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.
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 mice and 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.
The researchers suggest that the findings could translate into longer, healthier lives for people. The study also found four days of a diet that mimicked fasting extended lifespans, lowered visceral fat, reduced cancer incidence and rejuvenated the immune system. The study later saw similar reductions in disease risk factors in humans.
What seems to be the fasting sweet spot? Experts say somewhere around 12 hours a day for at least five days straight can to be beneficial.
This tackles many mis-conceptions about fasting leading to have a happy healthier life.