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The cheat’s way to fast—and it works

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We all know fasting is something we should be doing every so often—it’s good for us and kickstarts our immune system—but it’s just so difficult to fit into our busy lives.

For reluctant fasters, the solution could be the FMD, or fasting-mimicking diet, and it gives us all the health benefits of a real fast.

The FMD is a five-day diet that’s high in unsaturated fats, low in calories, protein and carbohydrates, and is designed to mimic the effects of a water-only fast.  But because you’re still getting the nutrients your body needs, it’s much easier for people to stay the course.

It’s been devised by Valter Longo, at the University of Southern California’s Leonard Davis School, a champion of fasting.

He’s demonstrated the good effects of the FMD on a group of people aged between 18 and 70 who followed it for five days and then returned to their normal diet for 25 days before repeating the cycle for four months.  They were compared to another group that instead ate either a ‘normal’ or Mediterranean diet.

Blood samples revealed that those on the FMD had lower diabetes risk factors, such as less insulin resistance, and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans showed a reduction in abdominal fat and fat in the liver.

Overall, the FMD group had reduced their biological age by 2.5 years.

“A food-based intervention that does not require extreme dietary or other lifestyle changes can make people biologically younger,” said Longo.

The FMD includes soups, quinoa, squash and nut bars.

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Nature Communications, 2024; 15: doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-45260-9
Article Topics: diet, Fasting, food
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