Food for Thought: How What You Eat Affects Your Brain
Optimal health depends upon careful calibration of opposing biological actions — contraction and relaxation of the heart, in breath and outbreath, wakefulness and sleep. If the heart repeatedly contracts too hard, or the breath is too deep, the body suffers.
Intermittent fasting (by having only one or two meals a day, or limiting food intake a few days a week) has attracted attention lately, including in several recent diet books. The Always Hungry? program can support intermittent fasting and, in principle, enhance its benefits. Once fat cells have been “retrained” to release stored calories, the transition from fed to fasting becomes easy and doesn’t precipitate the starvation response — involving extreme hunger, release of stress hormones and slowing metabolism.
Hippocrates, known as the father of Western medicine, said, “Obese people…should perform hard work…eat only once a day, take no baths, sleep on a hard bed and walk naked as long as possible.” The Seven Deadly Sins equate gluttony with anger, avarice, envy, lust, pride, and sloth.
For more than two thousand years, Western society has considered obesity a weakness of character, or at least evidence of poor self-control. Probably for that reason, people are subjected to abuse, discrimination, and stigma because of their weight, even though such prejudice directed at virtually any other physical characteristic or medical condition would be socially unacceptable today.