It is an inescapable fact of human biology that as we get older our metabolism is wont to slow down. It might happen when you turn 30, or if you’re lucky, not noticeably until you hit the half-century. But it will happen. Interval sprints can help, sure. But recent nutritional science has uncovered a cellular solution: just four days of fasting can trigger the growth of new fat-burning cells in your pancreas.
Beta cells are specialised units that help your body produce the hormone insulin, which is then used to break down sugars so they can be used for energy, rather than stored around your love handles. In tests conducted by scientists at the University of Southern California, mice that were fed for four days on a low-kilojoule, low- protein, low-carbohydrate but high-fat diet saw a reduction in insulin resistance, an increase in insulin production and enhanced body-fat management as a result.
Early lab studies in which these findings were tested on human-cell samples show similarly promising potential, though the researchers are careful to reiterate the crucial differences between your DNA and that of, well, rodents. Even so, the findings throw yet further weight behind the fat-burning benefits of the occasional period of food abstinence. You’ll more than make up for it on the weekend, anyway.