Scientists say fasting like Mark Wahlberg and Chris Hemsworth can have multiple health benefits, but only if it is done for at least three days in a row.
New findings reveal that prolonged fasting sheds unhealthy fat (without losing weight) and gives multiple organs, including the brain, a “significant” boost.
But researchers at Queen Mary University of London found that the benefits only appear after at least 72 hours without eating.
This means that Wahlberg and Hemsworth, who aim not to eat between 6 pm and 11:55 am during intermittent fasting, They may not benefit from the 18-hour daily starvation.
Mark Wahlberg, 52, is famous for regularly following the 18:6 intermittent fasting plan, where he doesn’t eat for 18 hours a day (pictured above in 2019 in Bridgetown, Barbados).
Chris Hemsworth has also previously followed intermittent fasting plans. (Shown above in 2016 in Byron Bay, Australia)
Many celebrities have also touted the benefits of intermittent fasting, including Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, and Kourtney Kardashian.
Professor Claudia Langenberg said: “Fasting, when done safely, is an effective weight loss intervention.” Popular diets that incorporate fasting claim to have health benefits beyond weight loss.
‘Our results provide evidence of the health benefits of fasting beyond weight loss, but these were only visible after three days of total calorie restriction, later than we previously thought.
“For the first time, we can see what happens at a molecular level throughout the body when we fast.”
The study found that protein levels in various organs change after about three days of fasting, indicating that the entire body is responding to fasting.
These proteins, including those that form the support structure for neurons in the brain, help organs function more effectively.
The body also changes its source and type of energy, moving from glucose calories that come from food to its own fat reserves.
The study’s test subjects, who fasted for seven days straight, lost an average of 12.5 pounds. The weight was maintained even three days after ending the fast.
The study involved 12 volunteers (five women and seven men) who were between 20 and 30 years old and weighed 171 pounds on average at the beginning of the study.
The scientists took blood samples every morning and afternoon during the seven-day fast and for a week after and two days before.
Fat mass had decreased by 5 pounds at the end of the seven-day fast and then remained at this level a week later.
Muscle mass had dropped 7 pounds at the end of the fast, but then regained 5 pounds in the following week. There were also changes in other measures such as bone mass.
Fasting is practiced by millions of people around the world for different medical and cultural purposes, including health benefits and weight loss.
This study suggests that to get the full benefits of fasting, someone may need to go 72 hours without food, rather than relying solely on water.
Historically, fasting was used to treat diseases such as epilepsy and rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers said the protein changes may explain why it had a positive effect on these and other conditions.
They hope their findings will lead to new treatments for people who cannot undergo prolonged fasting.
Dr Maik Pietzner said: “While fasting can be beneficial in treating some conditions, often fasting will not be an option for patients suffering from health problems.” We hope these findings can be used to develop treatments that patients can use.’