My husband jokes that I’ve never forgotten a meal. He also teases me because as soon as I’ve finished one meal, a big burger for a Saturday lunch say, I’m already planning the next, “What do you want for dinner tonight?” I love to cook. I love to eat.
Thus, it always makes me a little sad, in my reporting travels, when I come across studies that show that the process of taking in food, and breaking it down into chemicals our bodies can use, seems to play a huge role in aging and disease. Scientists call the main culprit “oxidation.” That’s what happens when oxygen molecules interact with other substances. That’s why so many health foods tout the “anti-oxidants” in their ingredients.
Oxidation is what’s happening when a nail rusts, oxygen is interacting with the iron in the nail. It’s also what happens when fragments of this and that break off and interact with oxygen in your cells. It makes me smile to think that aging and disease may be linked to the biological equivalent of rusting. We’re all like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz!
Apparently, eating takes its toll over decades. I suspect that’s why many studies have shown that eating the bare minimum can slow aging and stave off disease.
We can now add another wrinkle to this calorie reduction story. A study just out in the journal “Science Translational Medicine” has shown that mice who fast for two days prior to receiving chemotherapy not only slow the progress of their cancer, they may also enhance the effectiveness of the chemo.
Drat. One more knock against eating. But I’m still wondering, “What shall I make for dinner tonight?”