5:2 and the Longevity Diet

This topic contains 133 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  simcoeluv 2 months ago.

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  • Well done diverdog on your 5 day water only fast fantastic to get that on your cv i think there is a lot of self pro claimed experts and some one said or a pop up YouTube broadcaster with all sorts of skills and knowledge with claims and counter claims. I believe its best to be your own evidence not read from a journal of someone else’s experience because its your journey and how you felt that makes it genuine and documents your waist measurements and weight loss.
    I like your style.
    Peace RT

    Thank you all for sharing on this thread. I followed IF for about a month last fall, then stopped. I am just back on week two now, and feel the need to get used to this before doing a longer fast, but am eager to do one to let my body really have time to rest and heal. I was thinking I’d follow 5:2 for 4 weeks with the 500 calorie dinners, then a few weeks of 5:2 water fasting for the 36 hours, then go for a 3-4 day. Has anyone got any personal experience trying to build up that way or did you do it differently?

    That’s how I did it. I believe it helped my body adjust to burning its own fat better. If nothing else it helped me to adjust mentally.

    Thanks diverdog! I must admit I’ve been stocking your posts. 🙂

    I’ve been doing 5:2 since August last year with about a quarter of the total fast days being liquid only. About a month ago I decided to try a longer water fast and managed 3.5 days when I started feeling unwell and stopped. I am trying again starting today and I’ll see how far I can get. If I’m feeling well I’ll try to go at least 4 days and break my fast on Friday evening.

    Building up is probably a better way to go about it. I was aiming for 2 days last time but it felt like such a waste to stop when I wasn’t hungry.

    I read your account Geopri123! I can see myself thinking the same thing, as long as I’m feeling good, why stop! So glad you shared. I will look forward to updates on this round. 3.5 days is so amazing!

    Hi Geo and welcome:

    The three and a half day mark is pretty standard for catching the ‘keto flu’. It occurs as the body is starting to get a majority of its energy from its own fat reserves. Depending on a person’s ‘work up’ to the fasting and the diet the person was eating before attempting the four plus day fast, the effects of the flu vary.

    Most people that have normal high processed carb diets and just try to do a four day water fast out of the box get a serious case of the flu and often never try fasting again. But if you work up to the four day (and plus) fast, and along the way start converting your diet to a higher fat/complex carb way of eating, the conversion process goes much more smoothly and you don’t feel too bad at all. In any event, by day five most feel better than they have in years and understand that they can really fast for as long as they want without any serious side effects.

    The main problem most have is in fact mental. Initially, most are simply afraid of not eating. After you get over that fear, you just get bored with not eating and really want to eat something just for the fun of it.

    @simcoeluv I thought that could be it, I panicked when I started vomiting but I am trying again 🙂

    The hardest part for me with fasting is being cold ALL THE TIME. I’m usually cold anyway and on fast days it’s all day long. I drink a lot of hot drinks and try to keep moving; I’m really looking forward to summer. 😊

    Hi Geo:

    Water fasters often report being cold, as do some who do 5:2. Digesting food takes a lot of energy, and when the body uses energy it generates heat. When there is no food to digest, energy for digestion is not being used, heat is not being generated and many get cold.

    Just sort of something you have to live with if you fast.

    I think the real issue around feeling cold is because initially your body can’t burn enough fat to keep you warm. I’ve noticed that when my fat burning really ramps up on the third day (as indicated by blood ketones) I’m not cold any more.

    Hi diver:

    Long term water fasters (measured in weeks) often report being cold throughout their fasts. Of course, effects vary by individual, and some get used to it over time so what was cold initially becomes normal and acceptable after a week or two. It always amazes me how the body and mind operate. The mind decides a ‘current condition’ is normal, and you think anything different is bad or uncomfortable or whatever, and then you get used to the new condition and everything is normal again – just a new normal.

    Fasting itself is an example. It is a fact that most people are afraid to fast. Dr. Longo was only able to find 18 people in six years to participate in his first water fasting cancer clinical trial. Once he came up with the FMD, which duplicates the effects of a water fast, he is filling up trial after trial with no problem. But for those that actually try and complete water fasts, they become ‘no big deal’.

    Amazing. The mind and body are simply amazing.

    I have been watching these posts, and others, but not contributing much because I am on holiday and breaking most of my own rules. I don’t think I am very different from the rest of humanity, but there has been discussion of problems I am not familiar with. Sim explained the causes of keto flu and said it may vary, but what is it? I seem to have missed it. Also, I didn’t feel cold on a five day fast, just full of energy. It may be, as Sim says, a matter of build up. I went two days of low cal, then two days of fluid only, then three, then five days fluid only. Alternatively I may just be too insensitive or dumb to notice. When I get back from this trip it will be time for my next five day fast, so this time I will pay more attention to possible side-effects. I am not seeking to have them, but think I should know about them!

    Hi penguin:

    You don’t have much to worry about, but it is nice to know.

    Feeling cold only affects some people – not everyone. Just has to do with how your body handles fasting. If you don’t get cold, great! And if you ever do, just put on another pair of socks or a sweater. It is not a sign of anything bad and is no big deal.

    The keto flu can be thought of as going through withdrawal symptoms from addiction to sugar and other processed carbs. Given your diet, you have nothing to worry about. But newbies who have been eating a standard high processed carb diet experience everything from fatigue and irritability to just feeling terrible to nausea and vomiting. People that used to go on the old Atkins diet often experienced it, and the induction phase of the Atkins diet was specifically designed to break a person’s addiction to carbs. Now people are going on ‘keto diets’ and running into it, as do people that water fast for over three or so days. It takes the normal body at least that long to start going into ketosis. But if you have been eating a low processed carb diet, the chances of contracting keto flu are very slim indeed.

    Thanks Sim. It sounds as though even before 5:2 I was probably immune – unless we go out for a meal, where I have no control, pretty much everything we eat I cook from scratch and most of the veg I grow myself. I am currently suffering the reverse – we are ten days into a holiday, the meals are good but the protein levels are high, the veg levels are low and there are processed carbs. I feel sluggish. There are a couple of vegan restaurants that I may try, although I don’t recognise many of the things they have on offer. When we get back there will be another five day fast.

    I’m on day 4 today and I think I finally pushed through the other side 🙂 I feel great today and I am not hungry at all.
    I felt a bit dizzy on day 2, had a large glass of water with a tsp of salt and felt better soon after. Yesterday I couldn’t stop thinking about food and had 2 tangerines in the evening. I’m still thinking about food, making plans for tomorrow’s meals. I have cauli, broccoli, courgette and aubergines, I think I’ll roast them with a little olive oil and plenty of herbs.


    For Dr. Gundry fans, here is his interview of Dr. Longo. Longo covers issues with homemade FMDs and outlines current clinical trials: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvPCgfeg4Zc

    Here is a copy of a post I made on another thread in answer to a question:

    I’m sorry, I missed your question about whether the Longevity Diet cures cancer when combined with chemo and other current treatments.

    There are at least five clinical trials underway exploring that question. My comments were based on rumor and the rumor mill is positive and excited, but until the trials are completed and published we won’t know for sure. Until then, an outline of the most recent study published in 2016 states:

    “Immune-based interventions are promising strategies to achieve long-term cancer-free survival. Fasting was previously shown to differentially sensitize tumors to chemotherapy while protecting normal cells, including hematopoietic stem and immune cells, from its toxic side effects. Here, we show that the combination of chemotherapy and a fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) increases the levels of bone marrow common lymphoid progenitor cells and cytotoxic CD8+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), leading to a major delay in breast cancer and melanoma progression.”

    There are also trials on Alzheimer’s, MS, Type 1 & 2 diabetes, cardiovascular, crohn’s and I think some others. Here is an interesting study on the FMD and Types 1 & 2 diabetes: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867417301307

    Longo has stated that he believes the positive impact on many diseases of the Longevity Diet with the FMD is being underestimated by the medical community.

    I’m pretty much results driven, and the final results are not yet in. But I tend to agree with him.

    Gotta love a diet guru who bans legumes but adds alcohol as a food group to his food pyramid. https://gundrymd.com/food-pyramid/

    Alcohol is a carcinogen. The liquor industry is very powerful. In Australia, we have experienced the slow creep of alcohol into almost everything we do and we are about 30-40 years behind the same fight that was fought against the tobacco industry. Dr Longo slams ‘moderation’ as a measure. Who determines what ‘moderate’ means? Consume alcohol twice a week means what exactly? Pandering to the ignorant.

    That food pyramid just seems wacky to me. I’m not afraid of many fast but I think a lot of vegetable oils aren’t that good for us. I really wouldn’t put fat on the bottom. I’m pro-fasting but I don’t think it belongs on a food pyramid. Additionally a lot of the vegetables/grains being thrown out are actually really healthy.

    I’m much more of the mindset of fast and eat what is healthy for you. I don’t care if he a doctor, he isn’t going to take my peanuts away from me!

    Is that chocolate in the bottom/base row of Dr. Gundry’s pyramid? What’s not to like? https://gundrymd.com/food-pyramid/

    Agree with dykask, Gundry’s pyramid is decidedly odd.

    I’m afraid a lot of this stuff is starting to smell of alt bullshit. Any research that claims to cure cancer by diet has got a *very* high bar to clear in terms of study methodology, repeatability etc.

    Lectins are real and can be very toxic for many people. My issue with Gundy is that different people have different foods that are inflammatory for them. Elimination diets are time consuming and difficult to do.

    We are taught that all plants are good to eat and it’s just not so.

    I decided to get tested (Cyrex labs) to find out which foods where inflammatory for me.

    Of the legumes only garbanzo beans where a hit. So no Hummus! But I had some other really common ones too like cow dairy (the protein not lactose) wheat, soy and quinoa.

    I didn’t have any acute symptoms but when I eliminated the culprits I sleep better, have less joint soreness and lose fat faster. A friend of mine does have acute food inflammation symptoms from eating nightshades ( rashes and bowel distress) even white potatoes. He was tested and sure enough all nightshades are toxic to him. He stopped eating them and his issues went away.

    Hi sw and welcome:

    You may not understand the research behind the Longevity Diet. The diet does not cure anything. The body does. The part of the diet that allows this is the fasting. It seems fasting causes the body to first eliminate old, diseased and worn out cells (and apparently damaged parts of some remaining cells). At the same time, fasting activates stem cells – those that create new cells. Then, when you start eating again, the stem cells create new, healthy cells to replace those that were destroyed by the fasting. This happens body wide – it is not targeted. That is why it seems to work for so many different diseases.

    As for cancer, the current research shows that fasting yields about the same results as does chemotherapy. But when fasting and chemo are combined, the results improve significantly.

    If interested, you might review some of the Longo interview links, above in this thread. The TEDx talk is short but gives the basics.

    It’s somewhat disingenuous to claim that it’s not the fasting which is causing the proposed effects. It certainly sounds very interesting, but I’m just wary of ascribing too much to it at this stage. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and all that, in this case that certainly means repeatability by other research groups. Perhaps that has already happened but all I see on here is links to Dr Longo.

    He may well be onto something, but he may also just be engaging in demagoguery like others on the fringes of ‘conventional’ medicine. Do you have any non-Longo links to this research?


    Really – disingenuous?

    Well, the train you are riding left the station years ago. All of the lab research you want confirmed has been completed and confirmed, initial human clinical studies (started in 2010) for feasibility and safety have been completed and published, and there are currently upwards of 10 human clinical trials ongoing around the U.S. and Europe to see if ‘it works’. As I am much more interested to see if it works in the real world, rather than has some other researcher confirmed lab results, I am anxiously awaiting the completion and publication of the results of these currently ongoing trials. I don’t know for sure, but I don’t believe Dr. Longo is heading any of those studies, although he and members of his two labs certainly participated in their design. The first three published human studies on general proof of concept, MS and cancer are all very positive.

    But, if you want to read something, pick up Dr. Longo’s book, the Longevity Diet, in a bookstore or library, go to the back, and take notes on some or all of the over 100 research papers used to support the basics outlined in his book. Yes, he footnoted a ‘diet book’. Most of the papers are not his.

    The human body is very complex, and Dr. Longo is a microbiologist researcher, not a nutritionist. He has over 100 published, peer reviewed papers himself, but obviously relies on the research of many others to both lead and support his research.

    You can be skeptical if you want, and Dr. Longo’s initial human clinical study efforts were stymied, in part, by skeptical doctors who didn’t want their patients to participate. Perhaps you prefer to wait for the results of all of the ongoing trials to see the results.

    But if I suffered from any of the diseases currently being studied, one of my first calls would be to Dr. Longo or his research team to see how his research might help my condition. He and his team members are very responsive to people that contact them for help or information.

    Cali, thanks, also interesting.

    simcoluv I am not trying to piss on anyone’s chips here but the minimum standards required to claim that your x/y/z ‘is as effective as chemotherapy in treating cancer’ are not insubstantial. The problems of low sample sizes, methodological errors and conflicts of interest dog this type of research, and often it doesn’t seem to be repeatable by other (unconnected) researchers. No doubt that some of this can be attributed to the fact that there isn’t enough money to be made in it (not like licensing a new drug) to pay for bigger trials; ‘not eating something’ isn’t really something you can sell, other than a few books.

    The other problem with the ‘x cures cancer’ aspect is that it is a siren call for desperate people, and desperate people aren’t usually in a fit state to work out whether the thing they are being sold is everything it claims to be. That’s what proper trial methodology is about and that is why the claims for this intervention appear to be somewhat premature.

    That doesn’t mean that you yourself can’t give it a go as you say, but that’s not the same as providing clinical evidence. You have given lots of good advice on this forum and so that confers legitimacy on things that you write; people less familiar with the subject may not be able to tell the difference between evidence and anecdote.

    I read Cali’s links. I agree that we need proper research with large sample populations – too much poor science gets published. However, you have also to allow for professional rivalry and the writers of the links did seem to enjoy rubbishing Longo’s work.

    We also have to worry about the agendas of the people giving public health advice. For example, I don’t think there are two countries in the world that suggest the same limits on alcohol consumption, not even in the European Union which is a great believer in standardisation. The British suggested limits have been coming down for years. The latest reduction came with the statements “There is no safe amount of alcohol” and “the suggestion that in moderation it is good for you is an old wive’s tale”. Great until you realise that other countries’ researchers and many of ours’ think that in moderation it can be good for you. The old limits were set by a committee of civil servants, the new by a committee that included several members of the various temperance leagues. Hardly impartial independent peer review of the science.

    The statins we older folk have been encouraged to take in recent years, which I have been refusing, and the anti-histamine which I take for a couple of weeks every summer have just been linked to cancer, Alzeimers and several other things because they upset the gut biome. The only safe answer, at least for me, is to read as much of the research as I can get and understand, then make my own decision.

    I would very much like to believe that something as simple as long term fasting could cure cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and MS. Every one of these is a risk to everyone who lives and breathes. Claims of curing multiple diseases with one therapy, ones that seem too good to be true, always give me pause. But sadly, there is no cure for cancer (yet), not fasting and not even fasting plus chemo. The idea of fasting during chemo and prior is not a new idea. One only has to look back through various cancer forums, many going back many years, to see this. You will not see a lot of cures.

    Lowering gif-1 with fasting, at least temporarily, seems to be a good thing when it comes to helping to stop the proliferation of cancer cells. But what do low IGFs-1 levels mean for dementia or cognitive function as we age? What about osteoporosis and low IGFs-1 levels?

    There is good reason to take a breath and not get too caught in the hype of the new, especially if there is money attached to the new.

    And there is a difference between curing (100% eradication) and a tendency to improve particular health outcomes. Some things are black-and-white enough to reasonably fit a cure model, most aren’t. The discovery of the power of antibiotics to cure diseases was a huge advance. A downside is it led to the overreach of applying the cure model indiscriminantly. We expect to go to the doctor and get a pill to cure all ills.

    Diets do not fit a cure model. I don’t expect fasting to either. Does that mean we shouldn’t be careful of what we eat and the timing? I would say no.

    There are distortive forces at play in assessing different models of thinking. We can distinguish pioneers by the arrows in their backs. These arrows are often shot by those fearful of change or uncertainty. And if there are monetary or reputational outcomes then a torrent of arrows can be expected for anyone willing to stand out from the crowd. Yet society needs these pioneers in order to advance.


    I understand most will be uninterested, but for those that are, here is a lot of information on the fasting mimicking diet contained in a U.S. Patent: https://patents.google.com/patent/US9237761B2/en

    Lots of information, especially on the relationship between protein intake and mortality.

    @simcoeluv – awesome!


    Finally, some research funding for fasting: https://news.usc.edu/141010/fasting-and-aging-usc-grant/


    The FMD and Types 1 and 2 diabetes: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170223124259.htm

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