Fasting is in… in case you hadn’t noticed.
Google searches on the subject have jumped 10,000%.
Jennifer Aniston created her “closeup-ready physique” using a 16:8 plan, (do you suppose she’s ever had a bad body??!). And just about every other celeb has climbed on board with various approaches and, of course, all citing amazing results.
People are suddenly – and effortlessly – dropping pounds, getting leaner, losing their muffin tops, diminishing their belly fat, feeling better, and doing it all without an exhaustive, restrictive diet plan.
Fasting may, in fact, be the most natural way to counteract what the Standard American Diet has done to the majority of us – made us fat and sick.
But fasting goes deeper than just weight loss and a “picture perfect” body.
Lessons from yeast
Dr. Valter Longer is a biogerontologist who heads the USC Longevity Institute and has spent the last 30 years studying the science of longevity and aging.
In one of his early research efforts, he was attempting to identify the biological origins of aging with the goal of keeping us young or at least healthy into our older years – something that only about 20% of our population has been able to achieve.
For his study, he recruited some unsuspecting yeast cells and then he starved them. (just briefly for a few days.)
What they found stunned them – and was not taken seriously by others in the scientific community until recently – when the mainstream research finally caught up with Longo’s early work.
From starvation to rejuvenation
Longo noticed that when he starved the yeast cells, giving them only water, they lived twice as long.
One would logically think that starving an organism would weaken it but Longo’s results proved just the opposite.
It strengthened them.
David Sinclair, Ph.D., a Harvard Med School professor of genetics and author of the book, LifeSpan Why We Age and Why We Don’t Have To, explains the magic of time and evolution…
For millions of years our ancestors often went days and even weeks without food. They didn’t eat three meals a day and food wasn’t ever-present as it is today.
To put it mildly, they often starved or came close to it due to disaster, famine, oppression, and seasonal changes.
The protective side of evolution
So, over the millions of years of stress and starvation, the evolutionary forces- designed to secure our survival – stepped in with a solution. It equipped us with “survival circuits” aka our “Longevity Genes”, that go to work when we’re faced with “life-threatening” situations – like starvation.
When the body gets the idea that it just might starve to death, it battens down the hatches to protect us. It cleans out the cellular trash, repairs damaged DNA, strengthens our organs, wakes us up, and essentially builds a superhero body – presumably, so we can get out and slay that wild beast for dinner.
“Fasting activates coordinated responses (in the body) that are in tune with evolution because starvation was encountered by all organisms… For this reason it is clearly one of the most powerful interventions we can rediscover to promote coordinated changes that do not disrupt the harmony of the human body.”
Not all methods deliver the same results
But Longo cautions: general labels like “intermittent fasting” are imperfect as they allow people to improvise and pick and choose periods of fasting that range from 12 hours to weeks, giving the impression that just because they all involve ‘abstention from food’… all provide health benefits.
While shorter periods of fasting are beneficial – longer periods of 2 to 3 or more days have the greatest impact both on weight/fat loss and are needed to trigger the body’s natural regenerative capabilities.
Which is where this all becomes slightly dicey.
Have you ever tried going without food? For a few hours? A day? How about five days – which appears to be the “sweet spot” when it comes to triggering fat loss and the longevity benefits.
My first attempt at a simple 24-hour fast didn’t end well. I caved around 4:00 pm the same day and chalked it up to a practice suitable for those who bathe in ice, indulge in cryotherapy chambers, dine on crickets, and such…
Longo’s solution – the Prolon® Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD)
Longo was intent on developing an approach that would work for all generally healthy people, had a solid foundation of science behind it, and would consistently deliver results.
He and his colleagues at USC developed a 5-day fasting program called Prolon – a unique fasting protocol that literally tricks the body into a fasting mode while providing enough nutrition for even the faint of heart to withstand. Including me.
Prolon was developed over 20 years of extensive clinical studies funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute, and the National Institute for Aging,
The Prolon package
The package includes 5 days of plant-based food. Just enough to keep you from losing your mind and breaking your fast. There are daily soups, olives all the way from Italy, kale crackers, and my favorite, the “Fast Bar”.
I have been through three rounds of the program – five days per month for three consecutive months. This is the recommended procedure at the start of the program to “lock-in” and sustain the fasting results. After that they recommend repeating as
Countless ongoing studies show consistent results: Improvements in blood pressure, body weight, fat loss, cell regeneration, decreased inflammation, reductions in autoimmunity, improved cognitive performance, longer lives… and on and on.
For me, weight is down as is body fat. The muffin top I always thought was just part of my anatomy is melting away. Muscle mass is up slightly. A damaged rotator cuff and other little aches and pains are less noticeable.
Prolon is a definite part of my longevity tool kit as I plan to continue with quarterly fasts.
The Valter Longo Foundation
Longo’s mission is “keeping organisms young” – and that includes us.
His work, his book, and teachings are not a commercial venture for him. They’re his passion. He takes no royalties or commissions and plows everything back into research and his foundation – whose mission is to “prevent illness and promote longer, healthier, and consequently happier lives, all deemed fundamental human rights.”
Wanna know more? Shoot me a quick response to this post. I’ll answer your questions and share with you how to get Prolon for yourself if you’re ready to fast with me. I start my next round in two weeks! Added bonus… as an approved health provider, I am able to offer a reduced price and rebate for a limited time to my clients.
Your Youthkeeper ♥