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The Longevity Diet: Discover the New Science Behind Stem Cell Activation and Regeneration to Slow Aging, Fight Disease, and Optimize Weight

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Can what you eat determine how long, and how well, you live? The clinically proven answer is yes, and The Longevity Diet is easier to follow than you'd think. The culmination of 25 years of research on aging, nutrition, and disease across the globe, this unique program lays out a simple solution to living to a healthy old age through nutrition. The key is combining the healthy everyday eating plan the book outlines, with the scientifically engineered fasting-mimicking diet, or FMD; the FMD, done just 3-4 times a year, does away with the misery and starvation most of us experience while fasting, allowing you to reap all the beneficial health effects of a restrictive diet, while avoiding negative stressors, like low energy and sleeplessness.

Valter Longo, director of the Longevity Institute at USC and the Program on Longevity and Cancer at IFOM in Milan, designed the FMD after making a series of remarkable discoveries in mice, then in humans, indicating that specific diets can activate stem cells and promote regeneration and rejuvenation in multiple organs to significantly reduce risk for diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease.

300 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 15, 2016

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Valter Longo

24 books69 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 345 reviews
Profile Image for Marcos Malumbres.
66 reviews6 followers
November 26, 2017
I have two different opinions about this book. One is scientific and the other is more formal. I will start with the bad one (but please do not forget to read the positive one!)

As a book, I would say that this work is not of high writing quality (I would give it 2 stars). Some paragraphs are entertaining but the text is highly repetitive and disorganized with identical sentences repeated in several sections or chapters. The goal of the book is explaining the longevity and fasting-mimicking diets and their effect in health. However, even after reading half of the book, it is not very easy to understand what these diets are. The specific information on the composition of the diets is fragmented at the end of several chapters; explaining first how they work and defining them later makes the progression through the book more difficult. If you want to obtain any conclusions on what to eat, that will be a difficult task. For instance, the definition given for the fasting-mimicking diet (e.g. Day 1: total 1100 calories) is to combine 500 calories of complex carbohydrates found in vegetables + 500 calories of good fats (nuts, oil) + 25 g protein of vegetal origin. The definition is completely asymmetric (calories + grams). There is no way to avoid proteins when eating vegetables or nuts.. You can either include the proteins within the calories (total 1000 calories) or add them as new calories but no easy way to reach the 1100 calories of the day. During days 2-5 you need to eat 400 calories from carbohydrates and 400 from fat (nuts, oil etc) and avoid proteins (total 800 calories per day). Unless you eat pure sugar and pure olive oil, that is impossible as most food )including e recommended nuts have proteins). Difficult to understand. These are just examples, but the information in the book is quite disorganized. The tables with the foods that provide vitamins etc are ok but in my view classifying these tables by the nutrients provided by each type of food, rather than classifying by nutrients, would much more practical for readers.

In general, there are several defects that make reading of the text less attractive. It is a pity as it would not be a difficult task to make an interested story from the info given in the text.

In some instances, the text is unnecessarily egocentric. No problem with citing and explaining data generated by the author but I don't see the need of repeating in each sentence that he, and his group, was the one that discovered.. , or that X company, which he founded..., etc etc. Following a common practice, only the first author is cited when the list of authors of a paper is too long... unless he is in the author list.. then the first author + Longo, V. is cited, just in case readers forgot that these were HIS data, even after being mentioned in the main text. These sentences, together with the constant re-repetitions, are more typical of (bad) politicians or marketers than serious scientists and may give readers the false impression that the information in the book is just marketing.

The Spanish translation of some words is really funny (oncogenos!!).

Fortunately, the scientific content is of top quality (five stars here)! Based on current information and very serious research in the last years, everyone, healthy and sick people, should follow the recommendations in the book. Data have been published in the most respectful top journals indicating solid a evaluation process and this is the kind of science that has an immediate application for health. Some of the ideas presented as unpublished in the book have been recently published in top scientific journals in 2017. I cannot but believe that he is completely right. And actually it makes perfect sense. I missed more references (there are sections completely unreferenced) and a better system to mention them (I would prefer the use of numbered complete referenced, rather than "ibidem" etc).

I conclude that if this book had been properly written it could become a major reference in recent science. The information generated by the author and included in this book, properly explained, should reach every person in this planet, including healthy people but also patients with cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, immune diseases... ; i.e., everyone. And everyone should start to follow the recommendations.. I already did...
Profile Image for Brooke.
206 reviews11 followers
November 28, 2018
The summary is that if you want to decrease likelihood of getting diseases you're genetically predisposed to (cancer, diabetes, heart disease), eat a mostly vegan diet until you turn about 65 year old, exercise, keep your BMI at the lower end of the normal range and do his 5-day fasting mimicking diet anywhere from 1-6 times per year based on your health and genetics. The 5-day fast is where you eat about 800 calories a day which makes your least healthy cells vulnerable to destruction (which is a good thing). The unhealthy cells (most likely to mutate in the future) break down and your body rebuilds new healthy cells by releasing a surge of stem cells in your blood stream. Something like that. It's super fascinating and I think this guy and the research he's doing is legit though it's still young and needs larger tests in humans.
Profile Image for Cyndi.
Author 1 book8 followers
August 29, 2018
There appears to be a major disconnect between Dr. Longo's work and this book. It's as if someone decided there needed to be a popular book and it was (all or partially) ghostwritten and sent off to the printers. Boom done. His work (and that of his team) is brilliant, but this book is poorly organized, full of contradictions, judgmental, and badly executed. It also goes on and on about how amazing and generous and intelligent Longo is. So either he has an ego the size of a major university, or he didn't write those parts.

There are tons of charts. Great, right? Except that a lot of them don't present the information in a way that makes sense. Sometimes an axis just has numbers but no unit of measurement. Other times it's not really labeled at all. One chart appears to have the two groups reversed. Sometimes they're in the wrong chapter.

The book espouses very mainstream dietary advice, including stuff that isn't current. Unless it's something Longo has studied, it's included with little evidence. Salt is bad! Carbs are good! Saturated fat is evil (the only evidence given for this are general studies where we don't know the item that caused the changes and mainly just one study, that shows dangers of saturated fat and transfats...as if they were the same thing and the results would apply to both evenly).

The author has a vendetta against lowcarb, railing it against it on several occasions. He defines it as high protein and seems to think it's just protein and fat. While many do do lowcarb that way, it's not how most of the diets are presented and it's not necessary. Yet he never once says that lowcarb in and of itself can be useful for anyone if the elements of his diet (low/moderate protein and plenty of vegetables) are met. He'll say in some places that keeping carbs low is necessary for some, but he never has one decent word to say about lowcarb as a dietary system. Compare this to his words about lowfat diets, which he also is writing against because he talks about how important good fats are. Yet he praises or is neutral about lowfat diets, only mentioning how they need to be changed.

Another issue I find very troubling is how he insists that people who want to do a fasting mimicking diet (which is one of the major topics of the entire book!) should never do it on their own and should only use the Prolon program he helped develop. While he says he doesn't benefit financially from these sales, it's not quite true. The sales finance his work.

Prolon doesn't allow people to talk about price directly but you can find out indirectly. It's something on the order of $400 for a 5 day supply of food. The food is all packaged and, while it's vegan and gluten-free and has no artificial ingredients, it doesn't mean everyone can eat it. I can't eat large portions of it, for example, and would be paying lots of money for food I have to come up with on my own anyway.

Prolon is an at-home program and, while they give advice, they aren't really monitoring you. So to say you must use it for your own safety is rather disingenuous. Fortunately, there are websites that tell you the specs (garnished from his medical journal articles) and share recipes that meet them. I've done the FMD a good half a dozen times with excellent results. My doctor approves mightily. I see no reason why I can't do this on my own. After all, this book gives advice (with details down to a 2 week meal plan) on how to do the Longevity diet, the bit you're supposed to do every day you're not doing a FMD (which is only a 5 day cycle every 1-6 months, depending on your circumstances).

Fortunately, hidden in one of the chapters, there is a chart showing the calorie/macronutrient breakdown of the FMD. It is slightly different from his journal article versions, other versions he's published, and other FMD details in this actual book in other chapters. But close enough.

Because of the poor organization, it's not easy to go back and use the book as a reference. But it does give a decent overview of the programs and how they're changing dietary advice in medicine. Especially for cancer patients, but also for others.

The work is excellent. It's the book that is lacking.
Profile Image for Ericka Clou.
2,106 reviews163 followers
May 30, 2023
I trust Dr. Longo's research, he's a recognized expert, but I don't think this plan is very useful to normal people. The concept is basically this: do the Longo "Fasting Mimicking Diet" for 5 days a month, every 3-4 months. The rest of the time, eat the Mediterranean diet and exercise 5-7 hours a week. Okay.

So my problems with the Fasting Mimicking Diet is that it's super hard. Mind you, I've done "every other day fasting" for three months (then I fell off) and I've done time-restricted eating: not eating for 16 hours, and eating for 8. So my objection about difficulty is not fasting per se. It's that eating 800 calories a day for 5 days sounds harder than a water fast for 5 days because hunger actually decreases on a real fast. This low-calorie diet results in constant hunger for 5 days. So maybe I'd actually try what he recommends but just substitute a water fast? (I am not a doctor so you definitely should not follow any of my ideas or advice.)

Then I also have a number of objection about the OPTIONAL ProLon product they sell- just the food measured out for the 5 days so it's a no-brainer for you:
1) Anytime you're trying to sell me something I lose trust in the science (even though it is tempered in this case by the fact that Longo claims to make no personal profit)
2) ProLon isn't real food but packets of things you mix or whatever. Yuck.
3) It's super expensive $250 a box (one box lasts for the one-month 5-day fast) unless you buy a year supply in advance. No. Just no.

A counterargument to my complaints: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpN5V...
19 reviews3 followers
June 11, 2022
This book is an eye-opener with respect to the FMD (fasting mimicking diet), but the actual Longevity Diet falls short for me for a few reasons. Valter says that the two things that will age one quickly and cause problems in the body are too much protein and too much sugar. I agree, but when I read his daily suggestions for his Longevity Diet, I was shocked that he recommends eating dried fruit pretty much every day. Dried fruit is loaded with sugar, and even though he has you eating only 1/8 cup at a sitting (which is barely a taste, by the way!), why not eat the real thing? For instance, for the 1/8 cup of dried blueberries he allows, you could have a whole cup of fresh blueberries for 1/3 less calories, carbs and sugar and double the fiber content. I don't think he really knows all that much about nutrition especially when he admits to eating beef once a week growing up in Italy (the same town where he studied a couple of centenarians), but then admonishes eating any kind of animal protein except low mercury fish.

Another thing that I just can't get over is a couple of paragraphs where he talks about how ridiculous it is to "eat in moderation". After giving eating advice to a lady one time, she concluded that it would be best to eat in moderation. His response was to ask her if she would fly on an airplane that she had designed herself. I'm sorry, but those two topics aren't even remotely associated, and this leads me to believe that Valter doesn't even know the definition of "moderation". Designing an airplane with limited knowledge about how to go about it is not an act of moderation; it's a gamble. He even admits that he doesn't even know what eating in moderation means. How about eating beef on Sundays?

But aside from his lack of nutrition knowledge, I think his development of the FMD is super cutting edge! He has stats to back up his findings, and FMD seems like a definite positive breakthrough.
Profile Image for Martin Brochhaus.
145 reviews138 followers
September 18, 2018
EDIT: After reading "The Big Fat Surprise" I have to lower my rating from 3 stars to 1 star. I will leave my original review below. This author condemns all animal fats and does not base it on convincing research. He is basically promoting a mediterranean diet, which had been thoroughly debunked by "The Big Fat Surprise" and therefore renders this book completely useless.


I'm a bit conflicted about this book.

First of all, the author starts right off with advertising some nutrition product of his, but thankfully, that will be it, no more sales pitches throughout the rest of the book.

Next, after describing his methodology, there are numerous chapters (about cancer, diabetes, dementia, cardiovascular diseases and autoimmune diseases) which all result in essentially exactly the same conclusion with ever so slight changes in the food intake recommendation. It seems extremely repetitive.

I can't help but think that the author published this book as an "elevator pitch" to attract investors to further fund the author's various scientific studies (which is OK, I guess, as these studies all seem to have very promising results).

I liked that the book reinforced what I had already learned from "The Circadian Code" (a better book), namely that time restricted eating works wonders, however, this book focuses much more on the WHAT to eat rather than WHEN to eat.

The thing is, the author recommends a hard-core vegan version of the mediterranean diet with a bit of fish here and there. Simply because he is Italian and got to know a bunch of very old people from a small village near his home town. It seems extremely dangerous to assume that whatever these people ate must be good simply because the sample size is so tiny. These people clearly had extremely good genes.

The author even recommends "eat what your ancestors ate" and I'm pretty sure the diet of the old people in Okinawa looked nothing like the mediterranean diet, so how would an Asian person approach this book? I guess, if you are Italian, the this book is for you, otherwise it will leave you with few questions.

I absolutely love that there are two weeks worth of recipes at the end of the book (breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner) and especially the lunch and dinner options sound really nice, so I'm going to give all these a try. The breakfast options will be a bit tougher for me because I can't get the breads that are suggested here in Singapore.

If you already read "Why We Sleep" and "The Circadian Code", I would say this book is not necessary to read.
Profile Image for trovateOrtensia .
229 reviews220 followers
December 10, 2017
Prescindibile per chi già ha approfondito le tematiche relative all'alimentazione e al suo rapporto con lo stato di salute. Io consiglierei, piuttosto, la lettura del bellissimo Il cibo dell'uomo di F. Berrino, utilissimo sia sul piano teorico che pratico, e tutt'ora insuperato.
Profile Image for Cindy.
267 reviews15 followers
March 21, 2019
Dr. Valter Longo gives a broad-stroke description of his Longevity Diet, which includes doing a 5-day Fasting-Mimicking Diet every six months. Most of the book focuses on the benefits of the very specific Fasting-Mimicking Diet (FMD) developed by Longo. But Longo himself admits that there is not yet sufficient evidence to prove his hypothesis.

Benefits of the Longevity Diet
(Note, I wasn't paying too much attention to the scientific validity of Dr. Longo's research for the first six chapters. But, by chapter 7, his disclaimers got to be so repetitive that I started making note of them. I didn't bother going back over the first six chapter to site examples.)

At the end of Chapter 7 on cancer prevention, he says, “Our clinical trials looking into FMD and cancer prevention and treatment are ongoing, but if early results are any indication, it could be a powerful new weapon in the arsenal we have to fight, and one day defeat, cancer.” In other words, this whole concept is currently based on good indications only. Hardly worthy of being published as a scientific foundation for his claims.

At the end of Chapter 8 on diabetes, he says, “We are now working toward performing clinical trials as part of the FDA approval process.” Again, no solid scientific foundation for his assertion that his dietary interventions MAY complement standard procedures.

At the end of Chapter 9 on cardiovascular disease, he says, “Remember, because the dietary interventions described in this chapter have not been tested in large randomized clinical trials for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, they should be used only in support of standard care. Our early results are certainly promising enough that you and your doctor should bear them in mind as we continue to work toward larger trials and FDA approval.”

At the end of Chapter 10 on Alzheimer's disease, he says, “Although our studies into AD are perhaps the most speculative, this is an area I feel especially passionate about.” Bully for him. He adds, “This is my ambitious vision, and we're working with labs and researchers around the world to help make it possible.”

In Chapter 11 on inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, he posits that a “potential factor explaining the rapid world-wide increase in autoimmune diseases may involve expanding choices in a modern, globalized food supply.” He suggests that we eat what our ancestors ate. Later, he states, “We do not yet have solid evidence that 'eating at the table of your ancestors' will prevent diseases and make you live longer.”

Then he talks about FMD as a possible way of treating autoimmune diseases. But, he adds, “Please consider that these interventions are still under clinical or laboratory investigation and that, until larger clinical trials are completed, we cannot know whether they are effective in humans, nor can we exclude the possibility of severe side effects in a minority of patients.”

He gives the same treatment to multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, colitis, and rheumatoid arthritis, then ends with, “After future studies, we will know more about the efficacy of FMD against various autoimmune disorders. We will also know more about the length and frequency of the diet best suited to treating these diseases.”

Chapter 12 gives a summary of how to stay young. Basically, follow his Longevity/FMD diet, exercise, and use your mind. He gives a very brief summary of the testing he has done so far. He states, “Finally, I performed epidemiological studies of large US populations to understand the association between the consumption of certain foods and disease.” Because epidemiological studies do not control for other factors, the best they can do is show associations. They cannot prove causation.

It sounds like Dr. Longo is really jumping the gun and should be ashamed that he has written a book giving advice about treating all sorts of conditions with his possibly helpful ideas.

The Diet
The Longevity Diet (described below) doesn't sound like solid dietary advice to me for a number of reasons:

- People who follow his Longevity Diet NEED to also do his FMD in order to avoid gaining weight. (See the two cases listed at the end of Chapter 8 – Nutrition, FMD, and Diabetes Prevention and Treatment.)

- The FMD part doesn't make sense to me because the only thing it seems to do is restrict caloric intake and avoid non-plant proteins. I can't fathom how that is mimicking a fast. It seems like it would be more beneficial to actually fast.

- Longo advocates eating complex carbs, which he describes as vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin, mushrooms, etc. Some of these have a high glycemic load. How can this be good for a nation battling Type 2 diabetes? And, other than listing ingredients for his 2-week meal plan, he doesn't identify which vegetables are acceptable for this diet.

- The diet provides approximately 55 – 60% of calories from carbohydrates. (Wow!) While most of those carbs are complex, the diet does allow a good amount of pasta and bread. Are there still any dietitians who recommend pasta and bread? We know of essential amino acids; we know of essential fatty acids. We do not know of any essential carbohydrates. Although carbs provide some nutrients that can't be obtained elsewhere, it's nothing a supplement wouldn't take care of. Even Longo advocates taking supplements with his diet.

- Although the diet includes “virtually no sugar added”, it does allow honey and also allows things such as ready-made pizza crust and cereal, which no doubt have added sugar. It also includes plenty of fruits, including high glycemic fruits. Early in the book, Longo claims that sugar is one of the ingredients responsible for aging fast & dying early. So why does his anti-aging diet include so many sugary foods?

- Here's a long list of foods included in his 2-week menu plan that I find suspect. Some of these menu items are highly processed crap.
- pumpkin soup with croutons
- whole-wheat focaccia or bread
- raisin and walnut bread
- cranberry bread
- mixed berry or blueberry or apricot or strawberry or plum jam
- raisins
- whole-grain pasta
- spaghetti
- ready-made pizza crust
- dried cranberries
- cereal
- whole-wheat Rice Krispies bar
- cinnamon raisin bagel
- barley
- rice
- corn
- pineapple
- banana
- dates
- strawberries
- grapes
- steel cut oats
- boiled carrots
- potatoes
- all kinds of beans
- honey

Recap of The Longevity Diet
1. Eat mostly vegan, plus a little fish (up to 2-3 meals/week). Choose salmon, anchovies, sardines, cod, sea bream, trout, clams, shrimp. Look for fish w/ low levels of mercury.
2. If < 65 yrs old, limit protein to 0.31 – 0.36 grams per pound of body weight. If weight training, see note below. Older than 65, increase protein slightly. Consume beans, chickpeas, green peas, and other legumes as your main source of protein. Include some fish, eggs, white meat, and products from goats & sheep.
3. Minimize saturated fats from animal & vegetable sources (meat, cheese) and sugar. Maximize good fats and complex carbs. Eat whole grains (not bread), vegetables (tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, legumes, etc.) with generous amounts of olive oil (3Tbsp/day) and 1 oz of nuts/day (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts).
4. Eat foods w/ high vitamin/mineral content. Take a multivitamin as a buffer every 3 days.
5. Eat the types of foods your ancestors would've eaten.
6. Eat two meals/day and one snack. DO eat breakfast.
7. Keep eating window down to 12 hrs or less. Don't eat anything for 3-4 hrs before bed. Limiting food intake hours to less than 11 – 12 could cause gallstones.
8. Until age 65-70, do five days of FMD every 6 months.

In Summary
Dr. Longo has done many tests to try to prove his theories about anti-aging. Naturally, he is optimistic about what he sees – he wants his theory to pan out. He doesn't let the fact that he doesn't have verified scientific studies stop him from promoting his theories or from summarizing out-of-date dietary advice to be followed in conjunction with his proprietary FMD approach. There are many health professionals who advocate for some type of fasting. But, Dr. Longo's version of fast mimicking includes the types of foods that many others advocate avoiding altogether.

I really thought this was going to be a diet book that I could embrace. Alas, I am greatly disappointed.

One thing I will give Dr. Longo credit for is that he is actually doing research, not just citing other people's work. He just needs to complete randomized clinical studies before he publishes advice books.
Profile Image for Laura.
451 reviews2 followers
August 26, 2022
I enjoyed reading the science in The Longevity Diet, which seems to be well executed and well proven in university labs and studies. I think the book itself could have benefited from a co-author to help make it more accessible for popular audiences. Having a degree in psychology, which means a background of reading many, many research studies, scientific writing works fine for me, but I think for many readers, this book would come across more dry and not easily digestible ... which is a shame, because I can see that the benefits of this diet are vast. The text is a bit repetitive as Longo goes through the diet's impact on various diseases, but the upside is that this makes it a very quick read.

The nuts and bolts are this: periodic limited-calorie fasting with specific food types has lasting and hugely significant impacts on risk factors for cardiovascular, diabetic, and neurological disorders, as well as weight management. We're talking brief, five-day fasts sometimes as little as twice a year. Longo provides guidelines for both overall day-to-day eating as well as these periodic fasts. A sample fasting diet with recipes is provided at the end, though I found some of those recipes a little fussier in ingredients than I envision myself having patience for while in the grips of a severe calorie deficit (read: while hangry).

Bottom line: the fasts are very short term (just five days) but felt a little intimidating nonetheless. The science is impressive; I just wish this were paired with a gorgeous, photo-heavy cookbook that made me feel more inspired to tackle the tough climb it takes to pull it off. I'm sufficiently convinced of the benefits that I'll likely try it at some point. But sufficiently intimidated that I'm feeling like ... not yet.
75 reviews5 followers
March 11, 2018
Interesting book on the diet for longevity and disease prevention. Unfortunately it seems too long and too generic (though author dedicates a lot of time to discuss clinical trials, which is great).
Long story short: eat mostly vegan, eat good fats and complex carbs, not a lot of protein (which is controversial in my opinion) and do fast mimicking diet 1-2 times per year (which is patented by author and too much promoted as for me)
Profile Image for Giuseppe D.
274 reviews51 followers
January 2, 2020
Interesting take on dr Longo's own research on diet and longevity. I like how he takes a pragmatic approach on what we should actually do: for instance taking a multivitamin not every day but once every two to three days because being nourished is good but some studies have shown that certain vitamins can be toxic. Also, the amount of protein we actually need is not as high as most resources online would tell you, more could be detrimental so better to stick to relatively low but also high enough for building and maintaining muscle mass (he says to stick to 30 grams after a strength workout). So, to sum it all up:
- Eat mostly a plant based diet, adding fish low in mercury (only three times a
- Get 0.31 to 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight
- Multivitamin, mineral, and omega-3 and omega-6 supplement every 3 days
- Eat twice per day plus a snack
- do periodic fasting if you can
- walk fast one hour a day, do strength training
- keep your mind sharp (finish that goodreads challenge)

However, in the book, you can see how there is no 'one size fits all' solution. So, if you are interested in this sort of things, it might be a good read for you.
Profile Image for Francesco.
4 reviews1 follower
August 27, 2020
L'idea alla base è interessante: Valter Longo, ricercatore, ha studiato i centenari di tutto il mondo, la loro dieta, l'alimentazione in generale e a questo aggiunge i suoi studi sul digiuno ed il suo effetto a livello molecolare e altri come l'efficacia della restrizione calorica. La dieta mediterranea propriamente detta in realtà non la si fa più, ed è ricchissima di verdure, legumi, frutta secca, povera di carne etc.. Mangiare carne fa male e ne mangiamo troppa senza rendercene conto anche se sosteniamo di mangiarla una volta a settimana, poi propone una alimentazione fondamentalmente vegetariana con pesce una volta a settimana ma a tutto questo aggiungere alcuni giorni l'anno di semi digiuno. Detto questo l'argomento potrebbe essere interessante per un "non addetto ai lavori" ma il libro è scritto per un probabile pubblico che non ha mai letto nulla, e lo si capisce dallo stile adottato (dal suo ghost writer?): è ripetitivo, usa un linguaggio troppo scarno, ripete concetti mille volte per fare volume probabilmente, ha un atteggiamento assolutamente aneddotico nemico della scienza (mi è arrivata una lettera di un diabetico che ha fatto la dieta e ora ha la glicemia che va bene... Pazzesco!) dice che gli studi li fa sulle molecole e di certo funzionano sugli uomini anche se non hanno ancora fatto trial clinici (ma questo non è quello che ti dovrebbe dire uno scienziato) gira che ti rigira ha fatto studi su gruppi davvero ristretti di persone.
Mi spiace dare un voto basso perché gli argomenti trattati sono da 5 stelle: il ruolo della dieta sulla salute, la potenzialità della prevenzione tramite l'alimentazione sulle patologie croniche, dal diabete a quelle cardiovascolari.. Normalmente i libri di questo tipo prendono fuffa inconsistente e la elevano a seria materia allettante poiché il divulgatore od il ciarlatano hanno una grande capacità di imbellettare tramite la loro penna e la loro ars persuasiva. Questo libro riesce nel difficile intento di prendere studi seri e pubblicati su riviste rispettabili (nature, cell, lancet) e farli sembrare fuffa inconsistente.
Profile Image for Sandy.
58 reviews2 followers
April 22, 2018
I thought this book make a pretty darned convincing case in favor of a vegetarian or pescetarian diet, if living a long time is high on your list of priorities. Unfortunately, that's not how I, and most of the people I know, currently eat. It seems like everyone and their dog is doing keto these days. According to this book, a diet high in animal fats and proteins is the single *worst* diet for human longevity. At least both sides agree on one thing: sugar and processed carbs aren't good for you.

The book also discusses how periodic fasting (*not* the currently trendy "intermittent" fasting, but actual fasting for a few days) can have amazing health benefits for all sorts of serious conditions, including cancer, diabetes, and auto-immune disorders. It provides a way to mimic fasting by greatly reducing your caloric intake for a few days, without actually full-on fasting. This "fasting mimicking diet" supposedly offers the same health benefits as full fasting. I have not tried it myself.

tl;dr - diet should consist of 60% complex carbs, 30% good fats, 10% protein (all of which should come from vegetable or fish sources). Fast for a few days, a few times a year.
Profile Image for Denis Vasilev.
632 reviews93 followers
November 15, 2020
Книга о долголетии, с признанием что ничего особо прорывного о нем мы так и не узнали за последнее время. Интересный набор из 5 фильтров: фундаментальные исследования, эпидемиология, клинические испытания, диета долгожителей, сложные системы. При этом практической пользы от них тоже немного. В итоге все по-старому - вегетарианская в основе диета, рыба, витамины разрешены и тп, скучновато, убогие достижения науки о питании
Profile Image for Flora.
72 reviews4 followers
September 15, 2018
Full review: https://westofthesunblog.wordpress.co...

I have long been curious about Dr. Longo’s research on aging. The first time I heard about the science on fasting and the genetics of aging is from Dr. Rhonda Patrick from Found My Fitness Podcast. It’s through this that I got to know Dr. Longo’s works and protocols. For this reason, I was extremely excited that he’s finally published a book that will comprehensively summarize his research.

First off, I must say the title of the book highly undermines the value of his work. It echoes with the titles for popular fad diet books that are far below Dr. Longo’s quality of work. So whoever came up with the title really ought to be fired.

That being said, the book is an absolute gem to read.

Aging is a topic difficult to discuss without diving into scientific jargon. Despite this not being an easy read for those from a non-science background, I still believe Dr. Longo did an excellent job at simplifying technical concepts and research methodologies. Not only so, he also presents doable, evidence-based protocols that can help individuals live a longer, healthier life.

I had a hard time putting the book down.

Ever since I was first introduced to intermittent fasting via Tim Ferriss, I’ve been fascinated by the underlying science and its potential to cure various diseases. This is because I believe our bodies are able, intelligent and highly intricate machines. Although scientific research has allowed us to enhance our understanding of human physiology & biochemistry by leaps and bounds, much of it still remains a mystery. For this reason, the foundation of western medicine, which examines systems in isolation and try to staunch a single pathway, is not a feasible approach for the long term. In such cases, only symptoms are treated, while the cause goes on to fester the rest of the body.

This is why I find Dr. Longo’s research so fascinating: it is deeply rooted in the belief that by incorporating our knowledge for cellular pathway & genetics, then use it to optimize the body’s own ability for rejuvenation and repair. It is the perfect marriage between laboratory research and application in humans. Finally, the FMD protocols can be easily implemented by most people without intensive medical supervision. This means it has the potential to supplement or even replace conventional treatments for chronic diseases (especially weight management) in a cost-effective manner. Thus, with further clinical investigation, its adoption may be able to alleviate the heavy economic burdens of health care in the U.S. and Canada.

The downside to all this research is, of course, popular media.

As with any scientific findings that blow up in the media, there are popular personalities with limited understanding for science that can blow the FMD out of proportion, give misleading recommendations, and wreak havoc on the general public.

This has been seen most recently for: a) intermittent fasting and b) ketogenic diets.

Both concepts are potentially beneficial. Yet, in the popular media, they are poorly defined and their execution have flexible rules depending on the social media personality that popularized it (is not eating for 2 hours intermittent fasting? can I eat just meat meat meat on a ketogenic diet? can I just chug some oil to enter ketosis? Am I even in ketosis!?).

This, of course, leads to three outcomes:

The ill advice haphazardly works and the skewed information is passed on to more victims
The diet wrecks someone’s life, they become angry and completely discredits the concept altogether
The protocol becomes a mask for an eating disorder (this is the one that angers me the most)
The fact is, most social media personality DO NOT come from a scientific background. They throw random jargons around (insulin resistance! insulin spike! IGF-1! Glycemic index! Ketone bodies!) without truly knowing what they mean. They give out diet advice like handing out free candy without considering the consequences (disclaimers don’t count when people know their videos are going to be viewed and likely followed anyway) or really looking into the science.

Because Dr. Longo has provided ample warnings, cautionary tips and details of the protocol in this book, it is my sincere hope that most people will go back to the original source from a credible researcher instead of listening to quacks/diet-crazed teens on YouTube who want to shed a few pounds. The longevity diet & FMD protocol is most certainly not about losing weight. Instead, it is a procedure that can be used to smartly trick the biological systems to work in our favor.

For anyone interested in science, biochemistry, nutrition or the human body, this book is a must-read and definitely a highlight of the scientific nonfiction published this year.
Profile Image for Kepo.
48 reviews
March 18, 2018
Il libro è composto principalmente da due parti:
- La prima parte, formata da 7 capitoli per un totale di 122 pagine, dovrebbe essere un condensato di tematiche storico-scientifiche sulle tradizioni culinarie italiane associate alla longevità. In realtà di questi sette capitoli, tralasciando il primo che parla della raccolta fondi, mi sento di salvare solo i capitoli 3 (analisi storica delle tendenze culinarie dagli etruschi fino ai giorni nostri), 5 (similitudini tra dieta mediterranea e dieta della longevità) e 7 (consigli su cottura e associazione di cibi per ottimizzare l'assorbimento ed evitare un'eccessiva perdita di nutrienti).
I rimanenti capitoli risultano essere veramente deboli di contenuti. Il capitolo 2, che dovrebbe essere quello scientifico, riporta pochissimi studi scientifici e sembra voler pubblicizzare l'acquisto dei prodotti di L-Nutra, azienda con cui l'autore collabora. Il capitolo 4 pubblicizza le aree geografiche di longevità italiane dilungandosi inutilmente, in realtà può essere riassunto dicendo che la longevità dipende dallo stile di vita, dalla nutrizione e dalla componente genetica. Infine il capitolo 6, la vera apoteosi di questo libro, racconta del viaggio nel bel paese alla ricerca dei piatti della longevità (ormai estinti) dove spesso sembra essersi chiuso un occhio pur di dare un contentino a tutte e 20 le regioni pubblicizzando vari ristoranti e ristoratori.

- La seconda parte consiste in un vero e proprio libro di ricette suddiviso per regione. Anche qui la pubblicità ai nomi dei ristoranti è in bella vista, le ricette (che si possono trovare altrove in quanto tipiche delle regioni) sembrano alla portata di tutti ma i procedimenti (è vero che non si sta parlando di alta cucina) a volte sono veramente striminziti.

Concludendo: Sarebbe stato meglio non trattare la parte scientifica, rimandando il lettore al suo precedente libro, e introdurre solo con un parte storica e i consigli sulla cottura per mantenere i nutrienti. Le ricette sono utili ma trovo assurdo che un ricercatore di questo calibro interpelli principalmente i ristoranti (con tanto di pubblicità spudorata ove possibile) per recuperare le ricette tradizionali delle regioni piuttosto che gli anziani, la vera memoria storica dei paesi.
3 stelle solo per l'abbondanza di ricette, utili a chi non ha idea su come iniziare a mettere un po' di salute nel piatto.
Profile Image for JP.
130 reviews4 followers
January 17, 2021
Dr Longo is the guru behind the trending Prolon fasting diet. In here, he talks about his 25 year research on the benefits of fasting and the science behind it. Besides the weight loss, his studies show reduction of inflammation, aging, and improvement on your immune system.

I have done two rounds of his Prolon program so far, and I was surprised how doable it was and not get hungry on such little food. So yes, the plan works if your main concern is to jump start on your weight loss or do a cleanse(I much prefer this program to the other popular plant based diet Sakara).

I’m rating it 3 stars because even though his plan works, it’s not revolutionary. He is a proponent of following the Mediterranean and some form of macrobiotic diet. For healthy people who are familiar with these two diet regimens, it comes down to portion control and being mindful of your intake of protein. I think people who want to try this regimen mainly to lose weight can find a less expensive option online. For me,I needed the motivation and it worked.
Profile Image for Mehrsa.
2,234 reviews3,657 followers
April 7, 2018
I think if your aim is weightloss, the obesity code or the Taubes books are better, but for health, this one is pretty interesting. Some really great tips that I got from it:

1. Eat the types of foods your ancestors ate. While he humbly admits that he doesn't have the science to back this up yet, it makes complete sense. Many of our allergies may be due to us not being evolved for certain foods.

2. Beans! Lots of the paleo and low carb diets have been so down on beans, but my people (and myself) are all about the beans and now I will continue to eat them without worry.

3. Fasting as cancer treatment. So intriguing and interesting. I hope they get lots of money to do more research on this.
Profile Image for Elalma.
798 reviews79 followers
November 30, 2016
Spinta dalla curiosità, l'ho letto volentieri. Tutto quello che c'era da sapere comunque era già stato detto nei numerosi articoli e servizi dedicati all' autore e alla dieta della longevità e mima digiuno. Vale la pena leggerlo, se non altro perché stimola la consapevolezza di adottare una dieta più sana che ci faccia stare meglio, anche se naturalmente è impossibile il fai da te, altrimenti si rischiano carenze. Trovo però un po' di incongruenze, per esempio quella di assumere integratori per integrare le vitamine e i micronutrienti che i centenari dei paesini o di Creta non potevano aver assunto durante la vita se non con il cibo.
59 reviews53 followers
May 25, 2019
Longo is a moderately competent researcher whose ideas about nutrition and fasting are mostly heading in the right general direction, but many of his details look suspicious.

He convinced me to become more serious about occasional, longer fasts, but I probably won't use his products.

How to approach longevity
Longo tries, with partial success, to look at a broader range of evidence than many researchers, focusing on what he describes as 5 pillars:
* Basic research
* Epidemiology
* Clinical studies
* Centenarian studies
* Studies of complex systems

Longo advocates acting "in tune with evolution". This is a welcome contrast to typical medical research, which often leaves me wondering whether the researchers believe in not-so-intelligent design.

Trying to extend your lifespan by increasing your intake of vitamin C is like trying to improve a Mozart symphony by increasing the number of cello players. ... It took billions of years of evolution for it to reach the current state of near-perfection. We cannot expect a simple supplement to make something that's almost perfect even better

Longo talks somewhat like advocates of a paleo diet, but instead of arguing that the last 10,000 years of evolution were unimportant for nutrition, Longo errs in the other direction, by focusing more on what our grandparents ate, combined with what people eat in Blue Zones.

He imagines that 4 centuries is enough to adapt to adapt to foods that recently reached the West from the New World. If genetic changes had worked that fast, I think the selection process would have been pretty noticeable. Maybe Longo is thinking more in terms of the cultural evolution. Whatever he's thinking, I'm skeptical, but expect that he's still doing better than those who ignore ancestral dietary patterns.

Fight evolution, or go along with it?
Longo talks about programmed aging for about 5 pages, then drops the subject, and writes as if it doesn't affect his lifestyle advice [1]. I wondered for a while when "in tune with evolution" means returning to an environment in which we're adapted to thrive, and when it means fighting nature's plan to scrap us when we've outlived our usefulness. I see hints (the Mozart reference, and his description of the Blue Zones) which suggest that he sees his work as restoring evolution's near-perfection. But he has co-authored papers on programmed aging with Joshua Mitteldorf, whose book hints that fasting might counter nature's plan. I guess Longo either decided that it's currently more practical to restore nature's near-perfection, or maybe that he needs to keep quiet about any hopes that are too far from the mainstream (he clearly doesn't have a plan that will beat the Blue Zone results).

Longo writes:
We think of poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and the genes we inherit from our parents as the major risk factors for diseases. But, by monitoring the age at which people are diagnosed with different diseases, we know that aging itself is the main risk factor for cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's, and many other diseases.

Longo is likely not the first to have said that, but I find it frustrating that his approach almost leads him to see a the other main risk factor: living in a wealthy society.

We don't quite have proof that living in the developed world is a larger risk factor for common diseases than is age, but that's where the evidence points. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and dementia are pretty clearly absent from at least some hunter-gatherer societies. It looks like experts searched for those diseases in at least 1000 60+ year old hunter-gatherers, and reached a consensus that they don't get them.

For cancer, the evidence is more confusing, and aging seems to be the biggest risk factor there. Longo points to places that have 1/4 the cancer rate of the US, and that's the clearest evidence I've seen on the subject.

For cardiovascular disease, the evidence is stronger: Lindeberg's table 4.1 compares the U.S. to Uganda in 1951-1956, showing how many deceased men had signs of previous myocardial infarction at autopsy: 124 out of 508 in the US had such signs, versus 1 out of 517 for similarly aged men in Uganda!

These types of evidence add up to strong reasons to say that modern lifestyles are the biggest single cause of disease in the developed world. The concept of Western disease fits pretty well with what Longo is trying to fix, even if Longo doesn't think of it that way.

Insulin resistance
This book caused me to update further in the direction of believing that insulin resistance causes a large fraction of age-related suffering and death in wealthy societies.

I've been reading various sources that hint at this for the past few years, but Longo focuses a bit more directly on how most Western disease can be avoided by lifestyle changes that overlap a good deal with reducing insulin resistance.

Yet Longo isn't very focused on insulin resistance - that's just one of several pathways that are influenced by fasting. And contrary to many authors who care about insulin resistance, he recommends getting 55-60% of calories from carbs.

What diet does Longo promote?
It's quite plausible that our ancestors evolved in conditions under which hunger was somewhat common. That could create adaptations that depend on something like fasting. Note also that calorie restriction extends animal lifespans, and evidence from religious fasts.

Longo also brings in a theory about fighting cancer: normal cells respond to a "starve signal" by going into protective mode, whereas cancer cells became dangerous by ignoring that type of signal. He has a nice analogy: normal cells act like Russians who know how to hunker down for winter, cancer cells are vulnerable since they continue advancing like Napoleon did.

Longo advocates a decent and not too remarkable diet for a typical day, with occasional 5 day periods of his special formula Prolon, for a Fasting-Mimicking Diet (FMD).

He did studies showing an increase in the average (but probably not the maximum) lifespan of mice, and human trials which show good changes in biomarkers.

Getting better biomarkers than what the standard American diet produces is only hard in that it's hard to get people to follow a better diet. And mice may be less well adapted to dietary protein than humans, or maybe evolution selected for rapid aging in mice in a way that makes them not indicative of human aging. Most diseases for which mouse studies seem to translate well to humans, seem to be diseases that are not currently major problems in the developed world. So his research only adds a modest amount to my favorable opinion of occasionally restricting calories.

One obvious way to quantify a fast is to measure the calorie deficit during the duration of the fast. Longo doesn't explicitly talk in terms of calorie deficits, but I infer he used something like that in designing his diet.

It seems like Longo started researching 3-day fasts with 6000 calorie deficits, and when he had trouble getting participants to do that, he switched to a 5-day period of 800-1100 calories per day, with a 5700 calorie deficit. He also hints that the 5-day version is safer.

Why did Longo study a fixed-length, fixed calorie diet, rather than a diet that goes until some biomarkers, such as ketones, reach a good threshold? My intuition says that the biomarker-based approach would produce healthier results in those who follow it. I presume one reason is that his model would urge use of harder-to-test biomarkers such as IGF-1 and IGFBP1. Maybe some of it is that that few people would follow such a protocol.

I fear that another part of his reason has something to do with the way that science is usually done. I.e. focus first on the hypothesis that's simplest to describe, or maybe simplest to test. His Mozart reference suggests he knows at some level that the simplest hypotheses are unlikely to be right. Yet his actual research only reflects that a little. I wanted to see him asking more questions like "if it's that simple, why hasn't at least one of {evolution, the medical establishment, or the diet book industry} fixed it?".

How hard is the diet to implement?
Longo's human RCT says that only 6 of the 95 participants who were told to fast were excluded for noncompliance, 18 withdrew for other reasons, and 71 reportedly complied.

That's with a group that was presumably selected for their willingness to try a new diet. Don't expect average people to do that well. I wouldn't be shocked if the actual compliance was worse than reported (if so, that would mean that the study underestimates the biomarker improvement among those who do comply).

I expect this diet requires a good deal of willpower, although the willpower needs will tend to decline over time more than with most diets. Also, it likely causes several days per year of very low energy (the amount likely varies unpredictably between people).

My experience says there are lots of subtle things that influence how bad the hunger feels.

The full 5-days of calorie restriction would be a bit unpleasant for me now, and would have felt nearly prohibitively hard if I had started it back before I did any form of intermittent fasting.

Some of my negative reaction seems due to my mind deciding that new patterns of calorie deficits are scarier than ones that look like calorie deficits that have been previously followed by feasts. So I'm inclined to gradually build my way up to bigger calorie deficits.

The book convinced me to try a 3-day diet that combined a goal of achieving ketosis with the goal of getting a bit closer to the FMD diet, with a 3175 calorie deficit.

I had tried to achieve ketosis before, using a low-carb diet, but not restricting calories or protein much, and gave up because I felt lousy for days. This time my mood deteriorated until about 44 hours into the diet (urine tests confirmed that I entered ketosis then), then recovered more than halfway, and stabilized. I lost about 6 pounds, and have been slowly regaining that weight. I had some problems with muscle cramps the night of day 3, and my muscles still felt weak during a hike on day 6, but are recovering.

My guess is that it would be a bit easier for me to gradually work my way up to a 3-day fast with 0 calories than it would be to do the full 5-day FMD version, although I expect either one is more drastic than I really need.

Is protein harmful?
Longo wants a low protein diet, about 10% of calories.

He has decent centenarian studies and observational studies to support that advice. But what about the evidence from hunter-gatherers, who get 19 to 35% of their calories from protein? And why do the correlations suggest that only a subset of protein is associated with bad health (plant / seafood proteins look fine)?

The centenarian evidence seems like good evidence that a low-protein diet can be safe, but rather weak evidence about the alternatives (the evidence is at least partly explained by them being too poor to afford meat).

The hunter-gatherer evidence might be somewhat exaggerated by researchers looking more at the dry-season diet than the mud-season diet, and by Inuit, who maybe aren't so healthy, and live in an environment that's rather different from our ancestors. But the evidence still seems like enough to say that a 20% protein diet is insufficient to cause Western diseases.

Studies suggest that people with Laron syndrome have a significantly reduced risk of cancer and type 2 diabetes, and Longo attributes that to effects of low growth hormone levels and low IGF-1, similar to what protein restriction produces. That suggests that protein can cause problems, although it says little about the importance of the effect.

Methionine restriction is maybe the primary factor in the effectiveness of calorie restriction, and that presumably applies to fasting. This seems true for many species, probably including primates.

Why would we have evolved so that methionine is harmful? It doesn't seem to have been particularly rare in ancestral environments. Maybe high methionine is bad only when combined with a glycine deficiency? A glycine deficiency seems like a plausible consequence of our recent practice of discarding animal skin and eating only the muscle.

Longo relies a fair amount on evidence from observational studies, but I only see weak support there for his claim (see footnote 4).

Here are some hypotheses that might explain the observational evidence:
* protein affects insulin/IGF-1/growth hormones (why doesn't this show up in observational studies for plant, fish protein?)
* methionine creates excess homocysteine (why doesn't this show up in observational studies for fish protein?)
* average protein levels aren't important, and we should focus more on periods of low protein (or maybe periods of no animal protein?) (Josh Whiton)
* some proteins that are new to adult human diet in the past 10,000 years or so cause problems (e.g. Gundry's rants against lectins)
* modern habits of eating animal protein create unnatural amino acid ratios (glycine deficiency - why doesn't this show up in observational studies for fish protein?)
* protein is fine, it just happens to be correlated with other bad features of food. Here are some speculations about those bad features:
- fat cooked at excessive temperatures
- heavily processed meat (e.g. smoked, or whatever it is they do to make sausages)
- animals that were fed a really crappy diet
- saturated fat
Lots of hypotheses, and I can't find compelling reasons for picking one over the rest.

Evolutionary considerations lead me to doubt that average protein consumption is an important variable to look at, so if Longo's analysis is partly right, then I'd expect the optimal analysis would combine his ideas with some model of fluctuating protein levels.

The paper Metabolic effects of milk protein intake strongly depend on pre-existing metabolic and exercise status suggests that milk proteins have some signaling effects, which tend to be appropriate for a rapidly growing body. But those signals can be undesirable in a body that isn't evolved to grow any further, and can be diabetes-inducing in a body that's sedentary enough to only grow by accumulating fat. That fits nicely with Longo's discussion of protein's effects on growth hormones (which he studied in people with Laron's syndrome, where lack of growth hormone receptors mimics a low-protein diet).

But observational studies tend to show that dairy consumption is associated with good outcomes. That's not strong evidence, but it's inconsistent with milk protein causing major problems. There's likely something more complex going on than just milk protein causing diseases, but that hypothesis seems more plausible than Longo's position that protein in general is bad.

Still, there's enough confusion about protein that I should assign at least a 10% chance that high protein levels will hurt my health. So I'll move a little bit in the direction of more protein-restriction days, remain cautious about dairy, and be sure to consume a bit of collagen to make up for the low glycine content in my meat.

Fact checks
I checked some of his claims.

These subjects consumed a Mediterranean diet supplemented with either one liter of extra-virgin olive oil per week ...

Someone misread the PREDIMED study (which says "Participants in the group assigned to a Mediterranean diet with extra-virgin olive oil received 1 liter of the oil per week per household, with the recommendation to consume at least 4 tablespoons per day of extra-virgin olive oil per person"), and that misreading seems to have spread widely. I would think that someone whose profession involves nutrition would spot this mistake.

The book's table 4.5 (on the Okinawan diet) has a strange category of food: dairy/seaweed. I checked the paper he lists under that table, and instead of explaining that category, I ended up wondering where Longo got the data? Not from that reference.

The paper says Okinawans got 1% of calories from fish (in 1949), but Longo says 11% of calories from "omega-3 rich foods (fish, etc)". Some legumes are somewhat rich in omega-3, and the paper lists those as 6% of calories. But Longo has a separate listing for "soy and similar foods" (12%), so I'm pretty sure he didn't include legumes in "omega-3 rich foods (fish, etc)".

I'm confused! My best guess is that Longo took data from some other source, reflecting a more recent shift in their diet.

The paper says Okinawans got 69% of calories from sweet potatoes. I'm a little confused about the exact numbers, but this clearly indicates a high sugar diet. That's important because it conflicts somewhat strongly with Longo's advice to limit sugar.

Longo does better on the references that I discuss in footnote 4, but overall he doesn't seem careful enough to inspire much trust.

While writing this review, I noticed a Red Pen Review that checked random references, and those checked out better than the ones I checked, so maybe my intuition led me to his weakest references.

I learned a modest amount by reading this book, and more by checking its claims.

The book is mostly about diet. It has a chapter about exercise, but it's easy to forget that he says exercise is important, since he doesn't say anything novel or controversial there. Please don't let your interests in novelty and controversy distract you from the importance of exercise.

Longo has persuaded me to slightly increase the lengths of my fasts and/or calorie restriction periods, and to aim for better insulin-related blood tests results than Bredesen recommends.

This review has focused on problems with the book, but Longo's advice seems around 90% right, and his mistakes don't look particularly harmful. Following the advice might add a month or a decade to your lifespan, and additionally may reduce the time you spend in hospitals or nursing homes.

The quality of life issues deserve more emphasis than Longo or I have gotten around to discussing - dementia and dialysis machines have some hard-to-quantify tendency to make sensible people suicidal, and chemotherapy is about as bad as the disease that it treats. Hunter-gatherers seem to have pleasanter ways of dying of old age. Let's aim to do at least as well as they do.
Profile Image for June.
523 reviews7 followers
August 31, 2021
old wives' tale fortified by the Five Pillars.
I should stick to meals proletarian,
making me bourgeoisie pescatarian.
Profile Image for Nigeyb.
1,212 reviews266 followers
June 5, 2018
The relationship between calorie restriction and longevity, and minimising risk for major killers, has long been established.

Dr. Valter Longo, USC Professor in Gerontology and Biological Science and Director of the USC Longevity Institute has been studying the secrets of a long, healthy life, and how to reduce the risks of cardiovascular, neuro-degenerative and autoimmune diseases, diabetes, cancer and dementia.

You may already have read about Dr Longo's research into the relationship between caloric restriction and human health. It has received significant academic and public interest, and lead to quite a bit of mainstream coverage about fasting and long term health.

Michael Moseley's 5:2 diet, which was developed based on Dr. Longo’s research, has resulted in a number of best-selling books in the UK.

'The Longevity Diet: Discover the New Science Behind Stem Cell Activation and Regeneration to Slow Aging, Fight Disease, and Optimize Weight' is a thoroughly researched book which explains how Valter Longo has discovered that a diet which mimics fasting allows individuals to enjoy all the benefits of a proper fast. He calls this the Fast Mimicking Diet (FMD).

Rather than subsist on just water for a few days, he has established that the body will still repair cells and rejuvenate with limited calorie intake.

While fasting has many health benefits, prolonged calorie restriction is too challenging, and potentially too dangerous, for many people.

A diet that mimics the physiological benefits of fasting without the burden of food restriction may be a good alternative. FMD is a very low calorie, low protein diet that causes changes in markers associated with stress resistance and longevity (IGF-1 (insulin-growth factor), ketone bodies, and glucose) in a similar manner to prolonged fasting.

Unsurprisingly, to anyone who keeps up with the science, he advocates restricting protein to limit production of IGF-1, the protein hormone is connected with ageing and cancer cells once a person reaches adulthood. He also confirms that most people would experience considerable, observable improvements in health by switching to a plant-based diet. Anecdotally, I have been 100% plant-based for around two years now and have never felt better.

All of this informs his FMD which can be achieved in just six days.

Day 1 allows 1100 calories (500 from vegetables + 500 from nuts, oil).
Days 2-5 800 calories (400 from vegetables + 400 from nuts, oil).
Day 6 is a transition day back to normal eating patterns (for next 24 hours more vegetables + fruit, rice, bread pasta / no fish, meat, dairy, processed food etc).

He recommends a healthy person need only do this every six months. For people with existing conditions the frequency should be increased, and, I'd say, done with medical supervision. All of this is explained in detail in this thorough and convincing book.

Profile Image for Alice Domenis.
346 reviews3 followers
May 28, 2023

May 2023 - 4th FMD
Day 1 = 55 kg
Day 6 = 54 kg

Original weight in Feb 2023 = 65 kg
Total weight loss = 11 kg

More benefits:
- I go to bed regularly and sleep 8 hours per night
- Reduced binge eating from almost every day to maybe once a month for evident emotional triggers
- Reduced IBS symptoms
- Reduced rosacea
- Stopped acne creams
- Reduced antidepressants from 300 mg (Feb) to 25 mg

April 2023 - 3rd FMD
It is working for me!
I sleep better, have less anxiety, do not binge on food anymore, and recognise when hunger is not physiological but psychological or induced by society. Moreover, I exercise less because I eat less; therefore, I don't feel guilty about overeating and exercising more to recuperate. I have more time for other things now ;-)
Day 1 = 57 kg
Day 6 = 56 kg

March 2023 - 2nd FMD
It was hard, but it reset my relationship with food; I lost 4 kilos in a week, probably all water, but it feels great and motivating.
Day 1 = 63 kg
Day 6 = 58 kg

February 2023 - 1st FMD
65 kg
Goal = 53 kg max - 50 kg min
in my teens, I was around 45-48 kg
in my thirties, about 50-53 kg
After four years of depression and two on-and-off lockdowns, I am 65 kg.
I feel awful; I binge and don't exercise because the antidepressants work on my anxiety and panic attacks, which I haven't experienced since starting meds. However, the side effect is that I am sedated and sleep instead of exercising. I am even more depressed (fat and lethargic = demotivated) than when I was depressed, paradoxically. I plan to whine from the antidepressants and start the Longevity Diet + the Fasting Mimicking Diet Programme a few times a year. Prof. Longo does it every month, and I understand the minimum you should do to have benefits is at least once a year. I aim to do it at least four times a year. Let's see if it helps with my psychological problems too.

I want to start this diet to age better and stay as young as possible, but also to see if it helps me with anxiety and minor autoimmune inflammations, such as rosacea and IBS. If it doesn't, I hope it will help, at least with my binge eating, as I don't see myself going voracious over nuts and veggies; I will update this review with the results in 6-12 months, depending on how I go.

I read a few reviews and asked myself if I had read the same book.
- Prof Longo sounds like he has a big ego.
I didn't sense this. He always credits his colleagues when necessary and doubts his research by constantly seeking more evidence.
- He sells health products; therefore, his research must be fishy.
It is untrue; all shares from his books and health products will be invested in his research.
- His plan is fundamentally another Mediterranean diet.
Not really. The longevity diet might have many points in common with the Med diet, but many are not.
- The book is full of disclaimers; why publish it then?
My view on this: Prof. Longo is a scientist, and scientists are never 100% sure and need more and more data. In particular, prof. Longo says that not only data are required, but a collaboration of different scientists about one subject.
- The longevity diet is hard.
Yes, the first few weeks, but then it becomes normal and natural.
Profile Image for Adam McNamara.
218 reviews26 followers
October 3, 2018
The Longevity Diet is about what to eat to maximize your healthy lifespan.

The book’s thesis goes like this:

Natural selection has two competing processes: ageing and rejuvenation. On one hand, we have mechanisms in our genes that protect, repair, and replace our biology to ensure we get to the age to produce offspring. On the other hand, we also have genes that trigger ageing so that once we’ve reproduced, we die so that our offspring have less competition for resources.

For much of our lives, our rejuvenation program is dormant. This is because “activating a program that reroutes so much energy away from reproduction to use for protection and repair would not be advantageous.” “These alternative programs have probably evolved to deal with periods of starvation by minimizing growth and ageing, while also stimulating regeneration.”

The book’s focus is “on keeping organisms young, not treating individual diseases or conditions.”

It does this in two ways: eating a “Longevity Diet” to preventing ageing, and fasting to repair aged components.

What we eat is the biggest determinant of ageing, so to prevent ageing, eat the right things. Specifically, “sugars and proteins affect key genes and pathways that are central promoters of ageing and age-related diseases.” To minimize ageing, follow an eight-point longevity diet, summarized as being a low-protein vegan (with occasional fish).

To repair ageing, fast. Fasting activates our dormant repair programs. The book presents a Fast Mimicking Diet (FMD) that provides the benefits of fasting while providing some food to make it easier to accomplish.

The author argues that the recommendations are correct because they pass all five tests: juventology, epidemiology, clinical studies, centenarian studies, and studies of complex systems. This appears to be true.

While the book’s insights are incredibly important, the way it’s presented is lacking. Key points are often buried within a paragraph, rather than being clearly called out. It all feels slightly disorganized. I had to read it several times to really understand how the key systems work.

For an incredible book about eating to prevent ageing, read How Not To Die. In my mind, it’s the best book on nutrition ever written. Then, read The Longevity Diet to understand how to use fasting to repair existing ageing.
Profile Image for Matthew.
154 reviews1 follower
April 23, 2018
While it's difficult to find fault with a dietary recommendation that advocates for more vegetables and less saturated fat, I can't help but think this book might be written about 10 years too soon. The author's contentions rely on a number of animal studies and small human trials, of which the results are promising and may ultimately scale up -- but until large human studies, or a large regional study is done I remain cautiously optimistic.

The idea of an intermittent fast, or the fast mimicking diet (FMD) seems like it could be helpful (or at least not do any major harm, to healthy individuals) though it seems rather telling that the diet is recommended to be done under medical supervision or as part of a clinical trial -- and not just stated for legal reasons, but because of an actual danger. That will ultimately slow potential users from considering.

The portions as they relate to the idea of an FMD being used along with chemotherapy for cancer patients seems the most sound and hashed out. But as to the author's argument as it pertains to the idea of the Mediterranean Diet/ Longevity Diet being superior to say a Whole Foods Plant-Based diet, which has been researched extensively and in large studies of humans .... I'll wait for the research to come in before setting aside the works of T. Colin Campbell or Caldwell Esselstyn.

While I have little doubt there are benefits to be had from an occasional, intermittent fast .... and the FMD, may be the best of both worlds, hitting that "bliss point" of getting the benefits of a fast without subsisting on water for a week. The diet will need to have a greater ease and availability to people before it can make a major difference.
Profile Image for Shayla.
204 reviews1 follower
May 15, 2018
Good and bad.

Good, some interesting research on the effects of reducing calories for repeated short time frames for a variety of conditions. The emphasis of eating well, mostly plants, as a regular practice is highlighted throughout the book.

Bad, egocentric and repetitive. Lots of references to the author and his team, his products and his research. This feels like marketing and poor writing skills. Lots of emphasis on consuming olive oil, high quantities of olive oil. Which is interesting since it is so high calorie and the focus on the fasting mimicking diet is to reduce calories for short periods of time. Also mentions, but skips over the science that suggests that a plant-based diet brings all the benefits of fasting, without fasting.

I would only recommend that people read this in conjunction with many other nutrition and health books for a more balanced look at the effects of nutrition on your health.
38 reviews
January 6, 2019
Scientificamente approssimativo e superficiale.
Propone come scoperte scientifiche una serie di ovvietà note da tempo. Si basa su 5 pilastri alcuni dei quali ben noti (e che non ha inventato lui), altri ridicoli (studio dei sistemi complessi.....che conclusione posso trarre sugli effetti di una dieta partendo dal funzionamento di sistemi complessi quali automobili o aerei!?!?)
L’autore é senza dubbio uno scienziato di fama internazionale, come testimoniato dalle molte pubblicazioni su riviste eccellenti, ma nessuno dei dati dal lui o da altri prodotti avvalorano la sua dieta mima digiuno, che non ha ad oggi alcune base scientifica.
Le altre raccomandazioni sembrano ovvietà che male non fa, ma senza alcun razionale.
Impressione: una dieta che tanto male non può fare, con l’aggiunta del “logo” mima digiuno per distinguersi fra la massa.
La vera scienza é altra cosa.
Profile Image for Alexis DeJonge.
45 reviews
February 3, 2019
Groundbreaking research on the benefits of fasting and proven benefits of the Mediterranean style diet. Been trying intermittent fasting, and was hoping this book would provide a guideline as to how to safely fast for longer, but it did not. This book mainly iterated the clinical trial backing the science behind fasting and why it works to regenerate the body and heal diseases. I thought it was amazing how much it can benefit cancer patients, but also found fascinating that the bone marrow will start to produce new stem cells so it also works great for autoimmune disease in that it can completely overhaul the immune system!
Profile Image for Pandora.
3 reviews12 followers
June 29, 2018
The information in this book is invaluable and on point and is clearly written for the every day person. Very easy to understand. My only complaint is that a lot of the information seems to be repetitive, but that may be good for some people who have to see the same thing over and over for it to sink in. I borrowed this book from my library, but after having read it, I plan on buying my own copy for reference.
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