This post contains affiliate links, but the review is my own. I received the ProLon box for free, in exchange for my honest review.
The science behind the anti-aging benefits of fasting and calorie restriction is getting stronger. That’s why I was anxious to try the ProLon Fast Mimicking Diet. Here is my honest review!
During fasting, or calorie restriction, our bodies go through what is called autophagy. It’s a way we clean up and remove damaged intracellular components (worn out parts, proteins that don’t function right and such) to self-repair. Studies show, this rejuvenation can slow down the aging process, at least in mice (the jury is out on humans). This study found here provides a great explanation on how it works. (and more studies are linked here)
So, when I read Valter Longo and his studies into fasting and health, I was intrigued. In it, Dr. Longo talked about developing The ProLon Diet, which is a 5 day program that makes your body think it’s fasting, without going hungry. This way you are supposed to get many of the benefits of a fast, without the struggle of going hungry.
What is the Prolon Diet?
The ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) is 5 days of pre-portioned and packaged foods, that provides just enough food in the right proportion of
micro and macronutrients for your body to think you are fasting, while providing you with the nourishment to support metabolism and energy.
The 5 day ProLon Diet isn’t cheap. It retails for $250, (update: November 2021 use Discount Code: prolon15 for $84 off!) even though there isn’t much food in the box! But, on the plus side, if you spend that kind of money on a program like this, you’ll probably be 100% compliant for the 5 days, just so you aren’t wasting your money! I definitely was compliant for the full 5 days!
What do you eat on the Prolon Diet?
The meals you get inside the Prolon Fast Mimicking Diet box are simple. It’s low in protein and carbs, and moderately high in fat. The fat comes mostly from the crackers, nuts, and olives. The food in the Prolon Diet box includes teas, vitamins, soups, olives, bars, crackers, and a special formulated drink.
It starts the first day with around 1100 calories, with the remaining days between 660-800 calories.
Each day there is some combination of:
- The L-Bar. It’s a chewy nut bar that to me, tastes like a Larabar, which I already love!
- Three soups, in different combinations on different days. Tomato, minestrone, vegetable and quinoa minestrone.
- A few of the days had sesame kale crackers (that were SO GOOD)
- Olives on a few of the days, with either garlic or sea salt flavoring.
- And a choco crisp bar on a few of the days.
- Herbal tea packets. Mint, mint and lemon, and hibiscus.
- And then there were supplements like a drink, and some vitamins.
My Review and Results of the Prolon Diet
I wasn’t following the Prolon Diet program to lose weight, but I did lose 5 lbs during the 5 days. 8 lbs if you count the three extra pounds I weighed the morning after Christmas! (see on the chart below. I weighed 113 at 5 am, but at 8am I was 110.8 lbs. LOL. I weighed again because I just got the box and I wanted a true pre-Prolon weight. (read my weight loss story here)
Here’s the scale. I should have taken a photo of the 110.8 lbs, but I wasn’t thinking it would be so different.
While it’s impossible to know if I experienced any anti-aging benefits, I did feel great during the 5 days.
- I had plenty of energy.
- I was 100% more productive at work (probably because I wasn’t eating all day)
- I slept well.
- And I wasn’t bloated at all. (even though the manufacturer doesn’t claim this as an effect of ProLon. I tend to overeat on low calorie food because I like to feel full, but as a result, I always feel bloated! On this program, the food is minimal, so my stomach was flatter than it’s been in awhile.
Could I have achieved the same feeling by limiting my calories on my own? I think I could, although it would be harder. The reason following the program worked for me was because I was mentally committed to the full 5 days, and I didn’t have to think about or calculate my food intake. The more time I spend in the kitchen preparing food, the more I eat. But with the box of pre-made food, I spent almost zero time in the kitchen, eliminating most temptations.
What surprised me was how bored I was! I am shocked at how often I thought about going to get a snack, just to entertain myself! I hope moving forward, I can catch myself before I reach for food out of boredom.
One strategy I employed to get through the 5 days was to stay busy and intentionally distracted. If I spent time thinking about the fact that I was fasting, or that I could only eat the food that I got out of the box, I would just crave other, more entertaining food. But If I could watch a movie or get lost in my work, I was able to get through the day a lot easier. (This also was my strategy while I prepared for the NPC Bikini competition! Distracting myself from snacking all day was key!) (That story of my bikini transformation here!)
What did the 5 Days of Prolon look like?
Prolon Day 1: Easy day! I woke up and weighed 113 lbs. It was the day after Christmas though, and I REALLY over did it on Christmas with food. However, a few hours later I weighed in at 110, and this was more appropriate as my starting weight, because it’s close to the weight I’ve been maintaining for awhile.
This was the day with the most food, and I could tell. I felt great. This day had 1035 calories, 25 g protein, 101 g carbs, 32 g fiber, 66 g fat, 30 g sugar, and I’ve been there before. It didn’t feel like a fast. I had plenty of energy and I was motivated to see the full 5 days through. I delayed breakfast till about 10, which also made it easier.
Prolon Day 2: Sunday- 690 calories, 15 g protein, 85 g carbs, 20 g fiber 36 g fat, 28 g sugar. I tried to keep busy. I went to church. I watched a movie. I felt good. The soup and granola bar were delicious! It may be that I was hungry for food. Food ALWAYS tastes better when you are hungry! I never liked olives before, but this day, they tasted amazing!
Tried to stay distracted. Didn’t feel tired or hungry. I preferred cooking the soup on the stovetop because it resulted in much thicker, voluminous soup. I literally licked every last drop out of the bowl. I didn’t want to lose or waste one single calorie!
Prolon Day 3: 882 calories, 37 g protein, 97 g carbs, 25 g fiber, 41 g fat. 35 g sugar. Longest day so far. Literally, this day couldn’t end fast enough. I got up very early, so it made the day extra long. All I had going for me was work, and I had the thought MANY times that I should eat something. But I didn’t give in. We have lots of Christmas food leftover that I REALLY wanted to eat, but I didn’t. I went to watch a movie at about 5:00 pm to stay distracted, and fell asleep by 8pm. I was so glad to go to bed.
Prolon Day 4: 680 calories, 15 g protein, 86 g carbs, 21 g fiber, 35 g fat. 29 g sugar. I was determined not to make the same mistake of being bored and wanting to eat, so I slept in. I think I slept for 10 hours! I went to yoga, did some volunteer work and then worked the rest of the day. I successfully stayed distracted and I did not feel hungry at all. Lots of energy
Prolon Day 5: FINAL DAY! 660 calories, 17 g protein, 73 g carbs, 21 g fiber, 37 g fat, and 17 g sugar. ! I wasn’t hungry. I wasn’t tired day 4 or 5. In fact, I had plenty of energy, and I was ULTRA productive. Not going to lie though.. I’m so glad it’s over! I don’t think I want to eat one more bowl of soup!
What I liked about the Prolon Diet:
- It reinforced to me that calories do count! Although I wasn’t trying to lose weight, and the protein was so low and the fat higher than I normally eat, I did lose weight! It’s good for me to see results like this because I tend to believe high fat diets, or low protein diets aren’t helpful for weight loss, but this proved me wrong. Calories are everything. (See my 5 steps on getting started with calorie counting here.)
- You really get to know your mental garbage around food. Faced with your own thoughts, boredom, and stress without being able to use food to cope is tough! Finding new ways to cope is so important. Journaling, walking, or listening to music really helped me!
- Being hungry is USUALLY just a product of me being bored. Wow. I hope I never forget this!
- I don’t need to overfeed- or stuff myself on low calorie, high volume foods. It leads to me craving more high-volume foods. My stomach is flatter, and I feel lighter when I don’t stuff myself. I want to keep this feeling. For example, I can have one protein or meal replacement bar, and not turn it into a meal.
- Hard to say if the benefits are realized because of the food, or because of the calorie restriction. They say you can’t do this with food you can buy at the store, but I’d be surprised if there was anything special about the food in the box.
What I didn’t Like about the Prolon Diet:
- Hands down, the price! It’s a lot of money for a little bit of food.
- Excessive packaging. I already don’t have enough space in my recycle bin from Christmas, so this huge box is going to have to wait until next week to recycle.
- The teas and L-drink. I don’t drink tea, and most flavored drinks remind me of a colonscopy prep!
Would I do it again?
They say for optimal health, you could do this 5 day ProLon Diet every three or four months. I probably will do it again. While I don’t believe in cleanses (our livers are pretty good at cleansing naturally, and I never want to take weird drinks to promote cleansing), I do believe the science behind calorie restriction for rejuvenating good cells!
I’d love to hear if you’ve tried it and what your experience is! Let me know in the comments!
If you want to give it a try, I’ve got an affiliate link here, and you can use this Prolon coupon codes for 15% off! The discount coupon code is PROLON15 (Update, if you are reading this Nov 2021 you can get it for $84 off using this link)