Nov 2, 2014

Are the benefits of intermittent fasting settled science?

I have been on the IF diet for over ten years now. I do it thinking that the available evidence supports health benefits, but that the jury is still out. I was thus a little surprised to read the following:
Intermittent fasting regimens ... have similar healthspan-extending effects [as caloric restriction] ... [and] the molecular consequences of fasting, rather than weight reduction per se, may account for at least some of the observed positive effects of caloric restriction.
    - Madeo et al. 2014 "Caloric Restriction Mimetics: towards a molecular definition". 
The articles cited (Anson et al. 2003, Li et al. 2013, Heilbronn et al. 2005 and Klempel et al. 2012) were not new to me. Only the authors' certainty was.  In fact, these authors were simply introducing CR and IF as prelude to a discussion of drugs that might have the same benefit ("caloric restriction mimetics"). The article is a thorough review of the underlying science (with an emphasis on autophagy and protein deacetylation), and ought to be read by any scientist interested in this field.

I should have been skeptical. I should be skeptical. I am skeptical. However, I also found seeing the benefits of IFdiet described as settled science to be reassuring. They are telling me to put aside my doubts and carry on. I will.