According to a report in i100, the feast or famine diet where you spend days over eating then fast for a couple of days such as the 5:2 could extend your life and reduce the possibility of age-related diseases.
According to a new study, the feast-or-famine diet mimics benefits of fasting and helps to extend lifespan. Researcher, Michael Guo from Harvard Medical School and one of the team who published the study in the Rejuvenation Research journal, said that their research had resulted in the belief that intermittent fasting caused a slight increase in SIRT-3, the gene which promotes long life and helps to protect cell responses.
The study measured changes in a group of 24 people who ate one day a week around 25% of their recommended calorie intake and one day of eating 1.5 times as much, at 175 per cent. The researchers monitored weight, blood pressure, heart rate, glucose levels, cholesterol, markers of inflammation as well as the genes involved in protective cell responses over a 10 week period.
During fasting, the important and well-known SIRT 3 gene along with the similarly-named protein showed activation by oxidative stress, which occurs during fasting. Other studies which used mice, showed that this gene and protein extended the life of the mice.
One of the team, Martin Wegman from University of Florida stated:
“The hypothesis is that if the body is intermittently exposed to low levels of oxidative stress, it can build a better response to it.”
Guo commented that contrary to previous beliefs, supporting a higher intake of calories on the feasting day was harder for the participants than the fasting day – they found it difficult to physically eat enough food.
The researchers also studies the use of antioxidant supplements concurrently and concluded that the use of these antioxidants whilst dieting actually counteracted the benefits of the fast days, though they acknowledged they still need to continue testing this.
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