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BBC Eat, fast and live longer, brilliant. Is this the answer?

Everybody should watch this program, especially those who want to live longer and avoid cancer and alzheimer’s disease.

BBC Horizon Eat, fast and live longer

The program shows that by fasting our bodies start to repair our cells and even grow new brain cells. The host Michael Mosley examined the science behind fasting, and acted as a human guinea pig testing recommended ways of fasting with amazing results.

If anyone has tried this we welcome your comments below.


  1. Hi,

    I haven’t tried fasting but know someone who would do it regularly, I think 1 day every other week. She did it as part of a body cleansing spiritual exercise, and appeared healthy overall.
    What surprised me the most was that even when the fasting day took place on a work day she’d do her software development job as normal (as far as I could tell, maybe her productivity and quality of work tanked and I was not in a position to see it 😀 ).
    I think I would struggle very much with fasting or even the 600 kcal intake day. I can feel the impact in my concentration levels at work and from my physical performance at the gym when my meals have not been “just right”.

    What this documentary reminded me is that when we were cavemen and cavewomen, some days we’d be successful at hunting and gathering food, and some days we’d have to fast. Surely our bodies are still tuned for that, if we consider how long we’ve been primitive and how recent this civilization thing is.

    To give fasting a try sounds tricky. While adjusting to it, I can either sacrifice my work performance if I fast during the week, or I can sacrifice the quality of my leisure time if I do it on a weekend. It just sounds more likely I’ll wait for a magic supplement that will decrease the IGF1 thing.

    Any reactions from the “we need year on year growth” grocery retail camp?

  2. rosiestaal says:

    Since watching the Horizon programme I have been inspired to live on the 5:2 intermittent fasting regime (i.e. fast or very low-cal for two days, normal eating for five days) and I find it suits me really well and fits easily into my lifestyle. The fasting days have no effect on my energy levels and I can still walk at least 10,000 steps and run my usual five miles or so without any signs of wilting. The non-fasting days do not, I am pleased to say, see me bingeing to make up for the deficit – in fact, if anything, the habit of much-restricted calorie intake makes it feel wrong to over-eat on ‘normal’ days.
    It’s early days yet, but I like this new regime and I intend to stick with it because it makes me feel energised and I enjoy it. Whether it has any effect on health or brain cells or longevity remains to be seen!

    • bigbarnblog says:

      Fantastic, thanks Rosie. I have not tried it yet as I am worried I might lose weight and get grouchy on the fasting days. I think with a bit of planning however it might not be too bad. What do you eat on your fasting days?

      • rosiestaal says:

        I guess you’d only feel grouchy if (a) you allow yourself to get the grumps and (b) if you don’t eat the right food, however little of it there might be. The same applies to your concern about losing weight, although I know some people use this 5:2 IF regime as a means of doing so.
        I am far from being any sort of expert, honestly, but by trial and error I have found that I am comfortable if I eat about 450 cals on fasting days, starting with oat bran, berries, flax seed and a splodge of yogurt, and progressing through the day with variations on a theme of salad, veg, nuts, and maybe an egg or half an avocado if I’m feeling particularly self-indulgent. (You may gather from this that I am not a meat-eater.)
        You are absolutely right that planning is key. Stumbling into a day without having given the ‘fasting food’ any thought is not good and once or twice I have had to put it off to the next day to give myself a chance to get organised – or as organised as I’m ever likely to be, which isn’t saying much.
        Going back to your fears of being grouchy: yes, I understand that, but I reckon that would only happen if you were resentful and didn’t really want to be doing it. It all comes down to being in the right frame of mind to want to make changes.
        Here endeth the lesson!

  3. Ewien says:

    Interesting documentary … I would like to have more info on a good “fasting” diet for the 600 kcal. Can some one give me some input on that? Any links perhaps?

  4. Jane says:

    I’ve just finished my 3rd stint of 2 days low calorie intake (500 cals for me as I’m female) per week. I’ve discovered that it is best to keep active as this takes your mind off your hunger, but it is harder to do any intensive exercise on those days.

    Another tip: bag of salad leaves is great at only 22 calories, and oatmeal porridge made with soya milk and a teaspoon of honey. I recommend electronic scales which i bought for £9 from Asda to weigh foods.

  5. Alice says:

    We have followed this diet since the programme – Thurs and Fri fast then normal diet the other days. Difficult to start with, we are now used to it and actually find we feel particularly good (physically) on the fast days. We lost 2 lb per fast day but put back some of this on the other days but overall both of us are 3/4 stone lighter than when we began. We are keen to carry on. As already mentioned by others, we find we sometimes eat out of boredom so it’s good to keep busy on the fast days.

  6. steve gorham says:

    i have been doing the alternate day fast since the program was shown. So far I have lost a stone, my blood pressure is spot on, ecg bang on and pulse rate is 55bpm. Cholestral level has gone from 6.6 to 5.2, dermatitis has cleared up and my chronic dandruff problem is completely gone.

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