21 Apr 2020

Proteins are one of the three most essential micronutrients, along with carbohydrates and fats. They play a crucial role in building and supporting blood, skin, muscles, and bones. Besides, proteins also build & repair tissues, vital hormones, enzymes, and other chemicals required by the body.
Following the importance of protein, health experts and dieticians have developed various protein diets. The main focus was to fuel the body with significant amounts of protein, which is highly beneficial to healthy development. Of the many protein diets, Protein-sparing Modified Fast grew to prominence with its various benefits on mind and body.

Protein-Sparing Modified Fast
Protein-Sparing Modified Fast is one of the most preferred diets by athletes, celebrities, bodybuilders, and health-conscious people. Its ability to reduce body fat and develop lean muscles have been key-factors for its high preference rate.

Why is it important?
Any person can become protein-deficient due to dietary habits or diseases. The resulting protein deficiency can cause disorientation in muscle functions, risk of bone fractures, fatty liver, problems with skin, hair, and body development. It can also lead to hormonal imbalance, stress, and disrupt the functions of vital organs in the body. These can make the body susceptible to various diseases and infections. Unlike carbohydrates & fats, the body doesn’t store proteins. Hence, it is also easy for a person to become protein-deficient when they do not intake it in the minimum amounts required by the body.
In such cases or even for developing a healthy body, the Protein-sparing Modified Fast plays a vital role by fueling the body with the necessary amounts of proteins required for healthy bodily functions. Besides, it also slows down the consumption of carbohydrates and fats in the body.
The PSMF diet is known for a variety of benefits it has. They are:

  • Lowers blood glucose levels in type-2 diabetic patients
  • Regulates healthy cholesterol levels
  • Lowers lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces risk of heart disease or stroke
  • Reduces body fat while regulating lean body mass


How does it work?

Protein-sparing Modified Fast is primarily divided into two phases. Namely, Intensive phase & Refeeding Phase.

Intensive phase
During the intensive phase of the Protein-sparing Modified Fast, the person is fed with protein-rich and low-calorie foods. In general, it is less than 800 kCal/day and also reduces the intake of carbohydrates and fats.
The body loses weight rigorously during this phase. In this phase of the Protein-sparing Modified Fast, the body is sent into the ketosis stage, where it releases excess fat in the body and preserves lean body mass. At the same time, it also fuels the production of ketones, which drives the body with healthy brain conditions, metabolism, and also reduces the risk of cardiovascular & diabetes. It usually lasts for four to six months, where the protein intake.


Refeeding phase
The next phase usually starts after six months. In this phase, there is a gradual reintroduction of high-fiber, complex carbohydrates, fats, and other essential components. These components are usually delivered to the body via fruits and vegetables. The protein intake is also reduced during this phase.
In Protein-Sparing Modified Fast, the body might not receive other essential components. Here, supplements are prescribed by the supervisor or physician. Some of the common supplements include electrolytes and multivitamins. Potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium are other essential supplements.

Foods to eat
Foods to be taken during the Protein-Sparing Modified Fast are designed by the expert based on the body’s requirement. Protein intake is ideally limited to 1.2 to 2.2g/kg of body weight while the carbohydrate is limited to 20-50 g/day.


  • Poultry foods like chicken, duck, and goose are the best sources of protein, especially during the Protein-Sparing Modified Fast.
  • Low-fat dairy: skim milk, curd, cottage cheese.
  • Eggs or egg whites.
  • Low-carb salads or veggies.
  • Meet, and especially organ meat like liver, heart, and kidneys.
  • Broccoli, cauliflower or mushrooms.

It is generally said that meat contains more protein than plant-based foods. However, an individual can reap the benefits by consuming the low-carb, low-fat, and high-protein veggies.
They include
Protein-shakes and protein-bars also rose to prominence for their quick and effective ways of protein boosting abilities. They can also be added to the Protein-sparing Modified Fast after the doctor’s or expert’s recommendation.
Rice, potatoes, grains, fruits, seeds, oils, fatty foods, cream, sweets, fries, and cheese are some of the foods that should be avoided during Protein-Sparing Modified Fast.

Regular exercise in moderation is helpful during the Protein-sparing Modified Fast. The exercise routine should be limited to 30-60 minutes.
Lifting weights should be limited to 2 or 3 times a week. Compound exercises like squats & bench press and low-intensity cardio are highly effective.

As the body is adjusting to new dietary conditions, it can lead to some side-effects.
The common side-effects include fatigue, headache, constipation, menstrual changes, or muscle cramps. These side-effects can be alleviated by little modifications in a diet with salt, fluids, or adjusting the intake of carbohydrates or fats.
Although considered as the best-way loss approach, irregular food or sedentary habits can put the weight on in no time. So, it is highly advised to follow a healthy lifestyle and diet routine after the Protein-Sparing Modified Fast.

Excess protein in the body can also be harmful. The standard amount of protein requirement also depends on the environment, lifestyle habits, and body standards. Hence, it is advised to consult a health expert to design a perfect protein-sparing modified diet that meets the individual’s body requirement.
Is Protein-Sparing Modified Fast(PSFM) safe?
PSFM is safe and aids in healthy development and nourishment of the body. However, it should be followed by a medical expert or doctor.

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