It is a nutritional system developed by Valter Longo, director of the Los Angeles Institute of Longevity. We asked the expert to explain how the fasting mimicking diet works
The lengthening of life in a condition of full health has been the focus of the studies of Valter Longo and his team for years. “It is now certain – he explains Flavia Bernini, nutritionist biologist – eating properly, with the right calorie intakeBy choosing seasonal foods and moving more, life expectancy and well-being increase significantly. This is the case of some populations located in the center of the Mediterranean basin, in particular in the province of Nuoro in Sardinia, where the centenarians are not an exception, as well as in some areas of Calabria. Their diet follows the principles of Mediterranean diet, World Heritage Site: cereals, legumes, seasonal fruit and vegetables; fish, eggs, cheeses and meat in limited quantities. Other populations too, like the Japanese from the island of Okinawa, long under observation for the high rate of longevity, they follow a frugal diet, based on fish, vegetables and soups and have an extremely active lifestyle. What can be deduced? A balanced and low-calorie diet, good movement, the absence of junk food and the maintenance of a proper weight, they are certain sources of well-being“.
Watch out for calories –
“The habit of eating little, choosing simple, nutritious and fiber-rich foods, it appears to promote metabolic and cellular changes that lower inflammation and oxidative damage, thus improving energy metabolism and cellular protection. Starting from these assumptions, prof. Longo has developed the fasting-mimicking diet, a dietary intervention that mimics the effects of a real fast, consequently bringing all its potential benefits. It was not born as a slimming regime, but as a one-time strategy to slow down aging, regenerate cells and increase longevity in health. In recent years, clinical studies to evaluate the real effects of the fasting-mimicking diet on humans have increased, with good results even if still preliminary “.
Fasting mimicking diet: calorie pattern –
“In fact, the Longo regime is based on an important calorie restriction, to be continued for only 4-5 days and to be repeated at most 3-4 times a year. The calorie scheme provides for the first day to consume 1090 calories of which:
- 34% represented by carbohydrates,
- 56% from fat,
- 10% from proteins.
In the 4 subsequent days it drops to 725 kcal, of which
- 47% carbohydrates,
- 44% fat,
- 9% protein.
The foods that compose it are of plant origin, with a reduced intake of sugars and proteins and a good percentage of vegetable fats. A regime essentially vegan, where the protein source comes only from dried fruit and oil seeds, while carbohydrates are those contained in vegetables.To simplify the applicability of the diet, commercial kits have been developed that contain the foods to be consumed in the time frame in question. It is an extreme way of using food and that it must in no way be improvised with dangerous DIY, but always in consultation with the doctor and nutritionist. They should avoid this practice is for diabetics, pregnant women, underweight people or people with eating disorders “.
Fasting mimicking diet, the longevity diet –
What about the rest of the year?“The food style proposed by Longo is represented by what he himself has baptized as longevity diet, a kind of vegan diet which, however, includes the inclusion of fish, based above all on the consumption of vegetables, legumes, whole grains, extra virgin olive oil and dried fruit. Proteins are quite low: 0.7-0.8 g per kg of body weight. All in all, a diet close to the Mediterranean diet. Several clinical studies are underway to evaluate whether the fasting-mimicking diet can enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy treatments in cancer patients. While waiting for science to give us concrete answers, let’s stick to the guidelines they ask us to keep active and choose a correct diet, avoid overly processed foods and give to foods of vegetable origin a leading role. And without resorting to extreme solutions, we have all the useful tools so that nutrition is immediately a determining factor in terms of health and life prospects ”.
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