The coronavirus pandemic has most of us hunkering down at home right now. For many of us, working from the kitchen counter is having a pretty negative impact on our eating habits. Stress eating is real, but don’t let it sabotage your health. In January I wrote about intermittent fasting, and this month I want to do a deep dive into fasting mimicking diet (FMD) with Prolon. It’s great for long term health, but also a fabulous way to decrease food cravings and break unhealthy habits in just 5 days. I feel like now is the perfect time to give it a try.

History of FMD
The fasting mimicking diet was developed by researcher, Valter Longo, an expert in the field of longevity. His studies focused on caloric restriction because that seemed to improve chronic illnesses like diabetes, cancer etc. But long-term studies showed that people suffered in other areas, like the immune system and hormonal regulation.  Next Professor Longo considered the benefits of alternating caloric restriction with regular eating. He has spent years designing and perfecting a five-day meal plan, called Prolon, that has very specific plant-based nutrients that allows the body to exist in a fasting mimicking state. The beauty of Prolon FMD is that it is much easier to complete than a true 5 day fast or water-only fast.

Benefits of FMD
Research subjects who completed three cycles of Prolon FMD showed improvements in cholesterol, blood pressure, IGF-1 (insulin like growth factor), C-reactive protein, decrease waist circumference, weight loss averaging 5 pounds, preservation of muscle mass, and some had increase in stem cell markers. Researchers hope that the FMD will improve overall longevity, but time will tell for that one. The scientists at L-Nutra, the company that makes Prolon, say that the benefits tend to get better with each cycle. That was my experience (which I detail below).

How does it work?
During those five days of restricted calories, the body goes into repair and recycle mode. With little external fuel, the body turns to internal sources of energy. Not only does the body burn stored fat, it begins breaking down and recycling internal cellular components or entire damaged cells that weren’t working optimally. There is a trend in increased stem cell activity leading researchers to believe that there is a regenerative process going on as well. It’s “out with the old, in with the new” at the cellular level.  There are at least 29 additional studies ongoing right now looking at Prolon FMD in cancer, cognitive impairment, kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, cardiomyopathy, depression, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity.

What does FMD consist of?
Prolon comes as a kit with 5 small boxes containing all the food and beverages you’ll need for the 5 days. Total calories range from 750-1150 per day.  The meals include a nut bar for breakfast, soups for lunch and dinner, various snacks, a special low-calorie drink, as well as herbal teas. After you finish the 5-day cycle, you return to your normal, healthy eating habits for the rest of the month.

My experience with FMD:
I have completed three Prolon FMD cycles. Here is what I have found so far:

  • I loved having the boxes of food. One of the hardest parts of being on a diet is figuring out what to eat, so this made it simple.
  • At times I was hungry and grumpy- I won’t lie! Days 2-4 were the hardest bringing fatigue and brain fog. By day 5 energy and focus were much improved.
  • The food: The nut bar and kale crackers were delicious. Green olives never tasted so good! The soups were tasty. The choco-crisp bar was a welcome sweet treat. Thankfully, you are allowed black coffee or tea also!
  • At the end of the five days, my skin was improved and my clothes fit better. I had energy and generally felt amazing!
  • I lost 3.5-5 pounds with each cycle. Despite a small bounce back in weight after resuming regular eating habits, I did experience sustained decreases in both weight and waist circumference by the end of the third cycle.

Who should try Prolon FMD?
Prolon is best for people who want to maintain healthy levels of:

  • fasting blood glucose
  • cholesterol
  • blood pressure
  • C-reactive protein
  • Triglycerides
  • reduce excess fat while maintaining body mass.

Prolon fasting mimicking diet is not for everyone. Side effects include weakness and lightheadedness. It is important not to exercise while completing the 5 day program. Prolon FMD is definitely NOT appropriate for anyone with nut allergy, diabetes or significant blood sugar problems, low body weight, eating disorder, pregnant or nursing women, chronically weak/ill, or the elderly. I recommend working with a healthcare practitioner to decide if it is right for you, especially if you want to monitor your health status with blood pressure and lab work.

If you are interested in trying the Prolon fasting mimicking diet and would like me to be your healthcare provider, please call the office to set up a free 15-minute consultation.