Still life is an art form whose popularity stretches back to the roots of human civilization. Depictions of food often feature prominently in wall paintings in ancient Egyptian tombs and are common in Roman mosaics and frescos. By the 16th century, Dutch and Flemish artists were producing incredibly lush still lifes, some almost over-the-top in their portrayal of food as a corporeal pleasure. Artists of more recent centuries cubed, Dada’d, abstracted, and photorealismed the genre’s subject matter.
For this month’s cover we chose what I view as a very austere still life, but it is an apt illustration for Senior Editor Bob Grant’s feature on the science behind fasting—what happens to the body’s physiology that is detrimental or beneficial. Evidence suggests that a steady restriction of caloric intake extends life span and provide a host of health benefits. But adherence is almost impossible for most people. Grant digs into the science behind fasting diets and reports that the regimens may be enjoying fad status these days simply because they cut calories in a more compliance-friendly way. Is it possible to fast and lose, or are such diets doomed to the fate of the grapefruit diet, the blood-type diet, and the cookie diet?
Read the rest here:The Scientist