Fasting Mimicking Diet: What Is It?
- Article | Patient Education Aug 14, 2018
- Nini Mai, DACM
Fasting, the practice of abstaining from eating or drinking for an extended period of time, is not a new concept — it has been in practice for about as long as civilization has existed. In modern times, it has been associated most commonly with religious practices or weight loss, but cultures around the world have some version of limiting foods for health.
Today, fasting has become an increasingly popular practice in the field of medicine. New research in nutrition and cellular metabolism has led to discoveries which have proven that fasting has a positive effect on cellular health, as well as the overall physical health of a living organism. The research shows that fasting can help promote a pause, if not a short-term reversal, in the aging process. In the wake of these new discoveries, the Fasting Mimicking Diet has emerged as a innovative and safe version of fasting, designed to help patients reap as many health benefits as possible while minimizing the undesirable effects of complete fasting.
Fasting Mimicking Diets differ from a true fast in that they trick the body into thinking it is starving while still providing key nutrients. While following a Fasting Mimicking Diet, patients eat a limited quantity of food, and follow a diet that is high in fats, and relatively low in protein and carbohydrates. Eating in accordance to these specific guidelines allows the body to go into a fasting state, activating the same metabolic and anti-aging processes that would occur during a true fast, but the process is, ultimately, much less strenuous on the body.
Dr. Valter Longo, Ph. D, a leading biogerontologist who researches the effects of fasting and aging, has studied the effects of calorie restriction since the early 1990’s. Through his research, he has found that all organisms studied– from yeast, to mice, to human beings– have experienced positive health effects following periods of sustained caloric restriction.
After extensive research, Dr. Longo created ProLon, a Fasting Mimicking Diet meal plan designed to help patients’ bodies enter into a metabolic state of fasting, while still being able to remain nourished and satiated. ProLon is a five day program, comprised of food specifically chosen to help the body maintain a metabolic state of fasting. Each ingredient is carefully selected to increase the efficacy of the diet, and produce the optimum result.
While the work of Dr. Longo has proven to be a major break-though in science and the field of medicine, many of us can sometimes be left scratching our heads, asking questions like, “Is this really good for me?”, “Should I really make fasting a part of my health care regimen?”.
For many, the concept that depriving your body of fuel and nutrients in order to heal seems somewhat counter-intuitive. It is true that our bodies need appropriate fuel and nutrients to build and grow, but what the Fasting Mimicking Diet offers is the tools our bodies need to repair.
As we all know very well, in order to heal and recover, we need time and rest. When we are sick, we take time off from our usual busy schedules and we sleep, relax, and spend as much time as possible resting, for this is what our bodies require in order to recuperate and return to a state of balance. The same is true for our metabolic system — sometimes it needs a rest.
In Chinese medicine, we have a saying: Eat until you’re 70% full. Over-eating is one of the root causes for many digestive issues. The Spleen in Chinese medicine has the important function of transforming and transporting foods throughout the body, and it is very sensitive to being over-worked. Eating too much, too frequently, consuming the wrong types of foods or at the wrong times of the day can all have deleterious effects. Many of the recent discoveries in nutrition and metabolics all support these principles in Chinese medicine.
Providing our metabolic system some time to rest is where all of the health benefits of a Fasting Mimicking Diet stem from. Fasting Mimicking Diets, such as ProLon, can help balance a number of health markers such as cholesterol, inflammation, and fasting glucose, to name a few. Additionally, Fasting Mimicking Diets can help people lose weight in a healthy way, without all of the potential health risks of “starvation diets”, or a true fast.
With all of the potential health benefits, many of us may be inclined to try our own versions of Fasting Mimicking Diets, without the use of a meal plan such as ProLon. While it is possible to enter into a metabolic state of fasting through your own at-home method, ProLon has been developed after years of evidence-based research, and besides being effective, it is above all safe.
Though Fasting Mimicking Diets are much safer and take less of a toll on one’s body than a true fast, it is essential to work with a qualified practitioner. Not everyone is a candidate for fasting of any kind, and there are limitations and guidelines that need to be taken into consideration. Taking these most crucial steps when starting a Fasting Mimicking Diet not only ensures safety, but improves outcome, and guarantees you will have a successful result.
If you are interested in learning more about the many ways Fasting Mimicking Diets can improve your health, please take the time to contact your practitioner. Currently, Evolve Health + Wellness offers consultations for ProLon, and we will be there for you every step of the way as your begin your journey to better health.