Britain’s New Diet: Fasting Twice a Week Makes You Live Longer

Yes, it appears that the people of Britain have put down their digestive biscuits and cups of tea and are doing something drastic: they are fasting. Weekly.

It’s called the 5:2 diet (eat for five days, don’t for two) and it’s sweeping the nation almost as if people had been waiting for it to be suggested, with the rate that it’s being taken up.  I asked my mother if she’d heard of it, to which she replied (rather snappily) “of course I have, my pilates teacher in the village hall is doing it.”  I didn’t know that pilates had penetrated the depths of the Dumfriesshire countryside but it does seem that almost everyone is giving it a go.

Firstly, fasting is not actually as petrifying as it sounds. 5:2 works on the principles of five days of eating, more or less, what you want with two severely calorie controlled days, (500 calories can be eaten on these non-consecutive fast days, lucky boys get 600; the picture above shows you what that actually looks like…we are not talking nil by mouth and ) Tuesdays and Thursdays for instance.

What’s really interesting about this all is that weight loss is the side effect, not the main goal.  The whole of point of the 5:2 diet is that it’s incredibly good for you and the two days of hunger allow your body to – remarkably – regenerate itself, cutting the risk of cancers and other diseases (clinical trials are being undertaken right now, with results being released next month).

Anyway, don’t take my word for it, I only heard about this all on Friday and hate the idea of 500 calories a day, even if it is only for two days a week (I wonder how many are in a bowl of mee goreng?).  Clickhere to watch Michael Mosley, above right, present the very good ‘Eat, Fast & Live Longer’ BBC Horizon documentary (running time of one hour).

Food for thought.

Images courtesy of London Unattached & The Daily Telegraphrespectively