If we told you you could lose weight and live longer by following one simple method, we’re sure we’d have your attention. Well, that’s exactly what we’re here to share. Many people are following the “fasting-mimicking diet” (FMD), and they’re on the road to longevity.

The best part about following the fasting-mimicking diet is it’s backed by science. A February 2024 study published in Nature Communications associates the FMD with a reduced biological age, decreased risk of disease, boosted immunity, and improved metabolic function.

This low-calorie diet lasts for five days and consists of eating mostly plant-based unsaturated fats and low quantities of macronutrients like protein and carbs. In addition, you can consume a limited amount of calories from certain foods at specific times, so you’re not “fasting” in a traditional sense. (For instance, you can consume 1,100 calories on the first day. You can eat 725 calories each day on days two through five.)

FMD was brought to life by Dr. Valter Longo and researchers from the University of Southern California. The fasting-mimicking longevity-promoting recipes on Dr. Longo’s website are truly delicious, and there are many to choose from, including Tuscan bread salad, polenta and mushrooms, linguini with fava bean pesto, octopus salad with potatoes and green beans, and so many more.

Now, let’s get into more of the specifics and benefits of the FMD.

The fasting-mimicking diet is basically a way of fasting.

fasting mimicking diet foods on white wood tablefasting mimicking diet foods on white wood table
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According to Lena Bakovic, MS, RDN, CNSC, from Top Nutrition Coaching, “The fasting-mimicking diet (FMD), in elementary terms, is a method of fasting whereby the body is deceived in discerning from true fasting while still receiving some caloric and nutritional value. Designed by Dr. Valter Longo and his team of researchers from the University of Southern California, the reason the FMD contains the word ‘mimicking’ is because it was intended to mimic a water fast, [but] made easier for people to complete.”

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What are the benefits of the FMD?

This diet is chock-full of benefits. As previously noted, research shows that by following the fasting-mimicking diet, you could potentially reduce your biological age. In addition, Bakovic says it can boost your gut health and be helpful for some autoimmune conditions and even the progression of cancer.

The Nature Communications study researched how the FMD impacted two clinical populations of men and women between 18 and 70 years of age.

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Individuals in the FMD group experienced three to four monthly cycles, during which they followed the diet for five days and then resumed their normal eating habits for 25 days. (For reference, the FMD consisted of energy bars, plant-based soups, chip snacks, tea, energy drinks, and a supplement containing vitamins, minerals, and necessary fatty acids.)

Individuals in the control group stuck with either their normal eating routine or followed a Mediterranean-inspired diet.

In conclusion, the FMD group revealed a decreased risk for diabetes, lower abdominal and liver fat, and reduced risk factors for metabolic syndrome. Lastly, this group experienced a higher lymphoid-to-myeloid ratio, which indicates an all-around younger immune system.

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Research shows an approximate 2.5-year reduction in biological age by following the FMD.

Woman eating an appleWoman eating an apple
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Drumroll, please! Research indicates that following the FMD reduced biological age by 2.5 years in clinical study participants.

“These observations may perhaps be indicative that this type of dietary intervention may one day become helpful in the prevention of chronic disease utilizing diet alone without other lifestyle modifications such as physical activity,” explains Bakovic.

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