Last year, we found out that fasting might reboost the immune system bringing a long-term host of health benefits. Since then, we have been fasting twice a week a few time a year because it’s good for us. It hasn’t been easy. Our stomachs rumble, grumble and mourn. We sit and watch the clock waiting for nightfall to scorge down the meagre 500 calories we are allowed for the day and before we can celebrate the day is over we realize we have another fast day coming up in the week.
Well, it isn’t looking much better for us. A new diet known as the Fasting Mimicking Diet developed by academics at the University of Southern California (USC), demands we starve for five days straight for maximum effect.
Why would we still do it?
Well, it comes with numerous health benefits which isn’t easy for us to turn away from. According to its inventors, most of us would only have to do this four times a year to reduce our risk of heart disease and cancer as well as boost our immune systems, lose weight and look younger, too. There’s no need join the slightly cuckoo world of Calorie Restrictors (who consume only 75 per cent of recommended calories a day), we don’t even need to practise savoury meditation (smelling and thinking about food rather than eating it).
“Strict fasting is hard for people to stick to, and it can also be dangerous, so we developed a complex diet that triggers the same effects in the body,’ said Professor Valter Longo, USC Davis School of Gerontology and director of the USC Longevity Institute.
“I’ve personally tried both, and the fasting mimicking diet is a lot easier and also a lot safer.
“I think based on the markers for ageing and disease in humans it has the potential to add a number of years of life but more importantly to have a major impact on diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other age-related disease.”
The best part:
The diet slashes the dieter’s calorie intake to around 34 to 54 per cent of normal, with care taken to make sure that the dieter gets suitable amounts of protein, fat and carbohydrate in their diet.
However, the strict regime only lasts for five days, and for the rest of the month, dieters can eat what they like.
That doesn’t mean you chow down those ice creams!