Eat, Fast, Live Longer

Written By Claire C

Eat, Fast, Live Longer – BBC Horizon

Originally aired August 6, 2012

In this BBC documentary, journalist Michael Mosley searches for the key to increasing his lifespan through his diet.  After failing to reach his goals using traditional methods of staying healthy, he analyzes various diets meant to improve longevity before he discovers the powers of intermittent fasting.

The Bird’s Eye View:

  • Michael Mosley had been following all the traditional methods for staying healthy, but his body still wasn’t where he wanted it to be
  • He wanted to see if science could offer a different way for him to live longer
  • Then, he discovered the practice of intermittent (alternate day) fasting
    • Not just about what we eat, but when we eat it

Fasting in Practice:

  • Mosley interviewed a 101-year-old marathon runner whose health was in incredible shape
    • He had never had surgery
    • Had no signs of heart disease
    • Was taking no medications
  • Had no particular diet, but believed in reduced portions 
  • He was inadvertently testing a scientific theory linking food with longevity

Fasting Research in Recent History:

  • Great depression: a period of widespread food shortage, would expect lifespan to fall but it actually rose (by about 6 years between 1929 to 1933)
  • Researchers at Cornell University found that when mice restricted how much they ate, they lived longer 

Current Fasting Research:

  • Professor Luigi Fontana at the Washington University School of Medicine has been observing a group of people who have extremely restricted their diets
    • Described them as a “different species,” who are expected to live longer than those around them
  • When compared to Mosley through a group of longevity tests, one of these calorie restrictors performed substantially better
    • Described as essentially “immortal” compared to Mosley, despite all of Mosley’s efforts to follow traditional health guidelines 

Mosley’s Fasting Experience:

  • He started by undergoing a three day fast
    • This fast alone dramatically decreased his risk for various age-related diseases 
  • But, fasting for three days can be difficult for some to maintain, so Mosley explored the practice of intermittent fasting (specifically alternate day fasting)
  • This practice allowed him to restrict his diet on one day and then eat what he wanted the next day
  • Alternate day fasting is believed to have all the same benefits as long-term fasting

More Fasting Flamingo Resources on the Benefits of Fasting: 

Video Description:

Michael Mosley has set himself a truly ambitious goal: he wants to live longer, stay younger and lose weight in the bargain. And he wants to make as few changes to his life as possible along the way. He discovers the powerful new science behind the ancient idea of fasting, and he thinks he’s found a way of doing it that still allows him to enjoy his food. Michael tests out the science of fasting on himself – with life-changing results.

Watch the entire original video here:

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