Did you see the Horizon programme on BBC2 the other week about fasting? It was called ‘Eat Fast and Live Longer’ and it showed presenter Michael Mosley embarking on a controlled fast to see what effect it had on his health. Amazingly, the programme seemed to show that short periods of controlled fasting were very good for you, and if it was done properly it could make us all healthier.
Personally, I get tetchy if I go for more than a few hours without something to eat so the idea of not eating for three days at a time, like Michael Mosley did, doesn’t really appeal. But it worked for him; he lowered his risk of getting diabetes among other things during the fast, and apparently the positive effects start to really kick in if you do it every couple of months.
Michael did get pretty grumpy while he was fasting – which doesn’t surprise me at all – but there are alternatives to the three day fast which are more appealing, and likely to spawn a whole host of diet books before we know it. One of them is alternate day fasting, where you eat 400-500 calories one day and the next day you have carte blanche to eat anything you like. I prefer the sound of day two! Researchers from the University of Illinois in Chicago carried out a trial of this fasting regime on overweight patients and found that even if people on the diet ate complete rubbish on the non-fasting day it still improved their health as long as they stuck to the fasting day the following day.
It all seems like too much hard work for me and the moods I’d get in if I were denied food all day don’t bear thinking about. Would you try it? Have you already tried it? How did you get on?