New research suggests that fasting can improve the health of the heart.
The study compared Mormons, who fast for one day each month as part of their faith, to a control group.
There was a five per cent difference in rates of coronary artery disease (CAD) for the two groups, with 61 per cent of Mormons affected compared to 66 per cent of the controls.
The researchers then executed a follow-up investigation that focused solely on fasting, irrespective of religion, which found that people who fasted were 39 per cent less likely to be diagnosed with CAD.
And 59 per cent of the fasting patients had arterial blockage of 70 per cent or more compared with 67 per cent of the non-fasting patients.
Lead researcher Dr Benjamin Horne commented: "When you abstain from food for 24 hours or so, it reduces the constant exposure of the body to foods and glucose.
"One of the major problems in the development of the metabolic syndrome and the pathway to diabetes is that the insulin-producing beta cells become desensitised. Routine fasting may allow them to resensitise - to reset to a baseline level so they work better."
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