Maybe you’ve heard of the ProLon diet, and you’re thinking of trying it, but would like to know a little more.
Below we’ll look answering some of the questions you might have.
- 1 Will I Lose Weight?
- 2 What Will I Be Eating?
- 3 Food Pictures
- 4 How Do I Prepare for a ProLon Fast?
- 5 Four (Hopefully) Useful Tips for the Fast
- 6 Which Soup Variety Should I Buy?
- 7 Can I Add Herbs & Spices to the Soups?
- 8 Roundup
Will I Lose Weight?
The ProLon diet, specifically a fasting mimicking diet, was conceived with the idea that you could re-create the healthy benefits of fasting without actually eating nothing. Whilst most of the benefits are “below the surface”, things like:
- Help maintaining healthy blood glucose levels
- Help maintaining healthy blood pressure levels
- Increase in cellular cleanup (referred to as autophagy)
One of the most obvious visual differences will be a loss in weight. Excitingly, the weight loss includes the “bad fat” which clumps around internal organs, known as visceral fat. Whilst lean muscle mass gets maintained.
So yes, you will lose weight, but how much?
Healthista magazine editor Vicky Eldridge, 39, was able to achieve a 28 lbs weight loss over the course of 3 ProLon cycles, and 5 months total.
- ProLon #1 she lost 7 lbs
- ProLon #2 she lost 5 lbs
- ProLon #3 she lost 3 lbs
The rest of the 28 lbs (total) she lost came from adopting a healthier diet in-between fasts.
Compare this with:
- Rachel Hosie of The Independent newspaper – who lost 7lbs
- Dr Joel Kahn – who lost 5lbs each time he did it
- Jill Brown – who lost 4lbs
- Adam Piore of Technology Review – who lost 8 lbs
Suggesting that between 4 – 8 lbs is the amount you could expect to lose. A lot will depend on the weight you come into the fast with, and your activity level during the fast. The bigger you are to begin, and the more active you are during, the more fat you will lose.
It’s worth noting that ProLon doesn’t recommend actively exercising during the fast. However, even differences in the type of job you do will have an impact. For example, someone who works an office job will burn less calories than someone in a physically active job; such as a builder or personal trainer.
Food Relationship Dynamics
Whilst weight loss over the course of the diet is desirable, it’s also to be expected. More surprising is how the diet can change your relationship to food. Temporarily your stomach (and capacity) shrinks, but this doesn’t last. The big change is the realisation that you can “survive” on far less than you’re used to. That those “essential” 3 meals + snacks each day are great, but you can survive on far less.
For each person the impact of this will vary; but if this is the first, long fast you’ve ever done, there will probably be a lasting impact.
What Will I Be Eating?
Ok, so there’s some health benefits to this, and I’ll lose some weight; great! But what exactly will I be doing again…? Lets look at the foods you’ll be eating whilst on the diet…
Day One – 1100 calories
As far as the meal plan goes, day 1 is the easiest. 2 soups; 3 nut bars, olives and crackers. Think of it as a slow break in to what’s to come!
An important thing to note, is that the ingredients have been chosen not only to be very healthy, but also to contain a specific balance of micro and macro nutrients. Enough to help you maintain lean body mass during the fast. This is a major reason for why the diet is 100% plant based.
Days Two to Five – 800 calories
For the next 4 days, the amount of calories drops down to 800 total. In practice you still get 2 soups a day, but then only 1 or 2 (it fluctuates) nut bars, and then either crackers or olives.
It’s a pretty noticeable drop in calories; but it’s still psychologically superior to eating nothing.
Take a look at the full meal program for more details:
Seeing unopened food packets doesn’t tell the full story, so below lets look at some pictures of the actual food. If you’re read my ProLon review, you’ll have seen these pictures already.
There are 4 types of soups; tomato, vegetable, mushroom and minestrone. For sure my favourite was the minestrone (below). I think it’s the most filling, and feels like you’ve had a semi-decent meal by the time you finish.
Mushroom – doesn’t look too exciting! But tastes reasonable:
And then my least favourite, the tomato soup (below).
There’s also a variation of the minestrone with quinoa – which gives it some extra substance:
I forgot to take a picture of the vegetable soup (whoops!). I’ll take one next time I do the fast; which currently is every 6 months.
If you’re into savory foods, and in particular, crunchy textures, then the kale crackers have you covered. It’s just a shame there’s not more!
There are two different types of L-Bars in the diet; 1 is nut based:
The other is chocolate and crisp rice based:
There’s also a daily multivitamin and occasional omega-3 supplement:
Lastly, there was something called the “L-Drink” – it’s a flavored glycerol concentrate that you measure out into the provided water bottle, and then drink throughout the day. It makes the water taste mildly sweet – like drinking flavoured water. At least part of the reason for its inclusion is for hydration and energy:
How Do I Prepare for a ProLon Fast?
Leading up to your ProLon 5-day fast, you might be thinking, is there anything I should do to get my body ready for this?
Generally speaking, I would say no, just eat healthily… but there are 1 or 2 things that you could entertain as possibilities:
1) Start Reducing Your Caffeine Intake
On the ProLon diet it’s requested in the instructions that you only consume what’s in the box for each of the 5 days. With at most, if you need it, 1 cup of tea or coffee each day. For heavy coffee drinkers this restriction could come as a shock to the caffeine dependent body. Leading to potential caffeine withdrawal, which can feel uncomfortable, and may manifest itself with a headache, irritability and tiredness.
Cutting down on food is hard enough as it is, so there’s no need to pile on the difficulty.
With this in mind, it makes sense to start cutting down on your caffeine intake in the lead up. Perhaps by switching to de-caffeinated versions of your favourite beverages.
2) Reduce Sugar & Junk Food
Whilst caffeine is without doubt physiologically addictive, sugar can also be addictive, even if it’s predominantly psychological. Because of this, if you current eat a lot of junk, it makes sense to try and reduce it going into the fast.
Healthy Diet Suggestions
If you’d like some inspiration on your diet leading up to the fast, this meal plan was shared by Dr Felice Gersh (click on it to view a bigger version):
Four (Hopefully) Useful Tips for the Fast
1) What day of the week should I start?
Now of course you can start the fast on any day of the week you wish. But something that becomes very apparent during the fast is that eating is often as much about fun and excitement, as it is about satiating hunger. And not eating gets very boring very quickly.
For this reason it’s advantageous to stay busy, and minimize the amount of time spent thinking about food. If your weekday work/job does that for you, then fasting Monday through to Friday may be optimal, allowing you to start eating again on Saturday.
2) How should I structure the meals?
The diet is set up to allow you to eat 3 separate “meals”, conforming to typical eating routines. However, these meals can literally be as much as a nut bar and a cup of tea!
Some people find it hard to go to sleep on an empty stomach, whereas others like to start the day with a big meal.
The good thing is that the diet is flexible, and whilst 3 meals is the guideline, you can partition the food to fit your needs. As long as you don’t eat anything extra than what’s in the days’ box; you’re good.
3) How Much Can I Exercise?
As a general rule, it makes sense to approach exercise with caution on the fast, certainly from day 3 onwards. The main reason for this is to avoiding depleting your energy too much. At best, it could deplete your self-control, making it hard to stay on the program. At worst, you could end up feeling sick from over exertion.
4) Can I Eat Normally After Finishing?
The guidance for after the fast is light foods like fruit and soups; and for good reason. Most people’s reaction (mine included) is to want to feast upon finishing. Problem is, both your stomach and your gut bacteria have already adapted to the low, restricted foods you’ve been eating, and struggle to handle the big intake of new foods.
This can lead to some uncomfortable stomach ache, and potential trips to the bathroom.
However, if you can manage to take it easy on day 6 with food, you should be in for a smoother ride thereafter.
Which Soup Variety Should I Buy?
Up until August 2019 ProLon had only 1 version of their diet. Since August they’ve introduced “soup variety 2” on prolonfmd.com when you go to make an order:
Soup variety 2 swaps out:
- Minestrone with Quinoa
- Vegetable Soup
And adds in:
- Butternut Squash
- Butternut Squash with Quinoa
- Spinach with White Bean
Below we’ll take a look at how these new soups look, and taste!
Butternut Squash Soup
This soup has a thick texture (owing to the rice flour they added) which makes it feel more substantial as a meal. If you’re familiar with butternut squash – then it tastes just like that – but with a slightly tart (sour) taste to it.
Butternut Squash with Quinoa Soup
This was my favourite of the two butternut squash soups. Whilst I liked the thickness of the “butternut only” version (this one is more watery) I think overall the flavour is slightly nicer.
Spinach with White Bean Soup
In contrast to the sweeter tasting butternut squash soups – this one (unsurprisingly) tastes more of spinach leaves. It’s perhaps a bit bland, but probably quite healthy!
As far as your decision goes, it’ll come down to which soups you like the look of more, and if you have any special dietary needs that one will cater for more than the other. If you’d like to see the new soup’s ingredients list, look here.
Can I Add Herbs & Spices to the Soups?
If you’d like to “spice up” the soups, then the good news is you can. ProLon’s official guidance on this is 1 teaspoon of herbs and spices (maximum) per day. I’ve written a guide here, that provides (tried and tested) recipes for each of the soups. You can follow them to the letter, or you can use them as inspiration for your own recipes.
In that post I’ve included tables with the calorie counts, so you get an idea of how many calories each addition “costs”. I’ve also given a suggestion for balancing the maths on any extra calories you might add.
See ProLon Soup Tips – How to add some flavor and spice to the soups for all the recipes.
Hopefully the above gives you a better idea of what to expect with a ProLon fast. If you’d like to get $25 off your ProLon order, use the ProLon coupon code on that page.
If you have any questions, or if you feel there was anything important left out, please leave a comment below.