Research suggests that constantly eating less or fasting on alternate days for example might grant us a longer life but would this reward beset by perpetual gustatory deprivation justify such ongoing misery? Mercifully similar exploration of the dietary interventions that might help us to live healthier and extended lives suggests that at least on some days not eating beyond the late afternoon might approximate the benefits of always eating less or spending a whole day not eating at all. The trick of telling our bodies that we are depriving it of food which sets of all sorts of biochemical survival mechanisms which might allow us to live longer appears to be connected with the hormone melatonin.
We start manufacturing this hormone at night around 10pm and it sets to work igniting cancer protective and a host of salvaging and salubrious chemical pathways that help to cleanse and rejuvenate our cells. The more distant our eating behaviour from the time when this hormone is triggered the more it is activated and the greater its benefits. Eating a late meal dulls its presence and the potential anti-ageing advantage is lost.
Another strategy which might confer the upside of prolonged fasting is what is called the fasting-mimicking diet (FMD). FMD is a low-calorie/low protein diet with plant-based ingredients. This has been shown to make mice smarter and leaner with stronger immune systems, a nice bonus with the coronavirus incessantly hovering around our beings. All we humans might need to do is to adopt the FMD way of eating for a few days every 2-3 months to realise these benefits and live longer, healthier lives.