Scientifically designed fasting diet lowers risks for major diseases and trigger fat loss, according to a recent report from the University of Southern California.
Fasting and intermittent fasting has been found in multiple studies over the years to possibly help with all sorts of health markers, from weight loss and immune support to cancer prevention and longer life.
Researchers from UCLA’s Longevity Institute tested the fasting-mimicking diet (FMD), commercially known as ProLon, which is low in calories, proteins and sugar, but has high levels of unsaturated fats. The study had 52 participants follow the diet five days per month, while 48 ate their regular meals.
ProLon is the marketing brand behind the FMD. It is a 5-day dietary program that “mitigates the burden and danger of water-only fasting,” while allowing the participant to restrain from undergoing severe lifestyle changes.
Results showed that, after three months of the fasting-like diet, the participants displayed reduced body weight and body fat, lower blood pressure and reduces levels of IGF-1, a hormone associated with signs of aging. No serious side effects were reported after study participants completed three FMD cycles.
“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,” said study co-author Valter Longo, Ph.D., director of the USC Longevity Institute. “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.”
The next step for researchers is a large, FDA phase III clinical trial to test the FMD on patients diagnosed with age-related diseases or at high risk for them.
The researchers said the further investigation would determine whether the benefits of the diet can continue for several months.
The researchers reported their findings in the journal Science Translational Medicine.