Fasting is a time honored tradition that been practiced for thousands of years, as spiritual fasting is a part of many religions. The literal definition of fasting is to abstain from food and drink from a specific period of time.
There is a lot of buzz about fasting these days just as there was years ago about low fat diets. Not such a great eating plan according to Dr. Walter Willett, Harvard School of Public Health. “The reality is that during this campaign for fat-free and reduced-fat products, actual fat consumption did go down, but Americans got much fatter during this period of time.” It is no wonder we are skeptical about yet another diet strategy to help us lose the extra pounds Americans tend to be piling on at a frightening pace. So what is the skinny on fasting?
Types of Fasting:
- Water fasting: This is the traditional type of fasting, which requires that no food or drink, other than water, be consumed for a defined period of time. This protocol has very low compliance because it is so miserable to do. Lean tissue mass is lost during this type of fasting and unless you are under the care of a physician or a specialized clinic treating you for a specific condition, we do not recommend water fasts for more than one day.
- Intermittent Fasting or Time Restricted Feeding: This is a popular protocol for maintenance once optimal body weight is attained. Studies show that fasting for a period of 16 hours per day, with restricted eating limited to 8 hours per day helps to maintain normal body fat levels. It is also recommended not to eat for at least 3 hours before going to bed to allow optimum levels of human growth hormone to be released during sleep. Research shows it is not so much “what” you eat, but “when” you eat that has the biggest impact. Note to self: it does not mean eating Oreo’s for 8 hours is a good idea!
An alternative intermittent fasting protocol allows you to eat normally 5 days per week, but cut calories to 500 per day for the last 2 days of the week. Studies show similar results to 16:8 hour time restricted eating using this 5:2 day method. It is really a matter of personal preference.
- Fasting Mimicking Diets or periodic fasting is a relatively new in the literature.It is a scientifically formulated and clinically tested way to induce the benefits of fasting while consuming food. The purpose is to mimic the effects and induce the protective and regenerative benefits of water fasting while eating specific combinations of food.
More on Fasting Mimicking Diets:
The Prolon Fasting Mimicking Diet consists of 66 unique ingredients that have been studied for over a decade at USC, under sponsorship of the NIH. It contains a plant based, low protein, moderate calorie restricted food plan that comes in a 5 day program. A typical day contains a variety of bars, soups, snack, drinks, and supplements. Day 1 is 1,100 calories, while the remaining days are around 770 calories. No other food is permitted during the 5 day fast other than water or herbal teas.
The ProLon meal plan is followed 5 days per month. You can go back to a normal lifestyle/diet for the remaining 25 days of the month. Fasting Mimicking Diets™ provide healthy, natural, and scientifically tested ingredients that nourish the body but the body does not recognize it is eating. This fasting-with-food meal plan is low in carbohydrates and proteins and contains good fatty acids.
The FMD™ patented recipe allows your body to remain under a fasting-like mode, which triggers a set of protection measures that the body has developed during natural selection when food was scarce and not easy to find and store. This causes the body to optimize its performance, rejuvenate its cells, and thrive under such circumstances. When tested in mice, Fasting Mimicking Diets™ increased their median healthspan by a striking 11%, and in randomized human trials it normalized many metabolic health metrics that are compatible with healthy aging and increasing healthspan.
Biologic benefits of FMD:
- Normalizes fasting blood glucose
- Lowers cholesterol and triglycerides
- Normalizes blood pressure
- Decreases inflammation
- Decreases visceral (belly) fat
- Increases stem cell rejuvenation
- Maintains lean body mass
- Improves energy levels
- Improves skin appearance
- Promotes overall weight loss
Prolon FMD mitigates the burden and danger of water-only fasting, while providing a readily consumable, proven and safe dietary program that does not require ongoing lifestyle changes such as long-term dieting. It is recommended to use the program once per week for 3 consecutive months to attain optimal weight, then quarterly for maintenance. Both Joan and I have tried this program and rave about it! See our journal blogs and video’s during our 5 days of fasting.
Precautions Regarding Fasting
The health benefits of fasting are extremely appealing, but fasting is not for everyone. People who suffer from hypoglycemia and type 1 diabetics should probably avoid fasting, unless under the supervision of a physician. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should absolutely not fast, as it can have negative effects on the baby.
If you have other chronic health conditions it is best to consult your doctor before introducing fasting into your lifestyle. However, for most of the population, intermittent fasting or the Prolon Fasting Mimicking Diet can be a very helpful tool in managing your weight and reversing signs of aging.