Can this diet ward off cancer?
LONDON: It is often said you are what you eat – but when you eat may be just as important.
Researchers say we are not designed for three meals a day – and having longer periods of little or no food could be good for us. They claim intermittent diets, such as the “5:2” pattern of drastically cutting calories two days a week, could help ward off diseases, including breast cancer.
An international team of researchers reviewing the findings say constantly eating is “abnormal” in evolutionary terms. They say early humans would have eaten sporadically and the habit of three meals a day was established only after the agricultural revolution.
British dietician Dr Michelle Harvie, one of the paper’s authors, has carried out research showing a low-calorie diet on two-consecutive days a week leads to more weight loss than constantly dieting.
It is thought severely reducing calories for a short period triggers changes that do not occur if calories are cut just a little each day.
Dr Harvie, of Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention, showed that dieting two days a week cut insulin and leptin – hormones that can fuel breast cancer.
She said: “When your body is in a fed state… cells are in growth mode… It is only in a fasting state that your body goes into repair… and is protected against disease.”
Cancer Research UK’s Tom Stansfeld said more research was needed into the long-term effects of intermittent dieting. – Daily Mail