A fasting mimicking diet is low in calories, carbohydrates, and protein. It allows your body to experience the health benefits of fasting while still eating certain types and amounts of food.

You’re not alone if you avoid fasting because you can’t stomach the thought of not eating anything at all. A solution to your concerns may be a fasting mimicking diet.

A fasting mimicking diet allows the consumption of some solids, and by keeping calorie and protein levels low, it extends many of the health benefits associated with fasting.

Potential benefits of this diet include:

  • maintaining lean muscle mass as you lose weight
  • improving your metabolism
  • reducing your blood pressure
  • supporting healthy aging

But, it’s worth noting that the fasting mimicking diet isn’t appropriate for everyone, and shouldn’t be done by those with certain medical conditions or who are pregnant and breastfeeding.

Always consult with a doctor or dietitian before beginning any new eating plan.

A fasting mimicking diet is a plant-based diet low in calories, carbohydrates, and protein.

The types and amounts of food prescribed in a fasting mimicking diet are chosen to provide essential nutrients while not activating your food sensing pathways, so that you can receive the benefits of prolonged fasting.

Some of the foods that may be included in a fasting mimicking diet are:

  • small amounts of nuts and seeds
  • vegetable-based broth soups
  • leafy greens (such as Kale, collard, and spinach)
  • herbal teas

A fasting mimicking diet may last from 4 to 7 days and can be repeated every few weeks or every few months. More research is still needed to determine the ideal length of time and frequency for a fasting mimicking diet.

What you’ll eat on a 5-day fasting mimicking diet

On a 5-day fasting mimicking diet, you’ll consume:

Day 1: approximately 55% of the usually recommended daily calories in specific foods

Days 2 to 5: approximately 35% of the recommended calories in certain foods and beverages

It’s important to follow your fasting mimicking diet plan precisely to keep your body in a fasting state and receive the health benefits.

Can you drink coffee on a fasting mimicking diet?

Some prepackaged fasting mimicking diets (such as ProLon) allow some coffee. They recommend drinking no more than 140 mg of caffeine each day. This is equivalent to:

  • one 8 to 12 ounce (oz) cup of black coffee, or
  • two cups of black or green caffeinated tea, or
  • six cups of decaffeinated coffee

There are no research studies to date on how caffeine affects fasting mimicking diets, or how much you should consume if you’re following such as diet.

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Potential benefits of a fasting mimicking diet include:

  • losing weight while keeping lean muscle mass
  • promoting healthy aging
  • improving your metabolism
  • reducing inflammation
  • encouraging cellular rejuvenation
  • decreasing your blood pressure
  • improving cognitive abilities

More studies are still needed to further understand the long-term benefits of a fasting mimicking diet.

A fasting mimicking diet can be useful for those looking to lose weight. Individuals who are at a moderate weight and hoping to improve their overall health can also benefit.

Before beginning a fasting mimicking diet, it’s a good idea to meet with a doctor and discuss the number of days you plan to do it for and how frequently.

Certain people, such as those with certain medical conditions or who are pregnant or breastfeeding, shouldn’t follow this diet.

Current research indicates consuming a fasting mimicking diet for 5 days a month is a safe and effective way to experience many health benefits. But, there are risks associated with a fasting mimicking diet. You may experience:

  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • general weakness

A fasting mimicking diet is not appropriate for:

  • people who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • those who are malnourished or fighting an infection
  • children younger than 18 years old and adults over the age of 70
  • people who are suffering from or have a history of eating disorders
  • times when you will be engaging in strenuous activities or will be outdoors in extreme temperatures

Individuals with health conditions like diabetes or who are on medications should discuss the appropriateness of this diet as well as any necessary monitoring with a doctor.

A fasting mimicking diet is low enough in calories and protein to allow your body to continue experiencing the health benefits of fasting even though you’re still eating. These benefits can include lowered blood pressure, improved metabolism, and cellular rejuvenation.

A fasting mimicking diet isn’t appropriate for everyone. Always talk with a doctor before making any major changes to your diet or lifestyle.

Research is still ongoing to learn more about the long-term effects on humans of a fasting mimicking diet.