Curious about a fasting diet? Dabbled in the 5:2?
A new study in the journal Science Translational Medicine found that going on a ‘fasting-mimicking diet’ for five days each month may help you drop kilos and reduce your waist-size However those on the diet also had reduced risks for cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other age-related diseases after the three-month trial. In particular, they slashed their blood pressure, blood sugar levels and had less signs of inflammation.
So what’s a fasting-mimicking diet? In this study, participants ate a special kilojoule-restricted diet on their fast days, which had a set balance of macronutrients – ie, protein, fats and carbs. Participants ate between 3138kJ and 4602kJ a day.
Those on the fasting-mimicking diet for three months lost an average of 2.7 kilos and their waist size shrank by 2.5-5cm. Importantly, they lost fat but not muscle mass. BodyPump class, anyone?
“This study provides evidence that people can experience significant health benefits through a periodic, fasting-mimicking diet that is designed to act on the aging process,” says Dr Valter Longo, study co-author and professor of biological sciences at the University of Southern California. “Prior studies have indicated a range of health benefits in mice, but this is the first randomized clinical trial with enough participants to demonstrate that the diet is feasible, effective and safe for humans.”
Plus, these health benefits extended beyond the study. “After the first group completed their three months on the fasting diet, we moved over participants in the control group to see if they also would experience similar results,” Longo says. FYI: before this, the control group had been eating their regular diet.
“We saw similar outcomes, which provides further evidence that a fasting-mimicking diet has effects on many metabolic and disease markers,” Longo explains. “Our participants retained those effects, even when they returned to their normal daily eating habits.” While results are promising, there’s still further research needed. And remember to always consult your doc before starting on any type of fasting diet.