Fasting diets are soaring in popularity. Are they backed by science?

| | January 23, 2019
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Over the past couple of decades, as dozens of diets and weight management schemes have come in and out of fashion, fasting has steadily gained popularity.

Meanwhile, there’s a growing scientific literature on the subject — exploring whether different types of caloric restriction can burn fat, stave off and reverse disease, and even help you live longer.

As it turns out, the science behind these diets is still pretty nascent and exploratory.

In 2017, [Valter] Longo was a co-author on the first human trial of whether fasting might reduce the risk factors for diseases like diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. The researchers randomized 100 people into one of two groups for three months: The first group ate anything they wanted, and the second fasted for five consecutive days each month.

Related article:  Can we blame our genetics for overeating?

The findings were clear: Fasting just five days per month improved people’s health outcomes. The group that fasted lost weight (about 7 pounds on average), lost some body fat, lowered their blood pressure, and decreased their IGF-1, a genetic marker for diseases such as cancer. (Their total cholesterol, blood glucose, and triglycerides didn’t budge.)

Now, here’s an important catch: The research was still pretty short-term, only looking at biomarkers in people during a few months. So it’s not clear what effects on disease risks longer-term fasting will have, even though the changes to biomarkers look promising.

Read full, original post: Fasting diets are going mainstream — ahead of the science. Here’s why.

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