Is the 5 Day Fast Mimicking Diet Worth the Hype?

Is the 5 Day Fast Mimicking Diet Worth the Hype?

I’ve always been passionate about health and fitness.

In high school, I was voted the most likely to “own her own gym”. You could always find me playing a sport, running, walking, or working out. I was also interested in eating healthy, but at that time (I have to admit), I had a long way to go.

I certainly didn’t have the information I have today. It’s been a process for me to get from point A to point B. The passion to be healthy has always been there, but back then – the information was not as readily available as it is today.

As a health coach, I am always looking for ways to help improve the health and well-being of my clients. I truly enjoy spending hours researching, reading, and watching videos to learn the latest and greatest about health, nutrition, and fitness. I’m a lifelong learner, so I’m always taking courses to further my education. I’m fortunate that this passion that began in high school has turned into a career path.

Recently, I watched a fasting documentary and learned about the ProLon 5-Day Fasting Mimicking Diet. Immediately, I was intrigued. I’ve always believed in the benefits of fasting, but giving up all food for days seemed overwhelming and scary to me.

The ProLon meal kit reduced all of my fears because it gave me food to eat each day. It’s designed to mimic the effects of fasting while providing you with some of the essential macro and micronutrients that your body needs.

I placed my order and a package arrived on my doorstep with five boxes, one for each day. They contained all the food I would need:

  • Plant-based soups
  • Nut bars
  • Kale
  • Almond crackers
  • Olives
  • Herbal teas
  • Supplements
  • And on some days, the choco crisp bar

Benefits of Fasting

It’s easy to buy into the many benefits of a prolonged fast (longer than 48 hours). For me, the benefit I was most interested in was achieving autophagy. The term autophagy is derived from an ancient Greek word that means “self-eating”.

Autophagy happens naturally within your cells after two to four days of fasting. It’s the body’s way of cleaning out unnecessary or damaged components in our cells. It enables our bodies to regenerate newer and healthier cells.

Pretty cool, huh?

Our bodies have trillions of cells. Over time, unwanted molecules can build up in our cells causing damage to some of their parts. Autophagy is a normal process that addresses this issue. Sometimes the cell recycles or rejuvenates these molecules. Other times, it destroys these molecules and their parts.

There is also research that supports that autophagy has been shown to:

  1. Slow the development of cancer cells
  2. Helps to clear out toxins
  3. Improve immunity
  4. Helpful to kickstart weight loss and target belly fat

Dr. Valter Longo from The Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California and funding from the National Institutes of Health are responsible for The ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet – the first and only clinically tested and doctor-approved fasting meal program. The ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet has been patented for its healthy-aging effects.

Dr. Longo is actually the first person to discover how cells sense food. His discovery is what allows us to do a prolonged fast with food without triggering those nutrient-sensing pathways.

After ordering my ProLon 5-Day Fast-Mimicking Diet, I received 5 small boxes full of food and supplements for each day. The food is gluten-free, non-GMO, and mostly plant-based. Day 1 was relatively easy because I was able to enjoy roughly 1150 calories. Boxes for days 2 through 5, provided about 800 calories.

The meals and supplements are designed to maximize the effects of fasting while providing the micronutrients needed to minimize the stress of fasting on the body. Having food to eat definitely minimizes the hunger you’d feel compared to a water-only prolonged fast.

My 5 Day Fast Mimicking Diet Experience

I was still able to enjoy my morning cup of coffee.

I was told to stay under 90 mg of caffeine each day, which was not a problem for me. Going from a few drops of stevia and mct oil in my coffee to black coffee was not as hard as I thought it would be. On day 5, I actually met a friend for coffee and ordered a black decaf cup of coffee and enjoyed it.

I joined ProLon’s Fasting Group and met virtually each day with my group and coach to prepare me for the next day and answer questions. It was exciting to be around so many other people interested in offering their bodies the benefits of fasting. Many people in the group were actually on their second or third fasting cycle.

Note: It’s advised to wait 25 or more days between cycles to give your body time to recover.

While I was most interested in autophagy and offering my body a reset, that wasn’t all I experienced. The greatest benefit I encountered was the increased focus and energy. I don’t have ADD or take Adderall, but I felt like I operated as if I was on medication for increased focus.

I got so much accomplished during my 5-day fast mimicking diet. I didn’t feel the afternoon slump I typically experience. I felt almost euphoric, especially on days 4 and 5. I felt so clear-headed, less tired, and less distracted.

Some people experienced improved sleep, but I didn’t. I would feel physically and mentally tired at the end of the day, especially after being more productive during the day, but it was almost like my body could have kept going and I didn’t need to sleep.

Some people feel low energy during a Prolonged fast, but I didn’t. I actually got more accomplished over the 5-day fast. I had greater mental clarity, and was less distracted by food.

I worried beforehand that doing this Prolonged fast would make me more cranky and irritable due to the reduced calorie intake, but that was not the case. If anything, I’d say that I felt more peaceful and calm overall. I thought I’d have to steer clear of the kitchen at mealtimes to avoid seeing my family eat food that I wanted, but it wasn’t an issue.

There were definitely moments that I felt hungry, but drinking hot cups of herbal tea helped. Drinking hibiscus tea with ProLon’s L-Drink Mix (mostly vegetable glycerin) kept my body chugging along. The L-Drink is formulated to provide vegetable-based nutritional support. It provides glycerol to preserve amino acids and protect lean body mass. It also helps support hydration.

Was the 5 Day Fast Mimicking Diet Worth It?

I started my 5-day fast-mimicking diet thinking that I wouldn’t exercise to help preserve my energy. I expected to be tired, but that wasn’t the case.

I felt good, perhaps better than normal.

I walked 2.5 miles three of the five days at a light pace and I avoided my usual high intensity workouts. Next time, I will attempt a mat pilates class or a vinyasa flow yoga class without pushing myself too hard.

I learned not to be afraid of a little light exercise.

You may be wondering what the food tastes like. I actually liked it. The kale crackers, the nut-based L- Bar, and the Choco-Crisps L-Bar were delicious. Out of the tomato, minestrone & quinoa, mushroom, vegetable, and minestrone soup, I probably loved the minestrone soup the best. And, you can’t forget about the olives. I love olives, so I savored each one.

By day 5, I was definitely starting to think about what I’d eat when I completed my fast.

On day 6, Prolon recommends that you transition slowly into your normal routine. When I woke up on day 6, I warmed up some sipping bone broth to start to slowly turn on my digestive system. I enjoyed my coffee and expected to want to scarf down food, but I didn’t feel ravenous.

Later in the morning: I drank a fruit smoothie with some plant-based protein powder for breakfast.

For lunch: I had Trader Joe’s organic vegan split-pea soup.

For dinner: I made a spinach salad with cucumber, red onion, avocado, blueberries, strawberries, and pecans dressed with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and balsamic vinegar.

Would I do the 5 day fast mimicking diet again?

ABSOLUTELY! It was relatively painless. It was easier than expected because I felt so good and energized. It’s worth doing for the increased focus and mental clarity alone. In fact, I plan on recommending this to clients who are looking to jump-start their weight-loss journey.

Final Thoughts

For someone that really enjoys food, I was nervous if I could really do it and stick to it, but I did. Almost daily, I’d remind myself that there are little children all over the world who are starving.

This journey gave me a greater understanding and awareness of the hunger issue. We sponsor two children from Compassion, so I thought of them regularly and prayed for them more. On day 6, I returned to eating the foods I love, but sadly, an abundance of food is something they may never know.

In the past, my family has donated animals, fruit trees, and water wells to help families in the Dominican Republic and Peru. After this experience, I wanted to do more. I wanted to make a difference but I’m just one person. Can you imagine the impact we could have on world hunger if more people understood firsthand what hunger feels like in this country?

Did I lose weight and inches?

Yes! By day 5, I had lost over 8 pounds and inches off my waistline! For someone trying to jumpstart their weight-loss journey, completing the 5-day fast will give you the positive burst of energy and success needed to keep working hard towards your goals.

For people who have struggled to stay on track, completing the fast will reassure you that you CAN stick to a plan, do something good for yourself, and lose weight. Being successful with the fast will encourage you to continue making healthy choices moving forward. You’ll want to maintain what you’ve achieved and keep on going!

In my opinion, if you are interested in a prolonged fast, Prolon is the way to go. Being able to eat some food without triggering the nutrient sensing pathways is genius. Thank you, Dr. Valter Longo for your hard work. I love being able to gain the benefits of fasting while eating food.

My body thought it was on a 5-day fast, but I got to eat! That’s a win-win in my book.

Interested in learning more about the 5 day fast mimicking diet? You can check it out here.