After reading Valter Longo's book "The Longevity Diet: Discover the New Science Behind Stem Cell Activation and Regeneration to Slow Aging, Fight Disease, and Optimize Weight" I was fascinated by the quality his research and its outcomes and implemented his recommended fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) on myself for the first time last year. Valter Longo is one of the leading scientists in the field of longevity and his findings are helping tons of people to fight serious illnesses. Even though I do not have any health conditions that I'm fighting, Longo's recommendation for healthy individuals is to undertake his FMD protocol 2-3 times a year.
Our bodies know better how to deal with less food than with more food
Fasting is not the easiest task, I will be honest. 5 days is a pretty long time without food, especially if you're not used fasting. We're so used to stuffing our faces with food 24/7 that some people can't even imagine skipping a meal. I truly believe (and so do the scientific studies) that our bodies know better how to deal with less food than with more food. I did struggle during my first extended fast, but felt refreshed as if I pressed a "reset" button on my body. You think you can't last a couple of days without food? Well, this Scottish lad did it for 382 days!!! Jason Fung in his book "The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting" writes: "“In the 1970s, a 27-year-old Scottish man started fasting at a weight of 456 pounds over the next 382 days. He subsisted on only non-calorie fluids, a daily multivitamin and various supplements. He set the world record for the longest fast. His body weight decreased from 456 pound to 180 pounds, and then unlike these Biggest Loser guys even five years after his fast, he remained at 196 pounds. His blood sugar levels went down, but remained within the normal range. He had no episodes of hypoglycemia". There you go. The guy lasted 382 days, I'm pretty sure you can last 5 with less food than you're used to in your system. The fast requires some preparation and planning, but the benefits are so great that it's difficult to pass on, ranging from improved health markers to stem-cell regeneration. Since not all of us can just not eat for 5 days, FMD was specifically designed to:
Provide sufficient calories to be safe outside of a clinic
Provide a variety of components that most people can enjoy
To be equally effective as fasting if not more so
Their randomized study on 100 patients resulted in significant blood pressure decrease in subjects with moderately high blood pressure, fasting glucose decrease for pre-diabetic patients, significant CRP (inflammatory marker) decrease and improved other health markers. Other benefits include the production of stem cells, stronger mental focus, reduction of abdominal fat and lowered risk factors for a variety of diseases.
If you fall into one of these populations, FMD protocol might not be for you: pregnant women, people who are underweight, have very low body mass index, or suffer from anorexia, people over the age of 70, unless in superior health-and then only with a doctor's approval, anyone who is fragile, people with liver or kidney diseases, people affected by pathologies.
For you fitness/bodybuilding bros out there - if you're worried about losing muscle mass, growth hormone (GH) actually increases when fasting and working out post-fasting will result in some serious gains. So stop downing your post-workout protein shake and give your digestion some rest.
I dug up Valter Longo's patent for FMD (feel free to use it when preparing for your fast) on one of the sites and here's what it looks like:
After plugging a couple of numbers in, I came up with this for myself:
I will make sure to support my body with Essential Amino Acids (EAAs), quality multi-vitamin and minerals throughout the fast.
Join me on my quest for longevity and feeling better. 5 days is easier than you imagine and it will reap the benefits beyond rejuvenation and cell-clean up!