Fasting - fad or fact?

28 October 2019

Intermittent Fasting has become the new buzz word, 5:2, 16:8 - are you confused? I’m not surprised! Read on, I’ve hopefully explained what these terms mean and represent.

Fasting is generally defined as: the abstinence from or limitation of food, drink or both. There are three main categories of fasting: time restricted fasting; intermittent fasting; and short term and prolonged or periodic fasting.

From a physiological and metabolic perspective, each type of fasting leads to different health effects, depending on the type and duration of the fast. 

Time Restricted “Fasting”  is when a person eats or drinks food at certain times during the day, and refrains from eating for the rest of the time. A popular model of this is the 16:8 approach, where a person “feeds” in an 8 hour window and “fasts for the remaining 16 hours (of a 24 hour period).  This diet is mostly positioned for weight loss and to not overwhelm the body with continuous food intake.

Intermittent fasting is another popular type of fasting behaviour. The most common, intermittent fasting, is the 5:2 diet made popular by Dr Michael Mosley which involves fasting on less than 800 calories for two consecutive or non-consecutive days a week. For example, fasting on a Monday and Wednesday each week. Again, this method is mainly used for weight loss.

Finally, short term and prolonged, or periodic fasting, defines periods of consecutive days of fasting. Short-term (ST) is less than 3 days and Prolonged Fasting is 3 or more than days. Periodic fasting is the only fasting regimen that “stresses” the body enough to stimulate a protectionist and rejuvenation mode, in other words anti-ageing !  

Enter Professor Valter Longo, 20 years ago he discovered that growth hormone pathways, including mTOR and IGF-1, are controlled by dietary proteins and they are accelerators of the ageing process. His research team embarked on a journey to uncover an impactful intervention that slows or reverses biological ageing in order to delay the onset of age-related chronic diseases. Alzheimer’s disease, Diabetes type 2, most cancers, and most cardiovascular diseases appear at a later age in life. Ageing is the catalyst of these diseases, and therefore optimising the way we age increases what is known as health span, the healthy part of human life prior to disease onset.

He proved that periodic fasting, done for several consecutive days, is a very powerful intervention that our body learned to naturally cope with by protecting and rejuvenating itself – both anti-ageing measures. Professor Longo, under the sponsorship of the National Institute of Health, National Cancer Institute, and National Institute on Ageing, developed a natural plant-based meal programme named the Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) which imitates fasting while feeding the body. Professor Longo’s work has been published in top scientific journals like Cell, Nature, Science and The Journal of Translational Medicine. 

To cut a very long story short, the result of many years of study with animals to assess how many calories can be added to the diet of someone before we lose the effects of fasting and what kind of foods need to be included is what finally resulted in a product called ProLon (pro-longevity).  It’s the only Periodic Fasting Diet, and is scientifically developed, 

It contains vegetable soups, which you eat twice a day; olives, vegetable chips, nuts, bars made of nuts (all of them are low sugar, high nourishment). There are supplements that are specially developed to maximise nourishment. There are also drinks and herbal teas included too.

I use Prolon in my clinic, when I feel it will therapeutically benefit the client, and have had great success with it. I’ve used in clients for resistant weight loss, insulin resistance and autoimmune conditions such as Crohns. Cognitive performance improved, clients had less inflammation, and they lost fat specifically in the abdomen (belly fat that produces nasty inflammatory hormones)

I personally, also practice a periodic fast, ie I use a Prolon kit 3 x a year for anti-ageing optimal health benefits. 

And so, I’ll leave you with a diary account, of one of my clients (she writes really well and is well worth reading on) that recently did a 5 day Prolon plan and was happy to share her experience.

In health, Tanya  x

My 5 Days of Prolon-The Fasting Mimicking Diet

Why would I want to embark upon 5 days of packet foods and restrict myself from all the tasty veg growing in my garden?

I would say I have a really healthy diet, grow my own fruit & vegetables, don’t eat huge quantities … But… I also work full time, grab things for convenience & have a liking for cake.

It was time to clear out all the sugar, caffeine & lunch-time sandwiches, whilst my body was put into a state of fasting (I know, Fasting whilst eating!)  Helping to rid my body of toxins, dead cells & the wobbly bits around my middle.

5 days of not having to think about what to shop for/prepare & cook.

The trick for me was to remember it’s only 5 days.

The mind does funny things when you break your normal routine & even though I knew I wasn’t hungry I had to talk myself out of thinking I was around days 3 & 4. It does take some willpower …

Day 1: Yes this is going to be great, no problem, in fact I’m excited.

Day 2: I am actually doing this & I am also being annoyingly self righteous while I do.

Day 3: I’m quite looking forward to cooking- I’d like a piece of toast (don’t do it!).

Day 4: It’s ok, I’m nearly there, so maybe I could have that piece of cheese (No! I can have it, but I’m deciding I don’t really want it. I do want it.)

Day 5: Thank goodness I’ve made it. I am amazing & my body has gone from Greenhouse to Temple.

The day after….

I had fantasised about a cup of tea with toast & marmite for breakfast.

Disappointing. As a proper lover of Tea I just couldn’t face it, seriously, I just wanted hot water with lemon & was gutted that I’d used all the herbal teas that came in the Prolon Box. The toast, other than the amazing smell of marmite was massively underwhelming.

The downs:

It is a soup based eating plan in terms of main meals & I had to resist the urge to add anything for extra flavour… Although the Tomato soup was divine. And yes this is an expense *see below.

The Ups:

Each day comes with enjoy nibbles, Olives, Kale Crackers & little bars of pure tastiness.

I have more energy, my skin is bright, I am more alert, I’m sleeping better than I have for ages & have lost 2.5 kg as an added bonus. But the most noticeable thing is being able to spring out of bed in the morning without the stiffness!

So, in a nutshell this 5 day eating plan is completely doable & yes I will most definitely do it at least a couple of times a year.

I have saved money on all the morning coffees, sandwiches, afternoon tea & cake etc that I used to buy at work. Plus the weekly food shop has gone down massively because I am eating so well ie. No rubbish in the shopping basket as all sugar cravings have disappeared.

Thank you Tanya for introducing me to a quick start for a healthier life x 

* 5 day Prolon meal plan £225.