Possible health benefits to fasting

(ABC) — For millions around the globe, the fasting month of Ramadan has begun, and there’s new evidence that occasional fasting might just be good for you.

Fasting, traditionally associated with religion, more recently linked to those who believe it will help them lose weight, live healthier and maybe even longer. These possible effects of controlled fasting have some researchers interested.

A small, new study suggests that carefully controlled episodes of calorie cutting just might have health benefits. The study looked at 19 adults who for five days a month, cut back their calories by half, or even two-thirds. The researchers meticulously planned the nutritional balance of what these subjects ate to ensure they did not become malnourished.

After three months, blood tests of those who intermittently fasted revealed some interesting signs, possible indicators of a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

This study is very preliminary. It didn’t last long enough to see yow these occasional fasters fared in the long run, but it does provide some tantalizing clues as to how periodically cutting back might have benefits going forward.

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