Earlier this year, I wrote about some of the amazing effects periodic fasting can have on your health. The article focused on a research team from the University of Southern California, who discovered that not only is fasting not bad for you, as many nutritionists have claimed, but it can actually completely regenerate you’re entire immune system.
They found that just three days of fasting would kick-start the body’s stem cells to produce new white blood cells, while simultaneously discarding older immune cells. It also had the added benefit of reducing an enzyme which has been linked to tumor and cancer growth.
But that research team hasn’t been resting on their laurels by any means. They’ve continued their research on the health benefits of fasting, and they’ve discovered that it can also add years to your life. What’s more important though, is that they’ve figured out an eating regimen that can produce many of the same healthy effects, without fully abstaining from food. It’s a 5 day diet that halves your daily intake on the first day, and then cuts it down to a third for the following four days. It’s very slim on on protein, and very high in fat and vegetables:
“Strict fasting is hard for people to stick to, and it can also be dangerous, so we developed a complex diet that triggers the same effects in the body,’ said Professor Valter Longo, USC Davis School of Gerontology and director of the USC Longevity Institute.
“I’ve personally tried both, and the fasting mimicking diet is a lot easier and also a lot safer.
“I think based on the markers for ageing and disease in humans it has the potential to add a number of years of life but more importantly to have a major impact on diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other age-related disease.”
Day one of the diet comprises:
10 per cent protein, 56 per cent fat and 34 per cent carbohydrate, making 1,090 calories
Days two to five:
Nine per cent protein, 44 per cent fat and 47 per cent carbohydrate making 725 calories
So how well does it work? After testing this diet on humans, they found that after three months the test subjects had all lost weight, which goes without saying. But their markers for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease were all reduced. What’s more, the participants in the study were told to go back to eating whatever they liked after the five day fast, which could also include an unhealthy diet. They still reaped many of the health benefits.
So if you’re worried about your health or if you’re just looking to lose some weight, but you don’t think you can handle a traditional fast, this diet may be right up your alley. It’s now been proven that you don’t need to completely abstain from food to experience the benefits of fasting. Still, the researchers suggest that you should consult your doctor before undertaking any kind of fast, since some folks are not healthy enough for it. If you’re still interested in giving it a shot, you can learn more of the study’s details at cell.com.