PronoKal was set up in 2004 to provide a scientifically based programme to achieve effective weight loss, getting rid of excess fat while preserving muscle. The initial PronoKal Method was very effective. However, developing research showed how metabolic-triggered inflammation, starting in the gut and in the adipose tissue (hence its other name, lipoinflammation), played a very important role in the maintenance of obesity and in weight regain after weight loss.
PronoKal therefore developed a new programme, the PnK Method, with all the advantages of the PronoKal Method but with the addition of specific measures to reduce lipoinflammation. Here I describe the scientific basis for the efficacy of the PnK Method. Please also read my article on the PnK team here and how we can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
How does the PnK Method work?
Effective weight loss
Numerous clinical trials have now shown how rapid weight loss is more effective than slow weight loss both in the short term and in the long term.1 It is also very important that the weight lost is fat rather than muscle.
The PnK Method employs several approaches to ensure effective weight loss:
- A very low calorie diet to provoke a rapid reduction in weight.
- Ketosis, to ensure weight is reduced by burning fat.
- Provision of high-biological-quality protein and a specific exercise programme to protect muscle.
- Supplementation to ensure healthy micronutrition.
These approaches are made possible by meal replacement products. PronoKal takes normal foods and removes almost all the sugar and fat, leaving just the protein. The calorie count is therefore very low (between 100 and 130 kcal per product), and the total daily calorie intake is under 800 kcal, the upper limit for definition of a very low calorie diet (VLCD). Scientific research has shown that, as is to be expected, VLCDs induce more rapid weight loss than low-calorie diets.
The virtual absence of absorbable carbohydrate from the PnK diet means that the body has to rely on burning fat for energy. This produces a state called ketosis; the PnK diet is therefore a ketogenic diet. You may have heard of ketosis, which is typically referred to as a high-fat diet or high-protein diet. However, as you can read in my article on ketosis, the only defining feature of a ketogenic diet is the virtual absence of carbohydrate; the amount of fat and protein depends on what you want to achieve. As the PnK diet wants to achieve rapid weight loss, the fat content is kept to a minimum (around 25 grams per day), so your body will burn your own fat rather than fat from the diet. And the protein content is kept within international guidelines for health, protecting your muscle.
Supplementation with vitamins and minerals ensures intake of 100% of the recommended daily requirements for adults, maintaining a healthy internal environment, with normal physiological function.
Lipoinflammation is associated with a reduced sensation of satiety, increased appetite, increased fat storage and altered lipid-carbohydrate metabolism. This provokes a vicious circle that increases hunger and fat storage as weight increases, making it ever more difficult to reduce food intake and lose weight.
The PnK Method, made up of the PnK diet and the PnK lifestyle, is designed to reduce lipoinflammation and break that vicious circle. Exercise is known to have anti-inflammatory effects and is included in the PnK lifestyle protocol. But the PnK diet also includes a unique, patented ingredient, Protein-DHA®, which, in combination with specific omega-3 supplementation, has been shown to provide substrates used by the immune system to switch off inflammation.
Turning off inflammation is hugely important for two main reasons:
- Breaking the vicious circle of hunger, making weight regain less likely after you reach your target weight.
- Reducing the risk of diseases associated with obesity. The principal link between these diseases and obesity is considered to be the chronic inflammatory state that develops as the body increases in weight.
The PnK diet and lifestyle programme is therefore designed not only to provoke rapid weight loss but also to reduce the likelihood of weight regain and the risk of obesity-related diseases.
See here if you would like to know a bit more about the changes that occur during lipoinflammation.
Protection of muscle
Muscle is a healthy tissue, very important in the control of the metabolic environment within the body. It is also important in weight loss because it burns a lot of calories. The risk with many diets, especially fad diets, is loss of muscle mass due to of an imbalance in nutrient delivery.
The PnK diet adheres to WHO/EFSA recommendations for protein and micronutrient intakes and applies an exercise regimen designed to maintain muscle.
The exercise programme in the PnK Method is based on scientific observations showing that resistance exercise is essential for the maintenance of muscle mass. This is not to say in any way that aerobic exercise is not beneficial. Aerobic exercise is restricted during the weight-loss phase of the programme simply because the energy intake is so low that overexertion during aerobic exercise could lead to dizziness. Aerobic exercise is reintroduced after completing the very low calorie ketogenic phase of the diet.
Clinical trials show an excellent maintenance of muscle mass during weight loss with PnK.2
Prevention of weight regain
An essential part of weight loss is the prevention of weight regain.
During the return to a normal diet, after completing the rapid weight loss phase of the diet, the PnK Method provides dietary re-education. The concepts of a healthy diet and lifestyle for long-term weight maintenance are introduced, with focus on foods that will help to avoid metabolic disturbances, and a balanced exercise programme of aerobic and resistance activities.
As discussed above, the reduction of lipoinflammation plays an important role in the prevention of weight regain. After finishing the diet, the measures used in the PnK Method to reduce lipoinflammation are continued in the long term to favour weight maintenance.
Finally, long-term follow-up is provided in case weight regain does occur. If it is detected at an early stage, before it becomes a problem, it is much easier to get it back under control.
- Short-term safety, tolerability and efficacy of a very low-calorie-ketogenic diet interventional weight loss program versus hypocaloric diet in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Nutrition & Diabetes. Sept 2016. https://doi.org/10.1038/nutd.2016.36
- Body Composition Changes After Very-Low-Calorie Ketogenic Diet in Obesity Evaluated by 3 Standardized Methods. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Feb 2017, https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2016-2385