(WASHINGTONPOST) — Fasting has long been acclaimed as an effective way to lose weight, improve the immune system and boost brain function. But doctors have been loathe to recommend it because of the dangers associated with such extreme dieting.
Now scientists say they've developed a five-day, once-a-month diet that mimics fasting — and is safe.
In the study, which was published in the journal Cell Metabolism and funded by the National Institute on Aging, participants who intermittently fasted for three months had reduced risk factors for an amazing range of issues: aging, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease. While the number of study participants was small -- only 19 who tried the diet -- the results are so promising that the University of Southern California researcher who helped develop the regimen is already talking about trying to get approval from the Food and Drug Administration so that it can be recommended for patients.
Advertisement - story continues below