Five-Day Fast-Mimicking Diet Safe, Effective, Study Shows

In the weight loss world, it’s the newest fad: the five-day fast-mimicking diet. Now, doctors are stepping forward to say that the diet appears to be both effective and safe.

According to a new study by researchers at the University of Southern California, the five-day fast-mimicking diet can actually lower risk factors for aging, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Even better: it doesn’t appear to come with any negative side effects.

The diet is fairly straightforward: for five days out of every month people cut their caloric intake dramatically–by between 35- and 55-percent. The idea is that this semi-fasting approach helps the body get rid of toxins and become rejuvenated, not only leading to weight loss, but also leaving the dieter feeling more energetic.

And while those five days can be trying. After all, caloric intake drops from about 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day to 1,000 or less–those participating in the diet can eat just about anything (within reason) during the other days of the month.

Valter Longo, a professor of Biogerontology at the University of Southern California’s School of Gerontology, says he’s impressed with the diet and its results. “It’s about reprogramming the body so it enters a slower aging mode, but also rejuvenating it through stem cell-based regeneration,” Longo said. “It’s not a typical diet because it isn’t something you need to stay on.”

Looking forward, Longo says he’s hopeful the five-day fast-mimicking diet will change our approach to diet, exercise, and counteracting the effects of aging. “If the results remain as positive as the current ones, I believe this … will represent the first safe and effective intervention to promote positive changes associated with longevity and health span, which can be recommended by a physician,” Longo said.

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