What is the ProLon Diet?
The ProLon Diet is a five-day, high fat plant-based meal program that is also referred to as a “fasting-mimicking” diet. This means that while you are on the plan, your body shifts into fasting mode and allows your cells to reap the same benefits of fasting while still eating food.
This approach helps reduce some of the negative side effects associated with extreme fasting, such as fatigue, low productivity and low blood sugar.
ProLon was created by one of the most reputable longevity experts, Valter Longo, PhD, director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
Unlike intermittent fasting where you can eat whatever you want but fast in a certain window, ProLon focuses on both: what to eat and when to eat.
How Does it Work?
To follow ProLon, you must make an order online and begin when you receive your kit.
You can start the day you receive your package. The package contains five smaller boxes, each marked Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, etc. Each box contains all the food you are allowed for that day. However, you may not change the order of the days or change the foods. While you can change up the order of your daily meals, it is highly suggested that you follow the order provided by the menu card.
The foods include dried soup blends, nuts and cocoa-based bars, olive and kale flax crackers and supplements such as algal oil and multivitamins. The only beverages allowed are water, herbal teas and a flavored glycerol-based drink that comes with the kit.
The kit comes with an FAQ sheet to help guide you. It includes concerns regarding food rules, allergies and more. For example, only one cup of coffee is allowed per day and only if absolutely needed. The plan is also not recommended for those who have nut allergies. However, it is gluten free.
Does it Promise Quick Results?
Given that the plan is only 5 days long, many may think it is too short to really see results. However, much research has demonstrated its effectiveness.
In one study, researchers separated participants into two groups: one group followed ProLon for five days every month for three months while the control group did not follow any diet. The ProLon group lost body weight and belly fat while maintaining lean muscle mass. ProLon participants also also experienced reductions in blood pressure, cholesterol, and CRP, an inflammatory marker. Further, 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 elevated, was also observed.
Even more interesting, the majority of the ProLon results were sustained even after participants resumed their normal diets. It was found that 60% of the weight lost and reductions in waist measurements were maintained for many months after.
Potential Benefits of the ProLon Diet
1. Weight Loss
It comes with no doubt that ProLon promises weight loss. This is not surprising given that it is a very low calorie diet: Day 1 provides 1,090 kcal (10% protein, 56% fat, 34% carbs), while days two through five provide only 725 kcal (9% protein, 44% fat, 47% carbs).
Also, because you fast for 12-16 hours, your eating window is very small, which allows you to feel like you are eating more.
2. Promotes Autophagy
ProPlan promises that you will experience autophagy, the initiation of an increase in cellular clean-up, or recycling of your cells.
This means that by following this diet, you trick your body by going into a prolonged fasting mode for 5 consecutive days. During this period, your body then switches into conserving energy by diminishing cellular growth and by consuming its own damaged and old cells (autophagy), and as a result, promoting cellular rejuvenation within the body.
Furthermore, this not only leads to cellular protection and maintenance, but also activates anti-aging transcription factors and stress resistance pathways.
3. Fully Plant-Based
The dietary program is wholesome and totally plant-based; it consists of natural ingredients including olives, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, chocolate and herbal teas.
Potential Downsides of the ProLon Plan
1. It Is Expensive.
One kit costs $249, which amounts to about $50 per day. Although it does include an optional complimentary coaching session with a health coach, it may not be for everyone.
This is especially true if you follow the meal plan every one to six months, which is the recommended time frame.
2. It Discourages Exercise
ProPlan experts believe that exercise can negatively impact the results of the fast.
Also, because you are consuming very little calories, it is advised to not perform strenuous exercise at all. Furthermore, activities such as sun tanning, chilling in a jacuzzi or even going on long walks is not recommended.
While this can be understood as a result of your energy levels on the plan, it does not promote a healthy and holistic approach to health. In fact, numerous studies have demonstrated that combining physical activity and diet are far more effective for weight loss and other benefits than diet alone.
3. Promotes Restriction
Because of the strict limitations and fasting windows, it can trigger you emotionally and lead to a binge after the diet is over.
Also, because it is quite intense, it is not recommended for those who are breast-feeding, severely underweight or suffering from an eating disorder.
Moreover, the plan offers the same nutritional requirements between males and females. This may not be ideal because men are usually taller than women, have less body fat, and more muscle. For this reason, men burn more calories and hence, may require more than women.
ProLon undoubtedly offers many health benefits, but it is not for everyone. Some dieters who have tried ProLon have started to eat much smaller portions that are mostly plant-based and are continuing to lose weight after the diet. On the other hand, many others have found it challenging and unsuitable for their lifestyles.
To that end, before you purchase your kit, make sure you examine if it is really right for you.
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