Health Officials Discuss Risks and Benefits of Fasting

Apart from weight management, studies are yielding information that fasting also delays aging.

Co-study author Valter D. Longo talks about a fasting program known as the fasting mimicking diet that he and his co-reserachers are developing: “This fast is more about ‘reprogramming’ the body so it enters a slower aging mode, but also rejuvenating it.” He also adds, “It’s not a typical diet because it isn’t something you need to stay on.”

London-based nutritional therapist Petronella Ravenshear advocates the diet saying that it “is less of a stressor on the body than complete fasting … [because] it supplies most of the carbohydrates in the form of vegetables which are packed with phytonutrients and minerals and positively good for us, rather than grain-derived carbohydrates which don’t supply much except sugar.”
USC Longevity Institute director and lead researcher Valter Longo sheds more light on why FMD is more effective than conventional fasting. “Strict fasting is hard for people to stick to, and it can also be dangerous, so we developed a complex diet that triggers the same effects in the body.” He added, “I’ve personally tried both, and the fasting mimicking diet is a lot easier and also a lot safer.”  In a press release, Longo goes on to say: “This is arguably the first non-chronic pre-clinically and clinically tested anti-aging and healthspan-promoting intervention shown to work and to be very feasible as a doctor or dietitian-supervised intervention. The FMD intervention will now undergo the rigorous process needed for FDA approval, which will first require confirmation and additional tests in 60 to 70 participants, followed by a trial with 500-1,000 participants.”

Health experts however, warn people not to fast unless they are properly informed about the pros and cons of fasting just because studies show that fasting is beneficial. They admonish the public to consult their doctors before fasting.