Posted on Sep 17, 2018, 4 p.m.
Intermittent fasting has been linked to lower risks of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and aging according to a study from the National Institute on Aging.
Researchers from NIA have found increasing time between meals improved overall health of male mice and lengthened their lifespans, benefits were seen regardless of what the animals ate or how many calories were consumed; suggesting that findings may translate into longer and healthier lives for people.
292 mice were separated into 2 groups and monitored on diet: one group on a low fat naturally sourced diet; the other on a high protein and fiber diet. Those 2 groups were then split into 3 sub groups: one with access to food 24 hours a day; the second with fewer calories per day; and the third only having access to food once per day. Animals who only ate once a day lived 40% longer than those with access to food 24 hours a day, and there were no obvious negative side effects to fasting. Next phase is to expand findings to other strains of mice and animals using both sexes to identify exact translation in humans. The fasting mimicking diets lasted 5 days having between 800-1100 calories and were not water fasts.
Researchers believe that when you stop eating for X numbers of hours the metabolism goes into standby mode, the body fixes and removes all the garbage during this time, at next feeding the body is prepared for the energy about to be consumed. When eating continuously and snacking periodically throughout the day the metabolism doesn’t have time to readjust or rest.
Another study found 4 days of a diet that mimicked fasting extended lifespans, lowered visceral fat, reduced cancer incidence, and rejuvenated the immune system, later seeing similar reductions in risk factors for disease in humans.
Experts suggest the fasting sweet spot is somewhere around 10-12 hours a day for at least 5 days straight to be beneficial. There are ways to fast that don’t have negative associations, however they warn that fasting should only be done on a need to do it basis. For one in good who exercises daily that may only be once a year, but most aren’t so fasting three times a year may be a good idea.
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