Studies have shown that fasting is a true fountain of youth
Fasting, which is the willful refrainment from eating, has been around for centuries. It's part of several world religions. New research is emerging that this type of eating pattern slow cancer growth and reduce symptoms of multiple sclerosis, stroke, Crohn's disease and other illnesses.
Studies have shown that fasting is a true fountain of youth, lowering body weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improving glucose control, reducing systemic inflammation, maintaining brain health, and even boosting endurance and coordination.
Scientists attribute many of the positive effects of IF to something called metabolic switching—after 10 or 12 hours of fasting, the body depletes its supply of glycogen, a stored form of glucose and starts burning ketones, a fuel made from fat by the liver.
This switch affects growth factors, immune signals and other chemicals.
“These periods of fasting-eating-fasting-eating activate genes and signaling pathways that make neurons more resilient,” neuroscientist Mark Mattson of Johns Hopkins University told the Scientific American magazine.
.“It stimulates a process called autophagy: the cells go into a stress-resistance and recycling mode where they get rid of damaged proteins,” Mattson says.
He likens cycles of fasting and eating to exercise and rest: “Your muscles don't get bigger during exercise; they get bigger during the recovery.”
A 2019 study at the University of Illinois at Chicago showed that fasting improved the body's response to insulin by more than twice as much as a typical calorie-cutting diet.
Fasting may also have an edge in reducing blood pressure, says Courtney Peterson, assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In a small but rigorous study with prediabetic men, Peterson's laboratory showed that restricting meals to a six-hour window led to better insulin sensitivity and blood pressure even without weight loss.