Director of the Longevity & Cancer Program of FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology in Milan and also director of the Longevity Institute of the University of Southern California, Valter Longo has been included by the Time magazine in its 2018 list of the 50 most influential people transforming health care. Longo is internationally known for his research in juvenile medicine and his fast-mimicking diet, developed on the basis of 25 years of research and explained in his world bestseller ‘The longevity diet’, which has been published in 15 languages, with 500 thousand copies sold just in Italy and the USA.
The American newspaper Aging Cell published an article written by Longo and entitled ‘Programmed longevity, youthspan and juventology‘. In his work, the scientist presents his theory introducing two new words that complement the term ‘aging’: ‘youthspan’ – the period of life in which an organism remains not only healthy but also young – and ‘juventology’ – the new field of research dedicated to understand the mechanisms responsible for the youthspan. According to Longo, the aging process has been studied for thousands of years, but the research focused on why people age, and never explored why and how they remain young. With his research, he is filling this gap. Longo believes that the secret to staying young is a diet designed to trick your body into thinking it’s fasting. His results, as presented in his book, showed that calorie restriction, low-protein, and plant-based eating style with regular periods of fasting, shift the body’s metabolism and enhances the power of cells to help protect against chronic and cardiovascular diseases. This kind of diet, in fact, helps people lose weight and body fat, lowers blood pressure and decreases levels of a hormone linked to aging and disease.