On a personal note, I found fasting became much easier after I changed my diet to be ketogenic. With a metabolism primed for burning fat for energy and not subject to a blood sugar roller coaster, going a couple days without food is more of a mental challenge than physical hunger.
1. We've acted like nutrition can give the same cut and dry answers that physics has, and the health of our population shows how well that has worked. Worse, nutrition seems to be driven by egos and media in a way that is nothing short of frightening.
The average lifespan has gone up considerably in recent decades, and people remain active longer than ever, i.e. people are gaining productive years, not just end-of-life years.
In other words, "it" worked fairly well.
Historically, nutrition has saved a ton of lives. But, I'm with you, modern "nutrition science" doesn't really deserve any credit for that.
Higher caloric intake is just part of equation. Sedentary life style, increased stress, reduced sleep,
"western" diet (highly inflammatory, with poor nutrient density), craving-inducing food, and messed up intestinal flora are just some of the things that likely contribute to obesity.
As someone who travels from US to Europe often, I always wonder what exactly it is that causes such dramatic difference.
Is it gluten, that's been under scrutiny lately? It doesn't seem to be so, since so many European countries are happily eating their bread. Although European-favored sourdough has been shown to positively affect intestinal flora through fermentation, unlike those puffy bread-like impostors you see in commercial stores in US.
Lifestyle doesn't seem to differ much either, although Europeans definitely have a more sacred and slower approach to meals, and there's less of that "quick lunch in a rush" culture.
However, portion size and difference in cooking oils (olive in EU vs. corn/cottonseed/canola/etc. in US) seem to stand out the most, and are probably the biggest offenders. 
Unfortunately, I can't find a reference with any science.
Certainly in Scandinavia wheat does not play the primary role that it does in the US. Rye, barley, and oats are common in the diet. How many Americans, though, have eaten 100% rye bread even once in their lives?
That was a big difference I saw while in the US. I hardly ever order/takeout my meals, and when I do, I do it under the assumption that it'll be strictly less healthy than whatever I'd prepare myself (this may not always be true if you're 1 not a very good cook and 2 only order lunch at very health-focused places)
People are obviously living a lot longer, but it's hard to tease apart how much of that is (1) people not dying of communicable diseases, which used to be the #1 killer, (2) sheer quantity of food (i.e., not starving), (3) the decline of violence, (4) diet composition, and (5) a whole host of other things.
We can't really just say "We're better now than we were then, so every change must have been a good change," without teasing apart correlation from causation. Otherwise in the 60s you could have said "People didn't used to eat lead paint chips, and now they do, and people are living a lot longer these days."
There was recent research done that suggests that stem cells are a key ingredient to long life , and if they were to, say, come out of dormancy and become active too early and die, then you have just shortened your life.
There are way too many factors at hand to be able to say anything about the role/value of nutritional science on the overall lifespan of earthlings.
This is a cultural rift between Western Europe and everyone else. I grew up in Eastern Europe (now I live in the US), and fasting was not an extraordinary concept in that culture, by any means. But I keep noticing how controversial it is in the West.
I could probably speculate on the influence of material wealth on culture, and so on, but there's probably not much of a point here.
> I found fasting became much easier after I changed my diet to be ketogenic.
You don't need to go that far. Fasting is easy when you don't do any kind of alimentary excess in general.
I think the whole keto concept is just the pendulum swinging all the way to the other side. I guess it will settle in the middle at some point. Eat a bit of everything, nothing in excess, make sure to not miss the greens and the fruits, etc. Self-control and self-limiting are things that we all need to re-train ourselves for - and not just when it comes to food.
Anyway, I'm far more interested in studies regarding the effects of fasting on the brain. Traditionally, it was used in a spiritual context, by people who, for lack of a better term, were consciousness hackers. Fasting seemed to enable that process, whatever the mechanism.
I'm also very curious about the effects of fasting, if any, on neurodegenerative diseases.
Wisdom: Fat is a good energy source.
"Science": Fat makes you fat and clogs your arteries.
Now: Fat is important for regulating satiety and nervous system health.
Wisdom: Simple carbs and sugar should be very limited.
"Science": You can eat as much as you want without any problems.
Now: High glucose and fructose loads are significant players in NAFLD, diabetes, heart disease and dimentia.
Wisdom: Fermented foods like keifer, sauerkraut, and miso are important parts of the diet.
"Science": Kill all the bugz!
Now: Gut biome health may be a significant factor in many physical and mental health problems.
Wisdom: Regular periods of fasting are good for mind and body.
"Science": You should eat 6 small meals every day to keep blood sugar even.
Now: See TFA.
Lets also remember even the ones that the "ancients" got right, they got millions wrong, most of which were seriously dangerous. The modern person's appeal to the past is insane to me. I think if you could travel back in time to live in one of those cultures you value so much, you'd see nothing but sickness, death, and other horrible things that would be trivially treated in post-enlightenment societies.
Unfortunately, bullshit like 'ancient wisdom' has become popular of late thus parents not vaccinating their children, a return to extreme/fundamentalist religiosity, and dangerous cargo cult-like beliefs like treating cancer with green tea.
That's a false dichotomy. It is possible to look to ancient practices with an eye towards using those as foundations for research. We didn't do that; instead, we let threw out all of that knowledge, the good and the bad, and we have 100 million sick people in the US and over a billion around the world.
I'm a firm believer that we can find good answers in science, but we are doing a piss-poor job and have been for 50 years. In fact, I'd go so far to see we've done very little nutritional science over the last 50 years; instead, we've done nutritional marketing in white coats. If people are rejecting what nutritional researchers are saying, they have only themselves to blame.
Things have gotten a little better in the last decade, but large organizations like the AHA, ADA, AND, and, of course, the US government, still seem to be stuck following the marketing literature of companies like Conagra and Monsanto rather than the science.
I'm not sure what you expected scientists to do. None of the "traditional wisdom" was confirmed as true, it all had to be tested and was considered suspect until such testing had taken place.
On top of that, traditional diets had shortcomings. It's hard to produce enough calories for today's population to survive, without a larger proportion of those calories coming from grains.
Faced with this change in the food landscape, and with faith in traditional wisdoms rightly shaken, nutritionists have been basing their advice on reasoning from first principles, and preliminary results. They got it wrong badly. But at least we were on the path to a better understanding of nutrition. It's been too slow, and nutritionists were not skeptical enough of preliminary results, but lucky us, these are problems science knows how to fix.
Having dealt with being overweight most of my life, I can't help but believe the reason the myth holds on is because it is a way to justify judging fat people as less than skinny people since they just "can't control themselves".
Eat a better macronutrient ratio, and the body responds positively, even for isocaloric diets, whether for weight loss or for maintenance. But, really, isocoloric doesn't mater; what matters is ad libitum eating. Ironically, every study that I've read that compares low carb diets against low fat diets allows ad libitum eating for the low carb but restricts caloric intake for the low fat. Why is that? Even with that constraint, the low carb diets win.
3. http://nutrition.stanford.edu/documents/AZ_abstract.pdf (I have a lot of respect for Christopher Gardner. He's a vegetarian who started this study because he believed a vegetarian diet would trounce other diets. It didn't, but he didn't try to game the results. That's an unfortunately rare behavior in nutrition research where so many people seem to be more concerned with proving their idea correct than finding the truth.)
First you appear to believe the specious nutritional myth that weight gain is a matter of calories in vs calories expended. Of course that appeals to scientifically-minded due to the comforting immutability of the laws of thermodynamics, but it ignores the fact that the human metabolism and satiety mechanisms are extremely complex and powerful. Even if you had a magic meter of all calories going in and out it wouldn't begin to solve our nutritional problems at a society level.
Second, things like the paleo (little p) approach to diet and health are not about "ancient wisdom". It's about the fact that we evolved under certain conditions, and while those conditions were constantly changing, the rate of change accelerated exponentially after industrialization and have completely been completely decimated in the last 60 years (less than one lifespan). While western medicine has made amazing strides in the last century, nutrition is still very much in its blood-letting dark ages. Looking to ancestral lifestyle clues is just good sense given the paltry information we have available. None of that is to poo-poo the scientific evidence we have, but understand that human nutrition is far too complex for nutritional science to yet provide convincing answers.
A lot of folks around here are so quick to look down their nose to people are too "granola" and make seemingly un-scientifically-subtantiated decisions like not eating processed foods or preferring "natural" or "whole" foods. But you know what? In the lack of sufficient knowledge, these hippies are making far smarter decisions than the geek who decides that since we don't have proof we might as well carry on with the average American diet. We pat ourselves on the back for our scientific literacy and rational decision-making, but deep down we are animals subject to the same conditioning and addicted to the same heavily processed foodstuffs which are almost certainly leading to all kinds of nasty health outcomes. We don't want to change our diet not because it's the rational decision, but because it fucking tastes good.
People do, rightly, criticise those who claim problems with diet are all fixed with a single thing - paleo! Keto! No HFCS! No carbs!
Also, it's easy to deride calories out : calories in but it is fundamentally true that if a person eats fewer calories than they use they will lose weight. The fact that some people have gut flora that helps them stay thin and others have gut flora that makes it easier to gain weight and other people have a small genetic influence does not stop CO:CI being true, it just means that CO:CI is very hard to follow for some people. Suggesting that those people receive cognitive behaviour therapy and exercise programs along with lifestyle change to help them lose weight is usually met with stiff disagreement about the efficacy of these evidence based interventions.
Other than that, I'm in complete agreement with what you said.
There have been "scumbag food advertisers" and "unqualified unregistered pseudo nutritionists" who have said that you must not eat any fat at all but that sugar is fine. That's not science.
We've also been told for 50 years that sugar is metabolically inert, so you "just have to worry about the calories". Sugar is a fine substitute for anything, just look at Snackwells.
The message has been driven home so well that stupid things happen like a mother getting fined for packing a nutritious lunch for her daughter, but not including the all-important "Ritz" food group.
You might as well ask Coke and McDonald's about their idea of a food pyramid.
Our ancestors knew exceptionally little about food nutrition. They ate what was naturally available to them, as they had absolutely no alternative. Doing something by default because it's the only option, does not make you wise. Our ancestors were in fact ignorant about nearly anything to do with the properties of food / health / nutrition et al. And they also did incredibly stupid things because of that ignorance, history books are filled with this fact.
Just because something references science doesn't mean its well grounded in it.
> If the guidelines are well referenced yet can still say whatever Coke and McDonalds want, how can we call that science?
We can't. That's the point -- evaluating the merits of science by looking to policy that references but does not reflect science is invalid on its face.
If you want to argue that the USG guidelines were founded on scientific research that they (or other government branches) paid for, that they've managed to distort the resulting science to the point of destroying it, and that the whole process has been beholden to large food interests and national interests by virtue of the control of the purse strings... be my guest!
It is, however, what the "science" has been for the past 50 years. There has been no other "science". Attempts to pretend otherwise are simply and straight-up revisionist history, now that real science is finally poking through and the science of the past 50 years is not looking all that good. However, it is our moral duty to not pretend that "science" has been right the past 50 years, has been telling us the same things that we are just figuring out now, and it was, just, uh... umm... very very quiet or something?
US government policy and science aren't exactly the same thing.
Pick an ancient "wisdom" at random. What probability do you assign to this belief being true? You get "throwing salt over your shoulder increases luck." Obviously ridiculous right? You aren't going to actually do it just cause "the ancients" said it was good.
Now imagine some study comes out saying that exposure to salt in the air actually increases your something-or-other levels making you healthier. Ha, the ancients were right (kinda-sorta, about one thing, and for the wrong reasons, and with the wrong predicted effect)! All modern science must be wrong and all ancient wisdom must be correct! Proof we must go back to draining blood to to treat diseases and stop abandoning ancient practices.
Wisdom: Regular periods of fasting are good for mind and body.
"Science": You should eat 6 small meals every day to keep blood sugar even.
Now: See TFA.
one of the few things that gives me hope for humanity is the hope that most things we "know" today will (rightly) be wrong in 100 years.
knowledge from conventional wisdom doesn't compound over time.
You can't just take any old practice and follow it blindly, you need to have some idea if it's good for you or simply doesn't kill you. Because there's a whole ton of shit that doesn't kill you.
Nutritional science may be bunk, but at least you can usually tell when they're speaking bunk and it sure beats the old system of "My parents ate this and they lived to the ripe old age of 50".
I'm not saying we can't improve on what was "known", and we can certainly understand the methods of actions. They also got a lot wrong. I'm just looking for a little humility in nutrition science.
So, what did they get wrong?
Smoking is ok (or, maybe even healthy).
Exercise is unhealthy.
Making dinner after wiping away black plague puss w/o washing hands is OK.
Now, I'm not saying that person is a troll, but he kind of smells like one and as they say, if it smells, it stinks.
You want to be skeptical of tradition as a source of factual information because, while there exists beneficial knowledge that may be received in the form of tradition, it is impossible to reliably separate it from harmful false "knowledge" received in the form of tradition, without first turning it into knowledge derived from structured scientific information gathering.
Evolution/Survivability of a group usually takes care of that
Yeah, slightly harmful/long term harmful things will go though, but not major things.
Someone discovered cheese with mold is edible (probably happened in a low food situation), but there's a high likelihood on people having tried other things with mold and it didn't work out as expected.
Not washing hands survived for a very long time, and lead to huge child mortality. Humanity survived, but lots of people died for no good reason.
Lots of people may have died from avoidable diseases, but lots of people may also have avoided death by bandits, wild animals, and starvation. (due to more workers allocated to water collection than food production; the extra food produced may have been the difference between life and death during famines for some people.)
I am willing to put to test the the traditional practices that I am (or become) aware of.
That article is perfect example - lots of cultures have fasting. We look at the fasting results and we find something interesting about how out body works. Now we have knowledge that we can build upon.
Scientific models haven't been all that great either, but science hopefully will eventually self correct as nutritional models become more sophisticated. If there is light at the end of the tunnel it will be because of the eventual understanding that the scientific method provides, not reverting back to traditional models.
Traditional models don't self correct and there are plenty of instances of people consuming outright poisons under such systems or people following traditional nutrition models finding themselves surrounded by an abundance of previously rare foods that the modern food supply system easily provides, and practically gorging themselves on it to negative health results.
As an epistemic issue, I have to use all the evidence available to me. What I've noticed is that human physiology is a dynamic equilibrium of a massive number of variables and the current state of our analytic tools have had immense trouble evaluating it efficiently. Ancestral eating patterns looks like worthwhile evidence under the circumstances.
Incidentally, essentially no one is blindly promoting traditional eating. Folks are using it as a guide and together with science to make decisions in the face of limited understanding. One of the most popular ancestral diet proponents is Stephan Guyenet, a Ph.D. neurobiologist who studies the link between the brain and obesity for a living. Everyone is for science and no side on the issue owns it.
Which means that in theory, any random undergrad in a Biochem major is equally qualified to speak on the subject. This is not to put down Dr. Guyenet's work, it's important as obviously there's a neurological component to many kinds of obesity. But then to extend that work into his advocacy for traditional dietary guidelines is a stretch.
If he was just an undergrad student in Biochemistry with a blog telling you to do all of the things exactly opposite Dr. Guyenet, would you follow that instead? Why not? That person would be just as educationally qualified. I suspect the reason has to do more with what diet you've chosen to follow a priori and not with Dr. Guyenet's advocacy. I'm not going to pick apart specific issues with this blog, but a casual perusal of it shows lots of fad diet advice and logical "appeal to tradition" fallacies. "We should eat this way because people used to eat this way".
The reason people used to eat that way is because they had nothing else available. That's it. There's no secret "the ancients had figured out nutrition from their folk ways" that we should be parroting. There are lots of ingredients in traditional diets that we understand today to be outright poison (like bracken). And lots of ingredients our ancestors thought were poison but are just fine (like potatoes).
Traditionally, people didn't even know what to eat to stop scurvy. A nutritional disease which killed millions and turns out to be trivial to treat.
What we know about good nutrition (using the power of science) happens to be in pretty broad strokes with pockets of ultra-specificity where we've bothered to do serious research. Science has gotten it pretty wrong as well in the past and probably will for some time as the study of nutrition matures. And you're absolutely right, we can't wait 200 years for nutrition science to mature in the way that Physics has, we have to eat today (and multiple times at that).
All I'm saying is that nutrition blogs are a dime a dozen, from people with all kinds of credentials, and lots of them are full of all kinds of advice. "People used to eat this" is just cargo culting dietary advice (and then trying to backfill in justification after the fact) and I would chalk it up to pseudoscience and just make my own decisions based on reasonable advice like "eat in moderation, eat in variety".
I typically eat ~12 meals per week, 2000 kcal per meal.
In addition, the consistent mental acuity achieved in ketosis is fantastic.
Just because X causes Ketosis doesn't mean Ketosis implies X.
Also, science "doesn't know what it doesn't know yet", so we may be missing something that was inconspicuously removed, or suffering from something that was apparently safe
One of the interesting things is knowledge that existed and that was rediscovered by science, like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nixtamalization
Ketosis is a state where you eat so little carbohydrate, that your body is forced to create "ketone bodies" to fuel the brain. This typically happens at <50g/day carbohydrate.
Most anecdotal evidence (and my own experiences) show that you can get your body into a primarily fat-burning state that makes it easier to fast for long periods without hunger pangs by eating up to somewhere around 100 or 150g/day carbohydrate (assuming you eat a 2000-2500 Kcal/day diet) while providing enough glucose to the brain that your body is not forced to create excess Ketone bodies.
my 2 cents, fwiw.
The more interesting part of this to my eyes was the material difference between 24 hour and 72 hour fasting in human chemotherapy patients, in that the former didn't do anything to the measure of immune cell populations and the latter did. Intermittent fasting is nowhere near as well studied as calorie restriction at this point in time, so it is interesting to see these mechanisms emerge.
Now this is chemotherapy immune suppression, not aging immune dysregulation. I'll be mildly surprised to see the exact same result in people with age-damaged immune systems, as the character of the damage is very different. The animal results for aging rather than chemotherapy here are intriguing but that's all. There's still a lot of work to be done to arrive at the level of comfort with this effect that exists for other aspects of calorie restriction or intermittent fasting.
But given that (a) obtaining human data on fasting and immune cell population in old people is a comparatively low cost study to put together, and (b) the group involved here seems to have a good flow of funding to study intermittent fasting in a broader context, I'd expect to see that data emerge at some point in the next few years.
If you do zero-calorie fasting, there are some important changes around or after day 3. Hunger disappears. Metabolism is low, muscles are relaxed. The mind tends to more easily stay focused on a single topic. There's a sense of clarity and ease, and an odd kind of energy. It's quite a contrast with the increasingly frantic frustration prior to this time.
This is all from a subjective standpoint, of course, but it's well correlated by most people who have done it. It seems quite obvious that there are major changes around day 3. I'd love to see more data from studies.
[ed: well, that's entirely wrong, based on the article -- it's the body killing off as much dead weight as possible in order to hang on a bit longer -- then healing back up when food is avaliable. Oh, well :-) ]
 By which I mean there is some complex time-delayed protein-signal-avalanche that is somehow tied to long periods without nutrition...
* Prolonged fasting = Eating NOTHING for 48-120 hr.
* BENEFICIAL effect started on cycle 4 (day 39).
* 1 Cycle = 2-4d fasting&chemo; 8-10d recovery.
* Prolonged fasting enhances cellular resistance to
toxins in mice and humans.
* Glycogen depletion required => switch to fat/ketone
bodies-based catabolism (!!!).
* They have no idea, what the effects on blood are
* At the beginning WhiteBloodCell count went down.
* After 6 cycles things stabilized.
Interesting figures from the paper: http://www.cell.com/cms/attachment/2014950454/2036225024/gr1...
Lately I've been wondering about fasting in that context. Not eating occasionally was presumably pretty normal for our ancestors. Have other self-hackers here experimented with this?
I suspect they're more linked with our ancestral hunter-gatherer traits. It seems logical that early humans would go periods of time without eating while hunting, then consume a large amount of protein and fat in a short period of time.
Religious and cultural fasting, however, would likely have not occurred until the development of language which is estimated at 20k-50k years ago. That's not a particularly long time on an evolutionary scale.
I wonder if this was noticed at the dawn of civilization, and then got codified into religion and so on.
An example I love is the Canadian Inuit who traditionally ate no vegetables for 10+ months of the year without developing scurvy. The tradition of eating raw whale blubber and fish (including the broth) preserved the vitamin C and minerals from the mea, while eating cooked meat without broth drastically reduces mineral and vitamin intake.
How do you make the jump from "Most able to survive famine." to "Thrive on famine."? It doesn't seem obvious to me that we would automatically evolve to the latter result over the former.
What's good about this line of research is that it is trying to show whether or not an observation found in a model animal will also be found in human patients. As preliminary research, this will have to be replicated by other researchers before we can rely on this finding (NOT extended fully to human patients in the current study) to guide treatment of human patients.
This is good news that people are investigating this issue. Once there has been a thorough review article on this issue published in a different journal by a different author, summing up several well designed studies, then we will really have something to talk about here on Hacker News.
I should comment on some of the other comments here. One very tricky problem in studies of human nutrition is that there isn't a good model organism for nutrition and its effect on human health. The study reported here, just like most medical intervention studies, begins in a mouse model. Mice are well understood organisms and their similarities to and differences from human beings for many medical treatments are well understood. Mice are not a particularly good model for nutrition studies, however, because mice are rodents (part of a clade of obligate herbivores) while human beings are primates (part of a clade of facultative omnivores). Moreover, human beings, the current species Homo sapiens, have evolved with co-evolution of the gut in the environment of the cultural practice of cooking food. Cooking is a human cultural universal. No other animal lineage has evolved in a similar environment, so no animal provides a fully suitable model for studies of human nutritional interventions.
Human nutrition studies are HARD, because they require minute-by-minute monitoring of the subjects and exact measurements of food intake to gather meaningful experimental data. (I recall a TV news report from the 1970s about a human nutrition study in which the study volunteers, who of course were paid for this, lived confined inside a lab in which lab technicians weighed all their food to the nearest gram and controlled everything they could eat for the duration of the experiment. Alas, I've never heard of results of that study, perhaps because the sample size, with such an expensive procedure, was too small to generate meaningful data.) Yes, let's see what nutritional interventions do what for human beings, but let's be careful not to jump to conclusions too soon, because careful data gathering on this topic is especially difficult, and anecdotes crowd out data in most popular discussion of this topic.
In the case of this particular item, referring specifically to alterations to the white blood cell counts and lineages, the human data only goes so far as chemotherapy patients, and not very many of them. Talking about age-altered immune systems is premature. It would not be a surprising result if validated by other researchers, as calorie restriction and fasting are already known to beneficially influence immune function over the long term, but the details here should be taken as merely interesting until someone else runs larger studies to obtain more data.
I am curious what your thoughts are for a reasonable means to gather data here and draw conclusions. Something practical and do-able. Is there anything that you would think was any good?
Also, I'd appreciate a medium-level overview of the immune system, if anyone has a good link.
I'm not familiar with what is out there as far as materials, but I would speculate that beyond that to get an overview you would end up looking at a medical textbook (with shorter treatments being more specific).
I think we're primed to function at optimum parameters on a baseline food abundance, punctuated by brief intervals of scarcity. I think that's a much better model for how our very distant ancestors lived. I don't think we're the descendants of those who lived in scarcity all the time. But it's quite likely that the hunting-gathering life had its periods of lean caloric intake regularly.
I'm not positive, but I would bet that a big confounder to these results would be that we are feeding all individuals in the study an unhealthy, unnatural diet, isolating them, or causing stress. These factors could cause them to eat too much.
Perhaps I was right =]
At risk of pointing out the bleeding obvious, famine victims would disagree with this.
Most modern Christians have a wacky idea of fasting. Most do not go water only. Several will drink liquid juices and other liquid foods. No idea why???? Or there is the weird modern invention called the "Daniel Fast" which equals eating Kosher in the Bible but in practice it is eating like a vegetarian for a few days or weeks. No idea how this happened.
The science is increasingly clear that humans should be putting their body in a fasting state far more often and for far longer than we in the decadent west do.
Edit: a few months, not weeks. But cells dying faster seems to be related to diseases, not health. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_blood_cell#Life_cycle
There is a mechanical leech but it doesn't work as well at the moment and there's no real downside to using real leeches.
The article is a bit vague: periods of no food for two to four days at a time over the course of six months
It's important to note that all (most) fats are first absorbed by the GALT (specically Lacteals ), where it then takes some time to enter blood circulation - the Thorasic Duct  (largest lymph vessel) drains in to the Subclavian Vein  - so any fat soluble toxins (as in, fat soluble non-nutrients and / or outright toxic molecules) are absorbed by the GALT and removed by white blood cells. Only when this system isn't being stressed by our regular (and typically poor) food intake can the immune system attend to it's ordinary tasks of dealing with regular cellular waste products.
Aditionally, Caffeine consumption reduces immune activity . Alcohol (ethanol) is a Type 1 / Group A carcinogen  - why doesn't alcohol packaging state this in the same way cigarette packaging does (in Australia, at least).
Full Disclosure: this is my field of expertise, I hold an Advanced Diploma in Clinical Nutrition from an Australian Nationally Accredit Training organisation. I have been actively studying this field for over ten years.
Edit: link to my blog http://thecurrentstandard.wordpress.com
bath houses and sauna (sweat lodges also), fasting, fish and potatoe diets, beer and wine consumption (maybe was not considered good, but was common)
all seem to have lost ground.
i could also argue that eating sushi or seaweed is on the list, also, peace pipe (!), and 2-sleep days (sleep+"second sleep").
im currently leaning towards these being better for us that 9-5 coffee strung out + staring at a lcd all day... by a lot
Perhaps fasting was more common in the past, so it was a reliable trigger for this behavior, and our bodies did not need to develop their own automatic trigger. Why waste resources rebuilding things, after all?
Otherwise, Argument Against Authority ;)
Had there been no references cited by chirsBob, this comment would be an overall negative "hearsay"-type contribution, but the inclusion of a reasonably reputable, if outdated, reference allowed others to point out the paper retraction, and raised the overall quality of the discussion.
I do appreciate the defense though as some times is is hard to tell which posts were inaccurate by mistakes, and which were malicious. [edited to thank the defending post]