Protein and Evolution
Understanding this science allows us to make dietary choices that effectively send our bodies into repair and longevity mode.
Last week, I discussed the new science regarding reduced protein consumption. This week, we’re going to look at the rationale behind it.
Some 2 billion years ago, the first bacteria appeared on Earth. Their mission was to eat and reproduce. When there was lots of food available, they grew strong and multiplied. During times of starvation, nature turned off reproduction and all their resources went into repair and survival.
These early bacteria needed a way to determine if there were abundant nutrients for reproduction or if they needed instead to conserve energy, using scarce food supplies to repair in preparation for a time when food would be more plentiful. This protein-sensing system is known as TOR (target of rapamycin), and it is shared today by all creatures from bacteria to whales to humans.
Here’s the takeaway: Consuming too much animal protein stimulates the TOR pathway, which can cause out-of-control growth of cancer cells, which want to multiply quickly.
Why would our bodies be controlled by a process that could end up killing us? Remember that nature selects for the longevity of the species, but not of the individual. It wants us to reproduce so that our species doesn’t become extinct—and if you happen to die on the way to survival of the species, nature shrugs. Your challenge is to work with your natural intelligence to continue to enjoy good health and live long past your reproductive years.
Restrict your protein intake and quiet TOR, and your chances of living a long and healthy life improve immensely.
For a species to survive, birth rates need to be higher than death rates—and this has to happen even when there are times of extreme hardship. But nature will not allow any animal to reproduce if there is danger of famine or starvation. That’s because carrying and nursing offspring, as mammals do, requires a lot of energy and takes a huge toll on the mother, who must feed herself as well as the young she is carrying. When we practice intermittent fasting (with adequate nutrition) our body focuses on repair and renewal. We literally trick the brain into thinking that there is danger of starvation and that its resources should go into growing a stronger and more resilient body.
The Grow a New Body program works by calibrating the level of TOR in your system!
During times of food scarcity, many creatures will go into a dormant state so they can wait out the long winter. We see this in bears that hibernate and in yeasts found in the skin of grapes. As winter approaches, a yeast cell will “sleep.”
When food supplies become available again in the spring, TOR will sense an abundance of nutrients, and it will “wake up” again. Some bacteria can even withstand boiling and freezing temperatures, and endure many years of extreme weather, before the TOR system detects the right nutrient conditions for germination. And while most of the genes of the yeast on the skin of the grape go dormant, the TOR nutrient sensors remain alert, ready to rouse the organism when there are adequate nutrients in the environment.
As I mentioned, humans have a TOR system, just as yeast do, and it’s called mTOR (“m” is for mammalian.) On the Grow a New Body program, you won’t be fasting for months, just hours, to get a similar result.
Understanding the science behind mTOR allows us to make dietary choices that downregulate it (such as restricting protein) and effectively send our bodies into repair and longevity mode. This is fully explained in my forthcoming book, Grow a New Body, which also offers shamanic practices, alongside cutting-edge science, detox strategies, and power-plant foods that can switch on every cell’s ability to regenerate and repair.
by Alberto Villoldo
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