Fasting is not a new invention. It is advocated in the Bible. However, recently there has been a resurgence of interest in fasting as a means of increased weight loss and prevention of chronic disease. There has even been some mention that the calorie restriction in alternate day fasting (ADF) prolongs the life span. Since 2007, several studies have emerged.

For example, a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition noted that fat oxidation increased with ADF. Subjects lost about 2.5% of their initial body weight in 22 days of study using ADF. The problem noted, however, was that the hunger hormone, gherlin, did not change thus hunger was present on those days where fasting took place. Study researchers suggested that maybe some fine-tuning might aide this problem and that adding one small meal on the fasting day might alleviate the hunger problem. Another positive factor noted was that insulin decreased, suggesting that this might be a mechanism for controlling blood sugar as well as weight.

Another study done in mice showed a lower body weight after the ADF regimen and a modulation in adipocytes function. Although adipose, or fat, tissue did not change, inguinal and epididymal fat cells decreased by 35-50%. Net lipolysis was augmented in the ADF group.

A study designed to look at the effects of ADF on chronic disease done on animals suggest that ADF may reduce , or modulate several disease risk factors, therby preventing chronic disease. For example, animal data showed lower total cholesterol and triglycerides, a lower heart rate, improved cardiac response to myocardial infarction and lower blood pressure. A lower incidence of diabetes was found.

This appears to be an area of promising study particularly with regard to risks associated with ADF. There is probably a large population who are not candidates for this approach such as individuals on insulin or other drugs that require food for absorption or protection of the gastrointestinal lining. But it also appears to be a promising area for many in terms of weight control, disease prevention and treatment and, perhaps, longevity.

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