Researchers from UCLA’s Longevity Institute tested the fasting-mimicking diet (FMD), commercially known as ProLon, which is low in calories, proteins, and sugar, but has high levels of unsaturated fats. The study had 52 participants follow the diet five days per month, while 48 ate their regular meals.

Results showed that, after three months of the fasting-like diet, the participants displayed reduced body weight and body fat, lower blood pressure, and reduces levels of IGF-1, a hormone associated with signs of aging.

The FMD is low in calories, proteins, and sugar, but has high levels of unsaturated fats. Image credit:

Researchers acknowledge that diets that restrict calorie consumption can dramatically enhance the possibilities of aging while remaining healthy, although the biggest obstacle lies in the participant’s inability to adhere to strict diets such as the FMD.

No serious side effects were reported after study participants completed three FMD cycles. And within three months, control subjects were asked to switch their diet, adhering to the FMD, resulting in 71 subjects completing the regime.

How is fasting is good for losing weight?

Although fasting is never advised, cycles of a 5-day fast-mimicking diet are safe and effective “in reducing markers/risk factors for aging and age-related diseases,” reads the study published in Science Translational Medicine.

According to Dr. Joseph Antoun, CEO of L-Nutra, the company responsible for creating FMD, the diet is most effectively used by overweight people that intend on managing their weight in a natural and healthy way. Just like those with “abnormal levels of biomarkers for aging and age-related conditions,” as he stated to Reuters, according to Fox News.

The diet is most effectively used by overweight people that intend on managing their weight in an easy and healthy way. Image Credit: Newsweek

FMD is not meant for people younger than 18, for anyone going through pregnancy, metabolic diseases, or any condition that would imply a reduction in how the body metabolizes sugars and proteins.

Even if the diet has been considered successful for implementation in short periods of time, there is no indication whether FMD can contribute the sufficient levels of micronutrients that the body needs on a regular basis. Also, the effects of FMD on muscle mass and physical activity were not taken into account in the study.

A diet of only five days

ProLon is the marketing brand behind the FMD. It is a 5-day dietary program that “mitigates the burden and danger of water-only fasting,” while allowing the participant to restrain from undergoing severe lifestyle changes.

The meals come in 5 small boxes, including soups, energy bars, drinks, supplements, and snacks. They are carefully selected to nourish the body and help the body age in a healthy fashion. The ingredients are plant-based and do not contain any additives or chemicals. The participant is expected to consume no more than 1100 calories per day while on the ProLon regime. The company behind ProLon assures that through consumer panels they have demonstrated how the food has good taste and is easy to package.

Another selling point of ProLon is that it helps deactivate the growth hormone, insulin, and the Insulin-like Growth Factor, or IGF-1. It is a small polypeptide that’s produced in the liver and gets activated by the pituitary gland, the organ in charge of body growth. IGF-1 is vital for childhood growth, and it is an indicator of how well the person is eating.

Image credit: Healthista

IGF-1 can exist in dairy products, and its consumption is intended for adults only. There are IGF-1 supplements, and their use by athletes is sometimes restricted in competitions.

L-Nutra claims that the ProLon diet should be approved by a licensed health care provider after the patient has been deemed a suitable candidate. After approval, the medical specialist should instruct the patient on how to perform the diet.

One must not consume any other food than what comes in the ProLon box, and any liquid other than water is forbidden, although the doctor can approve exceptions depending on the patient’s nutritional needs. The diet is intended to be followed for five consecutive days every one to six months, depending on what the doctor prescribes. After the five days, the patient is expected to continue its regular diet.

Depending on the patient’s body weight and their overall state of health, ProLon could be prescribed 3 to 12 times a year for high-risk individuals and 2 to 3 times a year for low risk and healthy people.

For more information on whether ProLon could be right for you, you can visit this page which lists the factors to consider before asking your doctor for the FMD. Anyone intending on obtaining ProLon should consult a health care practitioner and obtain authorization to receive the dietary plan. The medical practitioner must register on the product’s website and issue an order. Once the patient is prescribed the regime, they can pick it up at the health care practitioner’s office or a clinic.

The health care provider is expected to follow up with the participants as long as they are on the ProLon diet cycle, to ensure that the patient is getting the full benefits and the least amount of side effects.

Source: Science Translational Medicine