The fasting imitation diet or 'Fasting Mimicking Diet' (FMD), is an excellent alternative for the very tough water only fast. I have recently completed the ProLon FMD, and here I will briefly explain what it is and what my experience has been like. The ProLon FMD is a balanced program that contains 5 small boxes, one for each day. These boxes contain energy bars, soups, snacks, drinks and supplements, adding up to about 700-800 calories a day. The program is very low in protein and most of the macro-nutrients are from carbohydrates. Professor Valter Longo has formulated the program in such a way that the adverse effects of water only fasting are minimized, but the positive effects are preserved. ProLon is a not-for-profit organization and all proceeds go back in new research.
The 5-day FMD was designed with the following objectives in mind:
The FMD prevents aging through the following processes:
In addition, the FMD has been shown to lead to weight loss, an increase in muscle mass, a decrease in blood pressure, a decrease in cholesterol, a decrease in IGF-1 (related to cancer risk), a decrease in CRP (related to risk of cardiovascular disease), and an increase in the production of stem cells during and after the FMD.¹ˈ² Although it must be said, the differences are greater for test subjects who are in the risk group. In addition, people report more glowing, younger skin, a stronger mental focus and a greater ease of avoiding over-consumption after the diet.
The FMD is not suitable for:
- Pregnant women
- People who are underweight or have a low BMI
- People over 70 - unless in very good health
- People with liver or kidney diseases
Valter Longo recommends following this program once every 6 months for the healthy individual, rising to once every 1-3 months for people with risk factors in the areas of diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular or neuro-related conditions. With that being said, the FMD is probably the most clinically tested program but that does not mean other variations of the diet are not possible. How and how long the most ideal fasting program looks like remains a question for the time being, but the fact is that this program is easy to order and use and, moreover, it is easy to maintain. Finally, it is important not to forget to rebuild day 6 carefully. iT is recommended to return to your old diet steadily via shakes or soup.
With the consumption of about 750 calories spread over the day in 3 meals, I was hardly feeling hungry. During days 1 and 2, I had mild headaches, which may also be related to caffeine withdrawal during this time. I had the luxury of following this program in a period without any work commitments and a quiet environment. Also, I followed the program with my mother, and shared sorrow is half the sorrow! It is indicated that day 3 is generally the hardest, but for me it seemed that was the case on day 4. I still experienced a certain desire to eat, which seems to be mainly based on certain habits. This made me even more aware of the fact that most fasting practices have historically been been based around a period of increased awareness and reflection. So it certainly made me more thoughtful of the whole process and why I was doing it.
Finally, I would like to share an overview of my measurements in ketosis measured with the Ketonix breathalyzer. Although the values increase slightly after the first day, you will not get into extreme ketosis during this program, given the carbohydrates you eat with every meal. However, you quickly shoot into mild ketosis and then stay in it for the full 5 days.
See below the acetone values measured with Ketonix 2 times a day.
If you have any personal experiences or comments regarding the imitating fasting diet, please leave a message below!
1. Longo, V. (n.d.). Prolon fasting mimicking diet. Retrieved May 29, 2020, from https://prolonfmd.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/ProLon-Information-Download-for-HCP.pdf
2. Cheng CW, Adams GB, Perin L, et al. Prolonged fasting reduces IGF-1/PKA to promote hematopoietic-stem-cell-based regeneration and reverse immunosuppression [published correction appears in Cell Stem Cell. 2016 Feb 4;18(2):291-2]. Cell Stem Cell. 2014;14(6):810‐823. doi:10.1016/j.stem.2014.04.014
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