Fasting and Biology


Anchor lead: How can fasting be good for us? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Voluntarily restricting food intake allows our metabolism to use stored fat as an energy source, with a recent review paper by Mark Mattson, a neurosciences researcher at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues, finding multiple benefits. And Mattson says there is a biological basis for why it may be a healthy choice.

Mattson: Animals in the wild, including our human ancestors, before the agricultural revolution and before there was food constantly available, lived in environments where food was sparse and they didn’t wake up in the morning and have food waiting for them. They had to spend a lot of energy as well as mental effort to figure out where the food is and how to acquire it. As far as we can tell from modern day hunter gatherers we’re geared genetically to go extended time periods without food and be able to function well.   :32

Mattson says people can tailor their own fasting strategies to suit their needs. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.