What Is An Example Of Fasting Mimicking Diet?

The fasting mimicking diet (FMD) was at the center of this year’s anti-aging conference in Las Vegas. This was the 25th Annual World Congress on Anti-Aging Medicine in Las Vegas, Dec. 14-16, 2017. Dr. Valter Longo, Ph. D reviewed some of the research he had done on longevity in yeast cells, worms and mice.

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Fasting mimicking diet relevant in humans

Dr. Longo pointed out that this type of research has relevance in humans. If there was a cure for cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes, we would live 13 years longer. But if we stimulated longevity with this pulsed calorie restricted diet, we would live on average 30 years longer. There is a rare genetic abnormality where people are deficient for IGF-1, a growth factor produced in the liver. These genetically IGF-1 deficient people live longer and do not develop cancer. Observations like these and detailed mouse experiments inspired Dr. Longo to develop a new diet plan. Patients would receive a fasting mimicking diet on 5 days per month. The rest of the month would consist of a normal, balanced diet. 5 days of the month the person would consume a low 800-calorie diet. This is enough to ensure adherence to the diet, but low enough to lead to enormous metabolic changes including youth-preserving stem cell stimulation.

Clinical Application of fasting mimicking diet in cardiovascular health

Dr. Joel Kahn, Prof. of Medicine at the Wayne State University School of Medicine lectured later that day. He is also the Director at the Kahn Center for Cardiac Longevity. His talk was entitled “The Fast Track to Slow Cardiac Aging: Fasting &Targeted Nutrition”. He mentioned that a fasting mimicking diet was a powerful tool in cardiology to prevent heart attacks and hardening of arteries. He explained in detail the complex aging pathways that involve three components, IGF-1, m. TOR and PKA. When lifestyle choices stimulate these genetic markers, accelerated aging is a consequence. But with the inhibition of those markers longevity can happen. He added that researchers looked at heart cells, where the same principles apply. Dr. Kahn pointed out that the basic research of Dr. Longo enables clinicians to see positive results in patients who follow caloric restriction for 5 days in a month on a regular basis.

How does the fasting mimicking diet work?

It is best to let one of the users of this diet explain how it works. Once per month you eat calorie-restricted food with only 800 calories per day and you follow this regimen for 5 days. Some patients receive 1100 calories for the first of these 5 days, if they have difficulties switching from normal food to the boxed food. Dt. Longo has developed boxed food, called Pro. Lon (from L-Nutra). Pro. Lon stands for “pro longevity”. Dr. Longo and Dr. La. Valle mentioned at the conference that these prepared meals make it a lot easier for patients to stick to the low calorie diet. Three hundred dollars for the boxed food for 5 days are a stiff price, and this may well be out of reach for you.

Alternative way to make your own 800 calorie food at home

Nevertheless, this should not stop you. You can look at the ingredients online and copy the boxed food by creating your own balanced 800 calories per day food at home. It is true: you have to do some research! But counting calories and finding information about the caloric content of food on the Internet is not difficult. And preparing these very, basic, small and simple meals does not require a degree in nutrition. Here is another testimony from a user of the fasting mimicking diet.

Effect of the fasting mimicking diet on the metabolism

In the past it was thought that only ketogenic diets or periods of fasting would trigger longevity genes. But the basic research of Dr. Longo and others has shown that a low calorie diet for only 5 days can achieve the same thing. Longevity genes are activated; the negative aging pathways including IGF-1, m. TOR and PKA are suppressed. The immune system gets activated from this. It also leads to lowering of LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, insulin resistance, and diabetes improves. With the fasting mimicking diet the stomach sees some food, but the cells are fasting. According to Dr. Kahn this combination down regulates the body’s key nutrient-sensing pathways, which activates cellular regeneration and rejuvenation.

Clinical observations

Dr. Khan observed a high compliance rate with 3 cycles of the fasting mimicking diet. 94% of a group of patients were compliant over 3 months. Mild fatigue, mild headaches and mild weakness were present, but improved with each cycle. In addition to the above findings Dr. Khan found that there was weight loss, abdominal fat loss and waist circumference loss. There was also a reduction in IGF-1 levels, a reduction of the C-reactive protein and stimulation of stem cells.

Inflammation reduced, autoimmune diseases improved

The reduction of the C-reactive protein proves that semi-fasting reduces inflammation. The finding of stimulation of stem cells explains that regenerative processes can take place. Pain disappears, people report more energy and are generally feeling better.

There are other clinical findings. The positive effects from following the fasting mimicking diet last for several months. Also, when patients are on chemotherapy for cancer, the FMD will protect the healthy cells from the side effects of chemotherapy.

Dr. Kahn and Dr. La. Valle noted that autoimmune disease responded to FMD. This was shown in both animal experiments using mice and in clinical case reports. Dr. La. Valle described a 46-year old former Olympic athlete swimmer who had multiple sclerosis. After FMD she lost all of her muscle aches and cured her optic neuritis. This was something conventional medicine could not do for her.

Clinical applications of fasting mimicking diet

Here are some of the conditions that will respond to it.

Obesity, because of the weight loss effect

Diabetes: insulin resistance becomes lower and blood sugar levels drop.

High blood pressure reduced: many patients were able to reduce their medications or discontinue them

Prevention of heart attacks and strokes

Pain conditions will improve as all kinds of pain disappears, an effect for which at this point is no explanation

Autoimmune diseases like MS and rheumatoid arthritis improve, likely because of the effect of increased stem cell circulation

Prevention of heart attacks because of reduction of LDL, triglycerides and CRP

Cancer cure rates improved by protecting normal cells and bone marrow

Longevity improved in mice with a 3-fold increase of their life span. Telomere length in humans was increased. Increased stem cells will find defective areas that need repair. This effect will open up a new chapter in medicine.

Maintaining the achievements of the fasting mimicking diet

At this point the implications of this new approach to weight loss and metabolic rejuvenation can only be estimated.

Limiting calories for 5 days triggers a metabolic change, which is permanent. You can experience the full effect of this rejuvenating low calorie treatment. You can do it every month without having to fear vitamin or mineral deficiencies.

Here is another link to the website of Dr. Axe where the fasting mimicking diet is also recommended.

More info: fasting mimicking diet

This answer originally appeared on this Quora question on Fasting.

The Fasting Mimicking Diet From Dr. Valter Longo


hi there I’m registered dietitian nutritionist Whitney English today on the stitch we’re talking about fasting mimicking diets now don’t get freaked out it’s way less intense than you think this past week I tried the fasting mimicking diet from Pro lon and it actually went way more smoothly than I would have thought given the circumstances I made a video diary of my five day journey I think you’re good nothing other than that but first I want to teach you a little bit about the science behind fasting in the diet the diet was created by one of the most prominent scientists in the field of aging dr. Valter Longo I actually got the opportunity to study with dr. Longo in Italy last summer as a part of my Dietetics program and that’s where I first learned about the incredible benefits of fasting the research is absolutely astounding for more than 20 years dr.

Longo and his team have been studying what are called nutrient sensing pathways in cells that are linked to aging and age related diseases like cancer diabetes neurodegenerative diseases and cardiovascular disease he and other researchers have shown that fasting and caloric restriction both significantly extend lifespan and prevent or reduce chronic disease in many organisms by activating pathways that promote stress resistance DNA repair and etapa G now because straight water fasting is way too intense for most people and in some cases dangerous dr. Longo and his team created the fasting mimicking diet to mimic the effects of fasting but while still providing essential nutrients in mice cycles of the diet have been shown to reduce cancer incidents protect from bone mineral loss promote neurogenesis protect from chemo toxicity stimulate stem cell production regenerate beta cells and models of type 1 and type 2 diabetes remyelination neuron cheese and models of multiple sclerosis and extend lifespan mind blowing right while they obviously haven’t been able to test this all out in humans yet they did do a large clinical trial last year with healthy adults showing that 3 cycles of the diet were able to lower markers of chronic disease these results showed lower cholesterol lower blood pressure lower levels of c reactive protein a marker of inflammation lower igf 1 hormone which is linked to age related disease reduce visceral fat stores which are also associated with chronic disease and preserve lean body mass I go into way more detail on all of this over on my blog so if you’re interested head over there and check it out there are also references to all of the research that I’ve mentioned and now here is my five day fasting mimicking diet video diary okay so today is day one of my pull on fasting mimicking diet it’s going really well so far but that is because I just woke up about ten minutes ago but feeling strong I will say that the urge to go make a cup of coffee is very strong right now I didn’t think I drank that much coffee but I put it in a mug that’s really big so I’m probably having about two to three cups a day so the caffeine withdrawal is probably going to be pretty severe for me um I get to have some tea though so I’m going to go make some of this lemon spearmint tea I’m going to have my first meal so to speak it’s an L bar so this thing is basically just a bunch of nuts and I am really excited to eat it right so far going strong okay so it gives you guys a little peek and sign my box here’s my prolonged box it’s got a water bottle basically you’re going to fill this with what’s called an L drink it’s full of glycerol I’ll get more into what that does in the blogpost later but the flavored beverage is supposed to give you some energy through the day so you mix your L drink in there and then every day you have a box of food day one let’s see what we got in here I’ve got minestrone soup tomato soup some kale crackers I’ve had these before they’re actually really good the L bar this is a nut and coconut bar got some algae oil oil pills got to keep keep those omega 3s up that C’s T spearmint tea more cinnamon tea okay we’ve got these n r1 supplements they’re basically just vitamin and mineral supplements make sure you’re getting everything you need over to five days and some olives can’t have a Mediterranean diet without some olives and another L bar so on day one you get two of these what else what else go dessert and dessert so this one is a Coco Crisp bar I will definitely be excited about this later at our bar you’re at the tea’s ready visiting in so we’re here having our second meal of the day we’ve got tomato soup and some kale crackers what do you thought same pretty good very small but very good it’s really good I would eat this like normally not not as part of this regimen I would just like a larger serving of the soup so I made it through the day still alive it’s dinnertime now and I am so ready to eat again I have been feeling pretty good actually um a little bit hungry but nothing completely unbearable what’s been the worst though is I’ve had a pretty bad headache because of not having caffeine so other than that like the hunger part is going okay dinner is served minestrone soup good that look smells really good it’s nice and chunky and you get that bean in focus oh yeah the tomato soup for lunch was delicious so hoping this one will be as well it is day two I woke up feeling really good actually slightly hungry but more hungry than I am any other day when I wake up breakfast is usually my favorite meal of the day so I jump out of an excited to eat but today I still felt fine I was like not seeing or anything my headache from the lack of coffee has gone away so thank God for that the only reason I want coffee now is not for energy I still have a ton of energy I just missed that taste it’s like one of my morning ritual so we are actually allowed to have any caffeine free tea on the diet so I got some tea Chino this stuff is like an herbal tea that kind of tastes a little bit like coffee so I’m enjoying that and actually you can have coffee if you absolutely must they say it’s not great but it’s not going to completely ruin the effects of the fasting so if you really want coffee you can have one cup of black coffee and to start your day but I kind of wanted to use this as a test to see if I could actually just wean myself off coffee I think I think I was drinking a little bit too much lately so I really want to keep the caffeine out so hopefully this teaching know will do the trick gonna eat my L bar in a little bit and yeah get to work it’s Monday so one of the new things that happens on day two in the diet if you get this L drink and basically it’s just glycerol cholesterol is the backbone of fatty acids in your body can take glycerol and turn it into glucose and use it for energy however since it isn’t glucose it doesn’t like spike your blood sugar so they I think they include this in the diet and you mix it with some water take a certain amount based on how much you weigh a little thing on the side where you measure it out and this is basically just to give you a little extra energy since the calorie count drops on the second day so I’m making my lunch right now snacking on some olives these are from Sevilla fancy I’m feeling good today’s going well still managing to get through my work despite being very low cal diet spells good today’s lunch is a mushroom soup blend going to be honest it is not my favorite not as good as the tomato soup or the minestrone that I had last night but it’s okay it’ll do so I’m pretty shocked it’s 5 o’clock on my second day of this fast and I am actually feeling completely fine I have like a ton of energy I’m not very hungry if anything like my brain is a little foggy but everything is pretty normal this is crazy for me I usually can’t go more than like two hours without wanting something to eat so something is working anyway I’m feeling so good that I’m going to go to a friend’s event tonight I had actually blocked out the whole week so that I wouldn’t have anything to do while I was doing this fast and I’m actually able to do a lot of stuff so day two is winding down I just got home having my quinoa minestrone soup still feeling really good I honestly don’t think I’ve had this much energy in a long time I just feel like a little bit wired actually my husband on the other hand over there on the couch is not doing as well what’s what’s wrong with you ain’t very hungry he’s a little hungry we’ll check in with him in a couple days and see if it gets better day three still kicking sitting here enjoying my lemon spearmint tea getting ready to do some work for the day okay so I have finally hit a low point it is one o’clock on day three human very low energy pretty hungry almost a little bit feverish that could be because my air conditioning isn’t on high enough I’m back to you my lunch though so hopefully things get better I’ve got kale crackers and tomato soup on the menu today and those were delicious when I had them the other day dinnertime day three it couldn’t come any sooner I got my minestrone soup here I’m feeling a little better but today was pretty rough I was very hungry all day and I had a slight headache come back please disregard the fact that I’m wearing the same sweater as earlier like I said it’s been a hard day no dessert tonight Noel bar I’m really sad about that but I’m gonna have to t try to go to bed early good morning world it is day four and whoa what a change I am feeling so good I woke up without any hunger the little headache that I had yesterday has gone away I’m feeling super alert didn’t even think about my coffee this morning I’m guessing that I finally transitioned over into ketosis my body is burning that fat for fuel brain views in the ketones and it’s working efficiently I’m feeling good so hopefully the rest of the day continues this way oh I’m actually heading down to USC to go meet with one of the dietitians that I worked with on one of em neutrals other products called chemo leave is in a clinical trial right now on cancer patients so I spend some time working on that I’m going to go visit my friends down there at USC and help see how things are going at USC with one of the lead researchers on fasting and fasting mimicking guys this is my friend Sebastian bran horse it would make hay so I wanted fashion to give you guys a little bit of information so it’s day four I’m feeling amazing yesterday I was not feeling so good what exactly is happening metabolically well I think you at a point where you used up your sugars you are in a happy ketosis space I’m assuming the initial urge to eat and create food is gone you’re feeling excited a little bit it’s really on point where you are harvesting and in a point for like trying to find food now which makes you a little bit more active your brain a lot more maybe a little bit more alert are those teachers like helping my brain function better well the ketones provides some nourishment for the body your brain is probably still using the majority of the glucose that is left okay thank you clarifying that going all right it’s day five oh my gosh I seriously can’t believe I made it this far one more day to go today I woke up feeling hungry very hungry I even dreamed of food I don’t know if that’s because I’m so close to being able to go back to eating normally again or if I’m truly hungry but it’s been about an hour since I woke up I had some water had a little bit of tea and now that hungers starting to subside so I’m hoping today is as energetic as yesterday was but last day I made it whoo it is two o’clock on day five and I’m feeling pretty hungry I think my body knows that tomorrow it gets to go back to my regular eating patterns and so it’s like let’s do it already so I’m counting down the hours but we’re getting there I’ve had my tomato soup and kale crackers I took my dog for a walk and I’m definitely feeling a little bit better my brains been feeling super clear so that’s good yeah gonna get dude some more work and and look forward to dinner what are you doing name measuring out to make sure we have this an amount heaven forbid someone gets a little more soup than the other every calorie time guess what time it is it is dinner time I’m eating my last meal from the dog so we made it we made it all the way to the end of day five hunting he doesn’t sneak into the fridge after I go to bed we will have completed this thing I’m capable of anything we did it we made it all the way through today’s day six the so called transition day we’re easing back into our normal diet with some green smoothies and yeah feeling good it was a little tough the last day but I keep going now oh yeah well Leslie you don’t have to prove it so as you can see it was a bit of an emotional roller coaster for both me and my husband but all in all not that bad for something that could potentially save your life plus unlike true fasting you actually get to eat and I like to eat for more evidence based nutrition information please subscribe to my channel and visit my blog for more information about fasting the fasting mimicking diet and tons of healthy recipes and other great stuff and if you have any other questions please leave them in the comments below I do my best to address all of those I’m Whitney thanks for watching..

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Comment (15)

  1. Cute Lady… but PROLON… A FOOL AND HIS MONEY WILL SOON DEPART… I intermittent Fasted, one meal a day,(ketogenic), in a 1 hour window.. Lost 55 Lbs in less than 5 months… easy really.. Control that INSULIN .. LISTEN TO DR. JASON FUNG… THAT’S THE KEY….

  2. This is just another way of making money on people who are ill or want to improve their health… shame. Not to mention that natural, fresh foods are definitely much better and healthier rather than ready soups or crackers… If you want Fasting Mimicking Diet, just drink fresh vegetable juices or vegetable soups.

  3. It’s a shame the experts are trying to make money on fasting and complicating the whole concept of fasting. Intermittent fasting is so flexible and free. Greed has come up with “plans” that have ruined weight loss, medicine and natural medicine. People who fast for 12-18 hours on a regular basis complain a lot less than you guys about being hungry.

  4. Whitney, I am a celiac patient and one of my worst flares was after trying a tri color quinoa recipe after 3 days of pure gastrointestinal hell I was able to find a research article which outlined that some veriatals of quinoa produced as much (and sometimes more) cytokines as wheat in celiac patients thus explaining my flare. Basically, you mentioned that the minestrone soup has quinoa so I’m worried about that. I’m also concerned because it is not unusual to see wheat in powdered soups, crackers, bars etc. As a dietitian (and I might add one of the few I’ve ever seen that support the ketogenic diet …I’m an RN and I believe in it) what is your take on all of this for a celiac pt?

  5. Just finished my first 6 day water fast, my ketones were averaging 4.0, I lost 6 kg, now four days after my fast finished my weight is still the same as when I finished but my morning fasting ketones are 1.9. I am eating what I like for my lo carb breakfast and lunch but no dinner and snacks. I am going to continue short and long fasts every month until my weight drops below 100 kg or if my morning fasting ketones drop below 1.0 will fast that day.

  6. Fast on busy days away from home. Dr. Longo says to fast three days long, at least three times a year. Once you have fasted 2+ days a few times, it is easier to fast 30 hours (dinner to lunch). Past 2 days no hunger. Not dangerous.

  7. Just do a five water fast after eating eating keto a few weeks and intermittent fasting 18/6…..much easier. No transition day three and probably increased autophagy. Longo developed fasting mimicking to gain acceptance from general public and cancer patients using it before chemotherapy. He knows most people are wimps and couldn’t water fast for five days but it’s actually a breeze if already keto and IF.

  8. 225 a box …..omg.Absolutely ridiculous. Can be done with avocado’s and green juice drink. Think I’ll stick to keto and IF

  9. You can actually do the FMD with real food, and not have to buy the kit. A few websites have come up with diets that mirror Dr Longo’s plant-based micronutrient ratios, calories, and nutrients…….with recipes. The easiest version, however, is to consume a green-powdered drinks and an avocado twice daily (not blended greens, which are too high in carbs). If you don’t eat avocados……2 Tbsp of coconut oil would work also, or you could try almonds & olives (but I don’t know how many). Check out the websites “Quantified Bob” and “The Quantified Body”…..both who tried this approach.
    – Dr Fung and Dr Goldhamer also use forms of fasting to treat various health problems and have had great success. Fasting actually speeds up your metabolism and enables cellular atophogy. Our ancestors experienced periods of feast and famine……and our bodies only repair when no food is around (survival). I got to 4 days, but had a bad taste in my mouth and stopped, though I now know from Dr Goldhamer that this is normal when you fast and shows you are truly in Ketosis and burning Fat.
    – It is easier to fast if you have been following a relatively low-carb lifestyle and used to using fat vs carbs as fuel. Your headache was probably your body switching to Fat-Burning, not a lack of coffee. It takes about 3 days to use up glycogen stores and switch to fat-burning……after that you should no have symptoms.


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