Welcome to The Fast Diet › The official Fast forums › Body › General health › 5 consecutives days once a month
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18 Jul 14
Dr. Valter Longo who appears on the BBC program ‘Eat, Fast and Live Longer’ advocates that 5 consecutive days of fasting (500 cal. daily) about once a month results in better outcome regarding heath&longevity than 5:2. It was demonstrated on the program by measuring M. Mosley’s fasting blood sugar level + IGF1. Mosley liked the outcome of the 5 days fast as well but said on the show he could not stick to it on the long run. Any views are welcome.
Great for those who can do it?
Does it result in fat loss more than the 8-12 times a month on 5:2 or 4:3
Seems most are intrested in the weight loss effect of fasting. And 5:2 is doable to get started. I want to do the 5 days but would have to take a weeks vacation .
I think you are in the ballpark. His research shows that 5 days of no calories works well.
Samm – you hit it on the head, and Dr. Longo knows that. That is why he has come up with his ‘fasting mimicking’ line of food – apparently a very low calorie, high nutrition food group that gives people wanting to gain the benefits of a rejuvenated immune system or protection from chemotherapy side effects a chance to get through the time periods involved without having to eat nothing at all. As an aside, he is not concerned with weight loss – just life extension and cancer therapy. But if it works, the applications could be much more broad.
He is currently doing a clinical study with the foods to prove the concept. As I posted in another post, we will see if it works.
Dr. Mattson seems to think IF also has some benefits for humans, but his trials have been on rats and mice, so he has no proof at this point that IF will yield results similar to longer term no food fasts. Again, weight loss is not the goal, but it is a side effect.
It is a very exciting area of research that is just really beginning. For now, 5:2 is a proven and safe method to achieve weight loss, which is good enough for me. If more benefits show up later, all the better.
Why not invite more emphasis on 4:3. Weekends free
for 12 semi fast days a month? For weight loss.
and the 5 day for igf1. Cant help but notice. If the rests its divestive system. And not put anything in the body for the immune system to busy itself with. It resets. To non foreign material stasis.
19 Jul 14
It wasn’t 500 Cals a day on that one, was it? I think it was about 60 Calories a day in the form of a packet soup. Good luck to you, but it’s probably not for everyone!
I don’t really understand the no nutrition concept of the five day fast?
Where 5:2 has 8 fasts per month.
And 4:3 12 days per month
ADF 15 days per month
If a person is already at goal weight . I don’t understand the reason for calorie restriction aspect. I mean to say why calorie restriction would be the focus. Where as creating the environment in the body for healing as reseting, buy way of the digestive system being put in low function.
Just guessing that the five day fast 1 time a month would have less overall calorie restriction.
Everything I read screams that is too extreme. Where the benefits don’t outweigh the risks.
Many many many studies and trials of eating only 1 meal a day for instance.
If I were to look at the doable aspect of a 5 day fast. I would have 2 meals of 250 each 4 1/2 hours apart. Intake of adequate nutrition and supplements.
I don’t think it would be for everyone. It’s just a guess that many people would find it doable. Especially If they are experienced at practicing 4:3 in the same way until they are accustomed to it. Whith a strict emphasis on hydration.
For instance 5’9″ 150lbs 50yo male
Five consecutive 500 calorie fast days would be a 5,000 calorie restriction. About 1 1/3 pound once a month.
Seems doable for those already at goal weight. At least this is what I will be practicing for as I lose another 50lbs, with my GP approval.
SAMM, for the health benefits and longevity it might be necessary not to eat during a prolonged period. If this is the case having two small, low calorie meals would then invalidate the fasting. It is therefore pointless to calculate the different calorific deficits when calorific deficit is not the topic.
@2fast2furious: that’s correct. On the show it was the packet soup probably around 50 cal and Mosley only fast 3 days and 4 nights. The 5 days/500 cal I got from an 2014 interview http://www.imjournal.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/Content.Main/id/78/longo with Valter Longo.
Thanks for pulling me back then.
I find 5 days of cosecutive absolute fasting monthly a bridge too far.
I’m very discouraged ;(
@samm: Mosley goal was to live longer, stay younger and – only in the bargain – loose weight.
Because of his family history and his lab results he was concerned about
prostate cancer, diabetes and changing his body from gogo mode to repair mode.
The article reflects Longo’s current study on his ‘fasting mimicking’ foods. His original research was with straight fasting. Although it appears his foods are derived from all carbs (“solely plant-based products, comprised of vegetable medleys, broths, energy drinks, teas, and nutrition bars”), it appears that they are pretty much all complex carbs that will not induce glucose levels in the body. He states in the interview that you may be able to come up with your own version of his diet. The number of calories on his diet varies by day, ranging from 300 to 800, and I do not yet know how he distributes them throughout the fasting period (or why). The results of his study will be quite interesting, and should provide additional information.
His food aside, it is quite exciting to think of the possibility that fasting can help with cancer treatments and is being seriously studied by one of the strongest research centers in the United States. When you are getting 0% cure rate on animals with only chemo, and a 20-60% cure rate with chemo + fasting, there seems to be some hope there.
That is my only power over cancer . Is to prevent it through fasting benefits and nutrition.
20 Jul 14
Hi. I want to share my experience and clearly state this is what I did and make no recommendations for anyone else.
I’m a 56 year old male from the UK originally, currently living, for the last 12 years, outside Melbourne, Australia. From my late teens I have gradually put on weight, going from 11–11.5st, about 70 kg, to the 95Kg (210lbs, 15st) I was 2 years ago. I was never able to control my weight and usually felt hungry. Two years ago my wife said we have got to lose some weight and started us on the Dukin diet–high protein/low carbs and over a year we lost 10 kgs.
Then one night, about a year ago I happened to see Michael’s program on TV: Eat, Fast & Live Longer and I was like a fish caught on a hook. I would say I intuitively knew what I was watching was very beneficial although I didn’t understand all the science etc. But I also knew I needed to learn more.
Due to various reasons, like eventually persuading our GP to do a bunch of blood tests, my wife and I started the 5:2 diet in February, 2014. My initial blood results before starting were: IGF-1 26nmol/L (455ug/L) or put another way, the readings a 19 year old male should have according to the Mayo Clinic. After 3 months of 2 day a week fasting I had gone from 85 Kg to about 81Kg and decided to be tested again for IGF-1. This time I was horrified to discover IGF-1 had gone up to 27nmol/L (473ug/L)–Not good…
After doing a lot of reading online I decided that I needed the benefits, in my view, of a longer fast and decided to do a 5-day fast. Further reading convinced me that 10 days would be very beneficial. It would seem, on balance from all I’ve read, that for men, it takes 4-5 days for the body to go from using glucose, to using glycogen from the liver and muscles stopping doing that and then to converting glycogen from the fat stores in the body.
Over the course of the 10 days, I can say it was not an absolute Fast in the purist form, i.e, water only. I had a little porridge a couple of times with milk no sugar but with a little salt as the Scots traditionally make it. I also drank lots of water and had a couple of coffees a day with some milk. I also had a green tea and black tea with a little milk. The first four days were the hardest and then the next 6 quite easy actually: Exactly what I had read online. The drawbacks are: Your breath is foul, your tongue is covered in a white coating, your pee can be quite strong despite drinking a lot of water and if you can do a bowel movement it stinks plus your mouth feels like you are chewing a luffa. However, my weight dropped to 73-74kg (11.7St, 163lbs) which required the purchase of new jeans that were a 32″ waist. The first time I’ve had a 32″ waist in a very long time !!!
Apparently, these ‘symptoms’ are normal and to do with the body expelling toxins.
After the 10 days were up and before I ate anything I had more blood tests and I had also managed to persuade the Dr. to widen the range of tests. IGF-1 was down to 12nmol/L (210ug/) more inline with a mid-50’s male according to the Mayo Clinic; C-Reactive Protein (CRP) was less than 1–good; Glucose was 4.3nmol/L–good; Iron was mid-range; Total Cholesterol was 3.6nmol/L.
My reasoning to share these results and how I achieved them is that I discovered my body IGF-1 did not respond to the 2-day fast and mine was pretty much a total fast from 9pm Monday nite till 9am on Thursday. I have also since the last results reduced my protein intake to about the 70grams recommended per day, for an adult male. As someone who much prefers protein over sugar or carbs I have found this very hard and also that I feel pretty hungry most of the time. I am eating tons more fruit than I ever have over the last two years and especially the last 6 months. I’ve always liked veggies and have been eating more of them to. Making big pots of soup and freezing them for when needed.
I am now introducing a permanent 4-day a month fasting regime into my life and on the other weeks of the month a one day Fast. I want to see, if by August, I have maintained the lower IGF-1 result and also if it helps keep the weight off. I did bounce up about 3 Kgs once the 10 day Fast finished which I expected. The issue now is balancing the competing requirements of my own body type, hunger, and not going back to old habits.
I suppose I realised, that one size doesn’t fit all, which in a way the 5:2 diet does tend to lean to. The old bell curve from Stats sprung to mind in that there are always people who do do fit between the plus and minus 1 and I think in the 5:2 diet, these are the people where 2 days fasting does not reduce IGF-1. It may reduce their weight but this is not JUST about weight. It is also about reducing the factors or serum in this case, that is high when cancers, heart attacks and strokes have happened. For me, it took the hard way of a long fast and it worked. Now, can I achieve the same with more, smaller 4 day FASTs? We’ll see and I’ll post about that later.
Finally, I’ve taken a whole body approach and looked at a bunch of things that need to be low in one’s body for health. I’ve discovered about the bad LDL cholesterol that is made up of Type A & B. The A being bad and B being very, very bad and how to mediate that in your life as well. As I explained to my wife and Dr who think I’ve become fanatical: If making the changes I’ve made and fasting 4-10 days regularly through the year considerably lowers my risk for cancer, heart attacks and strokes then I would be a fool not to do what I’m doing. If fasting is inconvenient how much more then is chemo and radiology, not to mention ruining one’s whole day into the bargain!!!
Anyway, these are my thoughts, observations and results. A long Fast for me achieved the result I needed: a lower IGF-1. Ta.
@canuck down unda: Really exciting to see you on getting more and more interested in the whole topic of nutrition, timing of meals/fasting and how your body respond to it. It encourages me to see you having the same or even bigger changes on IGF1 than Mosley did have on his test run.
I myself actually am on the same trail as you just that you are miles ahead of me. I have got my IGF1, IGFBP3 + blood sugar values tested before starting 5:2 in order to have my baseline. I am now in the middle of testing 5:2 since a couple of weeks and planning to get my lab results after 2,5 month. I can’t complete 3 month because vacation is coming and I am not sure if I can do 5:2 while on vacation. So in order not to ruin the results I will have a shorter 5:2 test period that initially planned. What I observed with 5:2 is that I have to do the consecutive fasting days (600 cal daily) on a Friday+Saturday. I sense a lack in my ability to concentrate at least on the second day so I can’t work in the office.
21 Jul 14
Does the fast 5 diet get us into dna repair mode and keep you there? Or is there another way to better gett Intoo dna repair mode
22 Jul 14
Ooooh Canuckdownunder, that is really interesting. I have been doing 4:3 just because I have a very low TDEE and if I do 5:2 and only overeat by about 300 cals on the 5 nonfast days I almost cancel out anything that I have saved on the two fast days. On top of this I now try and do a water fast only for 36 hours to speed things up because low results endager motivation.
However when doing a total water/occasional coffee fast for 36 hours I have noticed that when waking up on the second day I am less hungry than the afternoon/evening before and think I would not find it too difficult to fast for longer. Not sure however for how long as I have never done more than 36 hrs. However I was so worried to mess up my metabolism that I start eating again to tell my body :”Don’t panic, I have found some food” and start all over two days later. I have just checked Michael’s advise on starvation mode and it seems I don’t need to worry.
I think I will try a 2+ day fast some time soon (when life is not demanding) and see how I cope with this. Thank you for your advice.
26 Jul 14
Hi. @samm. I have no idea about DNA repair. I only know from reading online, and it’s all out there–plus conflicting and contradictory information to boot–that after 4/5 days the body goes searching for protein. It devours all the surplus protein in the body be it infections, swelling in joints, even skin irritations like eczema !!! I would assume that ‘repair’ would cover all cells but at what level I have no idea. But, if like a stopwatch when double clicking, Fasting resets the body clock and resets the various serums and levels of just about everything. In my view and my opinion, Fasting is the discipline, we have lacked for many years but is the key to long life and health. @KommissarBeck and Lichtle press on with Fasting and lengthen your times into consecutive days. I have very rarely told people but I have done two 40 days Fasts in my life. The first time I was 40 years old and working full-time in an office. By 4/5 days ‘in’ my brain was in a fog, I couldn’t think straight and wasn’t functioning at all. My answer to this problem was that I needed a ‘brain food’ so I bought a 250/300ml bottle/can of V8 which I sipped throughout the day plus the regular water and coffee I was taking. That V8 was a life saver, my brain fog disappeared and I was able to function and do my job. Over 40 days I lost 40 lbs but unfortunately put all the weight I lost back on very quickly after it was over plus a few additional lbs that came along as well !! However, my point is, that ‘resetting’ your body clock is what your after and a long Fast is what seems to do this and we also need to do this on a regular basis to keep the body under control. After all, in my case at least, I have not done this consistently for 40 years !!! Secondly, a little food is not a problem, but sugar is. Therefore eat a liquid food: It’s absorbed quickly and keeps your brain working. In a long Fast there are bad days–just goes with the territory–but up to 10 ten days the first 4/5 are the hardest. Yes you can go to bed hungry but you will wake up not hungry. How come? Over nite my weight has dropped as much as 0.5kg between the weight I was going to bed and upon waking up. Well it seems that once the body switches to burning glycogen from fat it continues to do so over nite, your body doesn’t need as much over nite as during the day and it may be that we have a nice surplus in the blood upon waking up so we’re not hungry. Lastly, Fasting is not easy: Personally I hate it, “I luv my tucker” and therein lies my problem. There is no “easy Fast” you just need to persevere and distract yourself when the cravings come: Have a glass of water, another coffee, go the washroom go outside, whatever it takes. The urge will pass and you go on. For me the biggest thing is the boredom of not eating and the lack of flavour in the mouth so I chew gum, have a mint or something. So for what it’s worth, that’s my opinion and experience. I just completed another 3 day fast this week. I wanted 4 days for my ‘4 day Fast once a month’ but people came over on Friday nite and so I quit and had my meal with them. A bit of advice, don’t sweat the small stuff and roll with whatever comes along. Ta.
Yes very curious about the cancer therapy aspect.
I plan to become very knowelgable about fasting. And practice dna repair fasting as I understand it on a monthly basis.
I see the two approaches fasting to stay healthy , and weight loss ifhe simple at home results that would incicate eirher the go, go, go mode has slowed , or the dna repair enviornment is most probable.
Combine that with a diet of foods when not fasting. That are cancer fighters and preventors . As well as anti inflamation foods.
What the video pointed to was the increase in longevity not only of humans but of animals as well. Its my opinion. That the reason was the regular occurrence conditions similar to fasting. And calorie restriction at time when there wasnt an abundance tv or automobiles.
I apologize my mobile device made editing difficult has made this post unclear
I want to know if the semi fast days of 500 calories can get us out of the go, go, go mode. And into a hieghtened dna repair environment.
If so are the calorie types more importantant of one type than the others. Perhaps two meals of 250 calories. Zero carb fish. 25% fat 75% protein. To observe adequate minimum servings of protein. Not as single fasting diet. But as long term fasting of 5 or more days a month
27 Jul 14
@samm As I see it reducing red meat protein is very important and increasing not merely fish but specifically salmon which is high in Omega 3. Also more nuts and seeds. I make my own bread from grain: Basically I grind the grain (Spelt) into flour add to the bread machine plus yeast, oil salt etc. However, I also grind up flaxseed, Quinoa, Buckwheat & Black Chai seed and and add half way through the mix. The reason is that the small weeds are not chewed or digested. They just pass right through us without any nutritional benefit. This way at least they are ground up and added to the bread which is not a wheat and specifically a hybrid wheat to help reduce the exposure to wheat which is in, as an additive, an amazing amount of the food we eat. Too much wheat exposure, like too much of everything is not good for us. So try and keep ur protein intake down to about 70grams a day and keep the red meat to about 3 times a week. Lastly, the real benefits if Fasting occur with as little calories as you can manage over 5 days. Less is absolutely the best in this instance.
I appreciate the time and explination canuk thank you.
where im curious is the line between adequate intake and inadequate. If it were once every three months I dont believe there would be any issues. However every month subjecting bones to inadequate protein intake. Im feel like a horse standing at the water edge but wont drink . See I dont have an issue with the 5 day fast as long as im obese . I have plenty of fuel stored. So im not afraid to go for the 5 day fast. however I keep reading about how low protein diets can affect bone marrow . Not in the short term. But in the long term. Or short term if prpregnant. Which im male so not issue for me.
After the reading this month on foods fish or ocean foods. Im convinced to eat fish twice a week and shrimp once. Hard to give up lobster:( im a lobster fiend. I simply want to balance hdl and ldl cholesterol.
Steak twice and meatless twice. As a normal diet fir feed days. But when going for the 5 day fast its a balance of and adequate protien and fat. So that bone issues dont occure. My understanding is bones espevislly bone marrow healthy is the conerstone of longevity.
28 Jul 14
@samm: I think you have good reasons to be cautious and not to overdo fasting.
GPs promoting Buchinger Fasting (approx 250 cal. daily) recommend 2 times fast a year for 6,10 or 15 consecutive days case dependent. They also recommend doing the fast under medical supervision. The method is practised for more than 90 years.
Valter Longo tested the fast diet of 500 cal daily for 5 days. He said it must be done under medical supervision and preferably in a clinic. Longo explains that humans can safely do this diet every 1 to 3 months.
I ask myself why not burn some money in one of those fancy clinics and gather some experiences with longer fasts in an environment which is save and medical personnel know what they are doing. Equipped with that first hand knowledge one could than explore more.
1 Aug 14
I”m down with that!
However im very Intrested in what is the edge of not needing doctors. Especially as fasting or semi fasting could apply to a vast majority of millions upon millions of obese peoples.
16 Sep 14
Hi, I read that you need to do a 3.5 day fast once every 3 months to lower IGF1 levels it also resets the immune system.
I know Valter Longo eats twice a day(skips lunch) and eats a plant based diet with low-moderate mounts of protein, you could say less is more?
He looks fantastic for his age and I am on my 2nd out of 5 day fast(200 cals per day)
18 Sep 15
I have been doing 5:2, or rather 4:3, since September 2013 and suffice it to say that it has worked wonders for me and I have been maintaining now for over a year.
A few weeks ago I came an article in ‘The Times’ magazine about the ‘Fast Mimicking Five Day Diet’ of which you speak. In the article written by Jenni Russell she talked about taking part in a 14 day fast in the Buchinger Wilhelmi clinic as she claimed that fasting cured her of an autoimmune disease and she wanted to revisit it’s benefits. She also talked to Dr Longo who is trying to develop the five day fast of which you speak. He has developed a programme for these five days based on very precise quantities of carbs, protein and fat which he hopes will be preventive and curative, stalling degeneration in humans. I found this link the other day to a five day programme similar to the one he hopes to produce with the blessing of the American food authories.
Longo is developing the diet with L-Nutra an American based company and his profit from this will (he says) go into funding creative research in this area. He believes that very strict fasting should only be done with medical supervision.If all you’re looking to do is lose weight then the 5:2 regime works but if your looking for regeneration of the immune system or anti-ageing effects then fasts need to be longer. Longo claims that his diet lowers levels of a major bio-marker for cancer and ageing.
Having said all that I am trying my best to copy his 750 cals a day for five days a month and then my 4:3 after that in the hope of improving my blood profile further and MAYBE, just maybe extending my lifespan! We shall see.
Jenni says that it is clinical proof that we need now. She also says and I quote, ” I think of all the months and years I’ve wasted on the tedium of being ill, and of the millions of people who could be similarly liberated to have more joyful, longer lives if Longo is right.”
I am not sure if you can find her article on the internet but it was certainly worth a read.
19 Sep 15
Post script to my previous post above. I am a little disappointed in Dr Longo, because I found this link to L-Nutra and the FMD they are producing just seems overly commercial:-
I would really like him to produce a five day plan that anyone could follow without having to buy the plan. I am sure we could cope with the quantities/percentages of given food groups! I know the plan from L-Nutra isn’t available in the UK, but it probably will be eventually.
I think he may be making a ‘secret’ out of the results he has found: he has probably gone to great lengths, but if the FMD could be SO helpful to a great many people then why make it a big commercial thing?
Also, the only way that you can read Jenni Russell’s article now is by subscribing to ‘The Times’ magazine on line. ‘Hey ho’, but glad I bought the newspaper on the day!
20 Sep 15
The Telegraph ran a few articles about the FMD earlier this summer, which are still available online, including this one that has a diet plan:
While I’m interested in trying the diet, I will not be paying £150 for what amounts to perhaps 3000 calories worth of food! I don’t care if the proceeds go to charity or not, they are pricing it out of most peoples reach at that.
Thanks for that Happy! ? And I wouldn’t buy the plan either!
To add a bit of background, the five day plan was designed neither for weight loss nor weight maintenance.
It was designed for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. The research shows that people that fast for 4/5 days before their chemo sessions do much better than those that don’t. However, as you might imagine, most have a very hard time eating nothing for several days when they have no experience with fasting. The diet was designed to replicate the effects of fasting while allowing some calories to make the effort more sustainable to people that are already sick and not wanting to feel even worse.
As you might guess, there is not a huge market for the plan given the targeted market. So expanding the market to others is a natural progression. That is what happened with 5:2 – it was designed as a life extension diet but morphed into a weight loss diet because it worked, and was much more profitable.
21 Sep 15
Thank you simcoeluv, your posts are always knowledgeable. It does put a different complexion on it.
23 Sep 15
Hi all, new to this forum so just wanted to share my experience of this.
Like many others I started the 5:2 last year when the program came out and I tried 2 days separately but found 2 days consecutively worked best for me. However this only seemed to maintain my weight, I am a 44 year old man – below is what works for me and a lot of people I know cannot do days back to back. Have not tried three alternate days as too much hassle I find.
I have since gone to 4:3 each week and aim for a 3:4 once a month all consecutively and have gone from 17 stone to 14.5 stone since May when I started the new regime – I have come close to 5 consecutive days but can’t quite do it as it’s tough on the 5th day. I don’t always manage the 4th day each month I have to admit but the 4:3 seems often to be enough and do sometimes have the odd 5:2 every now and then.
I found doing this is resulting in weight loss and inch loss – and I think I know why. On the 5:2 my appetite was not affected in anyway so on non fast days I ate the same as I used to; once I upped it to 3 consecutive days a week after two weeks of this my appetite reduced massively so I didn’t want to eat as much on the non fast days.
Precisely what the 5:2 should do! So personally for me I needed that extra day for the real benefits of 5:2 to kick in i.e. reducing your overall appetite. Interestingly I used to eat a lot of bread but don’t now maybe 2 slices a week max as gone off it, also I have noticed a lot of people not having jacket potatoes on fast days. I do but it’s what you put on them that counts and having seen a program about this, I let the potato cool after cooking then reheat so more of the carbs are converted into resistant starch. You can do the same with pasta but I would only have that on non fast days – resistant starch is fibre so reduces the GI off the food.
Hope anyone who is finding the 5:2 not working for them this may help them as they may be like me and need that extra day for the real 5:2 benefit to kick in. Keep at it too, when you seem not to lose weight you will in inches instead.
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