"Medicine is a science, but it is also an art. An art in constant change, in permanent learning", it is written in the first pages of + Vida + Saúde + Tempo (Oficina do Livro, March 2020). Over about 300 pages, Manuel Pinto Coelho, a renowned expert in anti-aging medicine and author of the best seller Chegar Novo a Velho, shows how, by changing our daily habits, it is possible to not only live more, but above all, to live better – with more health and happiness. Especially because "adding years is an inevitability, not getting older".
In + Life + Health + Time goes back to prehistory and reminds us that, according to what this period tells us, our ancestors did not eat the amount of meals that we eat today. Can it be said that, as a general rule, we eat more than we should?
Yes, it is true that we eat much more than we should. Let us not forget that our genes are still very much those of our ancestors – the variation was only 1% – and that in those (paleolithic) times, that is, until 10,000 years ago when Agriculture (which brought us sugar, cereals and dairy products), due to the sui generis circumstances of life, if it was eaten once a day it was lucky and two meals a day then it was a luxury! And when the spear hit the animal, what the hunters took home were the viscera, rich in fat, (leaving the fillet mignon on the ground), with fat being the main nutrient for thousands of years. With the entry of Agriculture, and until today, the main nutrient has become carbohydrate.
Is it possible to say that, most of the time, the hunger we feel is psychological or even a mechanism created that reminds the brain that "it is time to eat something"?
As I said, our genes have not yet had time to get used to more food than they have been used to for hundreds of thousands of years and until very recently. It turns out that today marketing and advertising force us to eat all the time, against the nature of our genes. It is also important to remember that we are 70% water and that the center of hunger is very close to the center of thirst and that we often eat convinced that we are hungry, when in reality our problem was thirst and a well-served glass of water to solve. the problem for us.
We are what we eat, but also "we are the result of where we live", he writes in his book. It even gives an example in which a pair of twins with the same genetics and who will live in different places, can become completely different from each other. That is, one can get fat while the other is completely healthy, depending on where each one is. What to say to those people who blame genetics for their physical characteristics?
It must be said that genetics is worth 15% and epigenetics – the new science that teaches how to modulate the behavior of our genes by modifying the way they express themselves – is worth 85%. Genetics put ‘the bullet in the chamber’ but epigenetics puts ‘the finger on the trigger’.
What about those people who say they "go on a lot of diet but are unable to lose weight"? Is it true that with the right food it is very difficult for someone to be fat and unhealthy? What are the biggest mistakes that are made in "diets"?
People who do everything to lose weight and are unable to do so should start by asking their attending physician to evaluate their thyroid. It happens over and over again that a situation of hypothyroidism may be behind this situation. "Even the air makes me fat" is a typical expression of the patient with hypothyroidism, often poorly evaluated when the doctor overestimates the laboratory – which can give normal analyzes – to the detriment of clinical signs. Without hypothyroidism, yes, it is difficult with the appropriate regimen not to be able to lose weight. There are many errors, from losing sight of the obligation to customize the regime to the detriment of "one size fits all", to the unbalanced regime that does not proportionally contemplate the fundamental nutrients, in order of importance – water, fat, proteins and (good) carbohydrates – going through any and all regimens that do not include regulated physical exercise and adapted to the individual's taste.
Let's say that the secret is in changing habits and not in the word "diet", which most resembles a bogeyman …?
I have always preferred the word "regime" to "diet" which is depressive. The secret is in making the decision. If the pros and cons are measured the person decides to lose weight, I usually say that when the conscious person makes the decision the subconscious makes the provision, and therefore, the person may be surprised at how easily he can achieve his goal.
Can it be said that gluten is the number one public enemy? Did everyone benefit if they took this compound out of their lives, or is this just a rule that applies to celiacs?
Yes you can. Along with sugar and casein in dairy products, it plays a major role in the insidious and silent inflammation behind, along with insulin resistance, practically all diseases, celiac disease and diabetes (diabetes and obesity) ) to cancer, including autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases, among others.
And what are public enemies number two?
As I mentioned, they are sugar (one of our main enemies for the phenomenon of insulin resistance that causes, in addition to inflammation), casein (the protein in dairy products) and excess cortisol (caused by excessive stress).
Are there any deceptive foods? That is, foods whose fame is to be super healthy but that in reality do not add anything good?
Yes, especially processed foods, which, although they appear to be healthy, deceive us for their sweet and salty taste in order to capture our taste and attention.
Fasting periods have always been associated with religious practices, although today there is much talk about intermittent fasting for physical reasons. Do we forget that food also pollutes us mentally? And that doing periods of fasting from time to time can be all good, also with regard to brain health?
The food you eat, associated or not with religious practices, can be destructive or constructive, depending on its quality and the frequency with which it is eaten, aging or rejuvenating our body. Eating the right foods, natural, organic, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, rich in good fats and low in sugars, gluten and casein, will make a difference in the way we feel, physically and mentally. Yes, food also pollutes us mentally.
There is clear evidence that a well-planned calorie restriction, that is, the practice of intermittent fasting, in addition to keeping our weight within reasonable limits and countering aging, also prevents and treats some of the diseases that are often associated with it, like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and epilepsy – the first treatment against this disease was precisely fasting. There is a variety of information that the ketogenic diet – ketone bodies present following fasting (consumption of 20-50 grams of carbohydrates) – can do a lot for the health of our brain. In reality, caloric restriction and fasting act on energy, lipid and protein metabolism, on the neuroendocrine, hormonal and immune system, improving cognitive-behavioral and reproductive functions, radiosensitivity, apoptosis (programmed cell death) undesirable), while stimulating the biomarkers of aging. We only need to eat 1,500-2,000 calories daily.
Is it safe to say that the industrial revolution, as far as food is concerned, did not bring anything good? That if we went back to the agricultural habits of yesteryear we would all be healthier today? And happy, too?
Without a doubt, yes. Since the so-called industrial revolution, we have been victims of genetic engineering that is increasingly present with the objective of producing foods such as vegetables and fruits, of long duration, uniform color and size, in addition to an increasingly intensive agriculture, betting on varieties of rapid growth that has been depleting soils dramatically depleting them of their most vital elements – not too many years ago an apple contained 400 mg of vitamin C when today it barely reaches 4 mg (100 times less …), as well as the vitamin A which has practically disappeared from potatoes and onions and with calcium and iron whose content is now 80% lower in vegetables. As such, if the goal is to achieve optimum levels of health and well-being, we should resort to a sufficiently balanced and comprehensive supplementation, which compensates us for the growing impoverishment of our soils, restoring what is missing, correcting imbalances and bypassing possible genetic predispositions. It is crucial for our survival.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start, slowly and gradually, changing their diet? I say gradual because, many times, when we impose radicalism the result may not be the best. So, what are the first changes that someone who wants to pursue a healthier life should make in their day-to-day lives?
As I said earlier, the secret is in making the decision. If, measured the pros and cons, the person decides to lose weight, I usually say that when the conscious person makes the decision the subconscious makes the provision, and therefore, the person may be surprised at how easily he can achieve his goal. And, almost without realizing it, he finds …