In my practice, I often will help individuals who are overweight overcome obstacles that they might have regarding weight loss. If you Google weight loss, you will get thousands of opinions from thousands of experts on the best strategy to achieve weight loss goal. Some of these options and opinions are so prolific that they have become a part of our everyday lives. Recently, there has been a lot of discussion on fasting and how it can be utilized in weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. Always interested to learn new things, I absorbed everything I could about it. After many hours of webinars, books, discussion with experts, etc.; I became very excited at the potential of incorporating fasting into my weight loss programs.
Since the dawn of mankind, humans and fasting have had an interesting relationship. For early humans, fasting was a reality of life. Food was often scarce, and humans had no choice but to go without food. So, we evolved to deal with scarcity. When culture and religion began, we started incorporating fast with religious rites. Many religions throughout the world encourage periods of fasting. Muslims have Ramadan, Catholics have Lent, Mormons have Fast Sunday, and Hebrews have Yom Kippur to name a few.
Although fasting has always been a major part of our past, we don’t see the practice as often today. Food scarcity in Western culture is not something that most will have to worry about, and aside from devote religious practices, it is not a widespread. Those who do fast often follow the fast with overeating, often negating the effects of the fast. Obesity is prevalent, and overeating in the new normal. Could fasting be part of the solution to the obesity epidemic?
Whenever I investigate something new in medicine, I look at what the research says. Too often I hear patients give me anecdotal stories about how a person they know did “x” and ended up with “y.” I’m not interested with what worked for one person, I’m more interested in what worked for thousands of people as evidence by good, strong, scientific studies. When it comes to fasting research, I was blown away by both the quantity and quality of the scientific studies and how they have shown the health benefits of fasting. Rarely have I seen a diet studied so in depth as this one.
The studies show that fasting has real health benefits. Calorie restriction has been shown to increase life span, literally adding years to life. Intermittent fasting decreases blood pressure and lowers your risk of getting diabetes. Chemotherapy treatment for cancer is more successful during a fast as well. An occasional fast also decreases your risk of getting cancer. It also allows the body to undergo autophagy, a process which recycles dead cells and redundancy in the body…almost like an internal cleanse. And, of course, there is the weight loss that comes from fasting and the health benefits that come from losing weight. The list goes on.
To get all the good benefits from a fast it needs to be intermittent (from once a month to twice a year depending on goals/objectives) and it needs to be long. The studies show us that a five-day fast maximizes these health benefits. However, abstaining from food for five days is a very difficult process that requires a lot of will power. Most people would have difficulty with this. Isn’t there another way?
Enter the good scientists at ProLon who developed the fasting mimicking diet. They literally spent years researching and working on a five-day meal plan that tricks the body into thinking it is fasting while minimizing the hunger that accompanies a fast. The result is a low-calorie, plant-based diet that comes in an affordable kit with all the food and nutrition to get through those days.
After the fast, people are encouraged to adopt more healthy eating habits and timing of food consumption. I won’t discuss these options here, but they are simple and effective. At the time of this writing, I am personally going through the diet and can attest that it is much easier than I anticipated it would be.
A question I often get asked is if this proprietary diet produced by ProLon can be copied and created with foods at home? The simple answer is good luck. As simple as the ProLon fast is, I am amazed at how precise the diet is. Every calorie and nutrient have a specific role, and it is backed by scientific research showing its effectiveness. Tring to recreate it would be analogous to building your own car for a trip instead of relying on engineers and factories to do it for you. In the end, you are better off just buying the kit.
Time will tell how the fasting mimicking diet will do as more people partake. So far, the literature is very positive. If you have questions or want to know more about this exciting new health intervention, I would be happy to answer them, or you can visit ProLon’s website at https://prolonfmd.com as it is packed with useful information. I would also urge you to contact a healthcare provider before starting this process, as it is not for everyone and there are serious complications that could happen for certain individuals.
Dr. John McRae