The Benefits and Drawbacks of Fasting Mimicking Diets (FMDs)
Have you ever been in such a hurry in the morning that you rushed out the door without eating breakfast? If you have done that, you have accomplished a fasting-mimicking diet.
In all honesty, 20 years ago, I taught my patients not to do this. I taught them to eat three meals daily with snacks in between them. I had been following studies that claimed this was the healthy thing to do, especially not to skip breakfast.
A few years later, I discovered who had funded those studies. It was the breakfast food cereal companies! I started digging into independent research and found there were tremendous benefits in limiting the number of times and the hours you eat in a day. Click the button below to read more about the benefits and drawbacks of restricting the eating window.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Fasting Mimic Diets.
You have seen articles about fasting mimicking diets or intermittent fasting. It has been a craze in the wellness world for a couple of years. If you follow me, you know I have been recommending doing this for over a decade. Yet is it truly good for the body?
There are both benefits and drawbacks to this type of eating pattern, and I’ll tell you about each. For some people, it can do more harm than good. For others, it is one of the best ways to reset your Structural System, Digestive System, lose weight, reduce the risk of developing diabetes and insulin resistance, and even balance hormones.
What Are Fasting-mimicking Diets?
FMDs are also referred to as intermittent fasting and time-restricted eating. Fasting mimic diets trick your body into thinking it is fasting while you are still eating food. The cells see fasting; the stomach sees food.
There are many different versions of FMDs, which are surprisingly easy to do. For example, one popular fasting pattern involves eating all the meals in a seven-hour window. Another fasting method entails fasting for 23 hours once or twice a week or even on alternate days.
How Do FMDs Work?
The body breaks down carbohydrates from food into glucose to provide energy. When your body doesn’t get enough carbohydrates or calories, it switches to utilizing fat cells that turn into ketones for energy. FMDs trigger your body to burn stored fat for fuel.
This change is known as “flipping the switch.”
Sadly, most American bodies don’t know how to flip the switch. They’re so used to having plenty of readily available sugars and carbohydrates that they don’t need to resort to using storage. In the 7 Systems Plan, we talk about being metabolically adapted. It’s a great state to be in! When calories are not coming in, your body can instantly switch to burning fat. Getting your body metabolically adapted can take months, but it is well worth the effort. FMDs are a great tool to make this happen.
If you are eating three meals a day and snacks in between, you will never become metabolically adapted.
Methods of FMDs
In the 7 Systems Plan course, we teach patients how to do three simple and powerful FMDs.
The 17-hour Fast
This method involves eating all your calories in a seven-hour window and fasting for 17 hours. The simplest way to do this is to skip breakfast and eat between 12 and 7 o’clock. Since you are sleeping for a significant part of this window, it is an effortless thing to do. If you want to make this an even more powerful tool to regain your health and lose weight, moving the eating window to the a.m. can be even more beneficial.
The 23-hour Fast
This method involves eating all of your calories in a one-hour window, one time per day. This method should not be used daily but can be done up to three times per week on alternate days. The body likes it when you do not consume the same number of calories every day. For ideal benefits, that one meal should contain 500 to 600 calories. Again, if the calories are consumed earlier in the day, it is more beneficial.
The 5:2 FMD
This method involves eating normally five days a week and restricting calories significantly two days a week. The ‘fasting days’ are limited to 500 to 600 calories and should not be back to back. For example, you could do this on Monday and Thursday for your fasting days. I have found this much easier to do on days when I am busy. The calories can be consumed in three meals, or for even more benefit, one meal.
What Are the Benefits and Drawbacks of FMDs?
If you are going to use FMDs, it is crucial to focus on foods that heal your body. On the 7 Systems Plan, we recommend 10 food groups. Getting each of these food groups in daily maximizes weight loss, reverses disease, and helps get each of your Systems working correctly. Let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of FMDs
Thousands of studies now show FMDs offer a wide variety of health benefits, including:
Increased Weight Loss
When calories are not coming in, and all of the stored muscle glucose is used up (16 hours), the body starts releasing calories from fat cells. FMDs also increase the human growth hormone, which increases fat loss and muscle gain.
Weight loss can be significant. Studies have shown that people who use the 5:2 plan three times a week lose an average of 8% of their body fat in eight weeks.
Decreased Insulin and Insulin Resistance
Research shows that FMDs can lower insulin levels and make the insulin produced work better. As we gain weight, our cells become less sensitive to insulin, limiting its effect. FMDs help correct this problem.
If you have been following me, you know that chronic inflammation is the root of almost every disease, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer.
Multiple studies show FMDs lower levels of systemic inflammation and pro-inflammatory cytokines in your bloodstream.
Additionally, oxidative stress, which is present in everyone, is decreased, and your body can deal more readily with free-radical exposure.
Decreased Risk of Heart Disease
Hundreds of studies now show that FMDs can lower the risk of heart disease. These studies show that LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure all improve with FMDs.
Improved Brain Health
FMDs benefit every area of the body, including your brain. Using this tool increases levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor BDNF, which is very beneficial. It may even aid your body in growing new neurons in your brain!
Other studies indicate that the anti-inflammatory effects of FMDs help protect against Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Powerful Anti-aging Benefit
When you use FMDs, it changes the way genes express themselves. This behavior supports longevity and reduces the risk of chronic disease. Fasting induces something called autophagy, the self-eating of damaged cells. During times of fasting, the body cleans out aging or damaged cells and recycles some of their parts to form new healthy cells. Look for more information on this in coming newsletters.
Increased Life Span
Animal studies show that these methods help them live up to 83% longer!
Drawbacks of FMDs
As you can see, the benefits of FMDs are incredible, but there are a few drawbacks. You should be aware of some possible drawbacks of FMDs before starting.
You Can Still Gain Weight
If you eat the wrong food or overconsume during your eating window, you will likely gain weight. Just because you’re using these methods does not mean you can eat anything you want. Additionally, weight loss can be difficult if you’re eating most of your calories late in the day. Make sure you focus on the 10 food groups recommended in the 7Systems Plan.
Possible Side Effects
Your body has to change to become proficient at switching to fat for energy when needed. Getting to where this is effortless, as it is for me, can take a few weeks or even a few months. Some people notice fatigue, dizziness, digestive issues, irritability, and sleep disturbances during the transition process. These symptoms disappear as your body gets metabolically adapted.
Other Health Conditions to Consider
Although the following do not exclude people from using FMDs, you may want to talk to your medical doctor if you have the following conditions:
- Low blood pressure
- Trying to conceive children
- Pregnant or breast-feeding
Tips For Success
Begin by cutting out the snacks in between meals. Next, if you want to try the 17-hour fast, start with a 12-hour fast and only eat three times a day. Gradually increase your fasting window until you reach 17 hours.
Eliminate late-night eating.
Late-night calories are the most harmful for every System of your body. Try to get at least three hours between your last meal and going to bed.
Provide your body with the nutrients it needs
Giving your body the correct vitamins and minerals is crucial for optimal health, especially if you use FMDs. Eat an abundance of nutrient-dense foods from the 10 food groups on the 7 Systems Plan. This practice will help you maintain your energy level throughout your fasting period. Sadly, today it is harder and harder to get all the nutrients we need from our food. Adding high-quality vitamins, such as NutriDyn Essentials Multi can help fill in the gaps that diet alone cannot meet.
I take Essentials Multi every day to help meet my nutrient needs. It is custom formulated to support all 7 Systems of your body. It contains methylated B vitamins, chelated minerals, vitamin D, and anti-oxidants to give your body the full spectrum of nutrients it needs.
FMDs are an excellent tool for weight loss, reducing inflammation, and reducing your risk for chronic illness. It is a tool I personally use every week. I encourage you to incorporate FMDs into your new, healthier lifestyle. If you have health challenges, talk to your doctor before implementing FMDs.
POWER PEACH GREEN SMOOTHIE
7 SYSTEMS PLAN
By Julie Ann Luse
Green smoothies can pack in a lot of power and keep you full for a very long time. This one is creamy and has the added sweetness of peach and mango. Split in half if it’s too much; you can save this power smoothie for later or even make it the night before. Drinking Green smoothies like this will give you energy, clear your mind, and cause your skin to glow!
- 1 ½ cups spinach
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons cashews
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 cup peach slices (fresh or frozen)
- ½ cup mango slices (fresh or frozen)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
Directions: For the creamiest smoothie, soak the cashews in a small bowl of water for about 10 minutes before blending (or soak them overnight in the fridge). For a colder smoothie, make ahead and put in fridge, or use frozen fruit. Place spinach, water, cashews, and coconut oil in blender until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend again. If smoothie is too thick, add extra water.
Note: Not all blenders are created equal. If you have a “smoothie” function on your equipment, fabulous! But some blenders will need you to pulse and blend for a long time for maximum smoothness. I learned this the hard way. You should be able to drink your smoothie, not munch on it.
NUTRITIONAL DATA: Serves 1. Calories 411, Fat 26.9g, Sodium 338mg Carbohydrates 39.1g, Fiber 5.8g, Sugars 27.7g Protein 8.7g, Vitamin A 20%, Vitamin C 93%, Calcium 30%, Iron 21%, Magnesium 55%, Potassium 26%, Zinc 20%, Folic Acid (B9) 36%, Vitamin K 309%