ghrelin and its function is to protect us against total starvation. It is created in the gut and sends a signal to our brain to consume food. It is the main culprit causing us to overeat and getting control of it is one of the keys to enabling and maintaining weight loss. There are several ways to reduce or even get control over this hunger demon but it all starts by stopping eating. It is now known (also from personal experience) that after a period of fasting the hunger hormone loses its effectiveness. In other words, you can get rid of the hunger craving. This enables you to then choose to eat when you want to, not when you have to (hunger). This is the key to losing weight and keeping the dangerous, excess fat off.

  • When we stop eating scientists have also uncovered a process in our bodies called autophagy. This discovery is so recent, a prominent Japanese scientist, Yoshinoro Ohsumi, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2016 for his research into this important area. What is this? It is a process that our body undertakes when it is not occupied by the process of digesting food. It then has time to do something else. Autophagy is a process whereby the body starts repairing itself at the cellular level. It dismantles defective cells, removes the failing elements and disposes of them, stores the undamaged parts, and uses them to help rebuild new cell structures. It is seen as a major breakthrough when it comes to fighting diseases and delaying the aging process. It can only be activated by not eating (at all!).

There is the phrase “Money is at the root of all evil” which might be true but another phrase “Food is at the root of most deaths” is also true and something I ask everyone to study more closely.

Your Finances

What we don’t realize is when we put food in our mouths we create one of the biggest financial activities in any economy. Whether it be from the farmers who grow the ingredients to the huge food processing manufacturers, the supermarket conglomerates, the logistic networks who transport it, the advertising agencies who sell it, the corporations providing manufacturing equipment, the trucks and tractors needed to move it around and even the garbage disposal companies getting rid of the waste, food creates a chain reaction which dominates economic activity in every country.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg! If you believe what my mother said that “you are what you eat” then we should also include the other industries which get involved when we get sick, often as a result of eating the wrong things or too much. Hospitals, doctors, drugs, diets, vitamins supplements and more. That list is also endless including all the supporting industries which keep them going even down to government regulation and tax collection.

All of these “economic” activities create millions of jobs and billions in tax revenues and there is enormous pressure from all corners of the universe to keep us consuming food, whether it be good or bad for us. I have always believed that one of the best ways to test any thesis or assumption in life is to set the values at extreme limits to test what might happen. In this case, what would happen to this economic activity if we just stopped eating?

The fact is, you are participating in this financial activity and contributing your hard-earned money to the benefit of wealthy companies and individuals often at the cost of your health! Most individuals and families contribute between 30 - 40% of their net incomes to food but it is rarely an area of focus when it comes to saving money and cutting costs except to eat cheaper, unhealthier food.

What happens when you eat less? You save money, even when you also decide to improve the quality of the food you eat. Following dieting and special sports programs often requires an investment or a cost. Eating less doesn’t. This is one of the reasons why fasting programs have never become mainstream. Nobody benefits financially.

What is amazing is a huge industry has emerged to tackle the side effects of eating - the diet/health industry. We spend our money on eating too much of the wrong foods and then spend more money on diets and exercise equipment to counter all the health and cosmetic issues which they create. How ridiculous is that?

Your Life

Statisticians calculate the average age a population reaches in each country. Let's say it is 79. What does this mean? Well, keeping it simple, one assumption could be that half the population dies before they reach 79, and the other half after the age of 79. The question to ask yourself is, to which half of the population do you want to belong and when do you get to make that choice?

A complicated question but most people would answer "the group after 79"! And when can you influence this wish? The answer is NOW. By eating less and better foods, it is never too late. Don't forget, you are what you eat! My proposal here is to encourage you to investigate and maybe implement intermittent fasting into your daily routine. I can promise you it will make you feel much better, protect you from unwanted diseases, and, most importantly, will help you to live longer!


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