It's stormed to the top of the book charts and is being praised as a diet game-changer, but what exactly is The Fast Diet and can it really work?
'Intermittent Fasting' also known as 'Alternate Day Fasting' (which the authors of The Fast Diet argue is effective but 'socially inconvenient') is a way to stay healthy, lose weight and live longer. It first came to the attention of the masses when Dr Michael Mosley presented a BBC Horizon programme on fasting, calorie restriction and health.
During the show Dr Mosley (who is one of the authors of The Fast Diet) met people who live a life of severe calorie restriction, which is one of the only diets proven to increase life span (although this has only been shown in animals). In theory this sounds great, but in reality living off a minuscule diet isn't fun and it can take all the enjoyment out of one of life's pleasures - food.
Instead, Dr Mosley investigated 'Intermittent Fasting', a method of severely restricting calories only some of the time. According to the science, this is one way to lose weight and feel healthier without having to give up tasty foods.
For a full explanation of the diet it's crucial to read the book, but here's a round-up of the facts to get you thinking...
+ Methods of 'Intermittent Fasting' differ, some involve eating nothing for 24 hour periods, some encourage you to eat a small 500 calorie meal on your fast days, while others suggest you should fast every other day. In fact, Dr Mosley didn't stick to any of these and instead opted for five days eating regularly and two days fasting.
+ Trials suggest this system can reduce our risk of heart disease and cancer as well as reduce symptoms of asthma and allergies. Serious supporters believe this diet can help improve our life-expectancy too.
+This diet is a way of cutting calories. Studies show that on normal days dieters don't necessarily eat MORE because they fasted the day before.
+ Some studies suggest that calorie restriction activates SIRT1 aka the 'Skinny Gene'. The theory is when cells don't have enough energy from food they become stressed and 'die'. This is thought to trigger a reaction that activates SIRT1 to keep cells alive.
+ The 'Skinny Gene' is believed to make our metabolism more efficient, inhibit fat storage and reduce inflammation (which is seen as the root cause of heart disease, cancer, premature ageing, asthma and arthritis).
The Fast Diet: The Secret of Intermittent Fasting - Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, Live Longer, £3.85, amazon.co.uk.
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