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My five days on a ‘fasting diet’

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OS ANGELES — The box is beautiful, modern and white. However it’s so small.

I’ve determined to attempt the ProLon weight-reduction plan — five days of “mimicking fasting” that is supposed to help me shed extra pounds, trim stomach fats, drop my cholesterol and glucose ranges into healthier zones, and even sluggish getting old. I’ve been researching the science behind fasting — take a look at my full story on that topic here — so I’m excited to attempt it myself.

But the field is so small. Not a lot bigger than a shoebox, it incorporates all the food and drink, aside from water, that I’ll get for 5 days. I sift via the futuristic-looking — and tiny — packets of olives and freeze-dried soups, kale chips, and nut bars. I really like food a lot. I’m slightly bit apprehensive.


The food regimen consists of an ultra-low-calorie blend of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and nutrients that’s meant to trick the physique into considering it is fasting, however with much less discomfort or danger than a real water-only fast. That’s in accordance with its inventor, biochemist Valter Longo, the director of the Longevity Institute on the College of Southern California.

He’s launched an organization, L-Nutra, to market the food plan; it’s bought for $300 per box or $750 for 3 bins, in the event you’re inclined to repeat the five-day fast every few months. (L-Nutra offered one field to STAT at no value.)

Fasting, Longo says, pushes the body to burn fat, rejuvenates cells, and lowers danger elements for a number of illnesses. I’ve read the scientific studies and there’s ample proof that fasting can have nice profit for research animals, such because the mice in Longo’s lab.

The evidence for human benefits, though, is more speculative. Brief-term studies have proven that fasting can enhance certain knowledge factors in human subjects (corresponding to decreasing cholesterol levels), but there’s no proof but that such enhancements are sustained in the long run — or that they’ll lead to medical advantages akin to fewer coronary heart attacks or longer lives.

There’s also no proof that Longo’s specific mix of foods works any higher than another low-calorie weight-reduction plan or intermittent fasting regime.

So I’m going into this armed with skepticism … but in addition, a substantial amount of curiosity. A 40-something mom of two, I’m not technically obese but an excellent 15 or 20 pounds over my perfect weight. I need to know what effect the food regimen could have on my health.

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