Does Intermittent Fasting Increase Human Life Expectancy?

Does Intermittent Fasting Increase Human Life Expectancy?
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Alternate-day modified fasting is put to the test for lifespan extension.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Is it true that alternate-day calorie restriction prolongs life? Doctors have anecdotally attributed improvements in a variety of disease states to alternate-day fasting including asthma, seasonal allergies, autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, infectious diseases like toenail fungus, periodontal disease, and viral upper respiratory tract infections, neurological conditions like Tourette’s syndrome and Meniere’s disease, atrial fibrillation, and menopause-related hot flashes. The actual effect on chronic disease, however, remains unclear.

Alternate-day fasting has been put to the test for asthma in overweight adults. Asthma-related symptoms and control significantly improved, as did their quality of life, including objective measurements of lung function and inflammation, significant improvements in peak airflow, significant improvements in mood and energy. But, their weight improved too—about a 19-pound drop in 8 weeks—so, it’s hard to tease out effects specific to the fasting beyond the benefits we might expect from weight loss by any means. For the most remarkable study on alternate-day fasting, you have to go back more than a half century.

The 2017 cholesterol findings were the most concerning data I could find on alternate-day fasting. The most enticing was published in Spain 61 years earlier, in 1956. The title of the study translates as “The hunger diet on alternate days in the nutrition of the aged.” Inspired by the data being published on life extension with calorie restriction on lab rats, researchers split 120 residents of an old-age home in Madrid into two groups. Sixty residents continued to eat their regular diet, and the other sixty were put on an alternate-day modified fast. On the odd days of the month, they ate a 2,300-calorie regular diet, and on the even days were given only a pound of fresh fruit and a liter of milk, estimated to add up to about 900 calories. This continued for three years. So, what happened?

Over the duration of the study, 13 died in the control group, compared to only 6 in the intermittent fasting group. But those numbers were too small to be statistically significant. What was highly significant was the number of days spent hospitalized. Residents in the control group spent a total of 219 days in the infirmary, whereas the alternate-day fasting group only chalked up 123 days. This is held up as solid evidence that alternate-day fasting may improve one’s health span and potentially even one’s lifespan, but a few caveats must be considered. It’s not clear how the residents were allocated to their respective groups. If instead of being randomized, healthier individuals were inadvertently placed in the intermittent fasting group, that could skew the results in their favor. Also, it appears the director of the study was also in charge of medical decisions at the home. In that role he could have unconsciously been biased towards hospitalizing more folks in the control group. Given the progress that has been made regulating human experimentation, it’s hard to imagine such a trial being run today; and so, we may never know if such impressive findings can be replicated.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: John Moeses Bauan via unsplash. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Is it true that alternate-day calorie restriction prolongs life? Doctors have anecdotally attributed improvements in a variety of disease states to alternate-day fasting including asthma, seasonal allergies, autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, infectious diseases like toenail fungus, periodontal disease, and viral upper respiratory tract infections, neurological conditions like Tourette’s syndrome and Meniere’s disease, atrial fibrillation, and menopause-related hot flashes. The actual effect on chronic disease, however, remains unclear.

Alternate-day fasting has been put to the test for asthma in overweight adults. Asthma-related symptoms and control significantly improved, as did their quality of life, including objective measurements of lung function and inflammation, significant improvements in peak airflow, significant improvements in mood and energy. But, their weight improved too—about a 19-pound drop in 8 weeks—so, it’s hard to tease out effects specific to the fasting beyond the benefits we might expect from weight loss by any means. For the most remarkable study on alternate-day fasting, you have to go back more than a half century.

The 2017 cholesterol findings were the most concerning data I could find on alternate-day fasting. The most enticing was published in Spain 61 years earlier, in 1956. The title of the study translates as “The hunger diet on alternate days in the nutrition of the aged.” Inspired by the data being published on life extension with calorie restriction on lab rats, researchers split 120 residents of an old-age home in Madrid into two groups. Sixty residents continued to eat their regular diet, and the other sixty were put on an alternate-day modified fast. On the odd days of the month, they ate a 2,300-calorie regular diet, and on the even days were given only a pound of fresh fruit and a liter of milk, estimated to add up to about 900 calories. This continued for three years. So, what happened?

Over the duration of the study, 13 died in the control group, compared to only 6 in the intermittent fasting group. But those numbers were too small to be statistically significant. What was highly significant was the number of days spent hospitalized. Residents in the control group spent a total of 219 days in the infirmary, whereas the alternate-day fasting group only chalked up 123 days. This is held up as solid evidence that alternate-day fasting may improve one’s health span and potentially even one’s lifespan, but a few caveats must be considered. It’s not clear how the residents were allocated to their respective groups. If instead of being randomized, healthier individuals were inadvertently placed in the intermittent fasting group, that could skew the results in their favor. Also, it appears the director of the study was also in charge of medical decisions at the home. In that role he could have unconsciously been biased towards hospitalizing more folks in the control group. Given the progress that has been made regulating human experimentation, it’s hard to imagine such a trial being run today; and so, we may never know if such impressive findings can be replicated.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: John Moeses Bauan via unsplash. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

123 responses to “Does Intermittent Fasting Increase Human Life Expectancy?

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  1. What a lovely-looking couple! *_^

    Imaginary Scenario:

    Friend: “Next Thursday is the only day we can all get together for lunch. Otherwise, we have things on the agenda for another month, at least. Are you able to join us on that day? We haven’t seen one another in a very long time.”

    Other Friend: “So sorry! As much as I’d like to see you, I must decline. Thursday is the day I do my intermittent fasting, you see. I’m told that, in order to live longer, I’ll have to take this on for the rest of my life “

    1. I can drink water and watch others eat. Especially if want to be in the company of these persons. I see no problem. Not eating doesn’t mean not living. BUT I SEE no need to fast at all because WFPB eating automagically limits my caloric intake by providing perfect satiety from low-caloric-density foods. Satiety is underrated.

      1. Couldn’t agree with you more. But Dr. Greger just wrote and entire book on dieting. So we’re going to be seeing a lot of videos about that subject now. We don’t need another study demonstrating that a WFPB diet is optimal for health, weight, longevity, disease prevention and reversal. It’s whipping a dead horse. The masses are fascinated by dieting.

        1. Yes, Blair, I agree with you. The masses are indeed fascinated by dieting, but even if it seems citing new studies on the HEALTH benefits of WFPB is “beating a dead horse” the masses (& those of us who try to educate them) still need to present the evidence that while other popular and well-marketed but health-negating diets may promise weight loss,WFPB can accomplish the results, weight loss, that the dieters want while preserving their health. So it seems quite reasonable to focus on both the health benefits and the weight loss bonus of WFPB.

      2. I would tell anyone not to fast, and not to “diet”
        Someone told my friend he needs to diet and he said….I did last night…. brown, started getting too much grey.

    2. YR, re: “What a lovely-looking couple! *_^”

      I’m wondering how they got me in that picture. I’m sure that’s me with the white hat on ;-)

        1. YR, I had completely forgotten about our dancing! I have to remember to take my memory pills :-)
          BTW, you have very cute hair. And, yes, we should get compensated for their using our pictures, but then again, we could just chalk it up to a charity donation to the website.

    3. Now that Tom Hanks is going to play Mr. Rogers, I thought I would look up some information about him and how he died. It turns out that he was a vegan and never drank or smoked. He wound up dying from stomach cancer. What would cause that in a person who was very careful about what they ate and didn’t drink or smoke?

      1. ‘Vegan’ diets aren’t necessarily healthy. White bread,, chips and jam are ‘vegan’ but they aren’t necessarily healthy.

        Also, stomach cancer is or was quite common in certain Asian countries (eg Japan, Korea and some parts of China) where few animal foods were consumed in the traditional diet but sodium consumption was high..

        1. The reason I think Mr. Rogers died from stomach cancer at age 74. He did many commendable things all around which are well known.

          But, he used to go swimming for 30 minutes every day for decades and decades and although it is good exercise their is a “heck of lot of chlorine” in swimming pools.
          Think about that. You are bathing in chemicals daily. He didn’t know that at that time.

    1. “….the even days were given only a pound of fresh fruit and a liter of milk, estimated to add up to about 900 calories.”
      – – – – –

      For you veganites, the milk would have to be plant-based milk, of course. And I’m wondering what kind of fresh fruit would be allowed. Or would it matter?

        1. Fasting is the willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast or dry fasting is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period.

        1. Wouldn’t the body release more fat from stores to make up for the calorie reduction? That doesn’t seem that odd to me. Other wise how would we burn it? Or are you saying our body burns the fat in the location it stores it, meaning it doesn’t have to be transported in the vascular system?

        2. Higher serum cholesterol because it’s being released from the artery walls were it was stored and is now being metabolized and removed from the body? That would be a good thing.

          1. Hi, ron! Serum cholesterol sometimes increases during weight loss, presumably because of fat being released from the body. Overall that does seem to be a good thing in the long run, if it stabilizes later. The main concern here is that it seemed to increase more in the alternate day fasting group than in the daily calorie restriction group. The reasons for this are not entirely clear. Could it be that the alternate day fasting group lost more fat? We don’t know, until we put it to the test! I hope that helps!

            1. As I explained in a comment of the other video, higher calories meals in the alternate day fasting implies higher bile acids synthesis which is tight to cholesterol. The body needs more bile acids, so it also needs more cholesterol, and that may be why the cholesterol increases in this group compared to the calorie restriction group.

      1. Barb, doesn’t the WFPB diet give you that already? It’s promised to do wonders!

        As for better mood, are you saying you drag yourself around all day, snarling, growling and kicking the dog? Or the poor little cat? Hey now, that’s no good!

        1. I should have quoted you before hitting the “reply” button:

          “Increased lung function, lower inflammation, better mood, higher energy, and weight loss – I’m in!”

        2. When I started wfpb years ago, I didn’t have an idea of what it would do, but again, I wasn’t eating SAD to start with. Excluding dairy made a difference healthwise, and doctors are impressed. But, I do a lot of exercise and drag my butt around between times. Sleep and mood could be improved greatly, and I don’t mind trying. I don’t call it fasting though… I agree with Wade here. It seems to me to be a form of calorie restriction.

          Just as an aside, I think much of the world (including our neghbourhood) must think we are crazy to ‘pay’ for info on how to eat nothing lol.

          1. “…and mood could be improved greatly,”
            – – – – –

            Still, Barb, don’t mind my needlin’ you, but just how “moody” are you? Specialist Dr. YR wants to know!

            Personally, I pretty upbeat most of the time. Y’know…..looking forward to my next yummy meal and all that. :-)

              1. Hmmm…..which to choose: Be moody but really really smart, or Pollyanna through life and be on the dumb-ish side. Barb, were you always the smartest kid in class and always raising your hand?

                I wonder, though, if more highly intelligent do themselves at a higher than than do the dummies (no matter what their diets). Has there ever been a statistical study on this?

                Seems to me they do studies about everything else under the sun….including how long does it take to grow our toenails, and which one seems to grow faster than the others. The big toe grows faster? Very important to know stuff like this.

  2. Imagine if you fasted with your paycheck and got paid every other month
    or you completely shut off your hvac unit every other day then turned it back on
    or every other fuel refill you alternated with regular and then next time premium and then you got
    complicated and put in gumout and octane booster etc even though the owners manual said
    unleaded regular.
    Is anyone on here a Registered Dietician? What do you think of a RD?
    There was an ad in the paper for a RD and next to it was an ad….Funeral direct wanted…
    must be dead serious.

    1. Funeral direct wanted…
      must be dead serious.

      Our town has had the same family doing all of the funerals of everybody for so long and they genuinely are dead serious.

      No sense of humor at all.

      My family does have funny funerals, generally. Though the younger generation doesn’t know how to do it.

  3. I know it’s not related to the video but do you have any suggestions for someone with chronic Lyme disease and blood sugar issues (suspected reactive hypoglycemia) – my dad suffers from both. He avoids most carbs as they have a high glycemic index, which makes it very hard for me to advocate for a wfpb diet for him as it is so high in carbs! any help would be hugely appreciated.

    1. Joe,

      Dr. Greger hasn’t weighed in on Lyme yet.

      Dr. McDougall’s blog on the matter came up first when I Googled it.

      He basically says to avoid refined foods, saturated fats/oils, and sugar.

      https://www.drmcdougall.com/health/education/health-science/common-health-problems/hypoglycemia/

      There are sites where people went vegan to help with Lyme. I would look at sites like for testimonials.

      https://happyhealinvegan.com/2018/03/01/why-i-went-vegan-to-heal-lyme-disease/

    2. Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Micheal Greger, etc all have books on reversing type 2 by simply switching to a WFPB diet. There is an entire industry whose business is to manage type 2. They advocate low carbs. They aren’t interested in preventing or reversing type 2. They make money off type 2 patients. See the documentary “What the Health” on NetFlix.

    1. Low carbers like Fung make all sorts of claims. Especially when they are selling stuff. What do scientific trials show?

      Some of his beliefs appear kooky (well, he is a low carber); For example, he thinks that dietary saturated fat is protective.
      https://idmprogram.com/saturated-fat-heart-disease-hormonal-obesity-xxxvii/

      Yes, T2D can be reversed by weight loss, fasting, calorie restriction and bariatric surgery.also. Not everybody but many people. What is the safest and most effective option though?

      Some of what fung says may be correct and helpful. But some of his beliefs appear simply wacky. Caveat emptor.

  4. The research study reported in 1956 states that “On the odd days of the month, they ate a 2,300-calorie regular diet.” That seems like a high calorie diet for residents of an old age home. Both my husband and I were surprised by that. I don’t think we eat that much: though we are still active, we move less than we did when we were younger, and we feel as though our metabolism has slowed, and so our appetites decreased accordingly. And we do eat a Whole Food Plant Based diet. But perhaps these residents in the study were more active than we are, living at home?

    1. LOL Dr J, I thought the same. That is a thousand calories more than I can eat, and I am very active! (plus, I can’t imagine eating 2300 cal of hospital/old age home food…ugggh)
      While the studies are very interesting to read, I have found over the years that the results are not often applicable to me simply because they are not starting with a wfpb population to study.
      I will give this idea another go, but the 900 cal also seems high to me. Usually you see 25% of regular calories which for me would be under 400 ie breakfast.
      At any rate, if it helps with exercise asthma, I will be delighted.

    2. Perhaps they just gave them more than usual on the non-fasting days to ensure that their (weekly) average calorie consumption was unchanged.

        1. Mr. Fumblefingers,

          But the control group was eating about 2300 calories every day. Or so I assumed from the statement in the video: “On the odd days of the month, they [the study subjects] ate a 2,300-calorie regular diet.” Thus, the “regular diet” was about 2300 calories a day. Which seems high to me. For the control group. Who were residents of an “old age home in Madrid,” and were presumably old. And eating the 2300 calorie per day regular diet. Which seems high to me for older people. Especially because I don’t know how much walking the residents of an old age home are doing any more (in reference to an earlier comment).

          1. Dr J

            The original (Spanish) article is behind a paywall so I couldn’t personally check what the control group was eating. However, Dr Greger cites an English language paper which refers to that study and it says that the control group ate ad libitum.

  5. Ok, but even without the flaws in the study, isn’t it just an organized way of practicing CALORIE RESTRICTION? We know calorie restriction can increase longevity and markers in health but so does a healthy plant based diet. Plus, I would imagine that no matter how you’re doing it–calorie restriction, fasting or otherwise–if you’re eating a westernized diet, reducing your consumption of unhealthy foods is going to improve markers in health and probably make you live longer.

    1. And couldn’t the fruit have interfered with the results? Adding a pound of fruit to one’s regular diet could be attributed to a longer health span i.e less hospitalization.

        1. My mother is an an assisted living center and the food is generally good quality and very tasty. However, I for the life of me, don’t understand why they serve white bread rolls, and desert with every meal, especially for a diabetic?
          End

          1. My cousin said that they served mashed potatoes with gravy and rolls with butter every single meal.

            He said that the meat changed, but it would be fish with mashed potatoes with gravy and a white roll with butter every single day and, yes, he is a Diabetic.

            He is a feisty one and after a few weeks he threatened to decorate the walls with mashed potatoes if they kept doing it, but they kept doing it.

            1. The cooks/dietitians in these places in these places have a tiny food budget.

              This is usually calculated as a few dollars per day per resident with some crude nutrient targets to hit (the facilities have to make a handsome profit, don’t you know). This restricts the food choices available since most Anglos won’t eat rice or noodles etc as a staple..

            2. Wow Deb, I know not many places are like where my mother stays. But mash potatoes with fish is gross and mash potatoes everyday would make me crazy. And with what I know about food I would think they were poisoning me. Mom does get stuff like cole slaw , beets , fresh onions and homegrown tomatoes, cantaloupe out of their garden. Not sure what all they grow but it’s a pretty big vegetable garden.

              They set it up where they have a full time grounds keeper, who also raises the garden.

              End

  6. It’s so easy to find ethical ways of experimenting on humans whereas it’s never ethical to use animals… For one thing, we have prisons full of people and they’re already eating crap, I assume… It would be so easy to control their diets.

      1. I’m aware of that and the many atrocities of mankind through the ages and present time, but I’m simply commenting on the available possibilities of ethically conducting human research. The current go-to, animal testing, is not an ethical possibility nor does it yield relevant results, scientist seem to be confused about this.

            1. Y, S, and Gengo,

              What you notice is that whether experimenting on humans or animals, it is always the vulnerable populations who get experimented on.

              And far too often the people devising the experiments are ridiculously cruel and inhumane and they like power and money a little too much.

              1. “….and they like power and money a little too much.”
                – – – – –

                Little by little it’s being revealed to the world just how widespread the despicable practice of child trafficking and satanism is and has been. Biggie names in government, show biz, medicine, Big Pharma, royalty, religion, etc. are involved. These rotten sickos even rape infants still in the crib. :-(

        1. When I mow the lawn should I feel bad about the tires and blades chopping off the heads and or squishing all the many insects and living creatures?

          1. Feeling bad accomplishes nothing. But you may wonder why you feel compelled to engage in a practice that is so violent to living creatures. I’m biased because I hate mowing but I am continually reducing lawn area by replacing it with native plant landscaping and food gardens. This increases the number of creatures in my yard. Mine is the firefly yard in the neighborhood.

            As a matter of health, being around a small gas powered motor is not good for anyone so I switched to electric.

              1. The counter to a rhetorical ad absurdium argument is to address the absurdity with serious consideration. Besides I hate mowing lawns and consider the whole notion that we waste time and resources mowing lawns to be a tragic absurdity. Lawns trigger me.

            1. Jack,

              I like that people are trying to make decisions to do less harm.

              That is different than being perfect.

              But it is a life-filled direction.

              Insects are going to get more and more complicated.

              My cousin’s friend just lost someone a month ago to encephalitis from mosquitoes. The towns near me shut down things like town fairs and outdoor activities and told people to not go outside.

              I like being vegan and not being part of mass torture of animals, but I know that the new techniques where mosquitos are tricked into feeding on something other than humans and animals and they stop breeding or whatever that science is may save countless lives.

            1. You can call me by my real name…..Moe Telsiks …… and we’ll leave the light on for ya

              If you went to prison for 2 minutes to pick up a pair of suspenders that got caught holding up a pair of pants
              and brought them back home you’d be calling yourself Gravity.

              1. Yerky, that was pretty groan-worthy. :-0

                Just so you know, Moe: Reality bites, here, frowns on clever punsters like yourself.

                P.S. Your beds have bedbugs.

          2. Only if you feel badly about swatting a mosquito or squashing an ant. Do you let flies crawl on your skin? Personally, I don’t bother insects- as long as they stay out of the house. If i step on them when I’m walking on a path, well, it’s their fault for not staying out of the way.

            1. >>> Only if you feel badly about swatting a mosquito or squashing an ant. Do you let flies crawl on your skin?

              Actually, I do feel bad about squishing an ant. Perhaps a consequence of having an ant farm when I studied them in grade school. I don’t group them with possibly dangerous pests like mosquitoes or ticks, Those I kill without compunction. Ants, spiders, and other little creatures are a totally different matter, and I routinely escort them outside rather than end their harmless and often fascinating lives.

              1. Yes, it’s often a dilemma when it comes to killing the little thingies. Should I squash it with my foot or scoop it up with a cloth and usher it out the door? I’m prone to do the latter.

                I know someone who has no qualms when it comes to killing them. He’ll say, “Good luck in your next incarnation! We are all part of ONE….the circle of life & all that.” (Hmmm….so if I chow down into a (cooked) chicken leg, I’m actually eating myself?

                https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/137/religion-god-theology/what-about-insects-1747955/

              2. gengo, I agree with what you said about swatting mosquitoes; it’s a battle I don’t mind fighting. And OMG, I hope I never run into a tick!

                I recently read that research indicates mosquitoes find the blood of those with type O to be the tastiest. Mine is 0+, but I can’t say I’ve been bitten for the past several years. Must be doing something right.

                  1. Yes, possibly. But I think it depends on how “happily” one was when one swatted the mosquito. If said friend had yelled (or thought) “Die! Die! Die, you despicable bug!” with hate-filled eyeballs, well, that might determine his fate.

                    Supposedly, it’s the “intention,” not necessarily the act. If the mosquito landed on the tip of his nose, ready to attack, he could have said/thought, “Oh, sorry, little guy; I must scratch my nose and you seem to be in the way. Ooops, I didn’t mean to “move” you so forcefully!”

                    And then he’d be in the clear regarding his (the human’s) next go-around. Or something. :-D

          3. Yerky,

            I was at an event a few weeks ago and the people were against things like not using plastic bags or just any environmental controls. It is older people who just thought it was ridiculous and I probably used to think things like that were pretty ridiculous, too, when I was young.

            When I was young I ate meat and I fished with my brothers and I watched my uncles hunting and had a logic which allowed for all of it.

            I didn’t want to recycle and all sorts of things.

            Now, I think of the billion pounds of trash going from ships into the ocean and the images of the animals being treated so poorly.

            No, I don’t have much compassion when a mosquito lands on me, but the fact that their numbers can be lowered without pesticides or other ways by giving them the wrong fluid and then they just won’t be able to breed is a creative way to do things.

            No, I will not judge you if you smack a mosquito or put your pet down or if you use plastic bags.

            But the more people who choose compassion and good stewardship of the earth the better.

            1. I have had times in my life when I felt emotional about cutting the grass.

              I don’t like messing up ecosystems.

              I also maybe feel like people are so ownership oriented that the song Thry paved paradise and put up a parking lot is more and more accurate.

              And it isn’t free parking, I tell you that.

          4. Yerky, pretty unintelligent of you–to put it nicely–to see people conducting the ethical and logical practice of respecting fellow life and then “challenging” that which should be innate empathy, integrity, and decency, with ridiculous notions of “if I have to accidentally kill a bug then what’s the point in caring about any other life” type of half-cocked–to put it nicely–reasoning. Think on this for a moment, if there’s hope for you, you’ll catch on at just how gross that is and decide you don’t want to actually be that person.

            And if you’re seriously looking for an answer to that rhetoric, well then I would say that yes, you should feel bad, just like I feel bad when I incidentally harm the butterfly eggs on my kale leaves that is unavoidable in gardening… While I’d prefer not to, it would be impractical to not eat because of it, so I feel bad but accept it as part of natural reality. That is not to say that I should just go ahead and slaughter an animal to indulge in their flesh or secretions because sometimes a bug gets harmed in the way of harvesting crops. But yes, feel bad because it will make you a better person and I think we should all have that kind of empathy, but accept what you can’t help beyond doing your best to be a good stewart to the earth and all life on it. And on the topic of mowing lawns, it’s always good to be present when doing it so as to avoid any little froggies or bunny nests.

        2. S,

          I am not so sure that there are always ways to do research on humans.

          It is probably illegal for one thing.

          You can’t just do a procedure or test a medicine on people.

          For instance, they are closer to being able to do kidney transplants from 3-D laser printed organs, and hundreds of thousands of people are waiting for transplants, but they can’t just put them in.

          They already can print them, but they have to hook them up and those are the types of things that value systems get exposed.

          Logic is so powerful. People will either care more or care less and they will either justify everything or they will care enough to try to do better.

          There is always logic involved and that fascinates me.

          People say the same sentences to justify things.

          Sometimes the logic gets thrown out and change happens.

          When we were young they would tell people to eat every bite because of the starving people in China (I think it was China though I don’t mentally have a concept of China being where people were starving. Ethiopia. Cambodia…. etc but somehow maybe I missed the documentary on the starving people in China.)

          I think that saying is retired because of obesity. A logic switch happened.

          1. Deb,
            >>> I am not so sure that there are always ways to do research on humans.

            One major issue is that a vast amount of animal research, probably the majority, is bad science done by mediocre scientists that will never help anyone in any meaningful way. One key issue is that not being able to do certain experiments on people ethically does not by itself justify experimenting on animals. But since this is off topic and a controversial one at that, I’ll not belabor these points.

            1. You’re right, gengogakusha. It shouldn’t be controversial though, it’s pretty blatantly simple stuff… You don’t torture others. It’s considered unethical to do to humans because humans can speak, animals don’t have that voice so… Poor science is only one of the things it takes to even consider vivisection.

              1. Right, I agree it should not be controversial but speciesism seems obviously justified by many. A film showing vivesection shown in an embryology class many decades ago was a turning point in my own thinking.
                Turned my stomach.

          2. Deb, it’s true that they have AMAZING technology now to do simulated human testing. But I’m just saying that I think that it’s incredibly easy to do ethical testing of things like controlled diets so long as there are prisons. I’m not saying torture prisoners, I’m just saying it wouldn’t be unethical to observe and place them on controlled diets so long as we’re not talking about feeding them battery acid or something. Even unhealthy diets, there would be plenty of volunteers among prisoners to eat a twinkie with every meal should a team of scientists find a useful study where such a twinkie-eating group is needed.

    1. Forced or coerced participation even on humans is not considered ethical. Prisoners are not there voluntarily so force and coercion are built in. Feeding prisoners is of course ethical but the instant you begin a study requiring behavior from the prisoners such as eating a particular diet you have an ethics hurdle for studies. Plus prisons really don’t want advertisement that prisoners are fed poorly.

      Earlier you said this may just be a structured caloric restriction and that is indeed exactly what it is.

      1. Jack, not a bad point. However, say they conducted a study of switching prisoners to a healthy plant based diet, it would be hard to construe that as unethical. I actually think there was a prison that did that and noted the psychological changes for the better, but I read about that years ago. Anyway, you do have a very good point in any case, but I personally think there’s room for some leeway.

  7. 16/8
    16/8
    16/8

    This makes sense
    Easy to do and put on autopilot

    Could you please address this ?????
    I believe the science is already there
    Low-hanging fruit

    Bless you

  8. Half as many days hospitalised is not the same as no days. What they were hospitalised for? You would certainly need to know that.

    You can make results sound better than they are just by how you say them.

  9. The study participants apparently also were given a substantial caloric restriction in addition to the altered timing of eating (limited to 3200 calories over two days).  In addition, on the fast days they consumed a very low methionine diet of 900 calories: only fruit and milk were permitted. Other articles by Dr. Greger suggest that methionine restriction is linked to longevity and gives the same benefits as extreme caloric restriction. So this leads to the question of whether the health and longevity benefits noted were due more to the restriction of methionine, to the moderate caloric restriction, or to the alternate day fasting schedule for meals.

    1. Hi, Caroline! You raise a good point. The Spanish study was not a high-quality trial, for many reasons which are described in the video, including ethical concerns, sample size, lack of randomization, and likelihood of bias. The study also failed to control for confounding variables, such as methionine, as you point out. We are not suggesting that this study is the gold standard, by any means. I hope that helps!

  10. After seeing some comments on other blogs, I found this article https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15833943

    It seems there can be gender differences in responses to alternate day fasting.( Perhaps other forms of intermittant fasting too, idk ) This is a small study, but the men appeared to benefit by lower insulin levels, and women experienced no change. Glucose response
    in women became slightly impaired after several weeks.

    1. Interesting study, Barb.

      Shows just how little is known about this and related topics for sure. I think people, understandably looking for answers to health problems, get way ahead of the science.

    2. Barb,

      That’s an interesting find.

      I don’t fast. I don’t even like to skip meals. I haven’t done a fasting blood test in years — and fasting blood tests are no longer recommended as standard practice (hallelujah!). I eat small meals and small snacks throughout the day; I guess I’m a grazer. I avoid processed food and all animal products. I’m at a “healthy” weight now (5 pounds more than I weighed in HS, when I was almost skinny), and I feel relatively healthy.

      I’m curious about the health effects of fasting, but I probably wouldn’t do it myself. Maybe for good reasons.

      1. Dr J, thanks as always for your comments! After spending a fair amount of my time on NF over the years, a couple of things have become apparent to me.

        One is that in the studies we are researching, I often notice a difference between the results women and men have for a given treatment, food, drug etc. And further, a difference between younger women and postmenopausal women.

        The other thing I notice is that plant docs (most of them) will quote stats for ‘best results’, which is most often, the results men can attain for a given treatment, food etc.

        So for example, if I hear one of the docs say ” lowers heart disease by 40% !” , and I go check it, invariably it is the results men got in the study.. the women, not so much.

        Women appear to respond differently, even to wfpb eating in general. You can see this illustrated for example in the Adventist trials where male vegans rocked it, but the female pescatarians did better than vegans) .

        I am mentioning all this to you because I know you have a science background and that you too might keep a look out for these discrepancies.

  11. I am getting on and off inner ear twitches of the inner ear muscles. They sound like a microphone being tapped in my ear and happen in 12 hour periods once they are set off until it dies down. I have had this for 6 months and have tried 4 doctors and they are not sure what to do so I am pushing for a referal but I know the power of plants as I have been vegan for 10 months now. Is there a mineral/vitamin/foodstuff that may help with my situation? I do have a deviated septum that affects the same nostril on the same side of my ear and am prone to allergies and sniffy nose. I hope you can help

    Thanks

    1. hi Alex, well, congratulations on changing your diet ! Ear troubles are not pleasant, but if you can get referred to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist you will get your situation diagnosed and resolved. I did find this link that explains a condition, middle ear myoclonus, and typical treatments, from botox (temporary relief) to surgery (permament relief)
      https://www.tinnitusformula.com/library/understanding-how-middle-ear-myoclonus-causes-tinnitus/
      In the meantime, if I were in your shoes, I would make sure to get enough magnesium in my diet to help with muscle spasm. Best of luck!

    2. Hi, Alex! You might be interested in this information: https://www.healthline.com/health/eardrum-spasm Increasing your intake of dark green leafy vegetables, such as collards and kale, might reduce the muscle spasms. Congestion could also contribute by affecting pressure in the ear. Some people find that fresh, raw pineapple (not cooked or canned), which is rich in the enzyme bromelain, eases congestion. I hope that helps!

    1. Robert, I think it depends upon whether you’re talking yogurt made from animal (cow’s) milk or from plant-based milk This NF site is pretty much anti-cow’s milk.

      A regular internet search might bring you some answers.

  12. What about athletes who follow a whole foods plant-based diet and are at a lean healthy weight, almost on the verge of being underweight. I feel like the main concern here is getting enough calories in to fuel their activities and so as not to dip down into a lower-than-ideal weight category. It would seem to me, then, that intermittent fasting and/or calorie restriction would be bad in this case, right? Are the test subjects whose health improves when restricting calories/fasting really just lacking exercise?!

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