Meet The UK’s Most Popular Fasting Programme
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What exactly is ProLon?
Known as a ‘fasting mimicking’ diet, ProLon is a five-day programme that allows you to reap the benefits of fasting without having to stop eating altogether. The result of research spanning two decades, it’s become one of the most popular fasting programmes worldwide, giving you everything you need for a five-day fast while still providing the right nutrients for your body. “ProLon is a clever concept,” explains nutritionist Clarissa Lenherr. “The food included in the fast is designed to avoid your body’s food sensing system, meaning it tricks the body into thinking that it is fasting even though you are eating food throughout the day, albeit small amounts.”
How does it work?
When you sign up, you receive a box filled with five smaller boxes of food – one for each day. “It couldn’t be more straightforward,” says Kim Pearson, a nutritionist and weight loss expert who recommends ProLon to her clients. “The fast consists of nut bars, soups, olives, kale crackers, herbal teas and supplements with a schedule detailing what to eat when.” All the food is vegan and gluten-free, adds Clarissa. “The meals and supplements have also been designed to support the body’s transition into a fasting state, provide essential nutrients, and minimise hunger and discomfort.” ProLon allows you to achieve health benefits comparable to water-only fasting, and the cellular changes that occur allow you to go back to your usual diet for the remaining 25 days of the month.
What’s the science behind it?
The reduction in calories mimics your body’s response to traditional fasting methods, while the high-fat, low-carb food (think nut bars, pouches of olives, flax crackers and dried soup blends) forces your body to use energy from your fat stores. On the first day, you eat around 1,100 calories, which moves your body into a fat-burning state, preparing for cellular clean-up. On the second day, you eat around 800 calories, which ramps up fat-burning and kick-starts ketogenesis, which turns glucose into energy. On the third and fourth days, fat-burning and ketone production increase; on the final day, the fast is completed, and cellular cleaning temporarily continues. It’s recommended you complete the programme three to 12 times a year to maintain the benefits.
What are the benefits?
Completing the ProLon programme just two or three times a year boosts the immune system, kick-starts the metabolism and increases energy and clarity. It could also cut the risk of heart disease, cancer, high cholesterol, inflammation and other diseases. “The idea is that the body switches from burning glucose for energy to burning fat, which leads to weight loss, improved metabolism and insulin sensitivity and reduced inflammation,” says Clarissa. “The calorie restriction triggers a metabolic shift in the body, increasing levels of human growth hormone, believed to promote cellular repair and regeneration. Throughout the diet, the body is also thought to activate autophagy, a process that helps to clear damaged cells and boost cellular renewal. The reduction in caloric intake during the diet may also help reduce inflammation in the body, alongside the removal of ultra-processed foods, poor quality fats, alcohol and sugar, which are believed to play a role in the development of many chronic diseases.”
How much weight will you lose?
Results vary from one person to another, but in trials of healthy people doing one ProLon fast a month for three months in a row, individuals lost an average of 5.7lbs and 1.6 inches off their waist measurement. “However, it’s important to remember that a certain amount of the weight loss will be water weight,” says Kim. “Eating smaller amounts of food also means there’s less in your digestive system, so not all weight loss you see on the scale will be fat loss. Taking measurements before and after your ProLon cycle can help you identify how effective ProLon is at helping you lose body fat.”
Who’s it for?
If you’re intrigued by the concept of fasting but aren’t sure where to start, ProLon could be worth a try. “In my experience, it works well for people who want to lose weight in a guided environment, as well as those who have trouble with yo-yo dieting,” says Clarissa. “It can also be helpful for people who want to reset cravings and snacking habits.”
Is it safe?
The programme is very low in calories, which may not make it appropriate for everyone. “ProLon shouldn’t be used if you are under the age of 18, pregnant or breastfeeding, if you have a history of eating disorders or low blood pressure, or if you’re diabetic,” advises Clarissa. “It should also be avoided if you are an athlete or very active, as a low-calorie diet may impact your performance and ability to exercise.” If you are in any doubt, chat to a healthcare professional before starting ProLon, or any diet, to ensure it’s safe and appropriate for your health needs and goals.
What are people saying about ProLon?
“We have received endless positive feedback from clients who have experienced the benefits of the ProLon fast,” Kim tells us. “The most commonly reported benefits run from fat loss and reduced bloating to improved mindfulness around food.”
How can you get started?
ProLon costs £199 for a five-day programme, which works out at around £40 per day. If you decide to subscribe to do multiple fasts throughout the year, you’ll save £10 per fast.
Visit ProLon.co.uk to get started. For support with a weight loss programme, visit Kim-Pearson.com and ClarissaLenherr.com.
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