LIFESTYLE

The 5:2 Diet Could Help You Live Longer, Study Finds

26/11/2014 13:24 GMT | Updated 26/11/2014 13:59 GMT

Once the eating regime of celebrities, the 5:2 diet has been whole-heartedly embraced by the masses in the past couple of years.

And there's good news for anyone who's giving it a go - partial fasting routines may improve life expectancy.

A new study titled 'Meal Frequency and Timing in Health and Disease' suggests our modern habit of eating three meals (plus snacks) per day is "abnormal" in terms of human evolution.

It adds that calorie restriction diets like the 5:2 may even protect against diseases including cancer and Alzheimer’s.

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The study looked over 80 previous scientific papers around diet and health.

It concluded that intermittent eating - such as eating normally for five days then restricting intake to 500 calories two days per week - is more consistent with our behaviour in hunter-gatherer days.

In the past year obesity has been linked to cancer and Alzheimer's. It is also well documented that being overweight increases risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Logically, consuming less calories will mean weight-loss, reducing the risk of these diseases for people classed as overweight or obese.

But commenting on the study, Professor Naveed Sattar told The Telegraph that the best way to maintain a healthy weight is by eating a balanced diet and doing regular exercise.

Although the 5:2 diet can help establish healthier eating habits, it may not work for all long-term.

"We don’t know whether people can actually stick to it [5:2] for 10 years. If they can’t, then once they’ve used it to lose weight, they’ll need to reduce their average daily calorie intake," he said.

"And that’s about retraining your taste buds. Choose one or two goals: cut out sugary drinks, brown bread instead of white bread, stop snacking."

The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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