Fasting Mimicking Diet: Trick your body and shed those extra pounds faster with this calorie-restricted diet. Fasting has always been a popular way to lose weight. But what about the health issues that accompany it?
Often, people do not think about the possible adverse effects of this method. That is why researchers have developed a new method called the fasting-mimicking diet that lets you eat food while fasting. Yes, you read it right. This diet does not follow the conventional fasting methods but a modified version that involves calorie-restricted fasting.
Fasting Mimicking Diet, But how can you eat and fast at the same time? How does it affect your health? Well, we have all the answers in this article. Read on to know more about this trending weight loss method, its pros, cons, and more.
Principle: A balanced diet rich in healthy fats and low in plant-based proteins and complex carbs that helps the body transition into a fasting-like state
Purpose: To reduce weight, lower cholesterol levels, regulate blood pressure, and possibly reverse diabetes
Who It Is For: Anyone who wants to lose weight
Who Should Avoid: Pregnant and breastfeeding individuals, children, people with eating disorders, dietary restrictions, allergies, and those who are underweight
Cons: May lead to fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, and sugar cravings in some individuals
What Is The Fasting Mimicking Diet?
Fasting Mimicking Diet, The fasting mimicking diet is a modified fast where you consume small amounts of food that offers the right balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. It is all about “tricking” your body into believing you are fasting. It helps reduce the hunger pangs that you may experience during fasting while also maintaining the fasting state.
As a calorie-restricted meal, it includes mostly plant-based ingredients like fruits, nuts, vegetables, olives, seeds, fruits, and herbal teas. It can be seen as an effective fasting technique that people can actually sustain. With this mimickingtechnique, you can bid goodbye to the fatigue, headaches, hunger pangs, and cravings that generally come along with conventional fasting.
Though there are several ways to find that sweet spot between too much and too little food, there is only one commercially available fasting mimicking diet plan available on the market.
Fasting Mimicking Diet, Pioneered by Dr.Valter Longo, a biogerontologist and cell biologist at the University of Southern California (USC), L-Nutra’s ProLon is the commercial version of the FMD approach. He has conducted 20 years of extensive research on food restrictions, calorie intake, and how they may help one lose weight, be healthy, and prevent diseases.
According to the diet plan developed by Dr. Longo, the ProLon fast only lasts for five days every month. They deliver five boxes of food for each day that are to be eaten in a particular order. The meal kit may include bars, drinks, crackers, supplements, soups, and olives. They may also contain instructions for maintaining hydration levels with water and decaffeinated tea.
How Does The Fasting Mimicking Diet Work?
Fasting Mimicking Diet, The fasting-mimicking diet mainly triggers autophagy (breakdown of old cells). This is a never-ending cleaning process that happens in the cells of our bodies. It can be called a cellular “recycling factory” that promotes energy efficiency and removes non-functional proteins and organelles. The cleaner-up, the better for your health. Thus, Dr. Longo and his team formulated a diet to increase autophagy in the cells.
This calorie restriction mimics the body’s physiological response to traditional fasting methods, such as cell regeneration, decreased inflammation, and fat loss.
Fasting Mimicking Diet, According to FMD, their prepackaged meals provide between 34% and 54% of the normal caloric intake with a composition of at least 9%–10% proteins, 34%–47% carbohydrates, and 44%–56% fat. This calorie restriction mimics the body’s physiological response, and the body starts using ketones produced from fat reserves. This process is called ketosis since the body metabolizes fat reserves to produce ketones. This helps in losing weight and maintaining metabolic health.
This is how fasting mimicking helps your body lose weight. However, every method has two sides. So, let’s learn about the pros and cons of this diet.
1. May Promote Weight Loss
Fasting Mimicking Diet, According to a study led by Dr. Longo, people who completed three cycles of the ProLon fasting mimicking diet over three months showed considerable change in their weight. It reduced body weight and trunk fat, and the participants lost an average of 2.6 kg.
2. May Reduce Cholesterol
Fasting Mimicking Diet, Research conducted on the fasting mimicking diet also evaluated the participants’ blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It found that the fasting-mimicking diet can help reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Cholesterol dropped by 20 mg/dl, and blood sugar level reduced to the normal range during the course of the study.
3. May Reverse Diabetes
Fasting Mimicking Diet, According to a study conducted on mice, FMD promotes the regeneration of damaged pancreatic cells, improves healthy insulin production, and reduces insulin resistance. The results showed more normal blood glucose levels in mice with type 2 diabetes.
4. May Regulate Blood Pressure
Fasting Mimicking Diet, The study led by Dr. Longo also found that following this diet for three months may help regulate blood pressure. As per the results, the participants’ systolic blood pressure dropped by 4.5 mmHG, while their diastolic blood pressure dropped by 3.1 mmHg. Also, it was found that they retained the results even after returning to their normal diet.
5. May Reduce Autoimmune Diseases
Fasting Mimicking Diet, The fasting mimicking diet can influence lymphocytes and positively impact autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. It has been shown to promote anti-inflammatory effects that may contribute to reversing autoimmune disorders by killing damaged and old cells and replacing them with young and functional ones.
6. May Improve Cognition
Fasting Mimicking Diet, According to research conducted on mice, FMD can help improve motor coordination and memory. It helps accelerate the growth and development of nervous tissues, resulting in improved cognitive functions.
Cons Of The Fasting Mimicking Diet
Fasting Mimicking Diet, Though the fasting mimicking diet benefits your health, it may also have temporary side effects. Since it is a program based on dietary changes, people may experience some common symptoms such as:
However, these side effects are common and tolerable by most people. Consult a doctor if these effects persist post the diet period.
Since each person experiences fasting differently, its effects may not be the same for everyone. It is also best to learn whether it is safe for you before starting this diet program. Learn more about who should avoid this diet in the next section.
Who Should Not Follow The Fasting Mimicking Diet?
Fasting Mimicking Diet, The fast mimicking diet is considered a safe diet for most people who want to lose weight and improve their overall health.
However, certain groups should not opt for this diet. According to the ProLon guidelines, you should not use any FMD products if you:
Have dietary restrictions.
Have a fever, cough, or diarrhea.
Have signs of an active infection, or are at risk for recurrent infection.
Are underweight, breastfeeding, or pregnant.
Have an eating disorder.
Are allergic to nuts, soy, oats, sesame, or celery/celeriac.
Are under the age of 18.
Are over the age of 70 (unless you are under the supervision of a healthcare provider).
Although fasting for a short period of time is safe, it is always best to consult your doctor before starting the diet to check if it is right for you.
The Fasting-Mimicking Diet Plan
Fasting Mimicking Diet, The fasting mimicking diet is a plant-based diet that provides both macro and micronutrients to reduce the side effects of fasting. The guidelines are as follows:
Day 1: ~4600 kJ (11% protein, 46% fat, ad 43% carbohydrate)
Days 2 to 5: ~3000 kJ per day (9% protein, 44% fat, and 47% carbohydrate).
Since the diet plan formulated by Dr. Longo is the only commercially available and clinically studied approach, it is advised to consult a healthcare professional to ensure safety before you follow this diet. However, you can follow a DIY meal plan with the recommended calories and nutrients mentioned above. Below, we have formulated a sample meal plan for you.
Prepare a smoothie with 100 g avocado, 1 cup spinach, 1 medium banana, and 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk.
½cup of herbal tea.
Prepare a salad with 2 cups of mixed greens like spinach, lettuce, and chicory, 150 g tomato, 85 g carrots, 100 g cucumber, ¼ cup cooked brown rice, 40 g avocado, and 5 olives. You can also add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to it.
A sprinkle of herbs and a squeeze of lemon will add flavor to the salad.
Five almond crackers.
Prepare a vegetable rice bowl with 170 g broccoli, 14 g sun-dried tomatoes, 30 g baby bella mushrooms, ½ cup brown rice, 1 square of dark chocolate, and 4 oz kombucha.
Half cup of green tea or water with half a packet of LMNT electrolytes and 1 teaspoon of inulin to reduce hunger pangs.
Prepare a salad with 2 cups of mixed greens, 100 g tomato, 90 g carrots, 40 g avocado, 100 g cucumber, 5 olives, and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. You can squeeze in lemon juice and sprinkle salt, pepper, and herbs for added flavor.
Five almond crackers, 10 olives, and 1 ½ cup of green tea.
Prepare a salad with 170 g broccoli, 30 g baby bella mushrooms, ½ cup brown rice, 14 g sundried tomatoes, 4 oz kombucha, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 8 olives, and 1 square of dark chocolate.
You can follow this meal plan or formulate one for yourself with more varied items and a strict check on the daily calorie requirements. Now that you know how to make a diet plan, let us show you how FMD differs from intermittent fasting.
Fasting Mimicking Diet, Fasting is an old technique many people employ to shed some pounds quickly. But, it may not always be healthy and recommended for everyone. Fortunately, you can trick your body into shedding some pounds by following this calorie-restricted fasting-mimicking diet.
Apart from helping you lose weight, it can help improve your overall health by regulating glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of autoimmune diseases. However, it is always best to consult a medical professional before starting this program to check whether your body is ready for it.