The journal Cell Metabolism published an article on 18 June 2015 titled “A periodic diet that mimics fasting promotes multi-system regeneration, enhanced cognitive performance and healthspan” (Brandhorst et al,). The findings highlighted in the article demonstrate that a diet that mimics and enhance fasting called Fasting Mimicking and Enhancing Diet or FMED promotes the regeneration and rejuvenation of multiple systems and extends longevity in mice. In humans the article showed that FMED induces remarkable metabolic effects on the risk factors and the biomarkers of aging and chronic diseases.
It has been established that a chronic low calorie intake can affect how humans age and delay the onset of chronic diseases. Monkey studies confirm these effects of chronic calorie restriction on diseases but show that it has a minor effect on longevity because it is likely to promote adverse effects. In a study completed at the Longevity Institute of the University of Southern California (USC), researchers developed a breakthrough periodic (five days per month only) fasting mimicking diet that matches and may surpass the protective effects of calorie restriction while allowing subjects to avoid the burden of a chronic diet and its side effects. This first FMED provides relatively high calorie content and is able to cause the same changes in a variety of biomarkers as water only fasting does without the burden and adverse events associated with pure fasting at zero calorie intake. Put in simple terms, this five day meal replacement regimen nourishes the organism while the body undergoes the same changes as it does during fasting.
Remarkably, the FMED provides benefits that are more potent than those promoted by the popular 5:2 fasting diet (requiring two 500 kcal days per week), while imposing only about half of the monthly restriction in calories. The USC research team, led by Professor Valter Longo - Director of the Longevity Institute, noted that the effects of the FMED may last longer than a month raising the possibility that for most people it would only be necessary to undergo one cycle of the diet every 3 months. Researchers had previously tested a similar bimonthly diet in mice which significantly increased their longevity (11.2% median life extension), lowered visceral fat without reducing muscle/lean body mass, reduced cancer incidence almost by half, rejuvenated the immune system, and improved cognitive function.
In the pilot FMED clinical trial, the 19 subjects who went through three cycles of the FMED (5 days per month for three months) were not asked to change their lifestyle during the 25 days between FMED cycles. The findings indicate that “3 cycles of the 5 day periodic FMED – 800 kcal average daily caloric intake – induced reduced abdominal fat without affecting lean body mass, and reduced fasting glucose and markers/risk factors for cancer and cardiovascular diseases.” The FMED diet tested in humans consists mainly of a plant-based, natural food and nutritional supplement intervention - with high levels of micro and macro nutrients - that produce safe and efficacious nourishment known to induce beneficial effects healthspan and longevity markers, while reducing risks for adverse effects.
There is no doubt that as scientific research on FMED evolves to larger trials, its preliminary benefits have opened up a very wide door in the promotion of human Longevity and Healthspan- the healthy part of human life.
Life Expectancy and Birth 2014
Source: Euromonitor International
Historical and Forecast Projections for Meal Replacement Products 2009-2019