Fasting is back in the headlines as an option for people looking to diet. Before you go on hunger strike, the devil is in the details.

Research is pointing to a five-day diet that mimics fasting. Benefits range from dropping unwanted pounds, cutting cancer risk, rebooting your immune system and boosting brain function. At this point you’re wondering why doctors don’t recommend it?

To put it bluntly, the idiot factor. We are notorious for taking things to an extreme. Wait, this fruit is good for me? I should have three dozen. Tonight. What applies to food applies to prescription medications. Oh, one dose of antibiotics? Man, I could double-up and kick this sinus infection. Actually, you can’t.

The research, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, followed a pilot study of 19 people who intermittently fasted for three months. The results were remarkable. Risk factors for aging, cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes were all cut.

“It’s about reprogramming the body so it enters a slower aging mode, but also rejuvenating it …” Co-author Valter D. Longo said. “It’s not a typical diet because it isn’t something you need to stay on.”

It was so successful, the University of California researcher who developed the diet is developing the FDA petition for doctors to be able to recommend the diet to patients.

Fast Mimicking Diet

The diet is relatively easy to achieve. For 25 days a month, you eat what you normally eat. Yes, that means the late night pizza can remain on the menu. Should it? Probably not, but this style of diet still shows results regardless of your eating habits.

On day one, you would eat 1090 calories: 10 percent protein, 34 percent carbs and 56 percent fat. The numbers have to be as exact as possible. There are plenty of mobile apps to help count calories and break down the macros.

For days two through five, welcome to hell. You top out at 725 calories for each day. 9 percent from protein, 47 percent carbs and 44 percent fat.

Obviously, you would be eating healthy foods. The carbs would come from low-calorie vegetables. Protein and fats from lean meats. You can’t just order a small pizza and call it a day. Throughout the fasting days, the participants drank chamomile tea and consumed a ton of vegetable soup.

Yeah, if someone said I was restricted to 725 calories, I’d wreck the vegetable soup aisle. Along with a 55-gallon drum of water. And when Day 6 hits? It’s on…

Image Credit: Wikipedia

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