Saturday, 1 September 2012

Mark Butcher emails Michael Mosleys Horizon scientists - One meal on fast days

reposted from:
crabsallover highlightskey pointscomments / links.

I was not clear from the Michael Mosley Horizon film whether on the fast days you could split the 600 calories into 1 meal or up to 3 meals ie 3 x 200 cals. Mark Butcher has found that the 600 calories should be used in 1 meal. Mark Butcher emailed Longo, Mattson and Vardy from the film.

Luigi Fontana 

Advocates fasting (within the context of 24 hours) for as long as possible. He suggests that if you have to consume 5/600 calories then they should be consumed as one meal, very early in the morning so as to maximise the length of the fast.

Valter Longo

With regard to IGF-1 reduction it is better to do 4 days of (consecutive) fasting every few months and then skip meals during the week to maintain weight and try to adopt a plant based low protein diet. An alternative to the 4 days fasting is just to fast on 2 days at a time as in the 5-2 plan but you must also try to move to a healthy diet, plant based and low protein.

Krista A. Varady

With regard to how you should eat (if at all), on a fast day: So far, we have performed studies permitting people to eat 600 kcal between 12pm-2pm. We find that this strategy works well for most people (whereas a complete fast for 24 h does not). We have yet to run a study where we allow people to consume the 600 kcal as 6x100kcal (or 3 x 200 kcal) smaller meals throughout the day. However, we are planning to run this study within the next year. Krista Varady says ‘eating the 500 calorie allowance throughout the day would prevent a persons body going into a fasted state’. Since it is the fasted state that is so beneficial to us, this information is critical.

Mark P. Mattson

1. A complete fast (no food) with hydration maintained with non-caloric beverages will be superior to consuming 600 calories on the fasting days.
2. Eating the 600 calories at one meal will be superior to eating several smaller meals spread throughout the day. By eating only one meal, the body goes essentially 24 hours with no food. This results in adaptive cellular stress responses which we believe is particularly good for the brain.
3. In the case of the 5:2 diet, we do not know whether better health benefits are realized with two consecutive days of fasting versus any two days of fasting during the week.

It would be much better if you could just get through a fast day without eating at all. Obviously, very few people are able to do that, so if you are going to eat a (600 for a man, 500 for a woman) calorie reduced meal, you are much better to consume that as one meal than to spread those calories throughout the day. This is because the stress that going for 24 hours without food places on your brain actually has produced identifiable positive brain responses such as the growth of new brain cells. It’s like a workout for the brain. How to add that into an intermittent fasting or alternate day plan?

Easy. Either, take a note of what time you last ate on the feed day prior to your fast and then do not consume your 600 calorie fast day allowance until 24 hours has past. So, if you ate at 6pm on a feed day, do not eat your 600 calories until 6pm on the fast day. That way, you’ve gone 24 hours without food AND you get to eat (albeit a restricted) dinner! If that doesn’t grab you, eat breakfast on a fast day and then don’t eat again until your breakfast the next day.

Contact Mark Butcher: 

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