Scientists have suggested that a controlled diet of fasting may be able to prevent the onset of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
According to the Washington Post, there is speculation within the healthcare industry that fasting may also help with the treatment of cancer and reduce the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.
Mark Mattson of the National Institute on Aging said: "We know from animal models that if we start an intermittent fasting diet at what would be the equivalent of middle age in people, we can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s."
The idea of reducing food intake to treat illnesses was first popularised in 1908, when US nurse Linda Hazzard published Fasting for the Cure of Disease. She suggested a diet of minimal food could be the key to treatment of a variety of ailments and diseases, including cancer. However, she was jailed when one of her patients starved to death.