Eat, Fast and Live Longer – BBC Horizon programme

Bismillah. Received from Farrukh Younus, with thanks.


Wow! Just watched the Horizon episode entitled ‘Eat, Fast and Live Longer’ where the presenter underwent different types of fasting. Some highlights:

After a 4-day fast, with just water and a cup-a-soup a day, while huge benefits to his health were observed, he opined, “The biggest problem with prolonged fasting is me … Despite knowing all the wonderful benefits, I just can’t bring myself to do it.”

Regarding alternate-day fasting with just one meal at lunch time on the fast day. “As long as you stick to your calorie goals on the fast day you can eat whatever you want on the feed days.”

On the effect on the brain, “Sporadic bouts of hunger trigger new neurones to grow … Fasting stresses your brain matter the way exercise stresses your muscles … Hunger makes you sharper.”

After 5 weeks, on a ‘5 days normal eating and 2 day fasting diet’ he lost a stone in weight and his body fat gell from 27% to below 20%.

IGF-1 is a major risk factor for various types of cancers. Both the 3.5-day fasting and 5 week fasting dropped his IGF-1 by 50%! And his blood sugar levels dropped to 90 (normal).

For those in the UK, I strongly encourage watching the show on the BBC iPlayer: it’s a long one hour but very informative:

And briefly, in Islam, a continuous fast is actually prohibited. However, along with Ramadan, it is recommended to fast any 3 days each month [or 2 days per week, usually Monday and Thursday – U.H.]. While the fasting in the show above include drinking water throughout and eating a single main meal on the fasting days, I can’t help but see a parallel in the advice.

Finally, what struck me in the earlier part of the show was a comment made: that people in poor countries die from a lack of food while people in richer countries die from too much food. May we all find a better balance of food consumption both for improved health as well as continued enjoyment, amen.


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One Response to “Eat, Fast and Live Longer – BBC Horizon programme”

  1. Uthmān Says:

    Let’s also not forget that alternate-day fasting correponds to the fast of Dawud – the best fast, as per the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam).

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