Fasting Has Long-Term Benefits

Fasting Has Long-Term Benefits
Fasting Has Long-Term Benefits

Despite contradicting common-sense health advice, intermittent fasting (IF) diets may reduce the risk of developing some aging-related diseases and even prolong life expectancy, more and more scientists claim.

In Europe, TV stars promote the diets, while restaurants have 500-calorie plans of three courses for customers on 5:2 IF diets, which require eating 500 calories for women or 600 for men a couple of days every week. In 5:2 diets, you can slice the calories into one large meal or two to three separate smaller meals. But the two-meal version is the most recommended and widely spread, reports

Aside the 5:2 diet, there are various other IF plans which involve eating less on some days while following regular diet on other days.

A research team from the University of South California found that their study participants who were on an IF diet displayed lower risks of heart disease, tumors and Type 2 diabetes.

Past studies had suggested that fasting was good for overall health because it boosted metabolic rate and cell regeneration. It also reduced blood pressure, and shielded the brain tissue from cognitive decline and associated diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Moreover, scientists from the University of Florida found earlier this year that fasting had anti-aging effects on human cells.

Researchers explained that “starving” for a couple of days gets us closer to the lifestyle of our ancestors who didn’t have supermarkets and grocery stores at their disposal.

On the other hand, traditional health advice warns that skipping meals may lead to a cohort of health problems including dizziness, sleep disorders, headaches and dehydration.

Some nutritionists believe that fasting could encourage poor eating habits like skipping meals or consuming unhealthy foods. So, they recommend people should opt for a nutritious and balanced meal, rather than getting obsessed over calorie intake.

But University of South California researchers say that their IF diet is safer and easier than any other IF diet on the market. They dubbed their new approach the fasting mimicking diet (FMD).

Study participants had to fast only five days in a month and eat whatever they wanted for the rest of the days. During the first fasting day, calorie restriction goes to 1,090, while for the day two to five participants are allowed to eat only 725 calories per day.

After a three-month period, researchers noticed that participants had lower BMI, risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, while aging processes had been delayed, as well.