A study conducted by researchers from the the University of Southern California indicates that a fasting diet can help you live longer and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. The findings of the study were published in the journal Cell Metabolism.
The study involved 19 participants who were required to limit their caloric intake by 34% to 54% for five days a month. For the rest of 25 days of the month the participants were allowed to return to their usual diet. After three months the scientists analyzed the biomarkers of the participants and discovered that they had a lowered risk of aging, cancer, heart disease and diabetes. In addition the fasting mimicking diet (FMD) has also helped reducing belly fat, increasing the number of stem cells and improving memory skills and learning ability.
Valter Longo, the lead author of the study and director of the USC Longevity Institute, explained that fasting is something which most people find difficult to do and moreover it can also be dangerous, especially for older people. So what the researchers did was to create a complex diet which mimics the effects of fasting on the body. Longo confessed that he tried both alternatives and according to him the fasting diet is easier to follow and definitely much safer.
That’s how the diet functions: when you have a particular amount of fats, carbohydrates, micronutrients and proteins the amount of the hormone IGF-I produced in the body is reduced. The IGF-I hormone is responsible for aging and it was also linked with cancer susceptibility. Longo explained that it is as if the body is reprogrammed. Aging is slowed down and the increased number of stem cells contributes to the rejuvenation of the body.
He also commented on their work:
“This is arguably the first non-chronic pre-clinically and clinically tested anti-aging and healthspan-promoting intervention shown to work and to be very feasible as a doctor or dietitian-supervised intervention.”
The following step is the rigorous processes which the fasting diet will undergo in order to receive FDA approval. First of all the researchers need to confirm the results and conduct further tests on 60 or 70 participants. Afterwards a trial involving between 500 and 1.000 participants will be conducted.
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