Friday, August 24, 2012

Ever Heard of ADF?

Ever heard of ADF?

Amanda Thomas for UK Health Radio

The other day I saw a documentary on TV featuring a doctor who was looking into longevity.  I was only half watching it when suddenly something caught my attention.  The doctor was being shown a couple of quite cute looking mice.  Mother and baby I assumed, judging by their size.   No, the serious looking scientist in charge of the rodents explained.   The little mouse had simply made better food choices; or rather had them made for him, and had eaten less than his bigger brother.   The expectation was that the small one would live one third longer than the large one.

The programme went on to look at the latest thinking on eating less and living longer. It explained the benefits of fasting and the different ways of doing it. The benefits of fasting do not only include weight loss, but also supply a further benefit of restricting our production of growth factor (IGF1).  This is where it got really interesting.   It seems that fasting triggers the body to begin to repair cells instead of rapidly replacing them, as is the case when HGF1 is in control. I like things that have a scientific argument to back them up that I can relate to.  I can see the advantage of cells being repaired rather than added to. There will be less to go wrong in the decay/development process.

Done properly, fasting can help prevent many of the diseases of middle and old age, including the development of type two diabetes, dementia, heart disease and strokes. I was very impressed by the evidence presented by this programme.  There were three main options although I am sure that this is something that could be tailored to fit lifestyle.  First there was a three day fast.  Nothing except black tea, water and a low calorie soup here and there.   This, I quickly decided, in the interest of my sanity and everyone else’s, would not be for me.   The second method was ADF (Alternate day fasting) This appealed to me more as it involved eating whatever you wanted on the day you were not fasting and then sticking to 400 - 500 calories for women and 500 - 600 for men on fast days.   There is also the 5/2 fasting regime. This is 5 days normal eating and 2 days of restricted calories in the same amounts as with the ADF.
I have started the ADF myself and although with a busy social life it may not always be easy to stick to the ADF timetable, I will not be too rigid over it, just make sure that I get in the fast days where I can.   And being able to eat what you want the next day has not had the effect you might think it would.  I thought that I might be so hungry I would scoff everything in sight.  But no, in fact although I had good meals I did not overeat and I think the fasting also makes you eat less.  So I will see how it all works out and let you know.  If you think you might like to try this, don’t forget to check with your doctor first.

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