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The best 5-day diet to lose belly fat: According to new research, this diet works wonders

5-day diet to lose belly fat: It sounds too good to be true. A five-day diet that promises not only a slimmer body, but also the tantalising possibility of a longer lifespan, improved heart health and reduced inflammation.

Dubbed the “fasting mimicking diet” because it delivers all the benefits of fasting, including blasting belly fat and cholesterol, while still allowing you to eat, the five-day diet was created by Prof Valter Longo, a biogerontologist and director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California.

Stay with this section of fitness in the health and beauty section of Eternal Pen magazine.

The five-day “fast” has already been shown to slow ageing in animal studies, but now these benefits have been replicated in humans.

Tests of 100 study participants, who followed the regime for three or four months, following the diet for five days, then eating normally for the other 25, showed their cells and immune systems were acting in a more youthful way.

Read more: 3 best diet salads for vegetarians and people who want to lose weight

5-day diet to lose belly fat

5-day diet to lose belly fat1

5-day diet to lose belly fat: Further analysis of blood samples revealed that they had reversed their biological age by two and a half years.

When the body goes into fasting mode it supports cellular rejuvenation and longevity. Our bodies are built to fast (“that is literally the reason we carry body fat,” says Dr Jason Fung, a nephrologist, fasting expert and author of The Obesity Code), and humans have been practising fasts for millennia, but most of us cannot stick to an extended fast, drinking nothing but water, and still live a normal life.

Which is where the “fast mimicking diet” comes in: a way of achieving the same results as a full fast, but crucially, with the advantage of eating something. “The Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) makes it easier for people to do a longer fast [five days] as there is some structure and some food,” Dr Fung explains.

Prof Longo’s research led to him discovering how exactly our cells detect food – from there, he created a specific low-calorie meal plan.

5-day diet to lose belly fat: The five-day diet ranges from 1100 calories on day one to 800 calories on days two to five, made up of foods that are plant-based, low sugar, low protein and contain a research-backed composite of nutrients.

This combination tips the body into fasting mode, meaning you’re drawing on fat cells for fuel and using up old dead cells – a process known as autophagy.

How fasting attacks belly fat

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5-day diet to lose belly fat: The benefits for our waistline are particularly noticeable. Prof Longo says fasting attacks abdominal fat, without affecting lean muscle (unlike most other diets, which he says “will cause loss of fats, water, sometimes lean muscle and bone density”).

“On average the general population lose 5-6lbs of weight, mostly fat, after three cycles of a five-day FMD,” he adds.

His specific diet, called Pro-Lon (short for “pro-longevity”), was awarded the first patent in history for “Promoting Longevity and Healthspan” and has undergone over a decade of studies in both animals and humans with papers examining its effects on a range of health topics, from FMD’s effect on ageing to cancer – published in several scientific journals.

5-day diet to lose belly fat: One published study found that as well as losing body weight – specifically abdominal fat – those who followed ProLon for five days a month for three months, saw reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol and had an increase in stem cell production, as well as reduced levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), a hormone linked to cancer risk when it is raised.

5-day diet to lose belly fat: There are currently several clinical trials underway to look at how it can help cancer patients, something Prof Longo describes as “very promising”.

“I know from having completed or helped complete a number of clinical trials that multiple yearly cycles of FMD can have a range of very beneficial effects on risk factors for ageing and diseases,” says Prof Valter, who has also written the book, The Longevity Diet.

As almost two thirds of us in the UK are now either overweight or obese, could this be the answer to the UK’s obesity timebomb?

“FMD can be excellent to control weight, especially because it does not require unwanted changes in the everyday diet, and it can be done when the person is ready to do it,” he adds.

5-day diet to lose belly fat: For those who prefer real food, UK-based nutritional therapist Rhian Stephenson, has designed a programme based on FMD principles (plant-based, low calorie), providing recipes you can cook yourself.

Her five-day “fast” includes smoothies, quinoa salads and mushroom courgetti-pasta dinners, along with regular recorded yoga sessions. “Because we reduced calories but kept nutrient density high, people reported having far more energy than they expected,” she says.

“It is a short, controlled period of caloric restriction combined with rest and foods that are designed to enhance repair, microbial health and promote healthy blood sugar,” explains Stephenson.

5-day diet to lose belly fat: “The key difference between the fasting mimicking diet and other calorie-restricted diets is that they are low in protein so that triggers cellular repair.

They’ve shown that FMD activates nTOR, a pathway that regulates autophagy, a process of self-cleaning. It’s also designed to keep insulin and blood sugar below a certain baseline, so that the body dips into its fat stores for fuel and switches on the cellular regeneration pathways.”

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