Overall Health Benefits
Living a long, healthy, active life is a goal most of us try to achieve in our lifetime. Sadly, many people don’t reach that outcome as their bodies break down as part of aging and over time, suffer a wide range of chronic illnesses and debilitating diseases that can lead to impaired quality of life or even early demise.
However, much more positive results are possible. There are simple methods almost everyone can apply to optimize their health and reap the life-altering benefits. Exercise and eating the right foods are always safe bets, but it’s when you eat those foods that can play an even greater role in impacting your health and longevity.
The Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) continues to gain support from the scientific community for its ability to support vital functions that help keep our minds and bodies running like fine-tuned machines well into our golden years. With its unique and clinically proven formulation, the FMD presents a host of physiological benefits shown to improve both the quality and duration of life. Here’s a look at a few of the most significant ones.
Supports Greater Cognitive Function
Let’s start with the brain. It’s no secret that with age comes a deterioration in cognitive functioning. Maintaining optimal focus, clarity, and overall mental performance is essential for remaining vibrant and productive as we get older. In preliminary studies with mice (1), considerable, positive brain changes were identified when an FMD eating approach was implemented.
In older mice, FMD cycles promoted brain growth and improved cognitive performance. The diet stimulated the regeneration of brain neurons and lessened the markers of aging. Moreover, the anti-inflammatory effects brought on by an FMD may also help slow the progression of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease (2). Finally, because the FMD promotes eating brain-enhancing foods like olive oil, it can serve as another way in which cognitive function can be elevated.
Optimizes Metabolic Health
To achieve greater overall health and longevity, it’s essential that your body is able to maintain healthy levels of blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure. In a recent human clinical trial (3) the metabolic effects of an FMD showed significant promise. In the study, one hundred healthy subjects were split in two groups; half followed an FMD five days a month for three months, and the other half consumed their usual diet. Findings revealed greater drops in blood pressure, blood sugar, blood cholesterol and markers of inflammation in the FMD group.
Chronic inflammation often contributes to the advance of numerous life-threatening diseases including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and multiple sclerosis. In lieu of strong drugs with harsh side-effects, there are indications that an FMD can help to keep inflammation at bay and lessen the potential of chronic disease.
Promotes Stem Cell-Based Renewal
The process of removing aging and damaged cells from the body and replacing them with new and healthy ones is what enables us to ward off illness and disease. An FMD can trigger this process by dramatically boosting our cell’s ability to regenerate (4). In the same clinical human trial mentioned above, those participants following the FMD experienced a reduction in insulin-like growth factor (a biomarker for cancer growth) (5), and an increase in stem cell production (a marker for regeneration of cells).
Decrease Excess Body Fat While Preserving Lean Muscle Mass
While the primary objective of the FMD is to activate stem cells and promote regeneration and rejuvenation in multiple organs to optimize health, a desired effect of this eating program is also weight loss. FMD’s present an ideal way to lose fat (especially belly fat), while protecting lean body mass. That’s because an FMD deprives your body of carbs and forces it to use stored fat cells for energy. It has been shown to target visceral fat and is the ultimate way to rev up your fat burning furnace and lose weight.
FMD’s Advantages Over Water-only Fasting
Just like FMDs, water-only fasts are designed to improve health and longevity through substantial caloric restriction that puts your body into a special protective state, knows as a fasting state. However, there are significant differences between these two types of fasting approaches that must be understood when trying to determine which will ultimately produce the safest and best results. In most cases, water-only fasts fall short when stacking up against an FMD.
Here’s why an FMD has the edge over a water-only fast:
- Energy Support: During the 5-day fasting cycle FMD’s allow for specific foods to be eaten and enjoyed, which helps to shore up energy depletion experienced on a total food restrictive program like the water-only fast.
- Promotes Greater Fat Loss: With an FMD, weight loss is the result of fat-burning achieved by moving the body into a ketogenic state. While weight-loss on a water-only fast is a likely occurrence, it’s possible that the wrong type of weight will be lost. In many cases, much of this lost weight from a water-only fast comes from water and carbs, and muscle.
- Maintains Lean Muscle Mass: Preserving lean muscle mass occurs with an FMD thanks to the inclusion of certain nutritious foods. With a water-only fast, muscle mass can be lost due to the body being forced into starvation mode. Because no food is consumed during a water fast, the body is compelled to start burning muscle as fuel. This may not be an issue for a brief 24-hour water fast, but anything beyond that and muscle loss becomes more of a serious concern. The longer your body goes without food, the more muscle you risk losing (7).
- Safer to Complete: FMDs are considered to be among the safest ways to fast because they allow for the consumption of foods that contain nutritious vitamins and minerals necessary for vital physiological functions. Water-only fasts, on the other hand, fail to provide any of these essential nutrients. Perhaps the greatest danger posed by a water-only fast is the absence of electrolytes. Some of the electrolytes your body needs to function properly include sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. By consuming a water-only diet your body is deprived of these critical elements; over a given period of time that can lead to serious health issues and in some cases, even death.