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Can Fasting Cure Jet Lag?

Do you have a long trip ahead? Like a real long flight to the Orient or Australia? Most of us do not have such flights, but for those traveling long distances by plane for work or pleasure, arriving without jet lag would be a perk.

Recently an article was posted in the Daily Mail titled:

The ultimate cure for jet lag? Experts reveal why a 16-HOUR FAST is the only way to avoid exhaustion after a long-haul flight

This article discusses the benefits of fasting to counteract jet lag for long flights.  It mentions that:

  • Jet lag can have a number of negative effects on the body, including headaches, grouchiness and of course, an inability to sleep properly at night
  • To help avoid all of these symptoms, doctors suggest holding off on food until hours after landing, which allows the body to ‘resynchronize’
  • Some experts go as far as to suggest a 24-hour fast rather than a 16-hour one

You can read the full article here.

I thought I would weigh in with the science:  There is no human data at present that confirms that skipping meals for most or all of a long international flight will reduce or prevent jet lag. For now, there is only preliminary animal data. The science of the cycles that keep track of time, or chronobiology, is growing and fasting may reset these cycles to permit more rapid recovery. The key word is may reset. In an analysis of risk versus benefit however, for most people, skipping airline meals is of no risk and may be a positive step. Try it, you may like it.

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