Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Fasting Reduces Risk Of Getting Cancer

It has been known for some time that having a calorie-restricted diet leads to a longer life. The down part used to be that the research that came up with this result advocated a restriction with as much as 33% of a total 'normal' diet - essentially a life of food deprivation. Now new research has shown that a reduction with as little as 5% may be almost as beneficial - if you eat intermittently (in this experiment, only three days a week). The key seems to be that the cells are made to replicate slower, which means that they get more time to repair damage to their DNA before they divide and that the likelihood to transfer damage to the next generation of cells thus is less.

But the thing that I find most interesting in this release is a chance remark by the author: " No doubt, one would be hard pressed to find people willing to embark on what amounts to a lifetime of food deprivation [...] ".

No, it would be rather easy. They are called fashion-conscious women and are often willing to go to rather extreme measures in order to ensure that they stay really, really thin - basically by eating less calories. It would be really interesting (not to mention ironic) if the crazed ideals of the fashion industry turned out to be efficient "medicine" against cancer.

But anyway, such extreme measures now seem not to be needed. A 5% reduction only amonts to 100 calories per day - equivalent to a slice of bread, or half of a candy bar. Maybe it will be easier to skip that late-night snack if you're not doing it for the beach season but for the increased chance of a healthy life without cancer.

The release, which I found through EurekAlert, is here.

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