A new study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism have proven that drastically cutting calories for a few days in a month can promote regeneration, enhanced cognitive performance and healthspan.
Researchers at the University of Southern California first tested the “periodic fasting mimicking diet” on mice. They then trialed the diet on a small group of 19 randomized people. There were also 18 participants who ate a normal diet.
The experimental group were on a diet of half of their normal caloric intake – 12% protein, 44% carbohydrates and 44% fat. They were on this low calorie diet for five days in a row each month for three months. The other times, they ate whatever they wanted.
By the end of the three month trial, the participants had lower risk factors for diabetes, heart disease, cancer and aging compared to the control group. By doing this, they decreased the hormone IGF-I which promotes aging and makes you more vulnerable to cancer. “It’s about reprogramming the body so it enters a slower aging mode, but also rejuvenating it through stem cell-based regeneration,” director of the USC Longevity Institute, Valter Longo said in a statement. “It’s not a typical diet because it isn’t something you need to stay on.”
“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,” says Longo,
“The FMD intervention will now undergo the rigorous process needed for FDA approval, which will first require confirmation and additional tests in 60 to 70 participants, followed by a trial with 500-1,000 participants.”