Can this diet ward off can­cer?

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

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

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