Sunak says 36-hour fasting every week part of his ‘balanced lifestyle’

The prime minister abstains from eating from Sunday afternoons until Tuesday mornings

Rishi Sunak meets with students taking part in a personal development lesson as he visits Haughton Academy in Darlington, north east England, on January 29, 2024. (Photo by IAN FORSYTH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Pramod Thomas

PRIME MINISTER Rishi Sunak is known for his dedication to physical fitness, engaging in intense cycling workouts on his Peloton bike and having a weakness for mint chocolate and Mexican Coca-Cola.

However, the Sunday Times (28) revealed that Sunak’s self-discipline includes a weekly 36-hour fast, in accordance with his Hindu faith.

Friends close to Sunak were quoted as saying that from 5pm on Sunday until 5am on Tuesday, the prime minister abstains from consuming any food.

“I tend to try and do some fasting at the beginning of every week as part of a general balanced lifestyle, but everyone will do this differently,” Sunak told the BBC on Monday (29).

This form of intermittent fasting, which is linked to weight loss and metabolic benefits, involves consuming only water, black coffee and tea during the 36-hour fasting period.

Supporters argue that beyond weight loss, this practice offers various health advantages, including an extended lifespan, reduced cancer risk, and enhanced immunity.

Sunak acknowledged he was fond of sweet treats and the weekly fasting is an “important discipline” for him as part of a “balanced lifestyle”.

A source close to the prime minister told The Sunday Times, “It’s true, he doesn’t eat anything at all on a Monday. It’s remarkable, really, given that he is often on visits or doing PMQ prep on a Monday. It’s a real testament to the discipline, focus and determination that he shows in all aspects of his life and work.”

In a podcast interview in 2022, Sunak revealed his intermittent fasting routine, including a breakfast devoid of food and a mid-morning indulgence in sweet pastries.

“I do intermittent fasting, so on most days I have nothing for breakfast. Otherwise, we have Greek yoghurt and blueberries during the week. And then I have a second breakfast mid-morning which is a cinnamon bun, a pain au chocolat or a chocolate chip muffin. So I have one chocolatey, sugary pastry at some point,” he was quoted as saying.

Research supports the idea that extended fasting, as seen in a study published by Harvard Medical School, not only aids in weight loss, but also reduces abdominal fat and lowers inflammatory markers associated with ageing and disease.

Sunak previously said he enjoyed cycling sessions led by Cody Rigsby, a former professional dancer who encourages participants to imagine themselves as Britney Spears while on stationary bikes.

He also disclosed his preference for Mexican Coke due to its composition with “cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup.”