Intermittent fasting is a recent buzzword which refers to regular episodic fasting. Probably this has become most well known in the UK through the 5-2 diet popularised on TV by Michael Mosely.
Why would we dream of forgoing food for hours or even days? There are several good reasons:
- give the insulin system a rest in order to reset the pancreas beta cells and experience many health benefits of low insulin
- lose weight
- allow our bodies to obtain energy through the fat burning metabolic pathway
- cleanse the gastro-intestinal tract by just allowing liquids to flush through the system
- experience heightened mental acuity
In fact it is specifically the first of these reasons which has excited the medical world recently by the rediscovery that an initial fasting regime followed by a diet low in insulin producing sugars and carbohydrates can reverse type 2 diabetes in most cases. See this video by Jason Fung, consultant nephrologist at The Corporate Medical Centre, Ontario for a clear and detailed explanation.
Of course we could all benefit by applying in a moderate and consistent way the principles of intermittent fasting – whether in the 5-2 format, by a complete fast on 2 of 7 days or by fasting on alternate days.