Have you heard about the Fasting Mimicking Diet? I’ve been intermittent fasting for a while now because I love the easy way it helps me lose weight along with the amazing, science-backed health benefits. I was bopping around the internet the other day and I came across something called the fasting mimicking diet. Here’s what I found out.
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Fasting Mimicking Diet
How Does the Fasting Mimicking Diet Work?
The Fasting Mimicking Diet and Science
Fasting Mimicking Diet Health Benefits
How to Start the Fasting Mimicking Diet
What to Avoid on the Fasting Mimicking Diet
Is the Fasting Mimicking Diet Right For Me?
The Fast Mimicking Diet (FMD) is a kind of modified fast. Instead of giving up food completely like a traditional fast, you still get to eat small amounts of certain foods in a way that has been tested to produce the therapeutic benefits of fasting.
The FMD describes itself as “…a plant-based diet program designed to attain fasting-like effects while providing micronutrient nourishment (vitamins, minerals, etc.) and minimize the burden of fasting.”
The fasting mimicking diet is a great hack to get the benefits of fasting while still providing your body with some food and nutrition.
The creator of FMD, Valter Longo, PhD (who also happens to be on staff at USC, also wrote a book on the subject called The Longevity Diet, that was released earlier this year. I’ve read the book and the information is super fascinating.
The FMD protocol has been patented by Dr. Longo, and is sold in 5-day complete diet kits called Prolon.
If you’ve tried other kinds of fasting, you’ll be familiar with the same general principle of depriving your body of food to force your body into periods of fat burning and other health benefits like reduced inflammation.
The main difference with the FMD is that instead of eliminating all food for a period of time, you are sharply restricting calories for five days at a time. For the average healthy person, Longo recommends repeating the FMD every 3 months. The book outlines a different frequency depending on your situation.
But it’s not just the amount of food you’re allowed to eat on the fasting mimicking diet – it’s also the type of food and in what ratios that matters.
Here is the breakdown:
- Calories: 4.5 to 7.0 kcal/lb of body weight
- Macros: Protein: 10%, Carbs: 34%, Fat: 56%
- Calories: 3.0 to 5.0 kcal/lb of body weight
- Macros: Protein: 9%, Carbs: 47%, Fat: 44%
- Eat a normal, healthy diet.
If you are healthy and at your ideal weight, it’s recommended you do the 5-day FMD once every 3-6 months. If you are overweight or have a high risk of diseases like cancer, do the 5-day FMD once every month.
The benefits of fasting the traditional way have been proven in multiple scientific studies to be real, measurable and significant.
The good news about the FMD is that recent studies into the protocol have uncovered some dramatic results.
A study funded by the National Institute on Aging showed that periodically cutting daily calories in half for just 4 days improved biomarkers for cancer, heart disease, diabetes and aging with no adverse effects. (1)
Another study (2) of 100 healthy people looked at the effects of the FMD and highlighted some profound results. Half of the subjects followed the FMD five days a month for three months, and half of them ate their usual diet.
After three months, the FMD group experienced weight loss (including loss of belly fat), drops in blood pressure, blood sugar, and markers of inflammation. In addition, the FMD group also experienced a drop in insulin-like growth factor 1 (1GF-1), which is a biomarker for cancer growth.
Can you say, WOW??
Much like traditional fasting, the fasting mimicking diet has multiple health benefits.
The same study mentioned above also found that after three months, the FMD group experienced decreased levels of total and bad LDL cholesterol in participants.
Combining the FMD with an overall healthy lifestyle can lower and maintain healthy cholesterol levels and keep your heart healthy.
The FMD study found the diet to reduce inflammation. Chronic inflammation contributes to several chronic diseases, including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and, multiple sclerosis.
Because these diseases all have roots in chronic inflammation, this indicates the FMD has the potential to reduce the risk of developing chronic disease.
Improving Brain Health
A 2015 FMD study (4) showed improved cognition and regeneration of neurons in the brain of mice. Markers that track aging were also improved.
The FMD has also been proven to positively affect insulin production. Another study (5) showed the maintenance of normal blood sugar levels and there was new generation of insulin-producing beta cells in mice.
Indications are encouraging that the fasting mimicking diet may help control or even reverse diabetes when combined with a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise.
The 5-day FMD is based on eating a diet rich in plant-rich whole foods, with an emphasis on nuts and olives, to provide healthy fat. Follow the 5-day plan above and keep these food guidelines in mind.
FMD Nutrient Tips from The Longevity Diet Book:
- No animal-derived products
- Proteins from plant-based sources
- Carbohydrates from complex carbohydrate plant sources
- Fats from “healthy” oils (coconut oil, olive oil) and nuts (almonds, walnuts)
- Less than 30g of sugars on day 1, and less than 20g of sugars on days 2-5
Of course, on days 6-30, you’ve got to commit to eating a healthy diet to have the benefits really kick in.
If you’re too busy for all the macro counting, the inventor of FMD has patented the system so you can buy everything you need in one box of portioned and pre-packaged foods to help you successfully complete the 5-day FMD.
Even if you want to DIY your FMD there’s a lot of great information on the Prolon website about the fasting mimicking diet.
If you’re doing the FMD, you should avoid alcohol and reduce your caffeine intake to two cups of coffee or black tea a day.
Strenuous exercise is also not recommended during the 5-day fasting period, but brisk walking is always good.
Numerous studies have found dramatic benefits with the FMD.
The FMD is recommended for healthy adults in a normal weight range between 18 and 70 years old.
Pregnant women and people with eating disorders should not attempt the fasting mimicking diet. In addition, if you’re on any kind of medication, check with your doctor before you try the FMD.
As always, if you suffer from any chronic conditions, it’s best to consult with your health practitioner before starting any fast.
Have you ever tried the fasting mimicking diet? I’d love to hear your experiences!
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