Fast-Mimicking Diet

Authored by Laya Rajan • 
January 17, 2017
 • 2 min read

The fast-mimicking diet was developed by Dr. Valter Longo to provide the benefits of a water fast without actually having to abstain from eating. Apart from concerns about losing muscle mass, water fasting can be psychologically difficult for most people.

The diet components are proprietary and can be purchased from Prolon[] , but people have had success creating their own versions. The diet mostly consists of vegetable soups, kale chips, chamomile flower tea, and plant extract pills. Extensive research has been conducted to adjust the macro and micronutrients in order to specifically reduce glucose and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), increase ketone bodies, and optimize nutrition while minimizing negative effects.

A pilot study in humans showed very promising results. The participants spent 5 days eating the diet and 25 days eating as normal. This cycle was repeated 3 times. The diet provided them with 34% to 54% of their normal caloric intake, with a macro breakdown of 34-47% carbohydrates, 9-10% proteins, and 44-56% fat. After the third cycle, subjects saw a sustained reduction of about 6% in their blood glucose and about 15% decrease in IGF-1, indicating improved metabolic control. Subjects lost about 3% of their body weight after 3 cycles and kept it off. By doing body scans, the researchers were able to conclude that most of the weight lost was fat and not lean body mass. This is an improvement over fasting, where a sizeable portion of the weight lost is water. Compliance with the diet was extremely high, which is a key consideration.

The study also found a sustained decrease in C-reactive protein (CRP) in subjects who started with abnormally elevated levels. CRP is a marker for inflammation, and elevated levels are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. There was thought to be an increase in certain populations of stem cells, but this finding requires more research to substantiate.

Initial studies of the fast-mimicking diet in humans are extremely promising. The diet may provide all the benefits of water fasting while mitigating some of the negative aspects. Although the diet products are proprietary, we encourage hackers to put together their own version! Check back for more information on how to do so.

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