On Intermittent Fasting

The BBC on intermittent fasting, from the Horizon series: "Scientists are uncovering evidence that short periods of fasting, if properly controlled, could achieve a number of health benefits. ... Calorie restriction, eating well but not much, is one of the few things that has been shown to extend life expectancy, at least in animals. We've known since the 1930s that mice put on a low-calorie, nutrient-rich diet live far longer. There is mounting evidence that the same is true in monkeys. ... One area of current research into diet is Alternate Day fasting (ADF), involving eating what you want one day, then a very restricted diet (fewer than 600 calories) the next, and most surprisingly, it does not seem to matter that much what you eat on non-fast days. [Researchers] carried out an eight-week trial comparing two groups of overweight patients on ADF. ... If you were sticking to your fast days, then in terms of cardiovascular disease risk, it didn't seem to matter if you were eating a high-fat or low-fat diet on your feed (non-fast) days."

Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19112549


It's worth noting that fasting hits at least one of the SENS targets, by promoting autophagy and upregulating the expression of heat shock proteins, which help to clear away aggregates of misfolded proteins.

Posted by: Brandon at August 6th, 2012 2:23 PM

600 calories during that fast days does not qualify as a fast in my book. It is as if the people that do this research want intermittent fasting to show no benefits.

Posted by: JohnD at August 6th, 2012 6:57 PM

I have been intermittent fasting (500 cals once/day on fast days) for one year. Blood tests show significant improvements. The biggest problem has been in maintaining weight - hard to eat enough on non-fast days to compensate for fast days without losing weight (and thus converting ADF to caloric restriction).

Not certain I understand your comment Brandon. I fast for 24 hours between last ad lib meal and 500 cal meal. The diet is clearly a type of fasting. Also, don't see why you think researchers are trying to show no benefits.

Posted by: Doug at August 13th, 2012 6:32 AM

I certianly find intermittent fasting MUCH easier than every day caloric restriction. Just the thought of eating more freely in less than 24 hours makes the inevitable hunger easier to bear. As a practical matter I have also chosen to do Monday -Wednesday -Friday as fasting days. While I can not be certain that this is optimal my physical condition ( body fat%, weight, B/P) labatory values (cholesterol, glucose, inflammation markers, etc) seem to be moving in the right direction. As someone on the cusp of missing the " escape velocity" train, I feel that I must scrabble for every available month of longevity to better my odds of benefiting from future technologies.

Posted by: Howard at August 13th, 2012 9:25 AM

I would be grateful to receive some recommendation on the number of calories you can eat on your 'fast' days and what these calories would represent in the way of food.

I am sure, like me. more people would be happy to try fast days as long as they could have some help in how to achieve them.

Jean Purcell

Posted by: Jean Purcell at August 15th, 2012 4:55 AM

After watching the show I'm going to attempt to include fasting in my CR Regimen.

Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun = normal low calorie diet
Tue, Thu = modified fasting diet

I'm going to skip breakfast on Tue and Thu and add those identical calories into my lunch and dinner. So...

Finish dinner on Monday (and Wednesday) at 5pm.
Next meal will be Tuesday (or Thursday) at noon.

That's a 19 hour fast twice per week which might be worth a few bonus points in the IGF-1 department. It's the same number of calories so I don't think it can hurt.

The only thing that gives me some hesitation is that I work a physical job. I don't know if my body will appreciate skipping breakfast. I'm going to find out.

Posted by: DR01D at August 22nd, 2012 6:51 PM

I have been doing 2 days a week fasting diet of 500 cal and eating normally for the rest of the week and have lost nearly a stone in 5 weeks it hard on fasting days but its getting easier week by week, i have no breakfast just a 500 cal meal in the evening mostly because i cant sleep on a empty stomach. The only down side is i have a family to cook for and its hard to cook them something while i am so hungry, also i have a restricted diet as well as i have gluten allergy.

Posted by: jacqui cowlbeck at October 17th, 2012 12:17 PM

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