Scientists have conducted tests on mice showing that fasting could have many health benefits. Fasting is eating or drinking very little or nothing a short period time. It is usually 24 hours but can be a few days. The tests were carried by scientists at universities in the USA and Italy. They found that occasional fasting mice could reduce the risk diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other diseases. The scientists fed mice four days a low-calorie, low-protein and low-carbohydrate but high-fat diet. They then gave the mice just 10% of their normal calorie intake three days. The scientists found this diet made the pancreas the mice work better.
The pancreas is an organ the body that uses special cells called beta cells to produce the hormone insulin. The body uses insulin to break glucose (a kind sugar) in the blood. People diabetes have trouble producing enough insulin so they have health problems because there is too much sugar their blood. This can cause death. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas stops producing insulin. In type 2 diabetes, either not enough insulin is produced or the insulin that is produced has no effect. Scientists said the mice the fasting diet produced increased amounts beta cells and insulin. They said their results were very promising and that tests now need to be done humans.