Perhaps you’ve read about the Fasting Mimicking Diet, either on this website or elsewhere in the media. If so, you know about the near miraculous results that are reported in just 5 days. But why 5 days exactly? Why not 4 days? Why not a full week?

As you might expect, the answer lies in the scientific evidence derived from years of clinical research. The goal from the start was to discover the precise protocol that leads to the best results possible for the greatest number of people.

Still, this begs the question:

Why does the Fasting Mimicking Diet last 5 days exactly?

The Fasting Mimicking Diet triggers a cellular “self-cleaning and rejuvenation” process, and it takes exactly 5 days for you to get the full benefits.

So, how exactly does the 5-Day Fasting Mimicking Diet work in real life situations? Let’s dig into it a little deeper.

5 Days of Fasting Mimicking for Better Health

Dr. Valter Longo, the Director of the Longevity Institute of the University of Southern California studied what happens to our body when we don’t eat. The most important consequence, he found, is the rejuvenation of the organs.

“The body is once again not resistant to insulin, the main cause of diabetes. Like when we are 18 years old. And the best thing is that the benefits seem to last for at least three months or more.”

Fasting Mimicking for Better Health

Fasting seems to bring our body into a regeneration stage, in which the internal production of stem cells is activated. This would also cause a tremendous reset of the immune system.

After three cycles of a fasting mimicking diet, in as many months, 50% of our immune system should be completely new. A new study currently underway will highlight whether this cell regeneration, based on the death of old and inefficient cells and the increase in the endogenous production of stem cells, also affects other organs of the body.

What is the difference between fasting mimicking and a low-calorie diet?

The fundamental difference, capable of activating all the regeneration processes described, lies in the low consumption of proteins and sugars. Generally, when we talk about low-calorie diets, we refer to diets in which the consumption of fats and carbohydrates is drastically reduced, in favor of proteins. It is the classic diet that personal trainers prescribe.

The purpose of the 5-day fasting mimicking diet, on the other hand, is to deliberately send the body into glucose and protein deficiency.

Without enough glucose, the body is forced to generate alternative energy resources – ketone bodies produced from our fat stores. Add to this a protein deficit so that the body allocates the little protein resources available in a much more efficient way, protecting new and healthy tissues and letting old cells die, and then reuse them.

As with traditional fasting, selective deprivation of these nutrients will trigger massive stem cell production. Thanks to the stem cells, all the destroyed cells will be replaced with new ones once you return to eat regularly. This is what gives the result of demonstrable cellular regeneration.

Furthermore, it seems that muscle mass is not affected in the slightest and indeed can improve by virtue of this much more efficient protein synthesis.

Other studies have shown that proteins and glucose are the fuel that fuels the growth of tumor tissues, which seem to be unable to draw energy from ketone bodies, unlike healthy cells. This explains why intermittent fasting can be a “friendly killer,” able to nip the cancer producing process in the bud (a mechanism that has been clearly observed in laboratory mice).

Are these mechanisms at the basis of an intrinsic protection of our body? Is economic well-being, which does not make us skip a meal in a lifetime and rather fills us with extra calories, also harming us because it deprives us of these precious natural mechanisms linked to fasting?

Fasting Mimicking Diet Works

After all, full pantries and refrigerators, at any time, for every day of our lives (at least in developed countries), are a radical transformation that is less than 100 years old, therefore very recent and very short, if we consider the very long history in which our genetic heritage has developed.

For millennia, fasting has been a recurring and normal possibility, which has ceased only in recent decades, with consequences that perhaps we never even imagined.

Why Does the 5-Day Fasting Mimicking Diet Work?

Let’s look at some of the features in sort of a chronological order.

Precision Nutrition

  • You eat specially designed real, plant-based food that keeps you in a fasting state.

Cellular Cleanup   

  • On the first three days of the program, your body transitions into fat-burning and cell cleanup mode.

Cellular Rejuvenation     

  • On days 4 and 5, cellular rejuvenation — the critical part of the process — occurs.

Rejuvenation May Continue     

  • Bonus: cellular rejuvenation may continue after day 5, even though your fast is complete!

5 Days of Fasting Mimicking to get the full benefits, plus…

Clinical trials have shown it’s also a great balance, delivering effective cellular cleanup and rejuvenation before fasting becomes too difficult.

And finally, a 5-day fast is more sustainable than a continuous, everyday restrictive diet.

Maybe that’s why 95% of first timers successfully complete the Fasting Mimicking program?

Rick Zullo

Former doctor, current science teacher, and life-long food lover, Rick's passion for Mediterranean cuisine was ignited while living as an expat in Rome, Italy. 


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