This article is copyright © Nils Osmar 2019.
- Fasting Mimicking Diets (FMDs) are temporary.
- They don’t have enough nutrients to support life or health long-range.
- No one should try living on one for more than a few days.
Every now and then I like to do a five day FAST or a FASTING MIMICKING DIET (FMD). After trying a number of versions of the FMD, including the one developed by Dr. Valter Longo, I came up with a version of my own which works well for me.
I do FMDs partly for weight control. I’m 5′ 11.5″, 180 pounds, so I’m about the right weight for my height. But now and then my weight starts creeping up a little. When that happens, doing an FMD will help reset it.
But the main reason I do them is for autophagy and apoptosis, and because of evidence that both fasting and FMD dieting may contribute to a longer LIFESPAN and HEALTHSPAN by lowering our mTOR, raising our NAD levels, and clearing SENESCENT CELLS out of the body and replacing them with new STEM CELLS.
The FASTING MIMICKING DIET that I follow has the following macronutrients:
LIMIT PROTEIN (DURING A FASTING MIMICKING DIET) TO 15 GRAMS/DAY.
- The point of a fasting mimicking diet is to experience both AUTOPHAGY and APOPTOSIS. Both require that you cut your protein to somewhere in the range of 15 grams per day (or less).
- AUTOPHAGY is a kind of deep cleaning of your cells. Your body needs some fuel, so it scavenges your cells for amino acids it can turn into proteins to keep vital bodily functions going. This accumulated debris out of your cells. It’s similar in a way to taking trash out of your house to be disposed of. Autophagy kicks in when we do without protein for a long enough period of time. See related article
- APOPTOSIS is programmed cell death –– in this case the death of senescent cells. Around two or three days into a fast, there’s evidence that your body runs out of cellular debris, so it starts eating its own cells.
- This may sound scary, but it’s good, according to Dr. Valter Longo and Dr. Jason Fung, because the ones it starts cannibalizing are dying/decaying senescent cells. It appears to kick in two or three days after the start of autophagy.
- Eating MORE than 15 grams of protein per day shuts down both autophagy and apoptosis. So, count grams and make sure they don’t exceed 15. Remember that plants have protein, too. See related article: “Why 15 Grams of Protein is the Magic Number”
- I should be clear that I am only talking about how much protein I eat (or limit myself to) when fasting (or doing an FMD). No one should try to live on 15 grams of protein indefinitely. Our bodies need protein,* and if we’re deprived of it serious health problems will develop.
- The point is that Fasting Mimicking Diets are temporary, not permanent. If you try living on one permanently, you’d better have your will made out, because you will die.
LIMIT NET CARBS (CARBS MINUS GRAMS OF FIBER) TO 50 GRAMS PER DAY.
- It’s fine to go lower if you want to.
- I usually end up eating around 20 or 30 grams.
- After doing several FM diets, I’ve concluded that you do not have to rigidly keep it at 20 grams, which some folks recommend. You’ll get profound benefits even if you eat up to 50 grams of net carbs per day.
LIMIT FAT TO 80 GRAMS/DAY.
- For example, you might eat an avocado or two, or put a tablespoon or two of heavy cream in your coffee, or do your cooking with butter, olive oil, avocado oil or coconut oil.
- Avoid unhealthy and inflammatory fats like soy, safflower and corn oils. Fats like those found in OLIVE OIL and AVOCADO OIL appear to be ideal. And some saturated fats (like those found in MCT oil) are another healthy alternative.
- Don’t deliberately overdose on fat, just eat a little fat when you’re hungry.
- ADDENDUM: I’ve stopped counting grams of fat when doing an FMD. I don’t worry about ’em anymore.
IF YOU COUNT CALORIES…
- Some people doing FMD diets count calories. But many don’t. I’ve stopped doing so.
- For those who want to count them, if you’d like to stay within the range of the Prolon diet, keep calories to around 1050 calorie total on the first day.
- Keep them to 750 calories a day or less on the remaining days.
For specific information about WHAT to eat