What is the Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD)?

We have adapted the Fasting Mimicking Diet and are now recommending the Bright Line Eating version known as the Metabolic Reset Plan.

The following is more information about the history of FMD and our adaptation, the Metabolic Reset Plan:

A Brief History of FMD

The Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) was pioneered by Dr. Valter Longo, a Professor in Gerontology and Biological Science and the Director of the USC Longevity Institute. After years of ongoing research on aging, Dr. Longo created the FMD as an alternative to water fasting. Water fasting has a myriad of demonstrated health benefits, but a lot of people find it hard (whether psychologically or physically) to not eat anything for days on end. However, the FMD creates a lot of the same physiological changes and confers many (or most) of the benefits of water fasting without having to abstain from food entirely. You get to eat a fair amount of food while likely feeling quite full throughout the day.

Dr. Longo created ProLon, a 5-day food plan composed of pre-packaged foods. However, ProLon is not BLE-friendly. It also has a caloric content most appropriate for a man with an average metabolism. This is why we have adapted it to create our very own Metabolic Reset Plan (MRP), during which you can eat real food rather than pre-packaged food and set the amounts based on your individual needs. The only differences between the FMD and Bright Line Eating’s MRP adaptation is that the MRP uses whole, real food rather than processed food and titrates the caloric load to be specific to your body’s size. Although the clinical trials on the FMD were all done with ProLon foods, it is reasonable to assume that the Bright Line Eating Metabolic Reset Plan would confer the same health benefits, so we provide them below as one bulleted list.

Please note: the information and/or suggestions provided herein do not constitute medical advice. Susan is not a doctor or trained health care provider, so if you have any medical concerns, it is strongly advised that you speak with a doctor, naturopath, nutritionist, or other health care provider to support your needs.

The Benefits of the FMD/ MRP

• Fat-focused weight loss, especially belly fat, while protecting lean body mass.
• Better physiological performance—an increase in both muscle and mental performance, and greater focus, clarity, and energy.
• Cellular function optimization—it triggers stem-cell-based regeneration, autophagy (the cleaning up of aging and damaged cells), and increases metabolic health by maintaining healthy levels of blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure.
• Dramatically reduces inflammation.
• Helps break weight loss plateaus.
• Reduces cravings—after the Fasting Mimicking Diet ends and you go back to regular food, you don’t have the kick-up of dramatic hunger that often happens after a water fast. Your body becomes content with far less food. For this reason, some Bright Line Eaters have found the FMD to help them get back on their Bright Lines.

The Metabolic Reset Plan

The basic structure of the MRP (and the FMD that preceded it) is that you eat a reduced number of calories, dramatically reduce protein, and increase fat. Your macronutrient split should be about 10% of calories coming from protein, 45% coming from carbohydrates, and 45% coming from fat. You do this for 5 days.

About calorie consumption: the original FMD calls for 1,100 calories on Day 1 and 800 calories on Days 2-5, but this was calculated for a man of average size and strong metabolism. For a typical BLE female, fewer calories on all 5 days is a better bet. That said, we have provided a formula you can use to tailor your consumption to your particular needs. To calculate your calorie consumption, use the following formula…

Day 1:
10 to 16 calories per kg of bodyweight, with a little more fat than subsequent days; 10% protein, 56% fat, 34% carbohydrates.

Days 2-5:
7 to 11 calories per kg bodyweight; 9% protein, 44% fat, 47% carbohydrates.

Susan’s Version of the MRP

Susan created her first MRP based on a daily consumption of 600 calories per day. She chose not to start Day 1 with higher calories, but to make all 5 days the same. The following is her original food plan…

Meal 1:
• 1 tub of super greens, sautéed in water
• 4 oz. Lavva non-dairy yogurt (or 10 oz. So Delicious coconut yogurt, unsweetened)
• 4 oz. avocado
• 4 oz. blueberries
• Himalayan sea salt

Meal 2:
• 1 tub of super greens, sautéed in water
• 1 oz. of mixed Greek olives, pitted
• Himalayan sea salt

(1 tub of super greens is 11 oz. of raw, washed baby spinach, kale, and chard. It cooks down to 9-9.5 oz. or more, depending on how much water is used.)

The second time Susan did the FMD, she continued to experiment with different foods to eat. On one day, she decided to eat just one meal, consisting of:

• 10 oz. lightly steamed broccoli
• ½ oz. non-dairy butter (on the broccoli, along with some lemon juice and soy sauce)
• 4 oz. Lavva non-dairy yogurt (or 10 oz. So Delicious coconut yogurt, unsweetened)
• 6 oz. blueberries
• 4 oz. unsweetened soy milk
• ½ oz. macadamia nuts
• 2 oz. apple

Additional Meal Plans

Thank you to Elaine O’Connell, Linda Schmitz, and Dianne Wells for providing the following meal plans….

720 calories: 47% carbs, 9% protein, 44% fat
• Meal 1: 1.5 oz. walnuts and 6 oz. sweet potatoes
• Meal 2: 10 oz. carrots and 6.5 oz. guacamole
• Meal 3: 5 oz. red bell pepper and 4 oz. cucumber

715 calories: 45% carbs, 10% protein, 45% fat
• Meal 1: 8 oz. So Delicious unsweetened coconut yogurt and 1 ⅓ cups berry blend
• Meal 2: 3 cups green beans and 2 servings of guacamole minis
• Meal 3: 10 oz. steamed broccoli and 2 oz. of olives

516 calories: 44% carbs, 10% protein, 46% fat
• Meal 1: 4 oz. Silk unsweetened coconut yogurt, 4 oz. raspberries, 4 oz. avocado, 11 oz. greens, and a squeeze of lemon
• Meal 2: 8 oz. baked zucchini, tomato, and onion with 1 oz. olives

As you can see, there are many ways to achieve the right number of calories with a good 10/45/45 macronutrient split. Aim for eating whole, real foods, consisting mainly of vegetables and fats with a little fruit.

Tips

• Use this friendly formula to plan out your meals: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1kAEJwrmYCDuPaF9YUmeP421UcxPOsDYxXdutnDZld60/edit?usp=sharing
• In Bright Line Eating terms, one way to think of the MRP is that it is roughly equivalent to about 20 oz. of vegetables, 4 oz. of fruit, and 3 servings of fat, though in this case the details matter—you’ll need to calculate what you’re eating and make sure it fits the right caloric total and the right macronutrient split.
• A good free app to use in calculating the caloric total and macronutrient split of your food is MyFitnessPal.
• While it’s recommended to do the MRP once a month, you can alter it to meet your body’s needs—you could do it once a year, a couple of times a year, every other month, etc. 1-12 times per year is fine, however you see fit.
• Experience shows that the second day can sometimes be a low-energy day and a little harder than the rest of the days.
• Keep your eye on your system and your highest self, and listen to what your body is telling you in your Bright Line Eating journey. If you’re wary of the MRP or feel like you’re putting yourself at risk, go back to your regular BLE plan.
• Lavva yogurt may not be available everywhere, but a comparable yogurt would be So Delicious coconut yogurt, unsweetened. However, Lavva yogurt is WAY more dense. A good rule of thumb is that 4 oz. of Lavva yogurt is equivalent to 10 oz. of So Delicious coconut yogurt.
• The times of your meals can vary and the amount of meals can vary too, as long as you achieve the right calorie limit and macronutrient split.
• Metabolically speaking, to achieve the desired effects you need to keep protein very low and carbohydrates moderate-to-low, but you can overshoot on fat if you want (while staying in your calorie range). In fact, some people in the BLE community are experimenting with a more keto version of the MRP, where the macronutrient split is more 10/10/80 with the 80% being fat.
• Salt is your friend! The caloric restriction of the MRP can create fatigue (often as a result of low electrolytes) that can be replenished with salt and plenty of water.

For additional information on the FMD, check out the following articles/podcasts:

BLOG ARTICLES
• Leslie, M. (2017, February 15). Five-day fasting diet could fight disease, slow aging. Science. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/02/five-day-fasting-diet-could-fight-disease-slow-aging
• Mowll, B. (2018, June 2). What is the fasting mimicking diet? https://drmowll.com/what-is-the-fasting-mimicking-diet/
• Troia, B. (n. d.). Mimicking the fasting mimicking diet – My 5-day experiment. https://www.quantifiedbob.com/fasting-mimicking-diet/#resources

ARTICLES (OTHER)
• Wei, M. et al., (2017). Fasting mimicking diet and markers/risk factors for aging, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Science Translational Medicine, 9(377), eaai8700.

BOOKS
• Longo, V. (2018). The longevity diet: Discover the new science behind stem cell activation and regeneration to slow aging, fight disease, and optimize weight. Avery.

PODCAST EPISODES
• The Energy Blueprint (Episode February 17, 2018): Why the fasting mimicking diet increases your health and longevity with Dr. Valter Longo. This podcast explores the benefits of FMD, protein levels for longevity, benefits of the diet and so much more. https://www.theenergyblueprint.com/fasting-mimicking-diet/
• FXMED Podcast (Episode 43): Fasting mimicking diet: Beyond caloric restrictions with Dr. Valter Longo. Dr. Kara Fitzgerald interviews Dr. Valter Longo on how he became interested in longevity and his research on caloric restriction, and the specifics of the Fasting Mimicking Diet. https://www.drkarafitzgerald.com/2018/06/08/fasting-diet-beyond-caloric-dr-valter-longo/
• The Intermittent Fasting Podcast (Episode 57): Dr. Valter Longo: The Fasting Mimicking Diet, Eating for Longevity, High Vs. Low Protein, Ancestry Dits, Meat Vs. Plants, Rebuilding the Gut, Food Intolerances, The Blue Zones, and More! This podcast features an interview with Dr. Valter Longo and explores the Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD). https://player.fm/series/the-intermittent-fasting-podcast-1512528/ep-057-the-fasting-mimicking-diet-eating-for-longevity-high-vs-low-protein-diets-ancestry-diets-meat-vs-plant-diets-rebuilding-the-gut-food-tolerances-the-blue-zones-and-more

VIDEOS
• Dr. Valter Longo on Resetting Autoimmunity and Rejuvenating Systems with Prolonged Fasting & the FMD | On: Found my Fitness | Published July 9, 2018 | https://www.foundmyfitness.com/episodes/valter-longo-2
• Fasting: Awakening the Rejuvenation from Within | Valter Longo | TEDxEchoPark | YouTube | December 5, 2016 | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVArDzYynYc
• Fasting Mimicking Diet | What You Must Know (with Dr. Nick Zyrowski) | YouTube | Published August 17, 2018 | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhT38jml6oE

Please feel free to write in if you have any questions, need support, or would like to share any updates or benefits that you’ve experienced while doing the Metabolic Reset Plan.

A special thank you to Traci Scheepstra PhD, Bright Lifer extraordinaire and Bright Fasters founder, for helping to compile information about the FMD. For additional fasting support, you may also choose to join the Bright Fasters Facebook group. This is a group for members of the Bright Line Eating community (former or current boot campers, Bright Lifers, and/or those on maintenance) who are interested in or currently practice Intermittent Fasting and/or Ketogenics.