It’s not rocket science that eating less is the key to losing weight.
- But a new study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, finds that drastically cutting calories for just a few days a month can work wonders on your health.
- Researchers at the University of Southern California first tested the “periodic fasting mimicking diet” on mice, and then moved on to a small group of 19 randomized people who tried the diet, and 18 participants who ate a normal diet.
- The experimental group ate a diet that was less than half of their normal caloric intake, and featured about 12% protein, 44% carbs, and 44% fat.
- They ate the diet for five days in a row each month, for three months straight.
- For the rest of the time, they ate whatever they wanted.
By the end of the three months, the participants had lower risk factors when it came to diabetes, heart disease and cancer, as well as aging in general, with no major side effects.
The idea of the diet is to decrease a certain hormone in your body, IGF-I, which promotes aging and makes you more vulnerable to cancer.
“It’s about reprogramming the body so it enters a slower aging mode, but also rejuvenating it through stem cell-based regeneration,” lead researcher Valter Longo said in a statement.
“It’s not a typical diet because it isn’t something you need to stay on.”
The researchers hope to start several larger studies around the diet, with a goal of getting the plan FDA approved.
They say that normal dieters could try this plan every three to six months, or even as frequently as once every two weeks, depending on a doctor’s recommendation.
But because this diet is so strict (and specific), they urge you to consult a doctor before giving it a try.