5:2 and the Longevity Diet

This topic contains 168 replies, has 20 voices, and was last updated by  diverdog 5 years, 5 months ago.

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  • Going back to Lungo, I viewed the five day diet, do we know why he has excluded dairy? ta!

    @delayedgratification – Maybe because of the protein content of dairy? Dr. Longo isn’t a fan of high protein.

    Hi Delayed:

    Many people totally misunderstand what and why the Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) exists.

    It is designed to cause the body to go into a fasting state despite the fact the person is eating food. Adding dairy would not allow that to happen.

    The FMD is not a weight loss diet, but is intended to cause the body to repair and replace worn out and diseased cells. People that follow the Longevity Diet, of which the FMD is only a part, are attempting to prevent many diseases and help mitigate the effects of and/or cure others.

    The Longevity Diet and its fasting component, the FMD, work totally differently than 5:2, 16:8 or pretty much any other fasting program out there at this time. They are so different in intended results and impacts on the body that comparisons of the Longevity Diet and most other fasting programs are pretty much a waste of time. All of the programs are different, have been developed for different reasons and results and stand on their own, particular merits.

    If you are interested in weight loss, the Longevity Diet is not something you need to worry about. If you are interested in disease prevention – what some on the 5:2 site call ‘other health benefits’ – then the Longevity Diet is probably worth exploring.

    It seems simcoeluv is referring to autophagy which also happens with other forms of fasting to various degrees. Basically anything that inhibits mTOR kinase promotes autophagy. The additional stem cell activation that seems to occur with refeeding after a FMD fast may promote other benefits, but in humans that actual long term impacts aren’t clear. There are some claims that FMD is actually better than water fasting with these effects and the diet is carefully formulated to maximize these effects.

    When it comes to longevity this is just one of many possible approaches and it isn’t clear what will actually work well in humans. However many forms of fasting do promote many health benefits far beyond temporary calorie restriction. Even Dr. Longo believes other factors are important.

    Example of another approach to inhibit mTOR kinase: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2698317/

    Even coffee can promote autophagy!


    Hi dy:

    Sounds pretty cool, but the FMD causes apoptosis. I’m sure that is what you meant to say since you seem to be trying to explain what I was saying.

    Big difference between apoptosis and autophagy. Autophagy happens on a daily basis for many reasons. Apoptosis requires extended fasting, given the context we are discussing, and that is one reason why short term fasting, like that involved with 5:2 and time restricted eating, does not lead to positive results similar to those caused by the FMD.

    You can sort of tell the two basic approaches – fasting measured in hours v. fasting measured in days – are different by the research being conducted. The FMD has been undergoing clinical studies in both the lab and with human trials for about 8 years. The human trials published to date show quite a bit of benefit in the cancer, MS and metabolic syndrome areas. Ongoing and new human clinical trials are in the metabolic syndrome, cancer, MS, Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s areas. Lab trials show positive results for Type 1 diabetes. Based on current human trial results, it is suspected the diet will positively impact many more diseases. The research shows that the impact of the diet is body wide, not targeted, which is why it works on so many diseases.

    There is no similar research being carried on that I am aware of with time restricted eating or 5:2/ADF diets. I am not saying 5:2 or time restricted eating are not beneficial, especially, in the case of 5:2, for weight loss. But their potential for positive prevention and/or positive impacts on disease is not recognized at this time.

    Longo’s team currently is conducting studies on the impact of the diet on autophagy and whether or not that impact, if any, is beneficial. The research is not complete, and any peer reviewed publication on the research is some time away.

    Please keep us updated!

    Thanks for the explanations stuff to digest. I’m still confused as to why the milk is an issue when other proteins are included such as egg. I thought maybe because of the lactose in the milk but a slice of bread is included so can’t be the carbs. I’m not being at all cynical but interested in the theory. I am interested in It for reasons other than weight loss , specifically neurological impacts although weight loss would be an added bonus.

    So not sure if it’s for me but am
    Enjoying the theory behind it and isn’t it amazing diet can have such an impact on our cells!

    The underlying theory for the fasting mimicking diet is simple. Shut down the metabolic pathways for protein and sugar. So the base of the diet is no protein, no sugars, no high glycemic carbs. Not hard to duplicate by rolling your own. <800 calories of fats and low glycemic carbs for six days. This does not duplicate the medical food Prolon, which may have additional ingredients that support the process, but it will accelerate apoptosis.

    I’ve mimicked the “fasting mimicking diet” a couple of times and it’s a pretty easy protocol to follow. I prefer doing a five day water fast once a quarter since I’m acclimated to longer fasts and I like the fat reduction as well as the potential health benefits. When I water fast my wife does FMD.

    simcoeluv, actually there is an ongoing study on humans regarding the 5:2 diet that started in 2015 and will be completed July 2019.

    It is regarding 5:2 and metabolic syndrome, memory etc. This particular study uses two consecutive days of 480 calorie shakes per day. I read Dr. Michelle Harvie (author of The 2 Day Diet Quick and Easy) believes back to back fasts are more beneficial than non consecutive days. Her reasoning being that an extended 5:2 puts cells in a healthier metabolic state than non consecutive.

    Anyway, here’s the link for anyone interested. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02460783

    And here’s another link for some fascinating studies (done on humans): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5734118/


    Hi Coffee:


    It will be interesting to see the results of some of these. Unfortunately, not all studies are completed and results published (I see one of these studies was completed in 2016 with no results published yet), but I hope this group is different.

    @simcoeluv – apoptosis and apology are functionally separate but interrelated processes. Typically you don’t get one without the other to some degree. A summary of some of the interplay can be found here: https://www.nature.com/articles/nrm3735

    Additional Dr. Rhonda Patrick has done studies on ADF which is closely related to 5:2. She has interviewed Dr. Longo multiple times: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Found+my+fitness+Dr.+longo These people don’t just work by themselves nor to they believe they have the final answers.

    I’m not against self experimentation but one should realize that is what they are doing. Right now all forms of fasting including extended water fasts, FMD, 5:2, etc are experimental when it comes to longevity.

    Hi dy:

    My comment was not on apoptosis v. autophagy. It was simply that you did not know what I was talking about.

    As for Dr. Patrick, her two about two years apart interviews are helpful. If you have watched them, you know that Dr. Longo rejects the belief that time restricted fasting is helpful for longevity/disease prevention/disease cure purposes. You also know the definitions of intermittent fasting, calorie restriction and prolonged fasting.

    But your fixation on ‘calorie restriction’ makes me wonder. Because five day water fasts have nothing to do with calorie restriction.

    You are very welcome Simcoeluv..

    @simcoeluv you are the one that pushes calorie restriction all over the forum. I even saw posts where you contradicted Dr. Mosley whom I’m sure has done far more research on the topic. I’ve never claimed that fasting is just calorie restriction because it isn’t. You seem to cling to a fiction that shorter fasts have no value.

    Frankly I don’t believe you are trying to have an intelligent discussion. It only seems you enjoy trying to insult people. It is just me, it is pretty much anyone that disagrees with you.

    Just to be clear … The Longevity Diet isn’t just based on infrequent longer fasts (Dr. Longo suggests more like two or three of those a year, not monthly) but also when people eat, what they eat, some exercise and other non-fasting factors.

    For most people they are in a stage of fasting were the liver glycogen stores have been exhausted and lipolysis is ramping up with in 24 hours. Generally by 72 hours ketone levels are high enough that excess ketones are being expelled from the body but that is more of just a waypoint on a process that began earlier in the fast. https://idmprogram.com/fasting-physiology-part-ii/

    So there many factors that are important. Diet can have profound impact on the stages passed through in fasting. That is one of the reasons I and others often advise people to limit their refined sugar intake which often has much more impact than even fasting, at least over the short-term.

    Anyway there isn’t anything magical going on, it is all apart of the same process and the stopping points and frequency of fasting are just additional variables. The difference between a 36 hour fast and a 96 hour fast is a matter of degree. Both hit pretty much the same stage of fasting, but clearly the longer the fast the more profound the effects should be for that fast.

    In my experiments last year I was disappointed in the differences between 60 hour fasts and 100 hour fasts. Even more so I saw less difference between 36 hour fasts and 60 hour fasts. I even pushed as long as 7 days which did produce a temporary drop in blood glucose, the effects didn’t seem to last. However for myself frequency has had profound impacts and the results are much longer lasting so far. That is the main reason I shifted into just doing the 36 hour water fasts. I haven’t experimented with fast shorter than 36 hours because I’m not able to easily continue fasting after eating a limited amount of calories.

    I don’t know how it impacts longevity as that isn’t my primary goal. Health is my primary goal and my assumption is that will also promote longevity.

    Hi dy:

    You state that Dr. Longo does not recommend monthly fasts. You are wrong.

    He recommends different usage of the FMD depending on your state of health. If you are an athlete eating what he feels is the correct diet, he recommends that you do the FMD once or twice a year. If you are sort of ‘average’, in good overall health and not obese and without family history of disease, he recommends you do the FMD three or four times a year.

    But if you are obese, have metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetic or a family history of heart disease, cancer or Alzheimer’s, for example, he states clearly you should do the FMD monthly.

    I do wish you would report facts accurately.

    You also say the only difference between a 36 hour fast and a 96 hour fast is ‘a matter of degree’. You imply that the same bodily markers are present at both 36 and 96 hours, just at different levels. You should talk to Dr. Longo about your belief.

    Dr. Longo looks for four bodily ‘markers’ that signal that the body is in a fasting state, and until those markers are all hit, in the correct ‘amounts’, the body is not in a state where it needs to be, in Dr. Longo’s opinion, to provide the benefits derived from apoptosis and other results of prolonged fasting. Dr. Longo has determined through his research that those markers are not hit until after about three to five days of water fasting.

    So it is not ‘a matter of degree’. It is a matter of being in a fasting state or not.

    But I know you know this, so why not report it accurately?

    simcoeluv you stated you were doing 5 day fasts for longevity and now you are stating you that you are in the “overweight or obese patients with at least two risk factors for diabetes, cancer, or cardiovascular or neurodegenerative disease” group. Additionally that recommendation is for the high calorie FMD, not 5 day water fasts. My mistake was assuming you were in control of your health and weight. While not in his book when he talks about water fast it is multiple times a year, not monthly. I suppose you can find some quote somewhere that is different as you seem to be fond on taking things out of context to support your points.

    I’ve yet to read or hear anything from Dr. Longo that is actually against shorter fasts, in fact he recommends restricted eating windows as part of the longevity diet. Still, he is focused on a very specific effect that doesn’t even require true fasting to achieve as noted by his relatively high calorie FMD. That just shows there are likely multiple ways to achieve the apoptosis / stem cell activation. If it proves to be really useful for longevity you can be sure there will be multiple solutions devised. There is a great deal of money be made from treatments that promote longevity.

    Hi Dykask,

    I know this is an old thread, but I do not want to duplicate stuff that has already been said. As others, I became quite perplexed when I heard Valter Longo saying that any fasting of 1-2 days does not bring any value. At least this is how I understood, although I sense that it may refer to the comparison with the really “heavy stuff”, such as stem cells regeneration.

    I have not read Longo’s book but was thinking about reading it, but I would much appreciate if someone could outline any recent findings around whether 5:2 or 6:1 has any benefits at all. It is interesting to think about the fact that that is where it all started out 6-7 years ago with pomp and circumstance and now it is like only a fully-fledged 4-5 days fast has any impact.

    I would just like to find some updated, reliable material around the benefits of 5:2 or 6:1. I have done 5:2 and 6:1 for 6.5 years and will continue to do it, if so just for the stamina it gives you to resist food. I just do not see myself doing a 5 days fast, having two kids and a job to do – and vacation days to spend on other things than fasting! I am just intrigued as to whether I am wasting my time :). Still, the impact of 5:2 and 6:1 (I do 22-25h of complete fasting and then have a light meal of about 600-700 calories followed by a night’s sleep, so the whole cycle is about 700 calories in one meal over a period of about 36h) has been very positive: weight maintenance; body composition is totally different; my cholesterol levels went back to normal; my IGF-1 is very low for years (around 120, where the range for my age is between 100-220 or so); and I experience – but it may be placebo! – a much improved short-term memory. So, clearly, the good old “5:2 followed by maintenance mode” can just not compete with a 5 days fast, but I am still interested in knowing if there are documented benefits of “my” regime. I am probably one of those old dogs that you cannot teach how to sit as I started IF in 2012 🙂


    Tobias, I think you have answered your own question. You are receiving many benefits from your “regime”. Whether its from just reducing calories overall or from some additional effects of having a “fasted” day twice a week so why would you care?

    I do think there are some small additional benefits from 5:2 over caloric restriction and I believe that there is some data on it.

    Longo and others that look at fasting over a longer period are concerned with higher levels of apoptosis and stem cell regeneration. You can gain these benefits by using the fasting mimicking diet for 6 days or just do a 5 day water fast. I’ve done both and it’s not that hard to do. I no longer do 5:2 as I am trying to build muscle and I find I get better results by not fasting. I do a 5 day water fast once a quarter. My blood chems and hormones have alway been good but after a couple of 5 day fasts they are truly stellar

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