'I'm a longevity researcher and this diet is the secret to living to 120'

Middle aged man walking / healthy foods

Diet can play a huge part in longevity

Sarra Gray

By Sarra Gray

Published: 31/03/2024

- 09:42

A fasting diet could be one of the best ways to live a longer and healthier life, according to a longevity expert

Research has suggested that longevity is a combination of lifestyle and genetics; a good diet can help add years to your life.

A professor in his 50s shared why a form of fasting could be the key to living to his goal age of at least 120.

A short-term 'Fasting Mimicking Diet' is the secret, according to a professor of gerontology and director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California and author of 'The Longevity Diet' Valter Longo.

On this, participants should take part in fasting for around 12 hours a day and do this five days in a row, three times a year. The main focus of the diet is to change the times of eating rather than what is eaten.


Those on the plan are encouraged to make healthy choices


Longo explained: "I always recommend 12 hours of fasting, and 12 hours of feeding - so say 8am to 8pm - that's very important."

Intermittent fasting can be done in a number of ways. Dieters can fast for a time period each day, such as the 12 hours Longo recommended.

Another popular split is 16:8, so fasting for 16 hours and eating within an eight hour window. Participants can also reduce what they eat on certain days of the week, like the 5:2 diet.

This plan involves eating only 500 calories two days a week, and eating normally on the remaining days of the week.

Other studies have echoed the benefits of intermittent fasting for a longer life.

Research published in the National Library of Medicine found the plan can help reduce the risk of disease and positively affect how cells age, although more research is needed.

It said: "Intermittent and periodic fasting... are emerging as safe strategies to affect longevity and healthspan by acting on cellular ageing and disease risk factors, while causing no or minor side effects."

Dr Mayoni Gooneratne echoed this and told GB News: "Some studies suggest that intermittent fasting may have health benefits, including potential effects on longevity. Consult with a healthcare professional before adopting fasting practices."

Woman eating healthy breakfast

Intermittent fasting can also have weight loss benefits


She told GB News: "The good news is that if you find that the weight is creeping on, intermittent fasting can be incredibly effective, and it can also help you shed weight from the waist and the neck and improve your metabolic health.

"Cutting your calories to 800-1,000 calories a day on two or three days a week can make all the difference - and it’s quite simple to introduce.

"Doing a few 800-calorie fasting days, where your body starts burning excess fat as fuel, is often all it takes to get you back to your previous weight.

"Intermittent fasting has been shown to be highly effective at getting sugar spikes down and reducing chronic inflammation, as well as reducing risks of type 2 diabetes and reducing blood pressure."

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