Many people stay young and energetic well beyond retirement age, they achieve this through years of dedicated exercise and healthy diets, but there is another way. Periodic fasting can have many positive effects on your health without having to put in countless hours at the gym while watching every meal you eat.
We're not saying that regular exercise and healthy eating is a bad idea. But recent trials have shown that short periods of fasting may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancers by lowering IGF-1 and cholesterol levels, as well as delaying the onset of cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer and Dementia, potentially adding many years of good health to your life.
In 2012 a research study showed mice subject to food shortages in their diet not only lived longer than mice that had a constant food supply but when their brains were examined new brain cells, were being produced.
The mice with continuous food availability showed no signs of new brain cell production and lived a third less lifespan compared to the food-deprived mice.
Sporadic periods of hunger also seem to encourage new neurones to grow in the human brain. In evolutionary terms, if you are hungry you need to increase your survival advantages, for example; remembering where the food is located, so that you are less likely to perish due to starvation. In this sense, fasting stresses the brain like exercise stresses your muscles.
5 Weeks of The 5:2 Diet
The 5:2 diet was first published on the BBC Horizon program 'Eat Fast and Live Longer' hosted by Dr Micheal Mosley. Micheal participated in several fasting diets and found the 5:2 diet to be the most achievable and also the safest.
Micheal ate normally for five days of the week and fasted on two days. It is up to you to decide which days are more suitable for you to fast on, fitting these days around your schedule.
After five weeks of the 5:2 fasting diet Micheal had lost 7.3 pounds (3.3kg) his body fat was now below 20%, down from 27% when first started. Micheal is now no longer in the overweight category; his IGF-1 levels dropped by half, his blood sugars dropped to 90, and his cholesterol also improved to the average for a male of his age.
Two Fasting Days
On the fasting days do not exceed more than 800 calories per day; it is up to you which part of the day you consume your daily calories. Micheal chose to have his breakfast as his main meal followed by coffee and made sure to drink water continuously throughout the day.
Five Normal Calorie Days
For your five standard calorie count days, consume a healthy balanced diet, the average daily allowance of calories for a man is 2,500 calories and 2,000 calories for women.
Please see your GP before attempting the 5:2 fasting diet, If you are pregnant or underweight do NOT attempt this diet.