Dr. Valter Longo’s personal approach to fasting and weight management

Dr. Valter Longo’s personal approach to fasting and weight management

August 30, 2019 5 By William Morgan


[Rhonda]: Do you practice fasting yourself,
do you?
[Valter]: Yes, of course, I practice fasting,
I don’t normally eat lunch. But also, I just,
sort of, finished a book, which was published
in Italy, and it’s gonna follow here in the
U.S. And in it, I talk about the need to use
this in a flexible way, right? And this is
gonna have to be the future of nutrition,
and I think nutritionists, and dietitian,
and doctors are gonna have to get used to
this. So that, for example, I say, if you’re
overweight, or obese, or you tend to gain
weight, then you have to go to this two-meal-a-day
program, with breakfast and lunch, or breakfast
and dinner, okay, as I did for 15 years.
Then if you’re underweight, you can’t do that
anymore, so you have to go back to three meals
a day, right? So, you have to use fasting
and time-restricted feeding, and such in Panda’s
work, which I also utilize, for that purpose,
you know. So, keep the feeding to 12 hours
or less, and then decide the meal frequency.
And Satchin and I just wrote an article on
this, and to control the weight, it’s really
important, particularly control, you know,
visceral fat. So, we hope that that’s what
doctors start doing, and say, instead of…gives
simple solution because two meals a day may
not be easy to follow, but it’s a clear rule,
right? And that’s what people need.
You can say, “I go for it, or I don’t. But
if I do go for it, it’s gonna work,” right?
Whereas, now we have a system, where it’s
almost impossible for anybody to regulate.
When you tell somebody, “Eats five or six
times a day,” it’s almost impossible to regulate
what somebody eats, right? By making it two
meals a day, then you have a much higher control.
In time restriction and two meals a day, they
can serve to, you know, regulate the amount
of calories as such and as shown for the time
restriction. And so now, we know, we need
to do more studies on meal frequency, but,
of course, this is likely to get the same
similar effects.
[Rhonda]: Do you think it’s more important,
so if you’re eating within this 12-hour window,
which is coordinated with circadian rhythm?
Then if you’re eating two meals, do you think
that you’d get more benefits if you had the
two meals closer together, because then you
in theory would be fasting for longer, you’d
have, you know more, beta-hydroxybutyrate,
ketone bodies, things that are being produced
upon a prolonged fasting?
[Valter]: I would say, you know, I spent,
you know, almost 25 years since the Walford
days, and I would say I had learned one thing.
And also being Italian, and I spend a lot
of time around the world, I learned that you
cannot take happiness away from people, you
know? So, I always stayed away from trying
to regulate too much, to close, two hours
apart what do you gotta eat. So, I think we
always start with how can we keep you as close
as possible to what makes you happy, while
optimizing the longevity aspect? So, I never
started doing that because I know that people
are not gonna do it, just like calorie restriction.
Calorie restriction has been around for 100
years, and nobody does it, right? I mean,
maybe 1 in 1,000. I’ll be surprised if it’s
even that, right? Maybe 1 in 10,000, right?
So, after 100 years of calorie restriction
research, 1 in 10,000 American, maybe, are
doing calorie restriction. So, I think that
it’s important, you know? For example, with
the two meals a day, there’s a lot of people
that have done that on their own, right?
[Rhonda]: Yeah.
[Valter]: There’s a lot of centenarians if
you go to Loma Linda, or you go to Okinawa,
or you go to Southern Italy, a lot of people
say, “Yeah, eat twice a day, that’s okay.”
So, that told me that, from the beginning,
that that was something that was doable, and
people are even doing it in a voluntary way.
Anything else, we start regulating, no, you
should eat [inaudible 00:36:56]. And also
12 hours, I think a lot of people did that
kind of time restriction, right?
You know, so when I grew up, that’s how we
did it, you know? Maybe at breakfast at 8:00
a.m., and then 8:00, 8:30, the most, you’re
finished, you know, that was it. And so, yeah,
so I think that that’s important not try to
push for every inch of the longevity plan.
Because people will abandon it, that’s another
thing we’re sure of, you know? If you tell
them to do things that are very much not in
tune with what they’re used to, they’ll do
it for six months, and then they’ll never
do it again.
So, you know, this is why the skipping meals
because a lot of people do it, and when you
switch to it, that’s just an easy thing to
do, and you can do a lot the rest of your
life. And then, the periodic fasting-mimicking
diets because also it’s not very invasive,
and people say, “Yeah, you know, every three
or four months, I’ll give you five days,”
like that. You know, “Make it simple for me,
don’t make me, you know, don’t make it too
low-calorie, make me eat, but I can do it.”
So, I think, if we want the masses to do it,
it has to be the technology, and the safety,
etc., etc., has to match their needs. And
I think that that’s where the effort should
be put in, rather than trying to regulate
everything, how people do everything.
[Rhonda]: Yeah, compliance is very important