It’s the intermittent fasting diet, which seems to give excellent results from both an aesthetic and health point of view. “Aesthetic” was born in contemporary society, but voluntary fasting is a practice as old as mankind. Every culture, in every part of the world, has in its foundations some reference to spending a certain amount of time under voluntary food deprivation.
It was common practice among Phoenicians, Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians, Chinese, Celts, Gauls and pre-Columbian civilizations. They would do it for religious, punitive or expiative reasons but also, and this may come as a surprise to you, for curative purposes.
In short, mankind has always attributed beneficial connotations to fasting and, thanks to various scientific studies, it has now become possible decode its healthy use from all points of view.
Body reactions to fasting
Strictly speaking, it’s as if the body understands that a difficult period is about to come and prepares itself at its best to face it, purifying and strengthening itself. In the end, if a man lost in nature had found himself without food for a couple of days and had immediately weakened, how would he have survived? How could he have survived winter or a period of famine or even a simple unsuccessful hunt?
Recent studies, however, have shown that fasting can be used to fight persistent inflammatory states and if practiced with awareness and knowledge of the facts, can lead to a substantial increase in life expectancy.
But be careful, all of this can work only if properly controlled, with the help of professionals: improvising is never a good idea.
How to deal with an intermittent fasting diet
There are several protocols: for example, some provide for 5 days of fasting per month, others 2 a week and others suggest alternating low calorie days (those in which the load of calories is reduced by 70%) with those of normal calorie intake. Others suggest an 18-hour daily fast with only 6 hours in which eating is allowed, consuming a normal number of calories.
Fasting: the expert eye
Several studies have shown that a calorie restriction can prolong life by up to 11%, encourage healthy ageing, reduce the incidence of cancer and of bone demineralisation. It also strengthens the immune system, increases the number of stem and progenitor cells in different organs. In fact, it encourages survival.
"Everyone can embark on intermittent fasting except pregnant and nursing women, children, people with eating disorders, and people with a medical condition who are not supervised by a physician. For example: In diabetics, fasting can increase cortisol levels. One of the effects of cortisol is that it increases blood sugar levels. So in some people with adjustment problems in blood sugar levels, fasting can make things worse. In addition - continues the doctor - in case of extended fasting in addition to the recommended days, the risk is to promote a loss of muscle mass and risk hypoglycemia and hypotension."