A fasting mimicking diet is an eating plan that can activate stem cells and promote regeneration and rejuvenation in multiple organs to optimize health and provide anti-aging benefits. It helps reset certain systems in your body, including your immune system and can reduce the levels of glucose in your blood. Many people chose to fast to maintain healthy levels of blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure, as well as markers of inflammation for overall wellness. Some people have chosen a fasting diet to lose weight, while others enjoy better mental performance, as well as greater focus, clarity, and energy.
What is Fasting?
A fast is refraining from eating during a specified period. Many people fast for spiritual reasons, while others find that they enjoy eating only during a few hours out of each day. When you fast, your body uses stored energy – adipose tissue – to work the systems of the body. Instead of using energy from food, your body burns fat. Fasts can be short-term, such as a 12 or 16-hour intermittent fast, or last for a few days. When you change your eating plan to include fasting, make sure that you check with your doctor, to ensure that you get proper supplemental nutrition and hydration.
What is Fasting Mimicking?
Fasting mimicking is an eating plan that tricks your body into entering a fasting state. By dropping your calorie intake to very low levels, you can trick your body into thinking that you are fasting, and still retain proper nutrition levels. Instead of abstaining from food completely like a traditional fast, you still consume small amounts of food in a way that produces the health benefits of fasting. You’ll consume a very low amount of calories, focusing on nutrient-dense foods and healthy dietary fats. A fasting mimicking diet typically lasts five days.
Preparing for Your Fasting
If you have an active lifestyle, or if you anticipate a busy period in your life, you might want to schedule your fast around certain events or avoid strenuous exercise dring it. While the average fast lasts five days, you might begin seeing benefits in as little as three – and some people choose to follow fasting mimicking for up to seven days. It’s also intended to be repeated at least twice per year, or as often as once a month, to get enough benefits from it. To prepare for your fast, decide on your meals, and prepare as much as you can ahead of time. Consult a nutritionist to ensure that your macronutrients are balanced, and make sure that you’re able to drink lots of water.
What to Eat During Your Fast
Focus on low calorie, high-nutrient foods during your fast. Clear soups and leafy green vegetables are popular choices. A sample meal plan for fasting mimicking might consist of meals that are all plant-based. One day might have something like tea and a nut bar for breakfast, a small amount of vegetable soup and a few kale crackers for lunch, a few olives in the afternoon, and another small portion of clear soup for dinner. Dietary fats, such as avocado and coconut oil are popular on a fasting mimicking diet, as well. These are filling and satiating, helping you feel full yet receive plenty of nutrients. Black tea and coffee are permitted beverages. Protein consumption is low, with dietary fat and complex carbohydrates being roughly equal in amount.
Healthy Supplements for Fasting
When you drop your calories to very low amounts, you run the risk of not getting the balanced nutrition that your body needs. Taking supportive supplements can both help ease you into the fast as well as ensure that you’re being nourished during the fast. These can include electrolytes like magnesium and salt to replenish any loss through water loss, as well as grass-fed liver tablets to maintain protein levels. Some others may be branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) to help prevent any loss of lean tissue and greens powder for micronutrients. Fish oil, including cod liver oil, provide essential fatty acids.
Using Fasting to Begin a Keto Diet
When you follow a fasting mimicking diet, you change the way that your body gets the energy to power its systems. Instead of relying on glucose from the foods that you eat, your body uses stored fat to supplement the energy from the food. For some people, a mimicked fast is a helpful first step beginning a ketogenic diet – one that focuses on eating high-fat foods and using fat for energy instead of glucose. Many people enjoy this because it can help them get into ketosis faster. Plus, eating keto foods helps you stay in ketosis the whole time.
Health Benefit: Reduce Oxidative Stress
There are several benefits of fasting. One is reducing oxidative stress on your body. This is caused by free radical molecules in the body that attack healthy cells and inhibit the regeneration of new cells. As this occurs consistently, your body is slowly reinforced against cellular stress and is then less susceptible to cellular aging and disease development. Part of the reduction of oxidative stress can be the purging of cancerous cells from the body.
Health Benefit: Reduce Effects of Metabolic Syndromes
Those who have metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, or type two diabetes may find benefits from following a fasting mimicking diet before beginning eating on a keto meal plan. The diet can help reduce fat tissue through ketosis, or using fat for energy. In addition, fasting helps reduce the amount of glucose in the blood and increases insulin resistance in cells. For those with metabolic syndrome, their levels of fasting glucose are reduced, and their cells become more receptive to insulin. You can help balance your blood sugar by avoiding spikes after a large meal and then drops that can be unhealthy. Preventing a build-up of insulin due to overconsumption allows it to work more effectively, and your cells to be more sensitive to it.
Health Benefit: Improve Cognitive Function
Many people report feeling higher levels of mental clarity and clear thinking after following a fasting mimicking diet. This is partly because your bloodstream is cleared of excess glucose and insulin. When you choose most of your calories to come from dietary fats, you’re giving your brain the fat it needs to work efficiently and protect against memory changes. Periodic fasting mimicking may also prevent the progression of cognitive conditions such as dementia and Alzheimers.
Health Benefit: Improve Heart Health
Fasting mimicking can help reduce cholesterol in your bloodstream, leading to overall improvements in your heart health. It can increase HDL cholesterol levels and reduce LDL cholesterol levels. This reduces the risk for heart attacks, hypertension, and arteriosclerosis. You may also experience an increase in levels of adiponectin, a protein that is important in the metabolization of fats and sugars. This may protect your body against heart attacks and high blood pressure.