Could the Fast Mimicking Diet be the key to regenerating the human body?
This is the question that has, to no one’s surprise, sent me straight down the research rabbit hole for the past few weeks.
Let me start with a little background on why the Fast Mimicking Diet is so intriguing to me: my goals regarding my own health have changed drastically in the past decade.
On my 39th birthday, with the big 4-0 breathing down my neck, I had one goal in mind: be in the best shape I could possibly be. At that time, my metabolism, what the scale said, and how I felt in my skinny jeans could make or break my day. I wasn’t thinking of worn out joints, hot flashes, swinging moods, or lapses in memory. I only wanted to be fit and look my best.
But all that changed in my 40s.
Now, at 49-years-old, I care more about how my brain is functioning, if my hormones are balanced, and that my joints are free of arthritis. I no longer judge myself by what my scale says. In fact, my scale has long since broken, and all my tight, uncomfortable jeans have been given away and no longer haunt me from the recesses of my closet.
I now have one health focus: slow the aging process.
Now, I don’t mean that from a vanity point of view, I mean it from a place of functionality.
We live in a time where disease is hitting people when they are younger than ever before. In fact, I just heard a story of a 46-year-old who was diagnosed with pre-dementia and told it was just a matter of years before his memory would be completely gone. And these kinds of stories are starting to feel more like the norm than they exception.
I sit with women everyday who are are told that their fatigue, brain fog, hot flashes, weight loss resistance, and belly bloating are all a part of the “normal” aging process and there is nothing that can be done for them. The crazy thing is that nothing could be further from the truth!
I choose to avoid all that. But I avoid it not by putting my head in the sand and hoping for the best, but by turning to science to gain a better understanding of which lifestyle choices will slow down the inevitable wear and tear of of the body.
And if there is one message science keeps screaming louder than any other, it’s that fasting regenerates the body.
This is why the Fast Mimicking Diet has me intrigued.
In recent years, I have coached many people through fasting protocols; I realize that for many, fasting can be intimidating… and also maybe a little confusing. I want to take a minute to simplify it for you because once you understand the principles of fasting you will see why fasting is so good for your health.
There are five types of fasting:
- Intermittent fasting (13-15 hours without food)
- Dinner to dinner fasting (24 hours without food)
- Dry fasting (12-24 hours without food)
- Fast Mimicking Diet (18 hours without food, 6 hours with food, limited to less than 1000 calories and no animal protein)
- Water fasting (at least 3 days with no food, only water)
Think of the first three fasts as detoxing fasts. They stimulate something called autophagy, where, in the absence of food, the cells will eat their own toxins. These fasts also help with lowering insulin levels, kicking you out of weight loss resistance, and giving you a surge of growth hormone to build your muscles.
The last two fasts are all about regeneration. These fasts will force your body to secrete stem cells. Stem cells are cells that have the ability to turn into any type of cell in the human body. This is a good thing because when you get a surge of stem cells, these cells will find the areas in your body that need healing and create new healthy cells to replace the damaged ones.
With both the fast mimicking diet and water fasting, I have seen many musculoskeletal injuries “mysteriously” go away.
Now there is a big difference in the application of these two regenerative fasts. Although water fasting is the queen of all fasts, it takes a disciplined mind and a whole lot of motivation. If you are really sick or very stuck with your health, there is no better reset to your health than a nice long water fast. But, for many, water fasting can be hard and you should be supervised by a doctor who is experienced with fasting.
But the fast mimicking diet is a whole different story. Once you understand the fast mimicking diet, you will see that it can be quiet easy to follow and can give your body an incredible regenerative boost. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28202779
The Fast Mimicking Diet was made famous by Dr. Valtar Longo, PhD, from the University of Southern California. He led patients who had type 1 and type 2 diabetes through a very specific type of fast for five days each month for three consecutive months. After a three month cycle, he could see that injured cells in the pancreas were regenerating. How cool is that?
When he published his research, the question everyone wanted to know was what food did you feed them for those five days?
This is absolutely the most confusing part of the Fast Mimicking Diet.
Many believe that Dr. Longo kept the exact ratio secret because he has created his own prepackaged foods using the same ratios that he used in his experiments. I’ve never used his prepackaged products but for those of you who don’t have the time or patience to DIY it, you can order his products here: https://prolonfmd.com/fasting-mimicking-diet/
In any case, while we don’t know the exact ratios used by Dr. Longo in his experiments, one of the things I love best about the Fast Mimicking Diet is that once you know what types of food you need to eat (and not eat!), anyone can do it. It’s not expensive, in fact you will most likely save money the week you do the Fast Mimicking Diet.
Here are a few things to think about before you embark on the Fast Mimicking Diet:
1. You get to eat!
With the Fast Mimicking Diet, you eat from four categories: fiber, fruit, fats, and veggies. You just have to measure out each serving from each category (see Fast Mimicking Diet Cheat Sheet).
Pros: I know that it sounds crazy, but for those of us that have done a lot of fasting, it’s nice to know you get to eat something at the end of the day.
Cons: You have to make yourself stop eating. For some of my patients, they prefer water fasting because you shut your mind off to eating all together. With the Fast Mimicking Diet, if you finish all your food and are still hungry… tough! It’s time to stop eating!
2. A longer eating window!
The eating window for the Fast Mimicking Diet is 1pm-7pm. That means you have six hours to eat your 1000 calories.
Pros: I am accustomed to doing 24 hour fasts and there is often a time in the afternoon where I feel hungry. When I do the Fast Mimicking Diet, I usually reach for some type of fat as my first food. Eating an avocado or scoop of nut butter really kills my hunger and fills me up so I can make it to my dinner full of veggies.
Cons: Some people have trouble stopping once they start eating. For those folks, this longer window can present a problem. I also find people worry about eating too much and not getting the regenerative benefits the fast mimicking diet offers.
3. You don’t have to count carbs!
The Fast Mimicking Diet is not a keto diet. Although most will find themselves getting into ketosis while on this diet, it’s not necessarily a diet meant to limit carbs. That was not Dr. Longo’s intention with his study. He was more concerned with calorie restriction and limiting protein.
Pros: You get to have sweet potatoes on the Fast Mimicking Diet! Need I say more? You can also have berries. This can make the Fast Mimicking Diet perfect for women who want to fast the week before their period. https://drmindypelz.com/5-things-that-can-derail-the-keto-for-women/
Cons: The Fast Mimicking Diet is not a weight loss diet. Although many of my patients notice weight loss during those five days, it is meant to be a regenerative diet.
Bonus: You also can have coffee on the Fast Mimicking Diet! You’ll need to skip the cream, but you can still add your grass fed butter.
My research shows that the Fast Mimicking Diet has huge potential to help in the effort to slow down the aging process. A little self-experimentation all it takes to find out how it works for you!
If you want to know more about the Fast Mimicking Diet, join me in my Resetter group. Five days each month, we do a fast training week where I coach people through fasting, including optimizing the Fast Mimicking Diet. If you’d like more information, check out the videos about the Fast Mimicking Diet on my YouTube Channel.
Here’s to slowing down aging!