After watching Horizon, a programme on TV last week about alternate day fasting, called Eat Fast and Live Longer, I have decided to give it a try.
Here is the Horizon programme “Eat, Fast And Live Longer”
The programme was presented by Michael Mosley and he met several dieters and researchers who claim that fasting can actually be good for your health and can help prevent the onset of age related diseases like alzheimer’s, cancer and dementia.
Apparently, calorie restriction in animal tests have revealed that the animals subjected to the restrictions live significantly longer than animals without any restrictions, significantly longer.
Washington University is at the heart of this new science. Professor Luigi Fontana has studied a group of people over the last 10 years who restrict calories every day. Professor Luigi also claims that abdominal fat is particularly bad and can lead to cardiovascular related diseases.
Dr Valtor Longo is the director of the longevity institute in California and is studying ageing. He demonstrated how mice, that have been genetically modified with a low IGF1 growth hormone, live on average 40% longer than normal mice and are less susceptible to diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
When the body is subjected to calorie restriction, the growth hormone IGF1 is lowered and the body starts to repair its own cells and DNA damage is more likely to get fixed.
To lower IGF1, calories and protein must be restricted and one of the best ways to accomplish this is by fasting.
Dr Valtor Longo claims that just a few days of fasting can jolt the body into self repairing cells.
One of the main problems with fasting is that it is an extremely difficult thing to do – it’s not easy to stop eating for a few days.
Cue Dr Krista A Varady from Chicago who is studying ageing and has come up with a way of making fasting more palatable called Alternate Day Fasting.
Alternate day fasting involves restricting calories on alternate days to 400 – 500 calories for women and 500 – 600 calories for men – these days are called “Fast days”. On the days in between fast days you can eat anything that you like.
However caution is needed especially amongst pregnant women and people with medical conditions.
Finally in the TV programme, Professor Mark Mattson from Baltimore, who is a leading expert on the ageing brain, said that intermittent fasting or energy restriction can delay the onset of alzeimers, dementia and memory loss.
He demonstrated that in the brains of fasting mice, new brain cells were actually created.
Michael Mosley opted to replace the alternate day fasting with a 5/2 diet, which is eat anything for 5 days and fast using the low calorie diet of approximately 500 calories for 2 days. The 5/2 diet was recommended by Professor Mark Mattson.
Note – the fasting days should not be consecutive days, but spread apart for example Monday and Wednesday.
So armed with this new information, I intend to give the 5/2 alternate day fasting a try and see how it affects my health and well being.
Reports and diet information to follow.
See the guide below to find out how many calories are in the foods listed – see item packets for more accurate figures.
|Food||Measure||Calories Per Serving|
|Brocolli||1/2 cup boiled||37|
|Apple red delicious – average||127|
|Tin of Baked Beans – Heinz||415g Full Tin||303|
|Red Kidney Beans In Water, Tesco||1 Can/420g||391|
|Potatoes, Baked, Flesh & Skin||1 Med/180g||245|
|Banana Fresh, Weighed Without Skin||1 Med/150g||143|
|Sweet Corn, Green Giant||1 Can/200g||140|
|Apricots, Dried, Sundora||1 Serving/50g||83|
|Pear, Average, Raw||1 Med/170g||68|
|Garden Peas, Bird’s Eye||1 Serving/85g||53|
|Sweet Potatoes, Boiled in Water||100g||87|
|Potatoes, New, Boiled in Salted Water||100g||53|
|Cherries, Black, Raw||100g||51|
|Apples, Eating, Raw||1 Med/112g||53|
|Peach, Raw||1 Med/110g||36|
|Broccoli, Green, Raw||100g||33|
|Peppers, Capsicum, Red Raw||100g||32|
|Carrots, Young, Raw||100g||30|
|Green Beans, French Beans Boiled in Unsalted Water||100g||22|
|Tomato, Raw||1 Med/85g||14|
|Tomatoes – tinned||100g||22|
|Lettuce, Average, Raw||100g||13|
|Mushrooms, Common, Raw||100g||13|
|Scampi, Breaded, Average||1 Serving/255g||565|
|Mackerel Fillets Smoked Average||1 Serving/60g||200|
|Salmon Fillet, Aldi||1 Fillet/100g||198|
|Cod Fillet, Battered, Average||1 Fillet/90g||158|
|Sardines Grilled||3 Sardines/75g||146|
|Fishcakes, Frozen, Average||1 Cake/85g||112|
|Tuna Chunks, in Brine, Sainsbury’s||½ Tin/93g||105|
|Shark, Raw||1 Serving/100g||102|
|Haddock Fillet, Smoked, Youngs||1 Fillet/100g||98|
|Langoustine, Raw, Average||1 Serving/100g||90|
|Lobster, Boiled||2 Tbsp Meat/85g||88|
|Shrimp, Boiled, Average||1 Serving/60g||70|
|Prawns, Boiled||20 Prawns/60g||59|
|Crab, Sticks, Tesco||3 Sticks/45g||45|
|Mussels, Boiled, Average||5 Mussels/35g||36|
|Chicken Breast Roasted||100g||171|
|Chicken Breast Skinless Fillet||100g||117|
|Fillet Steak Cooked||100g||191|
|Sainsbury’s Beef Gravy||100g||56|
|Cooked Sliced Ham – Tesco’s||100g||115|
|Lamb Kebab – Sainsbury’s Greek Style||100g||255|
|Lamb Chop – Asda||100g||246|
|Pork Chop – Asda||100g||260|
|Sliced Roast Beef||100g||136|
|Roast Lamb – Leg||100g||237|
Day 1 – fast day.
Having well stocked myself up last night with a fish and chip supper, I am going to start the first fast day today.
My thinking is that I would like to last the day as long as possible without any food and when I begin to feel hungry, I will use up some of my 500 calorie daily allowance.
It’s now 14.15 in the afternoon and so far I haven’t eaten anything. I feel quite hungry, so I am going to have a boiled egg and 100 grams of seedless black grapes – total calories 89 + 66 = 155. Please bear in mind that the calorie chart above is only a general indicator – for exact calories see the individual packets of items purchased.
This small snack has just taken the edge of my hunger and I only have to wait 3.5 hours until my evening meal, when I will have almost 350 calories to play with – bring it on!
One tip here is to invest in some scales similar to the image shown below – that way you will be able to measure out 100 grams exactly, so that you can keep a tally of your daily calories.
For my evening meal, I opted for grilled mackerel and steamed cabbage and carrots – total calories 272 for the mackerel, 21 for the cabbage and 30 for the carrots giving a grand total of 323 calories.
This takes my total calorie intake for today to 478 calories. I also have had some black tea and a black coffee, so I’m still under the target of 500 calories.
For the first day, I feel ok and the second meal again, just took the edge off the hunger, so I”m fine.
Day 2 – fast day. I made the mistake of fasting two days consecutively :-), but the fast days should be spread apart ie Tuesday and Thursday.
Felt a bit peckish this morning and couldn’t have really started the day without at least something to eat, so I decided on a boiled egg and cup of green tea – approx 90 calories.
I also had a cup of black coffee with a smidgeon of sugar to keep my caffeine levels up – coming off caffeine as well as calorie restricting would be too much for me.
For lunch I had a tin of plum tomatoes, which I mashed in a pan with a potato masher and added 1 teaspoon of vegetable bouillon and one teaspoon of mixed dried italian herbs – approx 90 calories.
I heated the mixture up and made a sort of tomato soup, which I must admit was really tasty. My energy levels are still good and I have been quite active today. I still have 300 calories left for today, which I intend to use up.
A little thought, which is keeping me going is that tomorrow I can eat what the hell I want for the next 5 days! – I have been conjoring up some delicious ideas in my head.
For my final meal of the 2nd fast day, I opted for a tin of albacore tuna (147 calories) and salad, which comprised of a tomato, spring onions, cress, a little gem lettuce and a good squirt of 70% reduced calorie salad cream. This comes in well below my remaining 300 calories for today, which is great.
I must admit this meal really raised my spirits and I certainly don’t feel hungry or like I’ve been fasting.
All in all, I have found this diet very manageable so far, and the great thing is for the next 5 days there will be no dieting – yea hah!
Week 2 – fast day one
Well here we are again for another two days of fasting!
I’ve been doing a bit of research into low calorie foods that make you feel full, however I haven’t put any of them into practice yet.
Generally, I find the first fast day relatively easy until the end of the day, when I start to feel hungry.
I also added some rice cakes to my daily fast day (29 calories each) – these make excellent snacks especially with a cup of tea or coffee.
I started my my first fast day with a rice cake and cup of black tea.
For lunch I went for my tried and tested tomato soup, which is quite filling. Apparently soups are renowned by dieters for making you feel full. It’s got something to do with the bulk and volume of them.
For my evening meal I had boiled egg with a tuna salad, similar to the one I did last week – with lashings of low cal salad cream.
Some good low calorie foods to make you feel full are fat free popcorn, apples, sweet potato, fresh green vegetables, peanut butter (teaspoon), soups and beans.
Apples apparently are a great appetite suppressant – the bulky fibre fills up your stomach and turns off the appetite control hormones. Will try this tomorrow by having one for breakfast!
Update 30th August 2012
Things were a bit hectic today, so I couldn’t spend too much time preparing food.
I opted for a boiled egg for breakfast and another one for lunch.
For my evening meal I had a tin of albacore tuna, a small tin of mussels in garlic sauce and some steamed vegetables – carrot, broccoli and green cabbage.
Total calories for today approx 500 calories.
I found the diet today relatively easy – there were a few hunger points just before meal times, but the small meals just took the edge of the pain. It’s reassuring to know that tomorrow is a feed day, so that’s something to look forward to.
It’s been a few weeks now since I started on this diet and to honest the last couple of weeks, I have only managed one fast day per week due to circumstances beyond my control.
However, even with only one fast day per week, I have noticed an improvement in my weight and general sense of well being. Last week I overdid my fast day and only had one meal of tuna and steamed vegetables, which I won’t be repeating – 300 calories in total for that day! It’s ok to spread out the 500 calories throughout the day, so tomorrow I will have two boiled eggs for breakfast then some fish and steamed vegetables in the evening.
I also find that on my fast day I get some really good greens into my system – you can eat lots of greens and fresh vegetables because there are virtually no calories them. Obviously potatoes and some other vege can have more calories than others, but generally green vegetables and carrots are low in calories.
Update Oct 2014
Keeping up the one day per week fast and it’s still managing to keep off those extra pounds. One more addition is that on the fast day I am trying out Caralluma Fimbriata, which is a natural appetite suppressant and it helps to keep those hunger pains to a minimum and makes it easier to cope with limited calories on the fast day.