The Fasting Mimicking Diet – Benefits and Recipes
Fasting is one of the oldest and most potent health interventions. Studies have shown that fasting regulates the immune system, lowers blood sugar, promotes autophagy, improves lipid profiles, and can even stimulate the growth of stem cells. Water-only fasts are challenging and require careful supervision because of potentially dangerous side effects like refeeding syndrome. Refeeding syndrome involves hazardous shifts in electrolytes, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Intermittent fasting is a more accessible alternative to water-only fasting, but the effects may not be as robust. Recently I have learnt about the fasting mimicking diet, a new approach, that has many of the
benefits of fasting but without the stress of complete food restriction.
In this article, you are going to learn more about the fasting mimicking diet, who can benefit from it, and how to put it into practice including recipes and meal plans.
Who developed the Fasting Mimicking Diet?
The Fasting Mimicking Diet is an approach developed by Dr Valter Longo, a professor of biological sciences at USC and the director of the USC Longevity Institute.
Dr Lango studies the underlying mechanisms of ageing in yeast, mice, and humans by using genetics and biochemistry techniques. It is through carrying out this research that led to the development of FMD.
What is the Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD)?
FMD is a low-calorie, low-protein diet that causes changes and markers associated with stress resistance and longevity like prolonged water-only fasting.
What are the proven benefits of FMD?
Since FMD is a relatively new approach, the majority of the research on it has been performed on
animals. There needs to be more research on the effects of FMD in humans to confirm the benefits seen in animals, but the few human studies that do exist are impressive.
FMD has been shown to have profound effects on metabolic markers like visceral fat, fasting glucose, and IGF-1.
In one study, FMD impressively led to the regeneration of pancreatic beta cells and the return of insulin secretion in animals with late-stage type 2 and even type 1 diabetes. In other words, FMD reversed these conditions.
FMD also has significant effects on autoimmune disease. In a study looking at Multiple Sclerosis in mice, FMD reduced clinical severity in all animals and completely reversed symptoms in 20 percent of animals. It also regenerated the myelin sheath, which is unheard of in other studies.
FMD has been shown to have many other benefits, including improving cognitive function, protecting against cancer, and slowing ageing.
Who could benefit from FMD?
Good candidates for FMD include people with:
- Weight or metabolic problems including diabetes
- Chronic infections
- Autoimmune disease
- Immune dysregulation
- Neurological issues
- Cognitive disorders
As well as above conditions, you may use FMD as a way to optimise your health, prevent disease, and increase lifespan.
How to do an FMD
One FMD cycle typically lasts for three to five days once a month for three to 12 months a year, depending on the condition. Between FMD cycles, eating resumes as usual without any additional restrictions. If the patients following a Paleo diet, they just continue that between the FMD cycles.
The frequency and length of cycles depend on the patient’s health status, weight, and goals.
In general, the more grave the condition, the longer the cycle should be, though not exceeding five days, and the more frequent they should be, for example, doing one cycle every month instead of just one cycle for three months out of the year.
In human studies, FMD is often implemented using prepared foods and micronutrients administered under a doctor’s supervision.
That said, I am not a fan of packaged foods. In my opinion, a homemade version of FMD would have the same effects as the packaged products. But you should know that there have been no studies on homemade versions.
If you’d like to use the packaged products, you can obtain them through the company that makes them, ProLon.
Intermittent and water-only fasting has numerous health benefits but can be
hard for people. The fasting mimicking diet is an alternative approach that may offer many
of the benefits of water-only fasting but is easier less challenging.
If you like to try the Fasting Mimicking Diet, I have created a handout that explains it along with recipes and suggested meal plans.
This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Now I’d like to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below.
I’ve looked at your pdf and found it very helpful. Thank you for making it available for free. I know you say you can pick the meals you like as long as the calories are within range. May I ask—can you swap meals from one day to another or is it important to, for example, on day one, choose only from the meals listed for day one?
Yes, you can swap meals.