A willingness to reduce or abstain from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time is considered fasting. Dry fasting or an absolute fast is considered as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period. Abstinence from all food and drink except water, but black coffee and tea may be consumed is considered water fasting. Here Dalvin Brown, USA Today, reflects on the longevity and fasting:
“People have been fasting for years to lose weight, but what if we told you that the longer you fast, the longer you can live?
The idea may be hard to stomach, but a new study by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) suggests that intermittent fasting could be the key to longevity.
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A group of scientists from the NIA, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana found that increasing time between meals improved the overall health of male miceand lengthened their lives compared to mice that ate more frequently. Perhaps even more surprisingly, the health benefits were seen regardless of what the mice ate or how many calories they consumed.
“This study showed that mice who ate one meal per day, and thus had the longest fasting period, seemed to have a longer lifespan and better outcomes for common age-related liver disease and metabolic disorders,” said NIA Director Richard Hodes, M.D.
He said that the “intriguing results” in the animal model deserve a closer look.
What could be learned?
The researchers suggest that the findings could translate into longer, healthier lives for people.
“Prolonged, daily fasting times could help improve health and survival for humans,” said the study’s lead author, Rafael de Cabo, Ph.D. “But scientists are working to find out how long you need to fast every day to see some of the benefits seen in the animals. That's the next big question to answer.”
To reach their conclusion, the experts studied 292 mice, separating them into two groups and closely monitoring the rodents' diet. One batch was fed a low-fat and naturally-sourced diet. The other group's diet was higher in protein and fiber.
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Each of the two groups was then split into three sub-groups – one with access to food 24 hours a day and another with 30 percent fewer calories per day. The third group only had access to food once per day.”
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