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Fall 2009: Q & A with Alan Goldhamer, D.C. PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 02 November 2009 12:34
Q & A with Alan Goldhamer, D.C.

Q: I want to make a major diet and lifestyle change to improve my health. How can fasting help me accomplish my goal?

A: It is very challenging to make and sustain dietary changes.  Our brains evolved in an environment of scarcity and have exquisite caloric density detection mechanisms.  In general, the higher the caloric density (calories per pound of edible food) the more “valuable” the food is considered by our brain.  The brain rewards the body by releasing dopamine which causes us to experience pleasure.  This system worked very well in the world of our ancient ancestors and helped insure that people got enough to eat.  Those who avoided being eaten lived to reproduce and passed on their genes and behavioral tendencies.

Recently, humans discovered that certain chemicals could artificially stimulate dopamine production in the brain resulting in intense pleasure. These chemicals, including alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, etc., are very popular.  Continued use leads to addiction and all of the problems associated with addiction.    

Certain chemicals can be added to our food that results in the artificial stimulation of dopamine in the brain.  These “pleasure trap” chemicals including oil and sugar fool the satiety mechanisms in the brain and result in consistent overeating and the resulting diseases of dietary excess including obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and autoimmune disorders.

Attempts to resolve obesity and the diseases of dietary excess with diets, drugs, and surgery have been remarkably ineffective.  Moderation in diet works no better than moderation in drinking for alcoholics.  If you are an alcoholic, the answer is to avoid drinking.  If you are overweight, the answer is to avoid eating the chemicals that result in obesity, including foods containing added oil and refined carbohydrates including sugar.   

Just as alcoholics can benefit from an inpatient stay and professional support, people attempting to make major diet and lifestyle changes can benefit from time in a facility designed to effectively educate, evaluate and monitor an individual through a period of fasting.

Water-only fasting is equivalent to rebooting a hard drive on a computer.  Many problems will clear up after fasting, including addiction to the chemicals associated with the dietary pleasure trap.  After fasting properly, good food tastes good again.  Fasting can be a powerful tool to help you recalibrate internal mechanisms and overcome obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and many autoimmune disorders.

If you are having trouble making diet and lifestyle changes, consider the possibility of undergoing a period of medically supervised fasting.

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