Fasting Mimicking Diet Shows Promise for Weight Stalls? Part 2

Our 5 Day Fasting Mimicking Experience

We were pleasantly surprised when we returned home from vacation and found we both lost weight. My husband, Duke, had target to be his goal weight by his March birthday. Seeing the drop on the scale meant his goal was possible. I was only 3 lbs. away from my goal and excited at the thought of reaching it. Three weeks later my husband’s weight had stalled, and my weight went up by 2 lbs. Weight loss is not linear, right? The ups and downs reflected on the scale are proof that our body is adjusting to a new weight.  I had been in touch with the ProLon® rep about the Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) and we wondered if using the plant-based “Fasting Mimicking 5-Day Diet” was what we needed.

What is Fasting Mimicking?[1]

Commercially, the FMD is sold as ProLon®. ProLon® is a 5-day dietary program that nourishes the body and promotes regenerative and rejuvenating changes which include effects on biomarkers associated with aging, such as cholesterol, inflammation, and fasting glucose.” ProLon® mitigates the burden and risks of water-only fasting, while responding to the unmet need of having a tasty, convenient, and safe dietary program.”

The Science

FMD is a form of intermittent fasting that differs from other types of fasting that require 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of feeding. In a mouse study, a four-day fasting mimicking diet (FMD) demonstrated the generation of insulin-producing β-cells, the restoration of insulin secretion and the return of balance and stability in people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.[2]

A human study showed that after 3 monthly cycles the FMD participants experienced reduced body mass index; lower blood pressure; lower fasting glucose; decreased insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1 hormone); decreased triglycerides, total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol; and decreased C-reactive protein (inflammatory marker). Low IGF-1 is beneficial. “Severe growth hormone receptor and IGF-1 deficiencies are associated with a reduced risk of cancer, diabetes, and overall mortality in humans.”[3] Participants fasted 5 consecutive days a month for 3 months. This inaugural study concluded that “…FMD was safe, feasible, and effective in reducing markers/risk factors for aging and age-related diseases.“[4] None of the 71 program participants reported adverse effects. Most common were reports of weakness, fatigue and headache.

The Company[5]

Valter Longo, Ph. D is the Director of the Longevity Institute at University of Southern California and the inventor of the Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) nutritechnology. He discovered two decades ago that two out of the three pathways caused cellular aging. At that time, his research team embarked on a journey to uncover an intervention that slows or reverses biological aging in order to delay the onset of age related chronic diseases. If Alzheimer’s disease, Diabetes type 2, most cancers, and most cardiovascular diseases appear later in life, it is because of aging. Therefore, optimizing aging increases the number of years before the onset of disease.

Through his research, Professor Longo proved that periodic fasting, done for several consecutive days, teaches the body to naturally cope by protecting and rejuvenating itself, both anti-aging measures. Some believe that water only fasts are difficult and risky. Professor Longo, under the sponsorship of the National Institute of HealthNational Cancer Institute, and National Institute on Aging, developed a natural plant-based meal program named Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD). FMD imitates fasting while nourishing the body. Professor Longo’s work has been published in scientific journals like Cell, Nature, Science, Journal of Translational Medicine, and was covered by top global media like CNN, FOX, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, etc.

Our Experience

Day 1 I entered all the food for the week into Carb Manager to calculate the diet’s 5-day macros. On the first day, macros were 57.4% fat, 28.6% CHO (78 g) and 14.0% protein distributed over 1,075 calories. I have not had that many carbs in a single day since May 24, 2019. Another change was eating breakfast. Our first meal of the day is generally at noon or 1pm. We keep our feeding time to between noon and 6p.

All the food is delicious, plant-based, gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy free. The products are processed and contain nuts, flax seeds, sesame seeds, cane sugar, grape juice, honey, and soy. There are some phytoestrogens in this list. My favorites are the the L-Breakfast Bar, Tomato Soup with Kale Crackers, and after dinner, the Choco Crisp Bar. All my favorites were part of Day 1’s menu. Carbs do have a tasty palate profile. As I was eating the prepackaged, processed meals, I wondered how I might feel.

The first thing I noticed was at the gym where my upper body seemed weaker. I found it difficult to lift my usual amount of weights and the Bicep Curl was a non-starter. It may not sound like much, but normally I can lift 25 lbs. on the Bicep Curl and this machine is the hardest for me in the circuit.

Two hours after dinner I found myself hungry. Not hungry enough to eat a gluten-free donut, but hungry enough to eat a pork chop, which I didn’t do. I just drank water to get through it.

On Keto it’s rare I have gas or belch. However, on the FMD protocol, I felt like I was part of the horn section in a band. Day 1 stats: I lost 1 lb. and Duke lost 2.5 lbs.

Day 2 Calories for today totaled 660. The 77 g of carbs represented 46% of calories while fat represented 45% and protein 9%. I was definitely hungry on Day 2 and happy to see Choco Crisp Bar on the menu. Keto is so good at controlling appetite and feelings of hunger was a bothersome side effect. Both of us noticed that we felt cold most of the day and had a hard time warming up. The outside temperature was 21 F with a low of 6 F. Day 2 weight loss was 0.3 lbs. Duke lost 0.8 lbs.

Day 3 There were 685 calories on the Day 3 menu: 32.9% or 56 g Carbs, 48.9% Fat and 18.2% Protein. My favorites for Day 3 were the L-Bar at breakfast and the Tomato Soup and Kale Crackers at lunch. We were with our 4 year old and 2 year old grandchildren. They created a good distraction for any hunger pains. Another day of feeling cold, but again the outside temperature was 16 F for a high and -1 F for a low. We both felt a bit low on energy towards the end of the day. Day 3 weight loss was 0.4 lbs. for me and 1.4 lbs. for Duke.

Day 4 Fourth day calories were the same as Day 3. The macros were distributed as follows: 45.4% or 79 g carbs, 45.9% fat and 8.6 % protein. The Choco Crisp Bar was on the menu for after dinner. Yes! Day 4 weight loss was 0.5 lbs. form me and 0.4 lbs. for Duke

Day 5 This is our last day of fasting. Each day required that we drink a liter of diluted glycerol flavored with hibiscus tea. It tasted great! After the day’s glycerol/tea drink was gone, Duke ceremoniously threw the bottles away. Another day of being part of the band or were the toots more like the sound of a goose. Seriously I feel like I could levitate. I typically woke up at 3 or 4a during the 5 day fast. In the early hours of Day 5, I woke up with a headache which left by 1p. I need meat!

I tested a recipe for Keto flourless chocolate cake today. The recipe requires the cake chill for 24 hours before serving. Because the cake needed to chill for a day, this made it the perfect recipe to test on the last day of our fast.

We had a few more calories on Day 5: 735 calories. Of these, 41.6 % or 76 g were carbs, 48% was fat and 10.4% was protein. Tomato soup and Kale Crackers on the menu. Our weigh in on Day 6 showed I had a weight gain of 0.4 lbs. and Duke had a weight loss for Day 5 of 0.8 lbs.

Results and Reflections

For the FMD, 5 days was completely doable. The reported benefits of fat loss, promotion of low blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure; and healthy aging far outweigh the inconvenience of hunger pains, excessive gas, feeling cold and headaches. Duke lost 5.9 lbs and I lost 1.8 lbs. For me the weight loss was not new weight, but instead weight I put on after vacation. Our quality of sleep also improved by Day 5. To say that was the result of the diet is not clear. We’ll see how our sleep does post-FMD.

When we measured our blood sugar and ketones, Duke’s fasting blood sugar measured 83 mg/dl, the lowest he has ever been. On the other hand, my fasting blood sugar was the highest its been. I think this is a good time to make a confession. When I made the Keto flourless chocolate cake on Saturday, I licked the bowl which was Lily’s dark chocolate butter, eggs and Monk Fruit sweetener. Although I did not eat much, it is was still off plan.

There was no thinking about what to eat because it was already planned and purchased. And there were fewer dishes to wash at the end of the day. In fact, we probably could have done dishes every other day. But there is another problem that could have affected Day 5 results.

Warning to those with Celiac’s and Gluten Sensitivity I have been constipated for 2 days. This is very different from Duke’s experience. On the morning of Day 6, I also woke up with some gingivitis. Gingivitis and constipation are two hallmark symptoms for how my body reacts to a small hit of gluten. I did notice the following statement on the L-Bar that I ate daily for breakfast and the Choco Crisp Bar I ate 3 times during the 5 day fast, “Manufactured on equipment that also processes peanuts, milk, soy, wheat, eggs and shellfish.”

Cost Per Pound. We were able to purchase the ProLon FMD plan at 50% off the retail price. The cost per pound for my weight loss was $83.33 and for Duke, $25.42 per pound.

I feel there are cheaper ways to get the same longevity results that are budget friendly, cost less per weight lost, keto friendly (no sugars), comprised of whole foods (not processed), clean packaging[6], free from inflammatory foods (nuts and seeds) and without the addition of plants that are estrogenic (soy, flax seed, sesame seeds).

Feb 21, 2020

  1. 2/22/2020
  2. Cheng, C., Villani, V., Buono, R., Wei, M., Kumar, S., Yilmaz, O.H., Cohen, P., Sneddon, J.B., Perin, L., and Longo, V.D. (February 23, 2017). Fasting-mimicking diet promotes Ngn3-driven β-cell regeneration to reverse diabetes. Cell. Downloaded on 11/12/2019 from
  3. Ibid
  4. Ibid
  5. 2/22/2020
  6. No plastic lined pouches and no water bottle potentially containing BPA or BPS or other estrogenic substances.

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