Fasting mimicking diet (FMD) is a 5-day eating plan. You will have to follow the eating plan for five days in a row each month. And for obtaining optimal results it is recommended to be followed every one to six months.
Periodic fasting has demonstrated benefits in extending the lifespan and reducing the risk of many chronic illnesses. For example, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and disorders of the brain cells. Currently, two methods of fasting are popular among people. They are intermittent fasting (IF) and alternate-day fasting (ADF).
Nonetheless, many people, especially older adults, cannot adhere to longer periods of fasting. Notably, IF requires you to go without food for 12 to 24 hours. Moreover, traditional IF methods are not suitable for people with an eating disorder in the past. FMD apparently overcomes these limitations of IF and gives you similar benefits. While IF is more of an eating pattern than a specific diet, FMD focuses on specific foods to eat five days each month.
As the name suggests, FMD mimics the physiological state of fasting. Simply put, it tricks your body into believing that you are fasting but you are actually eating selected foods. The brainchild of Professor Valter Longo, the FMD program comprises low-protein, low-carb, and high-fat meals. According to Longo, a fasting mimicking diet promotes health in a way similar to fasting but with meals that contain certain nutrients.
An increasing body of evidence shows FMD can be effective in the management of obesity. Besides, some studies have found that it can also help improve your gut health and reduce inflammation.
When you follow the fasting mimicking diet, you consume only small amounts of carbs. Carbs are the primary source of energy for the body. Thus, depriving your body of carbs causes it to use other sources to fulfill its energy requirements. These include glycogen (stored in the liver and muscle) and noncarbohydrate molecules such as glycerol and amino acids. This partially explains how the FMD meal could promote weight loss.
Furthermore, one study suggests that people following the FMD program typically consume 34–54% of their normal calorie requirements. This creates a calorie deficit, which is the key to losing weight.
In a 2017 study, researchers found that by following the FMD program for three months, participants were able to shrink their waist and lose weight. Moreover, they also had healthy blood pressure.
An unhealthy gut can trigger many chronic diseases. Thus, it is critically important to take care of what goes into your gut. Sadly, a typical Western diet contains many ingredients that are harmful to the friendly bacteria in the gut.
A fast mimicking diet can help improve your gut health in two ways:
The FMD program is a 5-day meal program. On the first day, you consume 1100 to 1150 calories. On the remaining four days, you are not allowed to consume more than 750 to 800 calories per day. The basic idea is to get 60% of your daily calories from healthy fats, 10% from plant-based protein, and 30% from slow digestible carbs on day 1. On the remaining days, the ratio of macros changes slightly to 9% from protein, 44% from fat, and 47% from carbs.
Fasting mimicking diet does not allow the intake of animal protein, processed sugar, lactose, and gluten. Nuts are an essential part of the meal program. Thus, you should take care if you are allergic to nuts. Nut allergy can cause life-threatening reactions in some people.
Below is a breakdown of how to take your foods.
Because this is the first day of the program, you may feel a bit lethargic. However, you should start feeling better as your body adapts to a new dietary regimen. Aim for an 1100-calories total intake. Of the total calories, 500 calories should come from complex carbs, 500 calories from plant-based fats, and 100 calories from protein obtained from plant sources.
Aim for an 800-calories total intake. Of these, complex carbs should provide 400 calories and healthy fats should provide the remaining 400 calories.
Avoid eating large meals as they can upset your stomach. Just like day 1, day 6 is the transition from fasting to normal eating habits. To make sure the transition is not painful, start by eating foods that are gentle on your stomach. For example, broths and juices.
You may continue your normal eating habits on other days. However, most experts recommend sticking to plant-based foods and healthy fats for sustained benefits.
Fasting mimicking diet has shown promising results in animal studies. According to a 2018 study, diabetic mice that received the FMD for four days every week had:
Likewise, researchers have also successfully restored beta-cell function in people with type 1 diabetes, reports ScienceDaily. That said, these results should be interpreted carefully because there is still a dearth of large human studies. If you have diabetes and want to try fasting mimicking diet, always consult your doctor first. Doing so can save you from dangerous changes in blood sugar levels.
Fasting mimicking diet do it yourself (FMD DIY) may seem like an interesting idea. If you are generally healthy and have no chronic health problems, you may go ahead with FMD DIY. Start with moderate calorie restriction and mostly consume plant-based foods. You may create your eating plan based on the principles of FMD. The principles include eating:
That said, avoid starting the FMD program on your own if you:
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