Fasting diets help you stay in shape, sure. Maintaining a good weight not only makes you feel good about yourself, but also protects you from obesity and even from developing type 2 diabetes. These are health benefits we’ve all heard of before.
But a new study conducted by the University of Southern California (USC) has revealed that fasting diets have even more hidden health benefits – they reduce the chance of developing heart disease and cancer, slow down ageing, as well as boost the immune system.
There is a catch however. You would not have to follow a two (2) day or a three (3) day fasting diet, but a five (5) day fasting diet in order to get the best results. Good news is that you would most likely only have to repeat it four (4) times a year. The diet is designed by experts at the University of Southern California, developed with the average person mind, and perfectly safe.
Valter Longo, professor in biological science and gerontology at USC, who is also the director of the university’s Longevity Institute, gave a statement explaining that “Strict fasting is hard for people to stick to. And it can also be dangerous. So we developed a complex diet that triggers the same effects in the body”.
The diet works by reducing the normal amount of calorie intake by somewhere between 34 to 54 percent (34% to 54%), and is based on a specific composition of fats, proteins, carbohydrates and micronutrients
Professor Longo says that he and his team worked very hard to find the precise amounts of fat, proteins and carbohydrates that a person would have to consume daily so that they don’t feel like they’re fasting, but at the same time the body still experiences the same weigh loss effects.
He explained that the five (5) day schedule is necessary because the body needs three (3) or four (4) days before it begins to reprogram itself and start the regeneration and rejuvenation process.
The composition that they cane up with is the following: on the first day a person has to consume 1.090 calories that are split up in 10 percent (10%) protein, 56 percent (56%) fat and 34 percent (34%) carbohydrates. The following four (4) days a person has to consume 725 calories per day, which are split up in 9 percent (9%) protein, 44 percent (44%) fat and 47 percent (47%) carbohydrates.
Professor Longo stresses that while the 5:2 fasting diet has to be repeated on a weekly basis, the Fasting Mimicking Diet (5:5) only has to be repeated once every three (3) or four (4) months.
For his study, published earlier this week, in the journal Cell Metabolism, professor Longo and his team put mice on a low calorie diets for four (4) days at a time. They noticed the results right away – belly fat was reduced, and the number of stem cells and progenitor cells had increased in several organs, one of them being the brain. Memory and neural regeneration were both boosted.
The next step was to conduct a human trial. They enrolled 19 human subjects, put them on fasting diets for five (5) days at a time. The results were that they showed less of a change of developing cancer, diabetes, hear disease, as well as a reduced number of factors and biomarkers associated with aging.
The researchers are currently conducting larger human trials in order to confirm their findings.
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