Food forms a large part of my comfort zone, and it has been a source of annoyance to my partner that I constantly fuss about food. My conversations are invariably peppered with references to food and cooking utensils, even when he tries to engage me in deep philosophical or scientific discussions.

“You won’t die, Jac,” he often sighs in exasperation.  “Try fasting, it will be good for you. Mind, body and soul.”

No way was I going to fast. I run 35 kms a week and am happy with my weight. But I am noticing a disquieting observation – at almost 50, my metabolism is slowing down. I have to work that little harder to get rid of my muffin top if I over-indulge in my favourites – wine and cheese.

So I made some forays into considering the possibility of fasting. I even bought a book:


(Interesting ideas, but nothing new, though I like the prune granola).

A few days ago, my friend Philip and his wife arrived to spend a couple of days with me.  Philip was looking hale and hearty, and we laughed, drank and were merry.

“I’ve lost over a stone,” he said. “My pot belly is gone!”

It turns out that Philip has been following the 5-2 diet: he eats what he wants five days a week and fasts on the other 2 days.

“It stops my cells from being on the mindless reproducing mode, which they are apt to do when there is excess of food, and switch to healing and repairing,” he said. Yes, that makes sense to me.

And there might be some truth in what he said. Recent research has shown that fasting for 3 days can regenerate the whole immune system, even in the elderly, based on research carried out by scientists at the University of Southern California. Apparently, fasting “flips a regenerative switch” which prompts stem cells to create brand new white blood cells, essentially regenerating the entire immune system.You can read the article in the Telegraph here.

Food for thought…do excuse the pun. I am going to try the 5-2 system like my friend Philip, because it is natural. And free. Details here.

Disclaimer: seek medical advice before embarking on any diet.