DUBAI: It’s a new year and there’s a new diet on the horizon, this one comes with a string of A-list fans including Jennifer Anniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Eva Longoria and Kate Hudson, and it claims to leave you feeling younger, as well as lighter. You could be forgiven for rolling your eyes and returning to your morning croissant but hang on a minute, this fast mimicking diet might actually be something to sink your teeth into.
The ProLon 5-day meal plan not only promises weight loss, to lower cholesterol and inflammation and reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity, it also offers the promise of rejuvenation and anti-ageing. As with any new nutrition plan, always consult your doctor before considering a change in you diet.
“Prolonged fasting is different to intermittent fasting as it goes beyond weight loss,” explained Dr. Joseph Antoun, CEO and Chairman of L-Nutra Inc, owners of ProLon. “After day three of full fasting, the body goes into crisis and starts asking the cells to use fat and debris as nourishment which forces the cells to clean up and rejuvenate — and biologically get younger, which is important to live longer and healthier.”
But this meal plan has a mixture of plant-based soups, shakes, energy bars, supplements and snacks, with 1100 calories on day one and then around 800 calories thereafter, how can it have the same effect as fasting?
According to the company behind the product, It’s the combination and timing of the food that goes undetected by the cell’s food sensors, they don’t register as being satisfied and are lead to believe that the body is actually fasting.
“The most important factor is the formulation and combination of the carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats (macros) and what time of the day they’re ingested rather than the calorie count,” said Antoun, who recently attended Arab Health at Dubai’s World Trade Centre to launch the product.
“What took the millions of dollars of research is finding sequences of macros that actually could be ingested at the 800-calorie level and still not trigger the food signals.”
Well, five days seem manageable, but what happens after that? “If you don’t have weight or metabolic issues and are doing it for the rejuvenation benefits then we recommend doing it three or four times a year,” Antoun noted. “If you are overweight or obese — do it once a month for three months, and eat a Mediterranean or pescatarian diet in between, one that’s in line with the right calorie amount for your BMI, gender and goals. Continue to add in ProLon once every three months until you reach your goal weight.”
The meal plan, which will set you back $300 for the five days, was established in the US in November 2016 and launched in the UK and Europe followed before L-Nutra set eyes on the Middle East for the 2020 launch. “The Middle East has five out of the 20 countries with the highest rate of obese and overweight people in the world,” explained Antoun. “And the UAE is always a pioneering country in the region so it was a natural next step to launch here, the region is also interested in the rejuvenation and anti-ageing elements.”
But will the region take to the plant-based element? “ProLon is a five-day only diet and the first time you’ll ever get such short and effective diet,” said Antoun. “The plant-based penetration isn’t high in the region but five days is totally doable. It needed to be plant-based to be effective.”
For his part, Dr. Nasr Al-Jafari, medical director and functional medicine doctor at DNA Health Center in Dubai said that “many clients are now focusing on ‘gut health’ and paying attention to potential food ‘sensitivities’ and implementing elimination plans to help lose weight.
“Reassuringly, some people have begun to realize that it’s not just about ‘what you’re eating’ that matters, it’s just as important to consider meal timings (circadian rhythm) and frequency (fasting). These are two additional nutritional ‘levers’ that are key to addressing weight loss.”
He went on to give his opinion on the new plan.
“We often employ ‘fasting mimicking’ techniques as an alternative to pure ‘water fasting’ (i.e. just water and non-calorific liquids allowed – herbal tea, black coffee). A popular approach has been the ‘5-day Fasting Mimicking Diets’ (FMD). This is a scientifically backed dietary plan which yields many of the proven health benefits of true fasting, including weight loss.”