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What is fast mimicking diet? Know all about this low-calorie diet

The fast-mimicking diet (FMD) is an innovative approach to reaping the potential health benefits of fasting without completely abstaining from food. Developed by Dr Valter Longo, the FMD is designed to trick your body into a fasting state through a precisely controlled, low-calorie diet.

Written By: Rahul Pratyush @29_pratyush New Delhi Published on: June 25, 2024 16:21 IST
fast mimicking diet
Image Source : GETTY What is fast mimicking diet? Know all about this low-calorie diet

Various diets and eating patterns have gained popularity over the years in the quest for health and longevity. Among these, the fast-mimicking diet stands out due to its unique approach and promising benefits. This low-calorie diet aims to mimic the effects of fasting while allowing for some food intake, making it more sustainable and manageable than traditional fasting. Let's dive into the details of the fast-mimicking diet, its benefits, and how it works.

Understanding the fast mimicking diet:

The fast-mimicking diet was developed by Dr Valter Longo, a professor of gerontology and biological sciences at the University of Southern California. It is designed to provide the body with the benefits of fasting—such as cellular repair and improved metabolic health—without the need to completely abstain from food.

The diet typically involves a five-day eating plan that significantly reduces caloric intake. The first day usually allows for around 1,100 calories, followed by four days of approximately 800 calories per day. These calories come from specific proportions of macronutrients: low protein, low carbohydrate, and high healthy fats. The carefully chosen foods are intended to keep the body in a fasting-like state, triggering similar metabolic pathways as true fasting.

How does it work?

The fast-mimicking diet works by tricking the body into thinking it is fasting. This is achieved by restricting the types and amounts of foods consumed, which in turn influences various cellular and metabolic processes. Here’s a closer look at the mechanisms involved:

  • Ketosis: By lowering carbohydrate intake, the diet pushes the body into ketosis, a state where it burns fat for energy instead of glucose.
  • Autophagy: Fasting triggers autophagy, a cellular cleanup process where damaged cells and components are broken down and recycled, promoting cellular repair and regeneration.
  • Reduced Insulin Levels: Lower calorie and carbohydrate intake reduce insulin levels, which can improve insulin sensitivity and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Hormesis: The mild stress induced by fasting can activate protective and repair mechanisms in the body, potentially enhancing resilience and longevity.

Benefits of the fast mimicking diet:

The fast-mimicking diet offers a range of potential benefits, many of which are supported by scientific research:

  • Longevity: Studies on animals and early human trials suggest that periodic fasting can extend lifespan and improve healthspan by promoting cellular repair and reducing the risk of age-related diseases.
  • Weight loss: A significant reduction in caloric intake can lead to weight loss, particularly from fat stores while preserving lean muscle mass.
  • Metabolic Health: Improved insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels, and reduced inflammation are some of the metabolic benefits associated with the fast mimicking diet.
  • Reduced risk of chronic diseases: By improving metabolic health and reducing inflammation, the diet may lower the risk of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
  • Enhanced Cognitive Function: Fasting has been linked to improved brain function and a reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
  • Reduced Inflammation: Studies suggest the FMD may have anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Cellular Rejuvenation: The diet might trigger a process called autophagy, where cells clean out damaged components.

How to follow fast fast-mimicking diet?

The fast mimicking diet is meticulously crafted to ensure the body gets sufficient nutrients to prevent malnutrition while still enjoying the benefits of fasting. A standard five-day Fast Mimicking Diet plan is structured as follows:

Day 1: The caloric intake is approximately 1,100 calories, with a macronutrient breakdown of 10% protein, 56% fat, and 34% carbohydrates.

Days 2-5: The daily caloric intake decreases to about 800 calories, distributed as 9% protein, 44% fat, and 47% carbohydrates.

This diet typically includes plant-based foods like nuts, seeds, vegetables, and small quantities of fruits. It focuses on whole foods and healthy fats while minimizing the consumption of processed foods and sugars.

Potential drawbacks of fast mimicking diet:

The FMD also comes with potential drawbacks:

  • Short-Term Discomfort: Hunger, fatigue, and headaches are common during the low-calorie FMD period.
  • Nutrient Deficiencies: Following the diet for extended periods without proper guidance may lead to nutrient deficiencies.
  • Not for Everyone: The FMD is not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women, people with certain medical conditions, or those with a history of eating disorders.

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