The newest Hollywood nutrition cleanse arrives in the UAE

The ProLon 5-day meal plan promises rejuvenation and anti-ageing. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 12 February 2020

The newest Hollywood nutrition cleanse arrives in the UAE

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 meal plan, which will set you back $300 for the five days, was established in the US in November 2016. (Shutterstock)

“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.”

Saudi designer and musician: ‘You don’t need an excuse to fail’

Updated 26 February 2020

Saudi designer and musician: ‘You don’t need an excuse to fail’

  • An accomplished pianist, composer and artist Labeed Assidmi is known for his passion and hard work

DAMMAM: Saudi graphic designer, artist, musician and entrepreneur Labeed Assidmi is known for his passion and hard work.

Assidmi is a designer and art director for corporate events at Saudi Aramco. However, it’s not all he’s known for. An accomplished pianist and composer, he has been playing piano since he was a child and is often asked to perform at events. He also owns and operates the company Pinnizer, where he sells retro and Saudi-centric lapel pins.

He wants people to know that there are different levels to what he does and how he wants to be perceived. “I want to be known as a designer first, a musician second and a pin maker last,” he said.

His passion for design began with a trip to Disneyland, where he saw how effectively a logo could be used with the iconic image of Mickey Mouse. “They were so creative with it. It was everywhere; the hats, the shirts, the buses, the tickets and the food. It was never boring. I started to think about what kind of job a person could have that would allow them to create these things. I knew that that was what I wanted to do.”

After studying graphic design in the US, he returned to Saudi Arabia to pursue a career as a designer. He said that becoming a designer can unlock plenty of paths for aspiring creatives: “Design is like an airport, there are so many directions you can go in as long as you know the principles.”

His journey in music started in the fourth grade “on the half-functional keyboard that everyone had somewhere in their house during that era.” He tinkered around with it until he managed to teach himself a few simple tunes.

He started taking the piano more seriously in college, eventually composing songs.

“I always play my own songs, I don’t really like doing covers,” he said.

He finds composing and playing music cathartic, and an effective way of stretching his creative muscles without overexerting himself. “When I’m not making art, I’m making music, and vice versa. I love the piano, it’s my escape from everything,” he said.

He also supports local musicians and wants to see more people enter the field. “I do perform sometimes at my own events, but lately I’ve been trying to give local talent a chance. I know how many of them are out there that just need someone to take a chance on them and give them their big break.”

As for Pinnizer, he said that pin collecting had started growing in popularity as a pastime in the Kingdom, but he knew that there were few places to get pins with imagery familiar to his generation. “I found a gap in the market and decided to capitalize on it by creating designs with characters and symbols that were familiar to us,” he said.

Assidmi designs all the pins himself, and works with a company in China to produce molds for them, which he then sells on his website. He has created pins with iconic images of the past such as the old logos of Saudi TV and Saudi Airlines, as well as anime characters like Grendizer and Maroko.

“When people see my pins, and their voice goes up an octave when they give that nostalgic little ‘oh my God!’, I know I’ve succeeded,” he said.

He admits that balancing the triple workload and still managing to make time for himself and family is tough, but he has ways of getting around it.

He believes that compartmentalizing different aspects of your life into “pillars” can help people see the bigger picture and avoid getting too caught up in one thing.

Assidmi hopes that he can be an inspiration to future generations of Saudis, especially people who want to enter a creative field but don’t believe in themselves.

“My purpose is to leave a legacy that inspires people, to have people see what I’ve done and realize that this is something that they can do to. That’s how I want to be remembered.”

Shop Pinnizer at or follow Assidmi on Instagram @labeed and his work at and @pinnizer