5:2 and the Longevity Diet

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  • I’m starting a new thread because the Related Science Articles thread got kind of highjacked with all of the discussion about Dr. Valter Longo’s new book, “The Longevity Diet”. This seems like it could fit in well with the 5:2 diet. We’ve had an interesting discussion going over on the other thread and I think it warrants a thread of its own. To get it started, I’m copying from my last post there:

    I’ve finished reading The Longevity Diet and will be more interested once there have been clinical trial results with humans rather than just mice. From what I understand there are a few cancer cures for mice that they knew about years ago, but they don’t unfortunately transfer over to mice. “If you’re a mouse, we can cure you. A human, not so much.” So while I think all the findings with mice are impressive, I wait to see real results in people.

    That said, I think his vegan diet with fish added sounds like a logically good idea. While In the past I tried a vegan diet for about a year once, I ended up going off of it mainly because of social and business eating situations. Throwing seafood into the mix a few times per week solves the restaurant problem. Longo does suggest some non-cow dairy products for occasional consumption, and goat milk kefir is wonderful. Goat cheese on a pizza is also good. I love to cook, so plant based eating at home isn’t a problem. I think this would fit in with the 5:2 diet just fine. A 5 day fast using the formula in his book rather than his $300 version could be doable a couple times per year. I don’t plan to abandon the 5:2 diet. It works and it’s sustainable. Plant based or whatever is really a personal choice. Since plant based is naturally lower in calories, it could be a good solution to overeating on NFD.

    Shan’t copy my longevity thoughts – in the unlikely event that anyone wants them they are on the related science thread. With you on this one Cali, there is certainly enough interest to justify a new thread.


    Here is some basic information on the Longevity Diet.

    The overall diet has several components. Two of the basic ones are what foods to eat, and periodic fasting. The basic foods to eat are 60% carbs, mostly from plants, 30% fats, from olive oil, nuts, etc. and 10% protein from plants and fish/seafood. Meats with their fats and sugar and processed carbs are not allowed.

    The fasting is a five day fast. The number of times you do five day fasts on the diet depends on your physical condition. If you are totally healthy, you do two five day fasts a year. If you are suffering from cancer, heart disease, diabetes, MS, RA etc., or you are prone to get some of these diseases you may have to do monthly five day fasts. Clinical studies on MS may be structured as seven day fasts every two months.

    Longo talks about a ‘fasting mimicking diet’ (FMD) when talking about fasts. He found that patients and their doctors did not want to do water fasts, so he couldn’t find enough subjects to conduct human clinical trials. So he and his labs came up with a diet that mimics fasting, but allows people to eat. Since then, several human clinical studies have been started (some completed already). But because the FMD mimics fasting, doing a water fast yields the same results without having to either try to create the diet or purchase the diet. A ‘home made’ version of the diet may or may not lead to the desired results, depending on how well it is made.

    For those just finding this new thread, there are a couple of videos that are informative.

    This one outlines the rejuvenation and regeneration aspects of the diet. It is about 18 minutes and highlights an extremely interesting impact the diet has on the body: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Tedxtalk+valter+longo&view=detail&mid=EB50A882798904571C8FEB50A882798904571C8F&FORM=VIRE

    While the book was just published in English, it has been out in Italian for about a year, and was obviously written before being published. So information in the book is a couple of years old. This video is an interview conducted in early January of 2018 and is about an hour long. It has some more up to date information on the diet in general and the human clinical trials on cancer, and covers Dr. Longo’s opinions on time restricted eating (like 16:8 or 23:1 or whatever) and skipping breakfast: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+dr+longo&view=detail&mid=6D8F7CB8DEE99AFB8F436D8F7CB8DEE99AFB8F43&FORM=VIRE

    If you are really interested, this is a doctor interviewing Dr. Longo and this one covers MS in addition to cancer and other diseases. Conducted in 2016, it is pretty detailed, but informative if you want to sit through it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6PyyatqJSE

    The diet is not a weight loss diet, and can be followed while doing 5:2. They really can be complementary. I hope this provides at least some basic information on the diet. I highly recommend that you either purchase the book, borrow it from someone that has it, or get it from your local library. The science in it is ground breaking.

    I’ve embrace the 5 day fasting mimicking diet and have done a home grown version of about 600 calories a day 50% low GI carbs and 50% vegetable fats three times. It was pretty easy to do. The last time I did it I measured my blood ketones daily and found out it took almost four days to go into strong ketosis. I get higher ketone levels in a two day water fast.

    For my next 5 day fast I’m going to to water fast for at least two days before adding the 50/50 mix in to kick start ketosis.

    I believe the real benefits of the 5 day fast is more the low to no protein intake than the ketosis but burning some extra fat sounds good too.

    Diverdog, what do you eat on your own version? Please share!

    I think a key point is the fast mimicking diet was produced for people that can’t handle a water only 4 or 5 day fast. One is probably better off with pure fasting if they can handle it. I know from first hand experience that hunger wasn’t an issue by the second day. Now I’ve done so much fasting that I don’t even notice hunger on a second day. I normally don’t go past 40 hours, but that isn’t because I have to stop.

    I’m curious though if x number of 1.5 day fasts would equal one 5 day fast? It seems opinions are all over the place and there isn’t much research to compare it. Personally I think it is true, but x is probably more like 9 than 3. For me it takes about 20 hours for my body to really feel like it is fasting.

    Hi dy:

    Your question about x number of 1.5 day fasts equaling one five day fast is addressed in the interview by the doctor linked above. They are not equal. Longo makes it clear in his interviews that for the regeneration and rejuvenation to take place, the body must enter a stage that only occurs after a several day water fast. Those that have water fasted for a few days know that the body really changes along about days three and four. Those that have not water fasted for a few days just think they are getting some benefit from multi-hour water fasting. Longo makes it clear that fasting for even a day or two carries with it no material benefits of the kind experienced after a five day fast.

    simcoeluv has nailed it, you need an extended fast with no protein and simple carbs to get the benefits Longo has pointed out. I’m convinced it’s this and not ketosis/ fat burning that produces a lot of autophagy and apoptosis leading to stem cell activation after the fast is over.

    From measuring my blood ketones I know that after a 35 hour water fast I’m at 1-1.5mmol and that’s just entering moderate fat burning. Add another 24 hours and I’m ~6.0 mmol which indicates strong fat burning / ketosis. If I eat 600 cal/ day it takes almost 4 days to hit 3.0 mmol. Longo’s Prolon feed 1100 cal day one and 800 cal/day 2-5. At that level I don’t know if I’d ever hit strong ketosis.

    Califdreamer, I ate mostly homemade guacamole and raw veggies like celery, carrot, bell peppers and black coffee. You can eat any low GI veggie that doesn’t have any or minimal protein. Macadamia nuts are also good as they are high fat and low protein. Tea is fine too. Any broth not made with protein will work.

    BTW research by another Italian Dr. Guido Kromer? (SP) showed that drinking black coffee during a fast increased apoptosis.

    Diver, the low protein thing is confusing because his Prolon diet contains nut bars from what I understand. Nuts can have a fair amount of protein. Has anyone here purchased a Prolon diet pack? His suggested fasting diet in the book has roughly half the calories alocated to heathy fats or nuts.

    Guacamole sounds like a good choice. It tastes good. 😄

    Perhaps they use macadamia? I’m absolutely certain from reading his papers that low protein is essential. I just attended a training sessions and one of the presenters (a medical Dr.) said she had done it and prescribes it to her patients to prepare for her fat loss programs. (Insurance will pay for it if prescribed by a DR)

    She presented it as a minimal protein no sugars or high GI carb diet. Said it was easy to do but not very tasty.

    I’ve just read the first two chapters of the Longevity Diet so this is all pretty new to me. I see Dr Longo is encouraging even healthy individuals to fast a few times a year. At this stage I am confused as to how a ‘fast-mimicking’ diet, where you continue to eat but calorie-restricted, can be as effective as water fasting. Surely that is just 5 days of ‘dieting’ or standard calorie restriction? Perhaps I’ll have a better understanding once I’ve finished the book!

    I’m planning to have a go, maybe 2 times a year for prevention. The book recommends it every 4 months for healthy people with a normal diet and no physical activity or every 6 momths for healthy people with an ideal diet and regular physical activity. I’d say I’m somewhere in between.
    There are a lot of warnings in the book (and in other online resources) about doing this unsupervised at home. I’ve been fasting 2 or 3 days a week for 6 months, some days have been liquid only, but I’ve never done consecutive days. I’ll try Monday and Tuesday next week and then try a 3day fast in a couple of weeks. Maybe I’ll then do 5 days in March.

    “BTW research by another Italian Dr. Guido Kromer? (SP) showed that drinking black coffee during a fast increased apoptosis.”
    This is great news, I drink lots!

    So I’m guessing on the FMD you could eat less than the 1100 or 800 calories (but not 0) and still have the same effect? I’m thinking something like plain miso soup and maybe some fat, mostly to avoid getting too little salt over the 5 days.

    Yes, that’s my take on it. Good call on the salt. Whenever I water fast I add salt to my water avoid cramping. My next go around I’m going to see how far I can extend my water fast before switching to 600 cal to finish it off. I’ve done a 60 hour water fast before with no issues so I’d like to bump it to 84 hours.

    One more thing I believe Longo includes some vitamin and mineral supplementation during the 5 days as well.

    BTW as Dr. Longo recommends don’t do this without medical supervision!


    Here is yet another interview with Dr. Longo (his book is causing quiet a stir). This one is conducted by one of his students and took place Jan. 23, 2018. Of all of the interviews I have seen (except for the short TEDx talk), this is the most practical and covers the most ground in ‘common’ language.

    A couple of things stood out.

    First, don’t try to make up your own fasting mimicking diet. He said they gave information on how to do it in Italy and it was a ‘disaster’. He likened it to trying to make your own medicine (when you really have no clue what your are doing). They received calls from hospitals, doctors and lawyers complaining that patients were trying to do it themselves and the results were not very good. Since the volumes and percentages must be precise to work, if they are not precisely accurate anything might happen. The diet may be totally ineffective and a true waste of time, or it might have very damaging impacts. He couldn’t have been more clear – DON’T TRY TO MAKE YOUR OWN FASTING MIMICKING DIET!

    There was a nice discussion about bodybuilding and people that are not bodybuilders but just want to build their muscles up, and how to do that within the parameters of the diet.

    He pointed out that ketosis is not the key to the diet. In fact, he said there is no data suggesting that ketosis is necessary for longevity. There are four factors listed that they try to accomplish with the fasting portion of the diet (in the book), and while ketosis is one, it is only a ‘result’ of the body going into the state necessary to kill off damaged cells, activate stem cells and rebuild the organs with young, healthy cells. Ketosis by itself does not seem at this point to be all that important except as a ‘marker’.

    He did not answer the direct question of whether the five days of the FMD could be shortened to three or four days if a water fast was substituted. I believe I understand why – water fasting carries some risks for the general population not used to fasting and he does not want to get into that legal quagmire. Combined with the problems experienced with the ‘home made’ FMDs in Italy, it appears he wants to discuss only the FMD, which is precisely formulated and comes with appropriate warnings. I don’t blame him a bit.

    Another very interesting answer was to the question of whether the FMD could counteract bad diets – can you eat anything you want and still get benefits from doing the FMD? The answer was yes. He pointed out that the people that gain the most benefit from the FMD are the people with the worst diets and the most health problems. I have posted before that I got the feeling the ‘food’ portion of the diet seemed to be acting as a place holder, preventing people from backtracking after gaining benefit from doing the fasting portion of the diet. It appears that may be the case. I am personally moving toward doing the food portion of the diet, but it is nice to know that occasionally eating some of my favorite foods that are not ‘allowed’ won’t seriously damage my progress.

    Finally, he was asked to name what he felt were the top five or six foods you could possibly eat on the diet. He named garbanzo beans, black beans, veggies in general but especially green peppers, olive oil, tomatoes and salmon. Of interest, he said he has been made aware of some possible negative impacts from eating olive oil, but while he did not believe them, he was going to do further study to see if there is any evidence supporting those possible negative impacts.

    If you don’t have time to view all of the increasing number of Longo interviews showing up all over the internet, I feel this is the one to start with. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iE__akaI6iI

    Good Luck!


    FYI – Longo does not receive royalties from book sales or from sales of the fasting mimicking diet. They all go to a non-profit organization.

    Hi Simco thanks so much for all the YouTube links and additional information on here about this subject it will only gather momentum moving forward.
    From little things big things grow.

    I think people are going a bit off the deep end here. Apoptosis is a process that occurs even without fasting, it is just a matter of degree. Granted is possible or even likely that the amount of apoptosis happening after days of fasting is vastly higher. I’m just wondering just how fast the apoptosis actually ramps up.

    I’ve also done many multiday liquid fast although my longest is only 7 days. I’ve noticed that over the course of dozens of fasts my body has been shifting faster into some effects like ketosis, although I’m not a big fan of that. Excess ketones are easy to measure but apoptosis isn’t easy to measure.

    I will say that the prospect of doing a 3 or 4 day water fast a month is much more attractive then trying to sustain a very low calorie approach long term.


    For those not familiar with the terminology, apoptosis is defined as “the death of cells that occurs as a normal and controlled part of an organism’s growth or development. Also called programmed cell death.”

    Another term sometimes used with apoptosis is autophagy. Autophagy “is the natural, destructive mechanism that disassembles, through a regulated process, unnecessary or dysfunctional cellular components.”

    So apoptosis leads to the death of the entire cell, while autophagy is when the cell maintains its ‘life’ but eliminates unnecessary or dysfunctional components within the cell itself.

    Dr. Longo’s research shows that following a five day FMD causes significant cell death in diseased, old and worn out cells. When re-feeding occurs, stem cells that otherwise remain dormant are ‘turned on’ and those now dead cells are replaced with new, healthy cells. For instance, in MS patients, the diseased autoimmune cells are killed off and replaced with healthy, non-autoimmune cells. This reduces inflammation and allows the body to go in and heal the damage done to the affected nerve cells. The initial human study was so successful it is being followed by a very large study. But Longo’s research indicates this happens body wide – the replacement and rejuvenation process is not targeted. Any diseased, old and worn out cell is impacted by the fast and re-feeding. Human studies are now under way on everything from Alzheimer’s to RH and MS to diabetes. The first studies were on cancer, and large scale human studies will be completed starting this Summer.

    Of equal importance, if the body is healthy and working properly, it experiences very little impact from following the diet. So if you have a problem causing high cholesterol, for instance, the diet will cause your cholesterol levels to fall as the ‘reason’ for the high cholesterol is fixed. But if your cholesterol levels are fine, the diet will not impact them (they won’t go down even more, to unhealthy levels). Interestingly, in human trials, people with very low (read unhealthy) cholesterol levels saw their cholesterol levels increase to more healthy levels after following the diet.

    Basically, what seems to be going on is that the human body has the built in ability to repair itself at the cellular/organ level, just as it repairs a cut in the skin. But to do so, it has to starve once in awhile to turn on the repair and replace process. Constant eating prevents the process from operating. Thus the need for fasting.

    You have to think about it for awhile to appreciate the possibilities.

    dykask, as simcoeluv has so eloquently pointed out, the refeeding is important to allow regrowth of healthy cells to replace those that died off. So a diet that is constantly restricted calorically won’t provide the benefits of 5 day fast and refeed.

    5:2 isn’t a restricted calorie diet unless one intentionally makes it one. If you consider two fasts a week as calorie restriction then fasting for 5 days straight a month is also calorie restriction. That is kind of a worthless measurement. I actually eat more on 5:2 than I did with calorie restriction but maintain a lower weight and higher muscle mass. There is a lot more than just calories involved.

    Refeeding is another fuzzy concept. You refeed twice a week on 5:2 … it just depends on how you define it. Other forms of intermitted fasting have refeeding occurring daily. For example people that practice one meal as day are getting into a reasonable fasted state everyday, they just aren’t maintaining it.

    Again in the human body it isn’t all or nothing. Pretty much all processes are occurring at some level all the time, it is just a matter of degree. No doubt that apoptosis occurring on day 5 of a fast is much higher than on day 2. I’m curious as to what the factor is between day 2 and day 5. I’m sure it isn’t zero.

    I’ve also noticed that many people like myself that practice water fasting tend to sometime just naturally work in longer fasts. I just when there is opportunity but I also do it because it is easy. However, some people doing 5:2 aren’t really fasting as they will eat 500 to 800 calories through out a fasting day. That is more of calorie restriction than fasting and not what I’m asking about. I typically water fast for around 40 hours twice a week. When it comes to apoptosis, there is likely a difference between the different forms of 5:2 practiced.

    To be clear … I should be using the term autophagy for the induced cell death. That process probably doesn’t occur while we are eating. The question is really about how quickly autophagy ramps up.

    If you eat on your fast days, the answer is there isn’t any autophagy, at least to any reasonable degree.

    If you water fast … it isn’t so clear. However I expect that autophagy ramps up a lot as blood glucose levels decline lower levels. For myself the decline is blood glucose is more of a late day 3 of fast type of event. I’m sure that varies too as I don’t try to maintain ketosis.

    Interesting to see the weight loss results of the FMD. Obese subjects lost an average of 9lbs after 3 months (1 5-day FMD per month). Lower than 5:2 which is 12lbs on average. I’m doing a bit better than that on 5:2 but I suspect the loss will slow down as i approach target weight. Given that obesity is so bad for health it may be better to start a weight loss programme on 5:2 + Longevity Diet and convert later to the FMD for long term disease prevention.

    I see Dr Longo thinks 5:2 may cause ‘jet-lag’ symptoms in some people. I’ve been affected by early waking. So I may switch to FMD after I’m done with weight loss.

    What a great book. It really does challenge the concept of the western diet.

    @cornish-jane – I have reached the point where my weight loss is slow. However my body composition and general health continue to improve so I feel there is huge benefit in continuing 5:2. I think the impacts are different for different people and fasting/diet choices.

    A separate thread for this subject was a good idea – it is developing a life of its own. We have grandchildren with us until Wednesday, so OH and I will be starting the five day fast on Thursday. We will be taking different approaches. OH does not water fast, so hers will be a home made FMD. Mine will be the water fast. The question of home devised FMDs has had some discussion. It is obviously difficult to measure the recommended precise quantities of protein/carb/fat but the idea is to persuade the body that it is fasting and OH is happy with very low levels of protein so it will be a water fast with some veg and she should be OK.

    I found an answer of sorts about autophagy and short fast, “we don’t know”. This is from Dr. Guido Kroemer who has done a lot of research into autophagy. This answer was about 17 minutes into this interview. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gm626MgpveI (This isn’t light listening.)

    Another interesting blog:

    It seems like Dr. Longo is only recommending the longer fasts a few times a year, not monthly. He isn’t very keen on protein consumption although is recommendations higher than what I been eating. I think I’ll use that as an excuse to eat more cheese. (Not his recommended source of protein.) I bought his book, maybe I read that when traveling later this month.

    Something that I wasn’t really aware of is that autophagy often doesn’t lead to cell death. The self eating can extend the useful life of the cell. (From a comment in the interview with Dr. Guido Kroemer) I think that was a point that was being made before in this thread.

    The frequency of longer fasts depends upon your medical risks. We have a family history of cancer and I have had colon cancer so I should do them more often.

    The value of shorter water fasts/ limited time window eating for me is the impact on the gut biome. To over summarise a complex subject; living within us we have two kinds of bugs. Type A eats the food we put in. After about 12 or more hours with no food input, Type B eats us. Specifically it eats the dead or diseased cells in our gut lining, thus doing us a favour. Had I known this sooner I may have still have possessed a full length of colon!

    Autophagy happens naturally, on its own without you doing anything at all, just at a lower level than fasting. Exercise also increases autopathy. When you stress and tear muscles through weight bearing exercise that’s what repairs and replaces those cells and builds muscle. Stress causes autophagy.

    It happens naturally with periods of fasting and feasting without any expensive diets or supplements and without us even needing to be aware of it happening. It’s probably happening over shorter periods of fasting with the 5:2. I and many others on these forums have had big drops in blood pressure, cholesterol and other conditions as a result of 5:2.

    Interesting talk on fat and fasting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BYvHgs-oww

    Dr. Caryn Zinn … She follows Dr. Longo’s research and thinks that autophagy is probably stepping up around 24 hours of fasting. However lots of science still needs to be done in this area …

    Interesting, I’m on day 3 and I wonder what I’m going to ‘see’ today – if I’m one of those people she says experience great clarity on the 3rd day of fasting 😀

    I started on Monday aiming for a 2 day water fast (and coffee and herbal teas) as a preparation for a longer one sometime in the future. But I woke up this morning feeling well and not hungry, so I’ll keep at it and see how long I can go. The first 2 days are supposed to be the hardest and I’m already halfway through, so why not?

    CalifD, thank you for starting this thread. It is generous of Dr M. to host this site allowing diverse topic discussion, although this is of course related to 5:2.

    I first came across 5:2 while researching treatments for breast cancer when my best friend was diagnosed. I knew nothing about breast cancer at the time, let alone treatment other than the standard chemo / radiation treatments we’re all familiar with. By chance, I came across some research by a Canadian doctor who’d determined that fasting produced good benefits for his breast cancer patients. His patients suffered less and fewer of the common side effects if they fasted before undergoing chemotherapies. And then he discovered that patients were going into remission when practicing fasting. We’d only ever fed or medicated cancer cells until then. They’d never been starved before and they didn’t know how to behave so they committed suicide (the cancer cells, not the patients).

    I’ve not been able to remember that researcher’s name but a lot of women in Canada came to hear of it and because it was free, required no MD prescription, and they felt they had nothing to lose, they just started fasting despite that doctor cautioning against ‘doing this at home’ because there wasn’t yet enough evidence. Anecdotally there were excellent results reported by these women (who were in the later stages of cancer & who’d tried everything else). I seem to recall the fasting period was quite lengthy – but that was from the perspective of someone who’d never fasted at that point. Maybe 5 days.

    All that was five years ago. Happily, my friend made a full recovery (nothing to do with that study) and I forgot all about it but it was what led me to fasting and ultimately 5:2. Most people arrive here seeking weight loss which is, of course, a secondary benefit. And why I began 5:2 four years ago.

    Sorry, none of this is very scientific for those trying to boost their knowledge. Anyway, I’ve just ordered the book as I don’t find Dr Longo’s lectures very easy to listen to. I’m sure the content will be fascinating in book form. Good luck tomorrow Mr & Mrs Penguin.

    thinatlast. I don’t think that this thread is in competition with 5:2. As I recall that was devised because the general population couldn’t handle a longer fast, but the principles are very similar. I think most of us intend to combine the two activities.

    Your 5:2 initial experience was similar to mine. I had seen a TV programme and read about it in one of OH’s mags, but dismissed it as the latest fad. I then researched breast cancer treatments, because my daughter had that form of cancer at the time, and found intermittent fasting on a British cancer research site. This was about six years ago. She had the best treatment which, however, included encouragement to eat, and became cancer free and fatter. Nothing much has changed – your post hit my iphone whilst I was chatting with a friend who has just undergone his third bout of chemo. He said that he felt like a pig being fattened, and came out of the experience heavier.

    My copy of the Longevity book arrived on Monday. Almost the first things I learned were that much of it doesn’t apply to those as old as me and that I shouldn’t fast, unless in superior health and my doctor approves and that if I do fast it should ideally be under medical supervision. . So this evening I return my grandchildren to their parents and I start my five day water fast. I haven’t consulted my doctor – he is a good bloke but far to busy to be bothered by healthy people asking for permission to eat less.

    Hi penguin.
    I had to smile at your comments re a water fast without consulting your doctor. Last April I had to prep for a colonoscopy. My consultant handed me all the leaflets, medication and dietary advice I needed to take to prepare myself for the experience. I decided to do a water fast along with taking the medication to clear “my tubes” so to speak. My wife thought I was mad but in actual fact I found it fairly easy to do and lasted 55 hours before being “ordered” to eat some thing before the hospital would allow me to go home following my operation. I lost 7 lbs as a result.
    To be truthful, I have not had the inclination to try even a 24 hr water fast. I may be one of those people who need a serious “target” in order to do such a fast when the reality is that it is quite easy to do.
    Good luck out there.

    dykask. Just watched that talk. That is an unusual mix of science and common sense. Thanks for the link.

    Geopri123. I have taken the water fast as far as three days before. I don’t recall seeing anything, but I did feel full of energy and really sharp.

    Coucous. I have had a couple of colonoscopies. The prep isn’t much fun but it does shift the weight. It never occurred to me that I didn’t have to eat the really annoying bland rubbish that they advise for the days before. Next time it will be a fast!

    I don’t feel energetic at all, I’d say I feel more lethargic than in any of the first 2 days. Based on everything I read, this must be happening because it takes longer for my body to adjust being on the first longer fast.

    I was surprised – in a good way, I was dreading this – to see that I’m not tempted by food at all even though it’s half term and I have to feed the children 3 times a day.

    I decided to break my fast this morning after being sick and feeling generally unwell. A light breakfast of toast and fruit helped and I’m feeling much better.

    I was hoping to last at least 4 days but 3.5 will have to do. I’ll give it another go in about 6 months, trying to have some 2-3 days of water fasting now and then.

    Good Luck, Penguin, hope yours goes well, you have a lot more practice!

    I have just received The Longevity Diet book from Amazon and started to read it with interest. I hope it will kick start me some what but I have to say I would be a little concerned that at a healthy 69 yrs the FMD may not be for me.
    I checked YOU TUBE and found a site that may interest some posters.
    Search with “Fast Mimicking Diet from Dr Valter Longo”. The presenter is Whitney English, a registered dietician nutritionalist who says she did some work with Dr longo. You can follow her progress as she embarks on the FMD from Pro Lon along with her husband.
    Unfortunately she did not have before and after tests done to show the impact the FMD had on her body but it does show the challenges that she faced up to completion.
    I hope it is of interest to some of you who are not aware of the video.
    Good luck out there.

    Geopri123. Nothing wrong with 3.5 days, it will have had a significant impact. You are right – this is one of those things that gets easier with practice but I wouldn’t wait 6 months, the body will have forgotten this experience.

    Geopri, 3.5 days of fasting sounds pretty impressive to me. Were you doing a water fast or eating small amounts?

    Couscous, thanks for posting about the Whitney English YouTube video on Longo’s fast. Here’s a link to it: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5t6FFRn_S0M What was interesting is that she showed what comes in the $300 Prolon box of diet food for the 5 days. It seems like a fair amount of food when you compare it to what we eat on a 500/600 calorie FD. There should be ingredients for the crackers, soup and nut bars posted somewhere. The components of the boxes must have a nutritional label with the ingredients listed. It would be interesting.

    Penguin, you should be at about the end of day 1 by now. How goes it?

    Hi Cali. 27 hours in. I felt a little hungry at about 22 hours but I ignored it and it went away. The only problem is that I have more energy than I would normally have at this time of day and need to do something with it. This is very much as usual. I can predict what will happen to me until day three. Days four and five are the new territory.

    penguin – that’s a very good point, 6 months is probably too much.

    CalifDreamer – I only had water, black coffee and herbal teas. I’ve only done 1 day water fasts before and this time I was aiming for 2. But then I wasn’t hungry on day 3 so I thought I might as well continue.

    I’ve read a few blogs from people who have tried their own version of the FMD. They looked at the FMD patent and came up with their version of the diet.

    Fasting Mimicking Diet Cycle:
    Day 1: Total caloric intake of 4.5 to 7 kcal/lb of body weight (10% protein, 56% fat, 34% carbs)
    Days 2-5: Total caloric intake of 3 to 5 kcal/lb of body weight (9% protein, 44% fat, 47% carbs)

    The ProLon meals
    Day 1: 54% norm caloric intake 1,090 kcal (10% protein, 56% fat, 34% carb)
    Days 2–5: 34% norm caloric intake 725 kcal (9% protein, 44% fat, 47% carb)




    The second link also shares a spreadsheet to help with the calculations.

    Both did extensive tests before and after their FMD.

    Edit to add a 3rd blogger, UK based, who has also done all sorts of test before, during and after.

    GEOPRI123, I’ve done a “roll your own” FMD two times. I ate ~600 cal a day ~55% fat (avocado and macadamia nuts) and ~45% carbs. Only trace protein from the non starchy veggies and macadamias. I suffered no ill effects other than craving meat! LOL

    I’ve also done a 64 hour water fast with no issues as well. Next go around I’m planning on starting with a water fast for at least 3.5 days and if necessary go to my home grown again for the last two.

    Wow, Geopri, those bloggers really went to a lot of trouble to replicate the Prolon FMD! They are some serious fat mimicking fasters! Thank you for researching and posting the links.

    Diverdog, I like your idea of the macadamia nuts and avocados. Maybe a few green olives thrown in for fat and salt if they fit in with carb profile. A bunch of non-starchy fresh vegetables would be nice for the bulk since they would be kind of filling. It seems like it could be simple enough. I wonder if eating fewer calories, but staying in the same percentages of fat, protein and carbs would make a difference?

    CaliDreamer, no reason you can’t eat more if you want to follow the exact Prolon template. I chose a lower calorie amount because I wanted to burn more fat and I thought I could survive on the lower amount of food. After all, the idea is to fool the body into thinking it’s fasting when it is not. So less is probably more in this case. The veggies really do fill me up. I did also eat some kalamata olives. I love the taste and they fit the nutritional profile nicely.

    BTW it was the Quantified Body podcast that convinced me to attempt to roll my own FMD last fall.

    Diverdog, did you lose weight, gain weight or stay the same for the days you did your fast? Did you keep track of what you ate? How did you feel? What you’ve mentioned sounds more appealing than some of the blog posts.

    Dykask, thank you for posting the link for the talk by Dr. Caryn Zinn. She’s very easy to listen to and the topic was really interesting. I’ll listen to some more of her talks on YouTube.

    Hi folks. I am still slowly reading the Longevity Diet book but I do have some concerns about the interest it is generating, especially some of the YOUTUBE blogs.
    I met a guy in my local health club recently who bought a 5 day diet package from some firm he had read about and seen on the internet. I had never heard of the company, not a worry in itself but this guy had no interest in the companies credentials nor if any quantifiable research had been done with the foods in his pack.
    The research that has been done and that we all trust is that done by qualified scientists and Doctors such as Michael Mosley, Valter Longo, Prof Roy Taylor of the Newcastle University et al.
    Michael has produced several books based on quality scientific research, we all know that. Prof Taylor produced an 800 cal diet aimed specifically at Type2 Diabetes that has shown superb results. Valter Longo has held up his research to the public and his theories are now being accepted by many and so they should.
    Some other research I would recommend to posters is the “Blue Zones” by Dan Buetner who researched the 5 most healthy and longest living communities known. Sign up for the Blue Zone emails, some really interesting information and it sits comfortably with Valter Longos research.
    Please do not get carried away by some of the YOUTUBE bloggers. Stay focused on quantifiable research done by respected people and stay safe.
    Good luck to you all out there.

    CalifDreamer, I ate pretty much the same thing every day with small variations. Two meals. One avocado made into guac with minced onion, cilantro salt & pepper (split into two servings). Lots of sliced raw red and green peppers, celery and some carrot sticks. 3-4 kalamata olives or macadamia nuts. 2-3 sweet potato chips. Black coffee.

    I felt fine the whole time with no headache or lack of energy. I was craving meat by the end of the 5 days though. I lost ~4 lbs. I was active the whole time walking dancing etc. but I did not do any intense exercise like HIIT or weight training.

    I measured my blood ketones and found it took 3.5 days to get to moderate fat burning. On a water fast I get to the same level in 1.5 days. With a 2.5 day water fast I get to a much higher fat burning than I got from 5 days of FMD even at lower total calories than Longo dictates. This reinforces the fact that the FMD is not about going into ketosis but rather about eliminating protein and high GI carbs to fool the body into thinking it’s fasting.

    Although I am 67 YO, I’m in excellent health and not taking any medications. I also have done quite a few 40 hour water fasts and my body is somewhat used to burning fat.

    Diverdog, one avacado guacamole spread over 2 meals? I thought you added some macadamia nuts as well, no? The sweet potato chips were homemade or purchased? Your plan actually sounds quite appetizing, something to look forward to, rather than avoid. This could probably be adapted for a FD on 5:2. Or a NFD? Are the calories around 800? I guess you could add fresh non-starchy vegetables to bring it to that.

    Your numbers sound great.

    I was shooting for ~ 600 calories. Since I was well under Longo’s target I wasn’t calculating exactly by weight. One large avocado or 1 1/2 smaller ones for the whole day. Yes to macadamia nuts and kalamata or other olives. Organic chips from whole foods.

    I love these foods and since they gave me the nutritional profile I was looking for it was pretty easy to eat it every day.

    No reason a salad with some olive oil and lemon or vinegar couldn’t be added for variety. Any low GI, low protein veggie as well.

    Five years ago, pre 5:2, I would not have touched that with the proverbial barge pole. Now it sounds good. I would be very happy to eat that on a low cal fasting day.

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