Fasting is known to help lose weight, boost brain functions, and improve the immune system. It’s such an extreme form of dieting that doctors have always been reluctant to suggest it to patients.
Scientists have created a five-day, once-per-month, diet that replicates fasting, without putting the body through massive change.
Published in the journals Cell Metabolism, the study discovered a massively reduced risk of problems like aging, cancer, and diabetes, after participants irregularly fasted for three months. The results were so positive the University of Southern California researcher is already trying to get approval to recommend it to patients.
The idea is to ‘reset’ the body; clearing out damaged cells and replacing them with healthy, new ones.
“It’s about reprogramming the body so it enters a slower aging mode, but also rejuvenating it …” co-author Valter D. Longo said. “It’s not a typical diet because it isn’t something you need to stay on.”
So how does this new diet – known now as the ‘Fast Mimicking Diet’ – exactly work? Check out the video from the Washington Post for an overview.
Essentially, for all but five days of the month, you can eat as you normally would. Chips, soda, chocolate, beer, vegetables, meats, whatever you’d like. Then, for one day of the diet, you’d eat exactly 1090 calories – 10 percent protein, 56 percent fat and 34 percent carbohydrates. For the last four days, that number drops to 725 calories: 9 percent protein, 44 percent fat, 47 percent carbohydrates.
During those days, calorie intake is about 55, to as low as 34 percent of the normal intake. Repeating this diet on a three month cycle resulted in not only reduced health risk factors, but no major side effects from the change in diet.
Petronella Ravenshear, a nutritional therapist in London, is on board: “[The diet] is less of a stressor on the body than complete fasting.
“It supplies most of the carbohydrates in the form of vegetables which are packed with phytonutrients and minerals and positively good for us, rather than grain-derived carbohydrates which don’t supply much except sugar,” she told the Telegraph in an interview.