Want to live to a ripe old age? Or just long enough to see your favourite grandchild get married?
Well, you can vastly increase your chances with something simple and cheap with no calorie counting, diet drinks or shakes, and nothing to buy.
Stop eating two days a week. Well, virtually. Most days you can have 500-600 calories.
Oh, and I forgot to say slashing your calorie consumption twice a week will make the pounds melt away.
If you want to know what 500 calories looks like, it’s an egg or a small, thin slice of chicken, a couple of satsumas or half an apple, three oatcakes or 30g of bran flakes, a carrot or six almonds.
But cheer up! There’s always the eat-anything-you-like day to follow.
We’ve known for more than 70 years that calorie restriction in animals prolongs life, by as much as 40%.
Another big payoff is that fasting slashes your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer.
In one study at the Genesis Prevention Centre in Manchester, researchers found women on 600 calories a day, mostly milk, fruit and veg, for two days a week, lowered their breast cancer risk by 40%.
So why is AF effective? In simple terms it gives the body a rest, a chance to clean itself up, so to speak, to attend to housekeeping.
A body that is having to deal with three or four meals a day accumulates a lot of rubbish and ageing gene mutations, which lead to disease. It has no spare capacity for repairs and maintenance.
Giving your body some downtime from food frees it up to check your DNA, repair disease-producing faults, and spring-clean your cells.
This is called autophagy and is particularly good for your brain. Cleaned up brain cells function better, resist cognitive decline and protect themselves against stroke.
If AF seems a step too far, there’s always the kinder version of fasting for just two days a week.
Food for thought. If you’re pregnant or in doubt about cutting calories, see your doctor.