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Is Fasting a New Diet Craze?

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- A new diet that started in England is rapidly gaining momentum. What does this new diet say you should eat to lose weight? On two days a week, nothing.

The Fast Diet allows for unrestricted, guilt-free eating five days a week, and limits dieters to no more than 500-600 calories on fasting days, only a quarter of a normal healthy adults intake.

The British fasting craze is the brain child of Dr. Michael Mosley of London, who said people can mistake hunger for other symptoms, like boredom. Mosley, 53, began his search for a new diet after an eye-opening visit to his doctor.

"I had a bit of a nasty shock because I discovered that my fasting glucose levels were those of a diabetic," said Mosley, who lost his father to diabetes. "And my cholesterol levels [were] about twice [what] they should be."

Mosley said he was inspired by research on fasting taking place in several American labs, where tests on rats are finding astonishing results from severe calorie restriction, including decreased cancer risk, increased life expectancy and even improved brain function.

Surprisingly, fasting did not result in binging on the other days. Instead of making up for all the lost calories, participants in the study ate just 10 percent more on feed days.

But there are nutrition experts who are concerned that it is too big a leap to go from "patient zero" to a runaway bestseller with derivative books also making waves. Keith Ayoob, an associate professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine's department of pediatrics and child development,

"[The Fast Diet] is anecdotal, based on [Mosley's] experience, that's an opinion," Ayoob said. "I like to make recommendations that are based on good solid science and I'm not there yet."

Still, its adherents swear by its results. For instance, Tara McLaughlin said she lost 36 pounds over seven months on the Fast Diet.

Mosley is aware of his critics, but says there is no evidence that fasting leads to eating disorders. He did, however, warn pregnant women, anyone under the age of 20, under-weight people and those who suffer from eating disorders to steer clear of the Fast Diet.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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