The Potential Health Benefits of Giving Up Food for a Day
First, let’s be clear: This is in no way a recommendation to starve yourself continually. Indeed, this may never be the proper course of action for you at any point. New research on rhesus monkeys, however, does suggest there are health benefits to episodes of calorie restriction. (During which one either fasts for a day or at least reduces one’s caloric intake drastically.)
Alexandra Sifferlin explored this research for Time. Sifferlin writes:
“The two groups concluded that calorie restriction does benefit rhesus monkeys, and both studies found that these monkeys have fewer health problems. Aging, it appears, can be targeted by fasting, which might be good news for humans, too, the researchers write. Rhesus monkeys and humans age similarly: Their hair grays and thins, and they can develop diseases like diabetes and cognitive decline.”
That said, there are downsides to calorie restriction in humans. Among them: As anyone who has done it knows, it can be a miserable experience. Still, research suggest it may benefit us in a variety of ways, including making chemotherapy more effective and slowing multiple sclerosis. To read more about the pros and cons of calorie restriction, click here. To explore the study on the rhesus monkeys, click here.