The concept of calorie restriction is nothing new. Researchers have proven time and time again (mostly in animals), that living on a calorie restricted diet has far reaching health benefits for humans. Longevity being one of them!
Recently, I've come across a type of fasting that literally mimics the benefits of water fasting without the dangers and the drawbacks. It takes a certain kind of person to be able to successfully and healthily complete something like a 5 day water fast (my father being one of them!). My first experience with a water fast at the young age of 12, was not pretty. I literally went from feeling ok, to nauseous, to feeling weak... to vomiting! Soon after eating again. :(
The Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) has been developed by a group of scientists after 25 years of research. For a period of 5 days calories are reduced to between 750 - 1100 calories. Whole plant-based foods, drinks and supplements are consumed with some promising health benefits:
- Extend lifespan, induce stress resistance, and promote visceral fat loss
- Induce stem cell proliferation
- Promote cellular regeneration and rejuvenation
- Improve cognitive performance
- Maintain healthy levels of glucose, triglycerides, LDL, total cholesterol, diastolic blood pressure, insulin-like growth factor-1, and insulin
- Promote weight loss (specifically visceral adiposity) while maintaining lean body mass
My favourite benefit is cellular regeneration and rejuvenation! When the body experiences a lack of food for 3 or more days, it literally begins to break down damaged and old cells. It's like, "whoaa.. no food in da house??!! LET'S GET OUR CLEANING ON"!! No joke. When the body resumes normal metabolism and you start eating again, the body enters a rebuilding phase. Brand new stem cells are made. That means healthy new immune, liver, gut, kidney, pancreas etc etc. cells! How good is that! :D
Our bodies have been designed to handle brief periods of famine. A 1 or 2 day fast can be somewhat helpful, if it is done on a consistent basis. A 4 or 5 day fast has been found to be optimal. By day 3 of fasting, the body switches from burning predominately glucose as fuel (because their ain't any left lol) to burning ketone bodies. The brain is capable of using 50% glucose and 50% ketone bodies for fuel. This does not at all mean a low carbohydrate diet will achieve the same benefits as fasting. Rather to the contrary.
Head researcher Professor Dr. Valter Longo published a book called "The Longevity Diet". This book explains the ins and outs of the Fasting Mimicking Diet. It's always best to consult with your health professional prior to embarking on something like the 5 Day Fasting Mimicking Diet.
A 5 day pack; containing all the food and supplements you will need to complete the fast can be found here. Ensuring the fast is done properly. Something that impresses me about Dr. Longo is that ALL PROFITS are donated to amazing causes!
Well I don't know about you, but I am super keen to trial a FMD!! :) ..and you know something else? Dr. Longo has seriously challenged my thinking on what is a healthy macronutrient ratio. We both agree that 10% of calories should be coming from protein. Though Dr. Longo encourages 30% from fat, and 60% from carbohydrates. All his longevity research is pointing to a vegan/pescatarian diet as being the most healthy. The most life enhancing. Interesting stuff!