If you’ve been following health headlines for a while, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about fasting. Studies have shown that the occasional fast can do everything from rebooting your immune system to helping you live longer…
But there’s one problem with fasting for better health… it’s incredibly difficult. Take a five day water fast as an example…
During a fast like this, you don’t eat anything for five days — five whole days! All you do during those five days is drink water.
Now, people say the results of a five-day water fast are amazing. They end up with clearer skin, more energy and better digestion. Some people even overcome long-term, chronic health problems when they do these fasts regularly.
But going without food for five days is a pretty extreme thing to do. And you feel pretty extreme while you’re doing it — extremely bad, that is…
Besides the fact that you’re starving, weak and cranky when you’re doing a fast like this, you also deal with detox symptoms like rashes, insomnia, headaches and achiness, among other things. Needless to say, most people have a hard time making it through the second day, let-alone the fifth day…
But what if you didn’t have to go through the extreme discomfort of fasting to experience the same disease-fighting and anti-aging benefits? What if you could trick your body into thinking you’re fasting by eating a certain way?
Well, you can. All you need to do is try a fast-mimicking diet (FMD). An FMD allows you to experience many of the same benefits of fasting without starving yourself for five days…
Feel better without fasting
A recent study from researchers at the University of Southern California found that following a fast-mimicking diet for five days every few months could reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and other age-related diseases.
Similarly, a 2015 study conducted by USC researchers found that following a five-day fast-mimicking diet once per month can reduce cancer risk and inflammation, while also improving bone and brain health.
So you may have finally found a way to get the benefits of fasting without all the discomfort. But what exactly is a fast-mimicking diet, anyway?
Well, it’s a plan that reduces your calorie intake, while also proportioning your protein, fat and carbohydrate intake in a very specific way that mimics the effects of a five-day water fast.
In the 2015 study, for example, participants ate about 1,090 calories the first day of their diet — which consisted of 10 percent protein, 34 percent carbohydrates and 56 percent fat. The next four days they ate 725 calories per day — which consisted of 9 percent protein, 47 percent carbohydrates and 44 percent fat.
Figuring out your FMD
By limiting your calories and following the protein, carbohydrate and fat percentages used by researchers, you could easily devise your own fast-mimicking diet. Just make sure you choose healthy sources of fat, protein and carbohydrates. Here’s an example of a fast-mimicking diet one healthy aging blogger created to give you inspiration.
You also have to decide how often you want to do your fast-mimicking diet…Once a month? Once every other month? Once every three months? Whatever you decide, remember, you can eat however you want the rest of time. This isn’t a long-term diet—just a quick five-day diet you can use to give your health a little boost.
Of course, if you want to try the fast-mimicking diet without a lot of effort and planning, you could also check out a company called L-Nutra, which was created by the researchers who discovered the benefits of the fast-mimicking diet in the first place. They have 5-day diet packages you can purchase that include the right amount of calories, protein, carbohydrates and fat to make sure you’re getting the benefits of a fast… without all the discomfort.
Editor’s note: Cutting calories not only reduces weight gain and disease, but it helps slow aging too. And your body’s master hormone is a big part of the reason why: Insulin resistance shortens telomeres causing your cells to age prematurely. You hear so little about insulin outside of diabetes, but it has a far-reaching impact on your health. To learn more, read The Insulin Factor, by Dr. Michael Cutler.
“Scientifically-designed fasting diet lowers risks for major diseases.” MedicalXpress. https://medicalxpress.com. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
Wei, et al. “Fasting-mimicking diet and markers/risk factors for aging, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.” Science Translational Medicine, 2017.
Brandhorst, et al. “A Periodic Diet that Mimics Fasting Promotes Multi-System Regeneration, Enhanced Cognitive Performance, and Healthspan.” Cell Metabolism.
“The five day fat-loss plan that reverses aging.” Easy Health Options. https://easyhealthoptions.com. Retrieved February 17, 2017. Jul 2015; 22(1): 86-99.