What is 18/6? It is the easiest, cheapest, and most effective thing you can do to improve drastically your over-all health, prevent cancer, diabetes, stroke, and your boost immunity to infectious diseases.

Simply put, you restrict your eating to a 6 hour period a day and fast for the next 18 hours. 18/6 is not a diet per se, rather a conscious eating lifestyle which optimises the efficiency of the digestive and immune systems.

Dr. Ray Kearney is a former Associate Professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology at the University of Sydney. Over his 30 years of research, Dr. Kearney found that the body can perform certain immune functions only while fasting (the digestive system is at rest).  If these functions do not take place, the immune system produces various states of inflammation in the body. The extreme example of this inflammation is cancer.

It is important to note that the findings (which have been very successfully replicated by other researchers) do not recommend calorie restriction.  If you eat a well-balanced, whole-foods, plant-strong diet, you achieve optimal results.  Offspring of 18/6 mice which were kept on the 18/6 protocol showed exponentially lower rates of disease and obesity than their parents and lived significantly longer with little tissue degeneration (other than the normal aging process).

Dr. Kearney’s work is highly significant considering the Top 5 killers in the Western World (iatrogenic illness, heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes) are 90% preventable through proper hygiene and lifestyle alone.  Also, if a person’s immunity can be optimised, the incidents of death/disability to infectious diseases could be significantly lowered.

Unfortunately, researchers are unable to publish their papers in A-level medical journals. Because “controlled frequency of eating” cannot be patented, this proven method of cancer prevention gets no traction with the pharmaceutical cartels. Don’t forget, cancer is an industry and corporations are answerable to their shareholders, not the people who buy their products.

Most people who start 18/6 need to start gradually. I recommend eating breakfast 1 hour later than usual and not eating past 7pm. Once you’ve gotten used to that routine, push breakfast back another hour and don’t eat past 6pm. In a few weeks, you’ll be in the 18/6 routine. The hours you choose to eat are up to you: for some people it works best to eat from 6am – 12pm, for others it’s 11am – 5pm. I don’t recommend eating later that 6pm because your body shouldn’t be digesting food while it’s sleeping. I eat between 12pm – 6pm because I eat a sit-down supper with my family every evening. The nice thing about 18/6 is that it is flexible: if you know you’re going to eat-out with friends outside of your 18/6 routine, you can shift it for the day, and then go back to your regular routine.

This is not intended for women who are planning on getting pregnant or for diabetics taking insulin.

Just to be clear: fasting is the voluntary abstinence from food.  You can still drink coffee or tea while fasting, but it can’t have sugar or cream in it.  Soup is considered food because it contains… food.  It’s not just hot water served in a bowl.

I’ve included the original article on PDF for those of you who enjoy these things. Word of warning – this is a scientific article which involved animal experiments. Click to download.

There is also a short article in the Sydney Morning Herald which you might find interesting.

KEARNEY, R., BASSETT, J.R., DANIELLI, R., JAMIESON, K., NADATHUR, S. and LEESON, V.  (1993)  ‘Inflammation and cancer:  Effect of controlled feeding on murine tumorigenesis and anaphylactic shock’ in Essential Fatty Acids and Eicosanoids’ ed A. Sinclair and R. Gibson.  AOCS Press, Champaign Il . (ISBN 0-935315-43-8) pp458-461.Click to download.