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B. A Link Between Intermittent Fasting and Cancer Reduction?

Narrator: This is Science Today. University of California, Berkeley nutritionist Marc Hellerstein has discovered that lab mice fed less food on an intermittent basis experienced significantly less cell proliferation. Until now the rate of cell proliferation, which is linked to cancer, was thought to be reduced only by a greater reduction in calories.

Hellerstein: With this idea that intermittent fasting may be a benefit, one could propose to look at a fairly realistic plan, let's say two or three times a week, a person would eat, instead of maybe eating 2500 calories, they may need 1000 calories on those two or three days a week. Then on other days, they eat what they want, just catch up.

Narrator: Hellerstein says this type of plan is more appealing than depriving oneself everyday. Their next step is to see if the results found in mice, translates in humans.

Narrator: We are trying to put together a project whereby we would feed people intermittently and try to find the dose that works. Maybe it doesn't take that much reduction or maybe you don't have to do it every other day. Exactly what is the dose that does the job? And then once we find out using these sensitive methods, we could do a longer-term study.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.