STAT

Kale crackers and hibiscus tea: My five days on a ‘fasting diet’

I tried the five-day ProLon diet, an ultra-low-calorie regimen meant to trick your body into thinking you're fasting. It wasn't as bad as I'd feared.

LOS ANGELES — The box is lovely, sleek and white. But it’s so small.

I’ve decided to try the ProLon diet — five days of “mimicking fasting” that is supposed to help me lose weight, trim belly fat, drop my cholesterol and glucose levels into healthier zones, and even slow aging. I’ve been researching the science behind fasting — check out my full story on that topic here — so I’m excited to try it myself.

But the box is so small. Not much larger than a shoebox, it contains all the food and drink, other than water, that I’ll get for five days. I sift through the futuristic-looking — and tiny — packets of olives and freeze-dried soups, kale chips, and nut bars. I love food so much. I’m a little bit worried.

The diet consists of an ultra-low-calorie blend of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and nutrients that’s meant to trick the body into thinking it is fasting, but with less discomfort or risk than a true water-only fast. That’s according to its inventor, biochemist Valter Longo, the director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California.

He’s launched a company, L-Nutra, to market the diet; it’s sold for $300 per box or $750 for three boxes, if you’re inclined to repeat the five-day fast every few

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from STAT

STAT3 min read
An Experimental AI System Can Predict When Pancreatic Cysts Will Become Cancerous
Pancreatic cancer is often deadly because it is detected too late. A new AI system outdoes humans at diagnosing which cysts are cancerous.
STAT5 min readSociety
WHO Declares Ebola Outbreak An International Health Emergency
The WHO declared the Ebola outbreak in the DRC a global health emergency, a move that is likely to escalate international attention on a crisis that has flared for a…
STAT5 min readSociety
Debate Over Whether To Test A Second Ebola Vaccine Turns Acrimonious
An aggressive push to use a second experimental Ebola vaccine to try to help stop the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo may have backfired.