A paper in The New England Journal of Medicine titled ‘The effects of intermittent fasting on health, aging and disease’ was, ironically, published the day after Christmas, the day in which the average number of calories consumed by festive Brits is greatest.
The review discusses the metabolic and cellular response to the most commonly studied intermittent-fasting regimens: alternate day fasting, 5:2 intermittent-fasting (fasting 2 days per week), and daily time-restricted feeding (16:8 split, 16 hours fasting, 8 hours feeding), and aims to provide practical information on the application of these regimens in the battle against the non-communicable diseases.
The authors construct a potential framework for incorporating intermittent-fasting patterns into health care practice and lifestyles, from promoting the study of science of the area into basic medical training, to implementing the regimens to maximise long term benefits.
Despite the very apparent benefits which the study presents, the conclusion conceits that the proposal of a restricted diet may encounter resistance with the general population. The authors postulate that
…some people are unable or unwilling to adhere to an intermittent-fasting regimen. By further understanding the processes that link intermittent-fasting with broad health benefits, we may be able to develop targeted pharmacologic therapies that mimic the effects of intermittent-fasting without the need to substantially alter feeding habits.Rafael de Cabo, Mark P. Mattson, Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Aging, and Disease, New England Journal of Medicine, 381, 26, 12 2019. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra1905136