Is Fasting Beneficial for Weight Loss?

Is Fasting Beneficial for Weight Loss?
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Fasting for a week or two is like the keto diet—it can actually slow body fat loss rather that accelerating it.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Fasting obviously causes consistent, dramatic weight loss, but how do fasted individuals do long-term? Some research groups reported extremely disappointing results. Here’s what they saw. Average subject started out at about 270 pounds and, in the six months before the fast, continued to gain weight as obese persons tend to do. Then, after 24 days of what they called “inpatient starvation,” a dramatic 27-pound weight loss. Then what do you think happened? They gained it all back and more, though one could argue if they had not fasted, they might have been up around here at that point.

In another study with follow-ups ranging up to 50 months, only 4 out of 25 so-called “superobese” patients achieved even partial sustained success. Based on these kinds of data, some investigators concluded that “complete starvation is of no value in the long-term treatment of obese patients.”

Other research teams reported better outcomes. One series of about 100 individuals found that 60 percent either retained at least some weight loss at follow-up or even continued losing. The follow-up periods varied from 1 to 32 months, with no breakdown as to who fasted how long, though—making the data hard to interpret. One year after fasting, 62 patients down 16 pounds in 10 days. In another study, 40 percent retained at least 7 pounds of that weight loss.

Put six such studies together, and hundreds of obese subjects fasted for an average of 44 days, lost an average of 52 pounds, and around one or two years later, 40 percent retained at least some of the weight loss. So, most gained all their weight back, but 40 percent is extraordinary for a weight-loss study. Following 100 obese individuals getting treated at a weight loss clinic with a standard low-calorie diet, researchers found only 1 out of 100 lost more than 40 pounds, and only about 1 in 10 even lost 20 pounds, with the overall successful weight maintenance at only two patients over two years. That’s why having a control group is so important. What may look like a general failure may actually be a relative success, compared to more traditional weight loss techniques.

Researchers new to the field may find it clearly disappointing that a year later, two-thirds were “failures,” with more than a third regaining all the weight they had initially lost. But 12 percent were labeled successes, maintaining 59 pounds of weight loss two years later. They lost massive amounts of excess weight and kept it off. In a direct comparison of different weight loss approaches at the same clinic, five years after initiating a conventional low-calorie approach, only about one in five was down 20 pounds, compared to nearly half in the group who instead had undergone a few weeks of fasting years previously. By year seven, most of those instructed on daily caloric restriction were back to, or had exceeded, their original weight, but that was only true for about one in ten of the fasted group. In an influential paper in the New England Journal of Medicine on seven myths about obesity, fallacy #3 was that “Large, rapid weight loss is associated with poorer long-term weight-loss outcomes, as compared with slow, gradual weight loss.” In reality, the opposite is true. The hare may end up skinnier than the turtle.

Researchers set up a study comparing the sustainability of weight loss at three different speeds: six days of fasting versus three weeks of a very-low-calorie diet, 600 calories a day, or six weeks of a low-calorie diet, 1,200 calories a day. The question is, what happened a year later? A year later, the fasting group was the only one that sustained a significant loss of weight. That was just one year, though; how about nine years later?

This is the largest, longest follow-up study I could find. At least some of the fast-induced weight losses were maintained a year later by the great majority. A year later, 90 percent remained lighter than they started out, but then two years later, three years, four years, seven years, and by nine years later, that number dropped to fewer than 1 in 10. By then, almost everyone had regained the weight they had initially fasted away. Many patients reported they thought the temporary loss was worth it, though. As a group, they lost an average of about 60 pounds. They described improved health and quality of life, claiming re-employment was facilitated, and earnings increased during that period of time. But the fasting didn’t appear to result in any permanent change in eating habits for the vast majority.

The small minority for which fasting led to sustainable weight loss “all admit to a radical change in previous eating habits.” Fasting only works long-term if it can act as a jumpstart to a healthier diet. In a retrospective long-term comparison of weight reduction after an inpatient stay at a naturopathic center, those who were fasted lost more weight at the time, but at around seven years were back to the same weight. No surprise, since most reported returning to the same diet they were on before. Those who were instead placed on a healthier, more whole food plant-based diet were more likely to make persistent changes in their diet, and seven years later were lighter than when they started. Why can’t you have it both ways, though? You could use fasting to kickstart a big drop, and then start a healthier diet. The problem is that big drop is largely illusory.

Fasting for a week or two can cause more weight loss than calorie restriction, but paradoxically, it may actually lead to less loss of body fat. Wait, how can eating fewer calories lead to less fat loss? Because during fasting, your body starts cannibalizing itself and burning more of your protein for fuel. Emperor penguins, elephant seals, and hibernating bears can survive just burning fat without dipping into their muscles, but our voracious big brains appear to need at least a trickle of blood sugar, and if we’re not eating any carbohydrates, our body is forced to start turning our protein into sugar to burn. Even just a few grams of carbs, like people who add honey to their water when they fast, can cut protein loss up to 50 percent.

What about adding exercise to prevent loss of lean tissues during a fast? It may make it worse! At rest, most of your heart and muscle energy needs can be met with fat, but if you start exercising, they start grabbing some of the blood sugar meant for your brain, and your body may have to break down even more protein.

Less than half of the weight loss during the first few weeks of fasting ends up coming from your fat stores. So, even if you double your daily weight loss on a fast, you may be actually losing less body fat. An NIH-funded study placed obese individuals on an 800- calorie-a-day diet for two weeks, and they steadily lost about a pound of body fat a day. Then they switched them to about two weeks of zero calories, and they started losing more protein and water, but, on average, only lost a few ounces of fat a day. When they were subsequently switched back to the initial 800-calories-a-day for a week, they rapidly replaced the protein and water. And so, the scale registered their weight going up, but their body fat loss accelerated back to the approximate pound a day. The scale made it look as though they were doing better when they were completely fasting, but the reality is they were doing worse. So, during the five-week experiment, they would have lost even more body fat sticking to their calorie-restricted diet than completely stopping eating in the middle. They would have lost more body fat, eating more calories. Fasting for a week or two can interfere with the loss of body fat, rather than accelerate it.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Laurent Valentin via pixabay. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Fasting obviously causes consistent, dramatic weight loss, but how do fasted individuals do long-term? Some research groups reported extremely disappointing results. Here’s what they saw. Average subject started out at about 270 pounds and, in the six months before the fast, continued to gain weight as obese persons tend to do. Then, after 24 days of what they called “inpatient starvation,” a dramatic 27-pound weight loss. Then what do you think happened? They gained it all back and more, though one could argue if they had not fasted, they might have been up around here at that point.

In another study with follow-ups ranging up to 50 months, only 4 out of 25 so-called “superobese” patients achieved even partial sustained success. Based on these kinds of data, some investigators concluded that “complete starvation is of no value in the long-term treatment of obese patients.”

Other research teams reported better outcomes. One series of about 100 individuals found that 60 percent either retained at least some weight loss at follow-up or even continued losing. The follow-up periods varied from 1 to 32 months, with no breakdown as to who fasted how long, though—making the data hard to interpret. One year after fasting, 62 patients down 16 pounds in 10 days. In another study, 40 percent retained at least 7 pounds of that weight loss.

Put six such studies together, and hundreds of obese subjects fasted for an average of 44 days, lost an average of 52 pounds, and around one or two years later, 40 percent retained at least some of the weight loss. So, most gained all their weight back, but 40 percent is extraordinary for a weight-loss study. Following 100 obese individuals getting treated at a weight loss clinic with a standard low-calorie diet, researchers found only 1 out of 100 lost more than 40 pounds, and only about 1 in 10 even lost 20 pounds, with the overall successful weight maintenance at only two patients over two years. That’s why having a control group is so important. What may look like a general failure may actually be a relative success, compared to more traditional weight loss techniques.

Researchers new to the field may find it clearly disappointing that a year later, two-thirds were “failures,” with more than a third regaining all the weight they had initially lost. But 12 percent were labeled successes, maintaining 59 pounds of weight loss two years later. They lost massive amounts of excess weight and kept it off. In a direct comparison of different weight loss approaches at the same clinic, five years after initiating a conventional low-calorie approach, only about one in five was down 20 pounds, compared to nearly half in the group who instead had undergone a few weeks of fasting years previously. By year seven, most of those instructed on daily caloric restriction were back to, or had exceeded, their original weight, but that was only true for about one in ten of the fasted group. In an influential paper in the New England Journal of Medicine on seven myths about obesity, fallacy #3 was that “Large, rapid weight loss is associated with poorer long-term weight-loss outcomes, as compared with slow, gradual weight loss.” In reality, the opposite is true. The hare may end up skinnier than the turtle.

Researchers set up a study comparing the sustainability of weight loss at three different speeds: six days of fasting versus three weeks of a very-low-calorie diet, 600 calories a day, or six weeks of a low-calorie diet, 1,200 calories a day. The question is, what happened a year later? A year later, the fasting group was the only one that sustained a significant loss of weight. That was just one year, though; how about nine years later?

This is the largest, longest follow-up study I could find. At least some of the fast-induced weight losses were maintained a year later by the great majority. A year later, 90 percent remained lighter than they started out, but then two years later, three years, four years, seven years, and by nine years later, that number dropped to fewer than 1 in 10. By then, almost everyone had regained the weight they had initially fasted away. Many patients reported they thought the temporary loss was worth it, though. As a group, they lost an average of about 60 pounds. They described improved health and quality of life, claiming re-employment was facilitated, and earnings increased during that period of time. But the fasting didn’t appear to result in any permanent change in eating habits for the vast majority.

The small minority for which fasting led to sustainable weight loss “all admit to a radical change in previous eating habits.” Fasting only works long-term if it can act as a jumpstart to a healthier diet. In a retrospective long-term comparison of weight reduction after an inpatient stay at a naturopathic center, those who were fasted lost more weight at the time, but at around seven years were back to the same weight. No surprise, since most reported returning to the same diet they were on before. Those who were instead placed on a healthier, more whole food plant-based diet were more likely to make persistent changes in their diet, and seven years later were lighter than when they started. Why can’t you have it both ways, though? You could use fasting to kickstart a big drop, and then start a healthier diet. The problem is that big drop is largely illusory.

Fasting for a week or two can cause more weight loss than calorie restriction, but paradoxically, it may actually lead to less loss of body fat. Wait, how can eating fewer calories lead to less fat loss? Because during fasting, your body starts cannibalizing itself and burning more of your protein for fuel. Emperor penguins, elephant seals, and hibernating bears can survive just burning fat without dipping into their muscles, but our voracious big brains appear to need at least a trickle of blood sugar, and if we’re not eating any carbohydrates, our body is forced to start turning our protein into sugar to burn. Even just a few grams of carbs, like people who add honey to their water when they fast, can cut protein loss up to 50 percent.

What about adding exercise to prevent loss of lean tissues during a fast? It may make it worse! At rest, most of your heart and muscle energy needs can be met with fat, but if you start exercising, they start grabbing some of the blood sugar meant for your brain, and your body may have to break down even more protein.

Less than half of the weight loss during the first few weeks of fasting ends up coming from your fat stores. So, even if you double your daily weight loss on a fast, you may be actually losing less body fat. An NIH-funded study placed obese individuals on an 800- calorie-a-day diet for two weeks, and they steadily lost about a pound of body fat a day. Then they switched them to about two weeks of zero calories, and they started losing more protein and water, but, on average, only lost a few ounces of fat a day. When they were subsequently switched back to the initial 800-calories-a-day for a week, they rapidly replaced the protein and water. And so, the scale registered their weight going up, but their body fat loss accelerated back to the approximate pound a day. The scale made it look as though they were doing better when they were completely fasting, but the reality is they were doing worse. So, during the five-week experiment, they would have lost even more body fat sticking to their calorie-restricted diet than completely stopping eating in the middle. They would have lost more body fat, eating more calories. Fasting for a week or two can interfere with the loss of body fat, rather than accelerate it.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Laurent Valentin via pixabay. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

This is the follow-up to Benefits of Fasting for Weight Loss Put to the Test. It seems fasting only works long-term if it can act as a jumpstart to a healthier diet, and just doing it for a week or two can be counterproductive, like the keto diet. And is it even safe to fast longer than that? Coming up next: Is Fasting for Weight Loss Safe?

Here’s the keto story:

I just gave the third live webinar on fasting: Fasting and Cancer. Those videos will be up for free in the next year or so, but if you want to see them sooner, all three of my fasting webinars are now available for download here.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

163 responses to “Is Fasting Beneficial for Weight Loss?

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  1. Many thanks for the video, but what about the ketones? I thought during a fasted state the body breaks down fat and converts that into ketones in the liver which then can be used as fuel for the brain (according to Dr. Jason Fung)?

    1. Simone,

      That was a good question because it clearly didn’t work. That challenges the whole, “Brains prefer to run on ketones” concept that is taught in Keto circles.

    2. Longo says the same thing.

      But below is a link that suggest avocados may be helpful in weight loss and especially in diabetes prevention. Some may view the results skeptically because at the end it is revealed that not all avocados have the same amount of the ingredient that does the work and the author is creating a powder with the ingredient that has been licensed to a Canadian pharmaceutical company for sale in 2020.

      Being concerned about diabetes, I am going to follow this treatment and will probably be an early adopter of the avocado powder.

      https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-10/uog-amh103019.php

      1. Just found this is my mailbox from Ralph at Immortality Tea:

        “Hi Lonie,

        A new mice study published this month in the research journal Nutrition studies the effects of Gynostemma on obesity.

        The researchers separated the mice into 4 groups, a control group fed a normal diet, a group fed a high-fat diet, a third group fed a high-fat diet and supplemented with gynostemma, and finally, a group fed a high-fat diet and the anti-obesity drug Orlistat.

        The gynostemma group was subdivided into three subgroups with different dosages of gynostemma.”

        The link to the study is:

        https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/11/10/2475/htm?__s=qnezbssqarojpsss6usi#

          1. So true Dr. J.

            However, Gynostema or “Jiaogulan” is an adaptogenic herb that has been around for a very long time and has a history of use for humans.

            From the article listed below:

            It is especially helpful for the immune, digestive, nervous, reproductive and cardiovascular systems. It is a very potent health tonic.

            Saponins are what gives this powerful herb it’s ability as an adaptogen. It has the largest amount of saponins of any natural plant. There are over 80 of them contained in Gynostema. This is over four time the amount found in ginseng The saponins in Gynostemma are called “gypenosides”.

            These are similar to the ginsenosides in ginseng. Some of these saponins actually convert to ginsenosides when ingested.

            When you take Gynostemma, you get the benefits of saponins and ginsenosides. Gynostemma is also much cheaper than ginseng, making it a very popular health supplement.

            Gynostemma is very popular all over the world for it’s ability to control weight. If you are too skinny, it can help you gain weight. If you are too heavy, it can help you lose weight. This is the balancing action of this adaptogen. It brings the body back to it’s normal weight.

            …. Read Original Article: http://www.herbslist.net/gynostemma.html

          1. Lonie, thank you for bringing up Gynostemmna, it has been used for a long time for help with insulin resistance.
            ————————————————————————————————————-
            Marilyn Kaye

            And thank you for posting your link… that is some pretty convincing evidence of a way to treat T2 Diabetes for anyone looking for a natural approach.

  2. I get my diet, exercise, health and lifestyle advice from these 3 Centenarian MD’s that sell no books or products:

    Age 105 Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara from Japan

    Age 104 Dr. Ephraim Engleman Famous Rheumatologist

    Age 102 Dr. Fred Kummerow Ph.D in food chemistry and professor of food science.

    1. Bully for you. Most of us here though rely on what the science tells us rather than what gurus tell us. We even like to double-check what Dr Greger says.- trust but verify as a certain someone once said.

      Dr Greger and Dr Mirkin are good starting points for further nutrition research/studies..
      https://www.drmirkin.com/

        1. He actually says

          ‘This study and many others suggest that the U.S. dietary guidelines need to be revisited. The current guidelines contain no specific limit on dietary cholesterol, while guidelines before 2015 recommended limiting dietary cholesterol to less than 300 milligrams per day. This is less than the amount of cholesterol in two eggs. Since cholesterol is found in varying amounts in meat, poultry and dairy as well as in eggs, this study supports the diet I have recommended for many years: heavy on plants and light on animal products.’
          https://www.drmirkin.com/nutrition/animal-products-linked-to-increased-heart-attack-risk.html

          it seems to me that in fact he is recommending a whole food plant based diet that may or may not contain small amounts of animal food.(in the form of fatty fish).

          1. True. But he also said, “Most young people do not need to worry about protein, and older people can meet their needs for protein by eating reasonable amounts of nuts, beans, whole grains, and animal protein (seafood, poultry, cheese, yogurt).”

            I, being one of the “older people”………

            1. Do you have a link for that?

              ‘Can’, of course, is not the same as ‘should’. The fish is a ‘should’ according to Mirkin but the others are not – or so I understand

              As far as I know, he continues to recommend a primarily WFPB diet including fish several times a week – the dairy is ‘optional’

              “You should immediately notice that this is basically the diet that I have recommended for more than 30 years. Here’s MY MODIFIED DASH DIET for total heart health — to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, control weight, and prevent or control diabetes.

              Up to 8 servings (1/2 cup) of WHOLE grains (not products made from flour)
              At least 5 vegetables
              At least 5 fruits
              Up to 3 servings of plain yogurt or cheese (optional)
              2 servings of seafood per week (I recommend that you avoid meat from mammals)
              Beans or legumes (no limit)
              A few handfuls of nuts or snack seeds
              A few tablespoons of olive oil (optional)
              Avoid: added sugars and other refined carbohydrates
              VERY IMPORTANT – Exercise!”
              https://www.drmirkin.com/health/heart/8614.html

              1. Yes, it’s the same link I posted earlier. Scroll down the “Calcium” page and you’ll find that sentence.

                “…..and older people can meet their needs for protein by eating reasonable amounts of nuts, beans, whole grains, and animal protein (seafood, poultry, cheese, yogurt).”

                He doesn’t say how much he thinks “reasonable” would be, however. What’s “reasonable”? Is it the same sort of word as “(in) moderation”?

                1. Thanks YR but I see that on that page he concludes:

                  ‘My Recommendations
                  You can help to prevent and treat osteoporosis by exercising against resistance, eating a plant-based anti-inflammatory diet that restricts red meat, processed meats and sugar-added foods, meeting your needs for calcium by eating a variety of calcium-rich foods, avoiding excess weight, avoiding smoking and restricting alcohol.’

                  As I wrote previously, he seems to advocate a WFPB diet (that isn’t necessarily completely vegetarian and in fact should probably contain several weekly servings of oily fish).

              2. Hey, sounds like the diet I’m already following! Certainly not “tablespoons” of EVOO, though. Maybe a few drips on morning toast and/or raw salad at dinner if I don’t have ant avocado around.

        2. Did you read on that page Y R that the 2013 US Preventative Services task force reviewed 135 studies and recommended that postmenopausal women NOT take calcium or Vitamin D pills.

          I have been reading his site for a long time now and glean a lot from his short, concise articles. Both he and his wife practise a type of alternate day fasting, and eat 2 meals per day on regular days. He does eat some fish and plant based diet.

          1. Barb,

            They don’t recommend it for preventing fractures in non-institutionalized postmenopausal women due to insufficient evidence.

            They do recommend it for institutionalized postmenopausal women because they have a greater risk of falls.

              1. I should add their sentence

                The USPSTF has previously concluded in a separate recommendation that vitamin D supplementation is effective in preventing falls in community-dwelling adults aged 65 years or older who are at increased risk for falls.

    2. They probably don’t sell books or products because all 3 are dead….living to ripe old age and great philosophies on life. But not real marketable at this point….

    3. Fred Kummerow advocated for the removal of transfats from the diet – generally regarded as accurate information and has now been banned from the food supply. A good move.
      He taught at University as he was a professor of Veterinary medicine. When I turn into a dog or cat I’ll look up his good advice.

  3. Yerky, Those people are certainly unique people indeed.

    But so is George Burns, the comedian, who lived to be 100 and was an avid cigar smoker! And so are many other centenarians who drink and smoke and don’t sell books and products.

    So I get my diet, exercise, health, and lifestyle advice not from people, but from scientific evidence, including evolutionary principles and related evidence.

    And Dr Greger does an excellent job of finding and explaining that scientific evidence to us.

    1. Darwin,

      George Burns with his typical daily cigar and martini in hand said on his 100th birthday speech:
      “If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”
      You see people forget good humor is good nutrition in itself.

  4. Wow, there’s a lot of fascinating information here. Question: the same journal section is used to describe two different verbal statements. The video seems to fit the first audio (6:36), but not the second (6:51).

    “Administration of as little as 7.5 grams of carbohydrate to an otherwise starving human halves urinary nitrogen loss, demonstrate the exquisite sensitivity of the human body in trying to maintain viability by preserving muscle mass.”

    1. Julie, So I was thinking maybe a shot of gatorade type solution daily might work for fasting? The problem (for me) with the 800 cal diet vs fasting is that eating 800 cal (or 1000, or 1200 for that matter) is sooooo much harder than eating nothing. The burning hunger I experience in eating a reduced calorie plan, even if I am filling up with greens, fruits and veg, is really unpleasant.

      1. Barb, I think your idea sounds good. 7.5 grams of carbohydrate is only 30 calories, so you could even get it from fruit or vegetable juice as well. It blows my mind that just eating this tiny amount of carbs cuts muscle loss is half!

      1. You are not fasting if you are eating any calorie or any significant amount of nutrients, juices are liquid food, you should call it juice feasting or juice diet.

    2. MODERATORS: The journal article shown at 6:51 does NOT match what Dr. Greger is saying. This exact same passage is used at 6:36 and beautifully supports what is being said. Could 6:51 be missing the proper photo?

  5. As someone who was formerly “morbidly obese”, and practiced caloric restriction to try to battle it, I can say it doesn’t work in the long term. Even now on a oil free WFPB diet, I can’t get to my desired weight. The ONLY way I can lose weight and keep it off is at least a week of water fasting when I can manage it. Long term caloric restriction slowed my metabolism so much I will gain weight on around 1400 calories a day, but for whatever reason, occasional total abstinence does not have the same effect and the loss is sustained. So far I’ve done 3 water fasts and aside from the initial return of the few pounds of glycogen and water weight, I’ve kept off all the weight lost, which is a miracle for me. I would love to be able to afford to go to True North and do an extended supervised fast, not just for weight, but healing, which is also wonderfully effective. I had RA and fibromyalgia for many years, and though it is mostly gone, I still get occasional flares that water fasting fixes for quite a while… along with a host of other benefits. I’m definitely a fan!

    1. Vegetater,

      That is interesting.

      Can you explain the sentence: Long term caloric restriction slowed my metabolism so much I will gain weight on around 1400 calories a day, but for whatever reason, occasional total abstinence does not have the same effect and the loss is sustained.

      Are you saying that it doesn’t slow your metabolism any further? Or that you don’t get hunger rebound?

    2. Vegetater – I am right there with you. Although my background does not include morbid obesity (bless your struggle), I have struggled to take off the same 15lbs for a long time. Interestingly, I just finished a 5-day fast just a couple of days ago and dropped 9 lbs but today I am up half a pound, which I expected when refeeding began. What helped me a whole lot was reading Valter Longo’s book “The Longevity Diet”. Dr. Longo is a professor in the gerontology dept at UC-Davis , director of the Longevity Institute there, and has studied aging and disease for 30 years. He’s received many awards as his work has contributed a boatload of new information on how/why we age and succumb to disease much of which can be controlled via diet and lifestyle.
      I chose to do the fast for health reasons as there are my positives to a 5 day fast which include revamping the immune system as well as stem cell activation in our organs. Rejuvenation of the body. For healthy individuals he recommends twice per year and more often if weight or other disease is an issue. Interestingly, his information coincides with the information in todays video in that Dr. Longo recommends consuming a certain number and type of calories that keeps the hunger at bay but also allows the body to remain in the fasted state for fat loss. So I think you might find his book both interesting and helpful. I did!
      Best of luck to you!!

    3. I’m with you 100%. I’ve done 3 water fasts of 12-9-11 days and lost 35 pounds. Feel better than ever and keeping the weight off. Going for another 3-4 fasts to get to my 25 BMI and on the way doing WFPB, no added salt, oils and sugar. Keeping the weight off and decreasing my hunger.
      It’s all good in my book

  6. I so appreciate your post Vegetater! I gain if I go above the 1450 to 1500 mark, and that’s being very active. In order to maintain I really need to stay under 1350.. beans and grains limited. This is the same calorie intake suggested by the calorie calculator links Dr Greger offered weeks ago. It just doesn’t take much to sustain this body weight/height :(

    1. I know that Dr. Greger has said that the calorie intake we can eat depends on what time of day we eat the calories.

      Today, for the first time, I succeeded in eating a bigger meal in the morning.

      1. Hi Deb – you post prolifically on this site. However I don’t see much from you about exercise and how that fits or doesn’t fit into your regime. So I can’t help but be curious about it. For those of us that follow your highs and lows, could you fill us in on your exercise regime? Thankx

        1. I doubt if she’ll answer you, Rhonda.

          I tried to convince her of the many benefits of bouncing lightly on a rebounder two or three times a day, but she wasn’t interested. Can’t remember why.

          1. YR, glad you mentioned your rebounder, Good idea to build bone as well as muscle.
            I decided to try a rope-less jump rope. Cost only 13$, and gets me jumping. I’m hoping it will be as effective.
            I’m convinced by observing older people that the fit ones do best long term.
            Exercise so necessary, for muscle, bone, blood glucose control. Also raises BDNF for brain health.

              1. YR,

                I have a “rope-less jump rope!” I jump a pretend rope! I even use my arms. I get the exercise, or some of it, without ever getting tangled!! It’s very useful while out on walks with a very sloooooooow old dog. And it’s free! And I can use it under low ceilings, in crowded spaces, just about anywhere. And I can do all sorts of fancy tricks with it. So versatile.

                Sorry, I just laughed when I read your comment. And I’m laughing at my “rope-less jump rope.” I thought that I was the only person using one. Or, perhaps, this one.

  7. I’ve been interested in hearing Dr. Greger’s take on fasting ever since I’ve been following and reading about Dr. Fung’s (and other’s) very reasonable suggestions that fasting can be the key to weight management. Dr. Fung’s take, (and I’m poorly paraphrasing from a youtube video where he gave a speech and was discussing the conundrum of weight loss), was that in the ‘biggest loser’ type model, where you exercise and eat less, your body will eventually slow your metabolism to a crawl. So the workaround was to fast which would get your body to finally unlock the fat stores. And hopefully “reset” in some manner, your hormones and metabolism. I’ve also, from a distance, been following Cole Robinson’s “Snake Diet” on youtube and reddit. He promotes a fasting lifestyle and has a recipe for a electrolyte water that you can drink (w/ potassium, salt, etc.) while fasting. I’ve been meaning to try it because it seems like fasting can be a bit of a cure-all for all manners of ailments. Cole is definitely ‘out there’, and I don’t really buy in.

    I still feel like there’s still so much unresolved nutritional/diet info out there. WFPB seems like the best option out there, and I adhere to that for the most part. But I frequently feel like I’m missing the boat and could be doing myself a disservice in some ways. For example, there’s always a lot of folks (on, say, reddit), discussing how bad they felt from a mental health perspective when they when vegetarian. And that there was more anxiety and depression in a WFPB diet. And that once they reintroduced meat, those mental health issues went away. Those types of comments always makes me wonder. Lots of the the MEAT type micro nutrients, (like choline, and carnitine, taurine, creatine, etc.), seem to be better geared towards serving the nervous system and brain health (despite, of course, the role they play in TMAO production).

    In any case, have a good day folks! Let the diet fine-tuning continue!

    1. zzz,

      Vegetarian is so different from WFPB.

      I was a vegetarian for decades, but I was high in refined carbs and junk food.

      Going off of things like cheese and oil and adding in fruits and vegetables have helped my brain and the studies on inflammation and depression that have been studied bear witness to that.

      Many people go vegan and eat too much sugar and refined carbs and don’t supplement B12 or get their Omega 3’s.

      Homocysteine is something which studies have linked to anxiety.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5566365/

      Inflammation has been linked to depression and that is from not eating enough fruits and vegetables.

  8. I think what is missing about the protein loss during fasting is the loss of skin and other connective tissue instead of burning muscle. Our bodies can’t be that stupid to burn our muscle instead of fat. Surely our species had to go through extended periods of fasting due to lack of food. So when we are hungry and don’t have something to eat we burn muscle instead of fat??? Get real. Something is serious missing in this study.

    1. If you watch the keto videos:

      In the studies where they compared people eating the same number of calories with high carb versus low carb, there was about 80 percent more fat loss when you cut down on fat instead of carbs.

      Those randomized to the non-ketogenic diet added about three pounds of muscle, whereas the same amount of weightlifting on the keto diet tended to subtract muscle—an average loss of about 3.5 ounces of muscle.

      So they DO lose muscle.

      1. I really have a hard time with this concept of losing muscle. From an evolutionary perspective we would be just giant blobs of fat sitting on bones if we lost muscle every time we had to go into fasting mode because there was no food. I’m sure my distant relative from thousands of year back didn’t have easy access to food. It simply doesn’t make sense. If we lose something it is protein, skin, connective tissue etc. Losing muscle would not be a smart evolutionary adaptation, period! Put away the text books and think of it from that perspective.

        1. Patrick,

          Have you ever read about or seen people who have lost a lot of weight?

          I have. And they clearly don’t lose skin. In fact, that’s one of the downsides: the excess skin, which hangs in folds. I guess once it’s stretched for a period of time, skin doesn’t shrink back. One person apparently had about 50 pounds of excess skin, and the surgery to remove it was difficult, dangerous, and expensive. I saw one person who apparently had a lot of abdominal fat; after losing a good amount of weight, the result was a lot of excess skin, which could in this case be hidden by clothes. But this was something I’d never considered before.

      2. This seems like a presentation of every which way but “loss.” So how do obese people lose weight and keep it off? The message I am getting so far is, they don’t. But a few do.

        1. Dan,

          I don’t know about obese people, but my brother lost 70 pounds by switching to plant based eating (and eventually to whole plant foods) and exercising. And he’s kept it off. It was and is a permanent lifestyle change.

          I’ve also had 2 very overweight pets, a cat and a dog (long story; they ate the eventually skinny dog’s and skinny cat’s food after they inhaled their own, and it took me a while to notice what was going on), and they both lost weight — and kept it off — because I controlled their food, and started to give them rationed amounts. I didn’t change what they ate, just how much they ate. (And my skinny cat and dog gained their weight back the same way — having greater access to more food.)

          So I think it’s a matter of both how much and what a person eats. Probably the biggest and most important factor is to avoid processed food. Then move on to eating more whole plant foods, and fewer baked goods, etc (especially since these use processed food ingredients). And, if necessary, practice portion control. Exercise is also important, but probably won’t lead to weight loss by itself — it didn’t for me.

    2. Patrick, I think you have raised a very good question. I’m certainly not an expert nutritionist nor physiologist, but, like you, I do like to bring in all perspectives when analyzing any topic. If, in fact, muscle is lost before fat during fasting, perhaps some expert in the field could point us to the evolutionary explanation. I wonder if Richard Dawkins has an explanation!

    3. @patrick this was my reaction as well when i watched this given dr. fung’s talks on the subject of fasting say the body optimizes around burning stored fat and only minimal muscle given you need that to go out and run around to collect up, or hunt and kill, more food after you have gone without for 16+ hours. Would be great to get clarification on this disconnect between what was presented in this talk and what is presented fung’s talks.

      1. myusrn

        I’ve never bothered listening to Fung. That is because he pushes low carb diets. I am probably prejudiced but every one of those low carb doctors in my experience seems to misrepresent the evidence either by selective omission of relevant evidence or by misinterpreting the evidence they do cite. They hype low carb diets and, certainly, people have also accused Fung of misleadingly hyping fasting eg
        https://conscienhealth.org/2018/10/puffery-and-promise-for-intermittent-fasting/

        I’d suggest that people double check Fung’s claims and his interpretation of the results of the studies he uses to support his statements, rather than simply accepting his opinions as the unvarnished truth.

    1. hi Robert, I exercise most days, but it depends somewhat on weather as to what we do. Walking is everyday, swimming and/or cycling at least 3 days, yoga or resistance 2 days . Other activities as they come up. I don’t keep track of calories burned. https://tdeecalculator.org This is a calculator which may be helpful to some. In general I believe people overestimate what they do, and underestimate what they eat. Sooo, I eat modestly, and keep busy.

      1. Barb. Thanks for your reply. I agree, it is difficult to count “calories in” and “calories out.” But I think it’s important to do some vigorous exercise most days. I don’t think a lot of people get that or practice it, primarily because most of the research recommends “exercising for 30 minutes” (e.g., walking at a fast pace). I think to be effective one should be exercising hard enough to have trouble carrying on a conversation. And doing this for short intervals. Plus, of course, eating a WFPB diet.

  9. The contributing research here again illustrates the need to know the details of properly conducted therapeutic fasting, before taking on this practice. There’s a night-and-day difference between knowledgeable fasting, and the variable patient practices that probably contributed to the underlying statistics here. An example – a person who is conscious of the need to be very conservative of their activity while fasting will maximize the benefits of the fast and achieve the smallest sacrifice of essential tissues. This was known decades ago and is part of the ‘rules’ in play at competently run fasting centers.

    Herbert Shelton (fasted tens of thousands of patients, prolific author, and pioneer of therapeutic water-based fasting) would push his patients to stay in bed as much as possible, warmly covered up with blankets. The more active the fasting patient, the more pronounced the detrimental effects will be.

    1. An example – a person who is conscious of the need to be very conservative of their activity while fasting will maximize the benefits of the fast and achieve the smallest sacrifice of essential tissues. This was known decades ago and is part of the ‘rules’ in play at competently run fasting centers.
      —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
      I was unaware of this, but when I would do a Valter Longo recommended 3 1/2 day fast I intuitively would spend the days sitting in front of the computer watching You Tube videos or movies hardly moving, and the nights sleeping.

      Didn’t do a water fast… only a few cups of tea, so hardly a need to even go to the bathroom.

      Always felt healthier post fast.

          1. Hey Deb,

            A few Thanksgivings ago I was invited to a Niece’s house where a few of the surviving siblings were in attendance. Everyone else were eating but I took one of my cameras and videoed the entire time. Got some great footage of a great-great-niece eating with her hands and stylin’ for the camera. ‘-)

            That was a 150 mile day trip and the only family living close by is a bachelor brother who usually spends holidays with friends. This year the other brother who lives near that Niece I spoke of, will make the trip here and he and his wife and my nearby brother will go out and eat. (I’ll be having a bowl of guacamole and an order of refried beans for my “feast.” ‘-)

            Truth be told, holiday get-togethers are a nuisance to me. I quite enjoy my own company and really like the fact there is little or no traffic on the road that runs in front of my house during the actual holiday. ‘-)

            (Qualifier to the above… if I didn’t have my digital toys and such, I might have a completely different attitude toward holidays. ‘-)

        1. Oh, and while I do not currently have a wife and children family, if my efforts to return to a younger state I may eventually choose to do so. If indeed that happens I will instill a family tradition of fasting during holidays rather than feasting.

          Unfortunately we have the feast regimen so ingrained that it cannot be changed to a fast rather than feast. It will have to start from the early stages of family.

        1. Fumbles, doncha love it when you make an utter fool out of yourself? :-)

          Were you addressing Lonie? If so, “scientific” beliefs about which part of his discourse? His belief that he does not have a wife or children? :-)

          1. It doesn’t seem to bother you so why should it be a problem for me?.

            If you take the time to look at this thread and its nesting protocol, you will see that my post was a reply to Grant’s.

            1. AHso! (And yer right….it doesn’t seem to bother me.)

              Maybe your post would have been less confusing, however, if you had addressed Grant. You know….like most of us would have done.

              The reason why we do is because we know how tricky the little reply button that we think will make our response go directly under he/she to whom we reply ends up, instead, waaaaaay down at the bottom of the posts. If y’get my drift.

  10. All these weight loss videos are extremely discouraging. I had given up hope of losing weight, then found ‘How Not to Die’. The first year of following the daily dozen I lost no weight but saw several other positive changes in my health. The second year, I’ve lost 20 pounds. That’s slow, but better than nothing. Now I am hoping to speed the weight loss up a bit. But watching these videos makes me feel it’s not worth the effort.

      1. And you are right, weight loss is an extremely discouraging topic.

        It is amazing to me when heart disease and cancer and diabetes and Alzheimer’s have become so much more encouraging topics than weight loss.

        1. I had to think about it … I’m making a greater effort to eat at home. I’m far from achieving perfect success, because I hate cooking and I have easy access to many restaurants. But when we bring food home or eat out, even though it’s ‘vegetarian’, it has a lot more calories. Also, addressed that life-long bad habit of snacking after dinner, though I haven’t completely conquered that either. Now, I’m trying to eat dinner earlier, but that is difficult as I watch my grandsons so I’m with them during the time I would want to be eating dinner. So the effort continues!

          But thank you for your question – answering it reminded me that I need to continue working on these issues. Compared to the multitude of issues I started with a few years ago, this is actually encouraging!

          1. Joetta Fort,

            I think that eating out contributes a lot to weight gain. My daughter and I once took a vegan cooking class at Sur la Table, and the chef/teacher (a non-vegan) used a LOT of oil and salt! When I asked if that was how he cooked in his restaurants, he replied “yes.” So, I told him that I thought anyone could make food taste good with a lot of oil and salt, but that the sign of a truly good chef was to make healthy delicious food without either. Pretty sure I wasn’t popular. And that the chef was typical of almost every restaurant chef: their meals aren’t prepared with healthy ingredients, and then they’re drenched in oil and salt.

            But I had a friend who, when dining out, would carry a capacious bag; when her meal arrived, she would pull out some reusable storage containers, cut her portions all in half and put half in these containers, which she put back into her bag, and then she would eat the rest. And she had another meal for work or home the next day — with no extra work. That was one way she maintained a slender stature.

            As for me, as a long time vegetarian (almost 50 years), I learned to cook at home, since there were so few options dining out. Even then, I gained weight in my 40s (lots of junk food and CRAP is vegetarian, and even vegan), which I eventually lost by making healthier choices and practicing portion control. When I switched to plant based whole food a few years ago, I lost even more weight without trying. But my options for eating out are even more limited. As are my options for eating at family parties, etc. Sometimes I get rather hungry. I’m learning to travel with food I can eat.

            And I LOVE my electric pressure cooker! Because I am not a good cook; I follow recipes, and my mantra for cooking is Simple, Easy, and Quick. And my Instant Pot helps me a lot. Beans and whole grains and even veggies, all cooked very nicely. Soups and stews and porridge’s and puddings and all kinds of dishes. Batch cooking is my friend: I make a large batch of soup or stew in my IP, and store the left-overs in the fridge or freezer; the next meals are so much easier. It’s opened up a whole new world to me.

            1. Dr. J! You rock! (as they say….) “I told him that I thought anyone could make food taste good with a lot of oil and salt, but that the sign of a truly good chef was to make healthy delicious food without either.” So right you are! Making food really tasty without them is indeed difficult albeit not impossible.

              With regard to going out, I once made the option of getting one of those Chinese meals “steamed” with the sauce on the side. I put just enough on my take-out meal to make it tasty and I portioned out the rest of the sauce on home-cooked meals over the next two or three days. It was nice not having my meal drenched in sauce….

    1. Jods, sorry to hear about this. Try not to give up. A recommendation for your consideration : dig deeper into the subject of fasting than is offered here. I can tell you that the research presented here is unfortunately fairly meaningless, and will not serve the purpose of determining whether this is a good tool for your healthy future.

      May I connect you with someone who REALLY knows fasting? Dr Frank Sabatino, in Florida. He is ‘best of breed’ and has a deep scientific knowledge, coupled with a facility to properly supervise you as you undergo your first fast. He can be reached via https://balanceforlifeflorida.com

      I regard correct fasting as ‘health with the afterburners on’. Once you have your first fast underway, you’ll quickly see why the only people that can really report well on fasting are those who have UNDERGONE fasting. Good luck and keep your spirits up. You have done great so far and should be congratulating yourself!

      1. Thank you for the encouragement! I am interested in fasting, and I will contact Dr. Sabatino. I agree with the commenter who said that eating a low-calorie diet is harder than eating nothing at all.

        1. Joetta,
          If you are on the west coast; the True North Health Center in Santa Rosa, run by Dr. Alan Goldhamer, is focused on fasting. Dr. McDougal sometimes sends his most difficult patients to the True North Center.

        2. Joetta

          I’d be wary of accepting advice from (fasting) evangelists. There are no magic bullets.

          According to Harvard, fasting is potentially dangerous in certain circumstances.
          https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/not-so-fast-pros-and-cons-of-the-newest-diet-trend

          That article specifically refers to intermittent fasting but the caveats presumably also apply to longer water only fasts.

          The TruNorth people have listed a range of reported adverse effects with water only fasts. They seem to be satisfied with its overall safety but note that their patients were screened before being paced on a fast and they were medically supervised.
          https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/not-so-fast-pros-and-cons-of-the-newest-diet-trend

          Note also that Sabatino is a chiropractor not an MD.

          1. From the link you posted, Fumbles:

            “People who take medications for blood pressure or heart disease also may be more prone to electrolyte abnormalities from fasting.”

            As heart problems run in my family (on father’s side), I would never consider going on a fast any longer that the 12-14 hours that I’ve been doing daily. No way!

            For fasting blood tests they want us to not eat anything for 10 hours before the blood is drawn. Like, that’s supposed to be an effort?

            1. YR,

              Yes, fasting for even 10 hours can be an effort! I get really hungry and cranky and worse after as few as 8-9 hours.

              Plus, because I tend to pass out for blood tests, I don’t have fasting blood tests anymore. In fact, for most routine blood work, it’s no longer recommended. I never understood why fasting blood tests were done in the first place; wouldn’t a more accurate picture be a test of your blood during the day? In any event, the numbers don’t vary much between a fasting and non-fasting blood test.

              1. “Plus, because I tend to pass out for blood tests,”
                – – – – –

                Very interesting, Dr. J! Do you why that is? Very low BP? You sound a little like Deb, who seems to be able to keel over for a variety of different reasons.

                I’ve never fainted in my life. Must be a scary feeling.

            2. Yes, I tend to feel the same way.

              However, I’ve never done a water-only fast, not even for your 12-14 hours but have gone without food for 18 hours or longer fairly often. The difference is my habit of drinking (black) tea and coffee even during non-food periods. Unfortunately, as I have gotten older, drinking tea and coffee on an empty stomach now tends to cause nausea. This happens even with decaffeinated coffee. Perhaps it is a consequence of age-related changes in stomach acidity or other digestive changes.

    2. Get to know Dr. John McDougall. Read his book “The Starch Solution”. No fasting and no caloric restriction. Eat until satiated at every meal and impossible to be overweight. Potatoes, corn meal, beans, whole grains, pumpkin, oats and some low fat fruits and vegetables. It’s that simple. A low fat “Starch Solution” style WFPB diet. Check it out.

      1. I will check that out, too. It sounds great – except that I’ve always considered myself a ‘carb addict’, so I hear those alarm bells saying this is too good to be true.

        1. Joetta,

          Yes, carb-phobic teachings have caused us to consider us “carb addicts” and yet, it is only refined carbs and sugar that we have to avoid.

          I am hoping to try “The Starch Solution” this Winter. It is hard for me to figure it out.

          I like salads so much that I keep eating them almost every day.

          The past 2 weeks, I have been doing Mamasezz, but, at least 3 or 4 of their meals were pasta and I could live on pasta, but when I do, I don’t eat any greens or beans or lentils or other grains.

          I have enjoyed a few of the Mamasezz foods, but not feeling satisfied with one of the meals is when I ended up seeing the vegan birthday cupcakes.

          I need to be satisfied with my meals or I can go back to being a junk food addict. I didn’t know that, but I do now.

      2. The problem with potatoes, covered here by Dr. Greger, but also by Stephen Acuff, (A lead-in point here: https://www.stevenacuff.org) is that potatoes are not good for you for various reasons. Other than that, Dr. McDougall is right on with 95% of his teaching. The part I’m not sure about on Stephen Acuff is his leading research on fats by Mary G. Enig, Ph.D. work on fats and her famous book on “know your fats”. I think we may need more fat than Dr. Gregor’s current research shows on his site. But I don’t think we should eat as much fat as some recommendations based on just common sense.

        1. Jeffrey,

          There is a whole movement of people who got off of junk food and oils and animal products using potatoes and potatoes are the one vegetable which people in the USA eat. The only one eaten by a majority.

          People like Spudfit and thousands of others have gotten to their ideal body weight and reversed their disease symptoms eating potatoes. Often, only potatoes.

          Dr. McDougall’s argument is that the best WFPB diet is the one people will actually do and that there have been nations which would have died off if not for potatoes. It is one of the cheaper food groups and one of the only vegetables many poor people have access to. It is served at the shelters and soup kitchens and you can get baked potatoes even at some fast food places, hold the butter.

          I listened to a circular debate about potatoes and Dr. McDougall is one who might say, “Prove it” if they are what is causing disease because they are capable of reversing disease.

          1. And, no, I haven’t been eating potatoes since I switched to WFPB almost at all. I stopped a year or two before trying to go WFPB, but I will tell you that I watch people like High Carb Hannah and Chef AJ and Spudfit and the thousands of people who have done WFPB by starting with only eating potatoes for a month, to me, Dr. John McDougall found a way to take the foods people already eat and save peoples’ lives with them and I really felt his emotion that everybody else would separate the poor of America from the only vegetable they eat instead of building on it.

        2. Oh, come on; I have no idea who Acuff is but Enig was a notorious crackpot.

          If people want reliable information about dietary fats and human health, they shouldn’t buy sensatonal books by cranks. They should read the (free) reports on this matter by panels of repected international scientists and doctors eg the World Health Organization’s ‘Fats and Fatty Acids in Human Nutrition’ and the AHA/ACC report on ‘Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease”

          https://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/nutrientrequirements/fatsandfattyacids_humannutrition/en/
          https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000510

        3. @Jeffrey i went to stephan acuff link you mentioned and only find a bunch of philosophy based mantras around eating. I visit https://cronometer.com and see nothing bad about the make up of a baked or boiled sweet potato or regular potato provided people are not covering them in butter, sour creme and bacon bits as is often the case. I search dr. greger’s nutritionfacts.org site for any information he’s published on potatoes being bad [ https://nutritionfacts.org/?s=potato ] and am only seeing content saying they are good for you. Where exactly is dr. greger in this video or others putting down the usefulness of whole food baked or boiled potatoes?

            1. @fumblefingersl in the comments section of that plain cooked potatoes video dr. greger says “The healthiest potatoes are probably sweet potatoes (see my video about sweet potatoes), but if you are going to eat plain potatoes, the varieties with colored flesh (not just skin) do appear healthier.” So it sounds like chowing down on sweet potatoes, yams and other tubers is fine and wrt plain potatoes stick to colored flesh varieties.

              I searched on “natural glycoalkaloid toxin” and found http://www.safespectrum.com/articles/potato-toxicity-solanine.php concluding that this has “low oral toxicity”. Since sweet potatoes taste better, perhaps that’s subjective opinion, then it would seem one could just stick to those and avoid this possible issue to do with plain potato consumption all together.

              1. Yes, thanks. I now try to just eat the purple sweet potato when I can get it or any other variety of sweet potato when I can’t.

  11. My belief has always been that eating an unhealthy and unsustainable diet in order to get healthy is a bad and ultimately ineffective strategy for healthy living.

    1. Steve,

      I am praying for a day when young people are just fed properly to begin with, but we are a million miles away from that day.

      I was thinking about it with technology and video games. Children are raised on Facebook and cell phone texting and video games and the “health-oriented” people are told that those things might not be good for people but only “health-oriented” people ever hear it. There isn’t a single source of information. Google and YouTube won’t even offer you the information unless you keep asking.

      The same with food. People like Barb heard about macrobiotics when she was a teenager. I still have only met one person who was a vegan and she briefly worked at Starbucks and she only mentioned it one time because she heard me talking about WFPB.

      You don’t stumble over the information. You have to know how to find it and who to trust because you are told the opposite information over and over and over again.

    2. Steve Billig,

      I agree with you.

      In fact, Dr. Greger stated in his previous video that “ Permanent weight loss is only achieved through permanent lifestyle change. So, what’s the point of fasting if you’re just going to go back to your regular diet and gain it all right back?”

      It appears that many people are confused about what they should be eating. To me, it seems so simple: Veggies and fruits, legumes (beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils) and WHOLE grains, and in moderation nuts and seeds. Eat a variety of foods every day. Use Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen (which I call his Daily Double Dozen) for guidance. Eat smaller servings, if his serving sizes seem too big (as they do for me, but I’m older now).

      For recipe suggestions, try https://www.forksoverknives.com/ or https://www.pcrm.org/ for more information. It does require cooking at home — but it’s possible to learn. Simple, easy, quick meals are fine; skip all those elaborate vegan recipes — I don’t even cook those for company. Life is short; enjoy your food. And what is more important to you and your health than the food you eat?

      1. Dr. J – Let me share that you may want to read Valter Longo’s book The Longevity Diet. He is a research that has also studied fasting. His research shows that on day 3 of the fast, the immune system is consumed. At refeeding, after day 5, a new, fully functioning, and more robust immune system is rebuilt by the body. As well, organs in the body initiate new stem cells. It’s a rejuvenating experience for one’s physiology. I recently did a 5-day fast. Not for weight loss although I did drop a few pounds. I did it for the rejuvenating effects of the five day fast.
        Also, his research shows that the body’s cells on day 3 go into a hibernating state to save energy – same thing as a slowed metabolism. He has discovered that this is the perfect time to administer chemotherapy to cancer patients. The cancer has no cellular controls so it keeps consuming away while the rest of the body’s cells sleep. The cancer uptakes the chemo while the body is protected from the effects of chemo because those cells are uptaking nothing. His research shows that this therapy makes chemo about 40% more effective and leave the person almost without the side effects of chemo. Brilliant. There are clinical trials going on now worldwide.
        So there are more reasons than weight loss to consider a 5 day fast. I did it and I’m glad I did. Feel great!!
        Thanks!

        1. Ruth,

          Thanks for your recommendation.

          I’d have a hard time fasting; I think I may be slightly hypoglycemic.

          But, as a breast cancer patient, I had surgery first and then radiation “therapy” — and eating more protein is recommended during radiation. Why? I forgot to ask. But then I was on endocrine therapy for years — and I could never fast for that long.

          Also, as a former research biochemist, I have a hard time understanding how the body could function as you say Dr. Longo claims it does. What is a “new, fully functioning, and more robust immune system built by the body?” My understanding is that the immune system is multi-layered and incredibly complex; and it functions in part due to past exposures to pathogens, against which a defense is built up. So what happens to all that? I also don’t think that the body initiates new stem cells. I’d have to look at the original research for that.

          I hope his research about the effectiveness of chemotherapy is correct. Most chemo isn’t effective or very effective for most patients, so 40% of a not very effective treatment is not that large a number. I would love to see factors: ie, chemo becomes 2 or 4 or 6 times as effective. Actually, I’d love to see more research into prevention.

          1. Dr. J – All of your questions are just exactly why you should read his book and read his research. He works with Harvard, and other major universities worldwide. He is professor at UC-Davis, Director of Longevity Institute at UC-Davis, affiliates with a lab in GEnoa, Italy.
            He is no slouch.
            Go get his research and read it. He makes everthing he’s ever done available for anyone anytime. Just go get it.
            There ARE new things on the horizon.

  12. Fasting is something that I have done from time to time based on consultation with my Dr. at the time. My Dr. did not recommend fasting as the means to achieve weight loss and instead advised that it is used throughout the animal kingdom as a proven means of allowing the body to rest and heal itself from a number of todays systemic health conditions. According to his medical school instructors, the processing of food by the body consumes 80% of our energy and when we give the body a break from eating for significant periods the body’s energy is directed towards healing. I found this to be true. During the medically supervised fasting, daily vitals were taken and it is true that there were indications of protein losses, a natural response I now better understand. My health is vastly better now 8+ years after switching to a whole foods plant based diet and my loss of 75# has been sustained and unlike siblings both older and younger, I’m still kicking. Fasting isn’t just about weight loss. It is one of nature’s means of healing as well as a survival means. Just ask the sick cow under the tree in the pasture. She’s not laying there because she drank too much natural growth hormone laden milk as a calf and needs to loose weight.

  13. Need to think about the time spent on our backend, watching TV, computer, streaming, parking at the door, lack of consistent moving. Good old consistent walking, not super fast, not high mileage — is still important without making it into a gym membership. Don’t need fancy shoes or special equipment,even Dr G does it .
    I’m in my 80’s and my not fancy goal is about 250 steps per EACH hour while awake. It keeps the blood flowing, the heart beating, the lungs expanding , the big lower muscles used. After counting the first 250+ steps, I found it takes about 3 minutes. Surely one can donate 3 minutes of their time to help this simple activity goal. This consistent walk amounts to the 30 minutes (recommened) per day. I do it everyday and this does not count the walking I do on the ocean, in the office, in the grocery store— and I still ‘cook’, do housework, and YES, even watch TV and read. This is my lifestyle. Now don’t beat this old person up with your comments . Just get up and do it. Be well friends. I LOVE this NF SITE. I started many years on Dr !
    McD, have his books and now Dr G. since his book came out.

    1. Ruthie,

      I like your suggestions. And your approach.

      And like you, I grocery shop and cook and do laundry — but would rather do yardwork and gardening outside than housework any day. And I move. As much as possible.

  14. BTW. I’m not overweight and walking now because it’s time. I wasn’t always ‘normal’ weight— it just came off without paying so much attention to it. Just do the WFPB and it works, but NO sneaking It makes a difference.

  15. I had a salesman come today and he said, “It is as if you were a researcher. You know things about every topic. Have you always been like this?” Then, he started asking about Alzheimer’s research and Kidney failure, pre-dialysis and other topics. I laughed because he said that whenever he visits, he learns all of these things and then goes straight home to talk about all of it with his wife before he forgets things.

    He is not the only salesman who has said that.

    Well, I guess it is because the “small talk” has gotten “less small” as we all have gotten older. It becomes a list of people with diseases.

    1. He said that I could have been a researcher or a life coach or something.

      Maybe, but I didn’t know about any of that when I was figuring out what could be.

      1. What I have seen is that people do not know even one sentence of it.

        I mentioned Saffron and Turmeric to the salesman and tried to talk about Curcumin versus Turmeric, but he stopped me at what is Saffron? He doesn’t even know that any of them are spices.

  16. The real question I have is on the part of losing protein vs fat on a fasting diet! I’ve learned that daikon root works great for assisting the body in dissolving fat around the heart and internal organs. My understanding is a fasting diet should help the body metabolize marbling around the heart and fat in the organs in a more rapid way than a plant-based diet alone. I would really like to ask the expert Dr. Goldhammer on this subject who has a list of fasting studies here: https://www.healthpromoting.com/case-studies. Without changing our diet to plant-based a person is destined to go back to their old unhealthy ways! I personally follow Macrobiotic Principles with Miso Soup, Kale, grains, and lower oil consumption and am grateful for the work Dr. Gregor is doing here to study the latest research!

    In the wisdom of the Christian, Bible Jesus teaches a concept that if he was to cast out a “demon of gluttony” and we didn’t replace it with light (and/or a new healthier habit) the gluttony demon would gather more of its kind and enter right back into our body temple and we’d be worse off. I’m just relating to psychological habits in spiritual terms and not attempting to explain an exorcism but just the wisdom of the concept. So we must replace bad habits inculcated by the Industrial Junk Food Complex Advertising Council– especially at Halloween!

    1. Ruthie,

      Halloween is one of those holidays in which to hand out candy or not to hand out candy becomes the question.

      As a Christian, I already have gone back and forth about it and as a person who wants kids to never even taste candy, if possible, it becomes a deeper issue.

      Dark chocolate might be one answer, but teeth are still a factor.

      I like the concept of the sign.

      1. “As a Christian, I already have gone back and forth about it”
        – – – –

        Deb, I don’t know why “Christian” would have anything to do with handing out candy. Back in the days when I was a Catholic kid, we always went trick ‘r treating to neighborhood houses. We also had the sweet stuff on hand to give out to the little “beggars” who would show up at our door.

        We’d always come home with bags of candy (unfortunately), and this would last us over the next year. Who worried so much about cavities in teeth. Boy, did we have a lot to learn. :-(

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3KEhWTnWvE

      2. Change (e.g., “money”) of one sort or another is an option for handing out candy. As a kid, I remember being really happy when nickels or dimes showed up in my “loot.”

    1. It may depend on the type of fasting. For example, tests on Muslims who fast during the 30 days of Ramadan seem to show eg

      ‘although Islamic fasting has a statistically significant effect on ALT, AST, ALP, and bilirubin levels, these changes were within the normal range and clinically insignificant. Mild changes in liver function tests may be related to changes in cytokines and alteration in circadian rhythms of hormones during 30 days of fasting.’
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4967493/

      There are other types of fasting technique though and they may have different effects.

      Some studies suggest that fasting may prevent or delay fatty liver disease
      https://www.embopress.org/doi/full/10.15252/emmm.201505801

      But still others suggest that it may increase the risk f fatty liver disease and caution is warranted
      https://www.embopress.org/doi/full/10.15252/emmm.201505801

      It’s not clear if tests on mice (and cells in test tubes) are really relevant to humans though. Or if results from fasting where the normal diet id high in fat and sugar, would be identical to results from fasting where the person’s normal diet was high in whole plant foods and low in fat

      Ibn brief, I think nobody really knows for sure but the Dallas ‘Liver Institute’ has this comment on its site

      “Fasting for long periods of time is not the right thing to do,” Dr. Hector Nazario, Gastroenterologist and Chief of the Division of Hepatology at The Liver Institute at Methodist Dallas, stated. He went on to describe how fasting and then binge eating can cause harmful changes in the liver and digestive systems. Specifically, participants may see changes in their bowel habits such as constipation or diarrhea.

      http://theliverinstitutetx.com/doctors-corner/the-new-eating-strategy-intermittent-fasting-is-it-right-for-you/

  17. A lot of comments, weight loss is a divisive topic, if you have made it to my 2 cents, congratulations grab a cup of tea. I would suggest those feeling depressed about the chances of losing weight check out the freakonomics podcast, specifically on behaviour change. The podcasts will make you more depressed, but in doing so provide some strategies for nudging your ‘human, all too human’ brain into doing better. I hate giving my experience, it is so often fraught with bias, but personally a leaver for nudging health in the right direction is meal-prep, the best you is making the food, I make sure it tastes good, then the convenience factor can ‘nudge’ the environment in your favour, avoiding the obesogenic environment. The behavioural-economics and my experience would suggest set up enough nudges and the results could be favourable.

    Furthermore, I would recommend Dr Layne Norton’s fat loss series on youtube. Layne has been in the bodybuilding industry for 20+ years, he like Dr G likes to use science, their Venn Diagram’s would overlap mostly. Dr Norton goes over the weight loss phase, but more importantly reverse dieting, which is getting your metabolism back to functioning on a sustainable amount of calories. The world of bodybuilding is a great proving ground for fat loss techniques, in that you have the extreme case of competitive bodybuilding, which I coin ‘anorexia with a deadline’ where you diet to extremely low bf%, then need to amplify your metabolism to grow muscle and great the largest delta possible for the next ‘cutting-phase/competition’. The person who can eat 4000 calories and cut to 1500, delta 2500 will generally beat a 3000 cut to 1000, delta 2000 competitor, given similar starting bf%. I would hypothesise most people reading this are not about to start bodybuilding, but the knowledge in a distilled form is applicable to anyone trying to maintain a healthy weight long-term.

  18. it is quite interesting how fasting has inspired sponorship for research into the results one can expect, or maybe.

    if I was 30 kilos overweight and decided it was time to take control, I would definitely have a fast with only water for let’s say 8 days to be arbitrary, and then on the 9th morning begin an 800 calorie green smoothy diet that contained some plant based protein and continue with this discipliined regimen until the 30 kilos was gone. easy peazy.

    this was basically what that Austrailian did when he made the video “Half Sick and Nearly Dead.” his shtick was a doctors supervised ‘fast’ because you know venturing into the realm of the AMA any health related advice by anyone other than one of their members, would be to your peril. anyway there was a film crew following him along and he lost weight.
    the important message in his video is the same as in this video: you will lose weight if you fast, but that’s not all. you also have to emerge from the world you were in to a better one and the 8 days of fasting is that leap into the void. it is the beginning and also the metaphor of change.

    the 5 kilos you will lose on the 8 day fast will be how it begins, so you get encouraging results in only a week. without a complete change of how you were before however, you can expect to gain the 5 kilos back, so why bother? this is the common results from all that research, but you want to be uncommon. if you are like me because you have an interest in life in this place of time and space so much that you want to experience everything whilst also being physically and mentally fit right up to the moment decrepitude and death removes you from the scene, then you have to do this for yourself and by yourself.

    the brain is this mostly fat based organ in your head that takes about a quarter of all the energy you can produce every moment you are alive and it really only is concerned with getting enough oxygen and glucose.
    your conciousness, or whatever you want to call it, as it were, resides somewhere else within the philosophy of metaphysics.
    if you accept that, then you will be able to keep to your goal of being the master of your fate and capitain of your soul.

    the brain’s bag of chemical and nurological tricks must be understood and resisted
    to prevent it from intruding into your conciousness disrupting your science and evidence based plans to be physically and mentally better off by changing to a plant based diet.

    you might also consider taking up one of the time honored quest in mind body and spirit that supports what should be your ultimate goal, being one with our great mother, the earth.

    but first things first.

    1. I liked that documentary.

      It was a fun one to watch.

      He succeeded in changing his taste buds and changing his life and brought someone through the process with him.

      He got me to buy a juicer. Though I don’t do juicing anymore.

      I briefly did Gerson, and I liked it.

      It felt like IV nutrition and because I was coming from basically a pasta and pizza diet, I think it really helped me to want to eat vegetables and fruit.

      WFPB changed things and I didn’t lose weight on juice at all, but I felt better mentally.

  19. Something to consider when fasting… your stomach (and intestines) shrink when fasting.

    The secret to continuing success is to adjust your food intake to your new innards… and not go back to gorging yourself to expand the stomach and intestines.

    This may be where nutrient dense food is your new best friend… or maybe even supplements to increase the nutrition of your less nutrient dense fare.

  20. On another topic—I just watched Dr. Mark Hymen’s CBS interview about his new book where he stated (among other things) that we must eat animal protein to be healthy, and the research supports this. He also said we must consume more Omega 3 fats, which we get from “meat.” He further said it is okay that LDL goes up because so does HDL. He did say 70% of the plate should be vegetables. But he basically said that vegan diets are a terrible idea. How do I explain to my students who want to believe him, especially since he frequently appears with health professionals who promote LFWFPB lifestyles?

    1. Amy – That’s a real dilemma ’cause Hyman has a lot of sway as well as a prestigious spot at the Cleveland Clinic. What might be helpful, perhaps, is to try to search for a youtube interview/discussion between Mark Hyman and Valter Longo. Hyman is a physician, but Longo is a 30-year researcher. In that radio discussion Longo takes on Hyman on misinformation that Hyman likes to spout. It’s about an hour if I recall and worth listening to.
      I looked it up for you; here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zz4ZzNik1Y4 It’s an hour and a half. See if there isn’t something in that discussion that you can use to challenge Hyman’s star power with your kids. Good luck!!

    2. Hyman consistently makes a number of sensational claims which sell a lot of books and gain him enormous media attention.

      There’s no evidence that we need animal protein to stay healthy, if we eat a nutritionally complete diet. There is evidence that we need B12 though but that ultimately comes from bacteria not animals.

      Nor is it true to say that we only find omega 3 fats in meat. As a statement, it makes for good publicity though

      He also routinely misrepresents the evidence on cholesterol. For example, we’ve known for years that raising HDL levels does not improve clinical outcomes Dr Greger briefly discusses it here.
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/coconut-oil-and-the-boost-in-hdl-good-cholesterol/

      Why don’t you suggest that your students concentrate on scientific reports on nutrition and health instead of naively believing super articulate doctors selling sensational books and chasing after publicity? You could possibly also point out that his opinion about ‘vegan’ diets is contradicted by the US dietary guidelines?
      https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/appendix-5/

    3. Amy,

      Dr Hyman considers himself Pegan.

      Halfway between Paleo and Vegan.

      While Food Plant Based tends to be fewer than 5% of calories from animal products and Dr Greger and Ornish and McDougall and Esselstyn and T. Colin Campbell all lean vegan within WFPB.

      Dr Hyman is ignoring the Blue Zones, such as the Adventist’s where the vegan males were the longest-lived.

      Dr Greger himself has a teaching on what vegans do wrong to ende up losing longevity advantage, because vegan diets can be almost as bad as Standard American Diet.

      Junk food, refined carbs, sodium, not getting enough B12, not eating fruits, vegetables, not eating things like flax, nuts or not taking omega 3’s, etc. all can make vegan diets worse.

      The only way to approach it is one topic at a time. Dr Greger has videos on fish and chicken and beef, etc.

  21. Former NASA scientist and big fan / supporter of a whole food plant based diet: Ray Cronise measured the body’s fuel priority and fat utilization with a calorimeter.

    His scientific paper is published here:
    https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/met.2016.0108

    For short term fasts his result was, according to a podcast he did, that after burning the glycogen in the muscles (after like 24h-48h), the body burns 93% fat in a state of complete rest (no exercise of course) and only for prolonged fasts over like 5 days to 7 days, the body starts to break down muscle tissue.

    This is also what Prof. Longo, a California based researcher (himself plant based with 2x per week fish) and inventor of the fasting mimicking diet, stated in his book The Longevity Diet.

    Is the difference to the study Dr. Greger mentioned in his video, that they fasted for 2 weeks i.e. too long and therefore the body consumed lean muscle tissue?
    Monthly short term fasts of 5 days with a whole food plant based diet the rest of the time would probably result in fast fat loss with long-term maintenance (if someone reaches his target weight, like me, I do 5 days fasts quarterly or half-yearly).
    Thanks for your comments in advance !

    1. I’m looking forward to a well thought out reply to your question, Daniel. I am a proponent of intermittent fasting and have seen many people lose weight doing this. I think the video should have addressed intermittent fasting (or time restricted eating) long term and outcomes from this like Prof Longo found.

    1. Avent,

      I saw it and loved it and, yes, I saw the science advisor’s name and recognized his signature in the science section. Wanted to see his face, but you cannot win them all.

      Boy, those science visuals popped on the big screen. Fabulous!

  22. Why are the most common fasting regimens used in Western societies, like 16:8 or OMAD not being addressed?
    Making a video comparing temporary once-off ~week long fasts on long term (years down the line) outcomes vs patients maintaining WFPBD is misleading.

    It would make more sense to compare WFPBD patients not doing IF as a long term comparison to 16:8 or OMAD long term who are not doing WFPBD. This is more useful and informative.

    Please tell me if I am mistaken, in that the studies referred to were not once off fasting regimens that were not kept up long term. (not a once off multi day fast)

    1. Greger can only report the studies that have been done.

      If you want the details of the individual fasting techniques studies in the papers cited in the video, the sources are listed/linked in a drop-down box under the video .

    2. Parthipan,
      Today’s video is #10 on a dvd released a few weeks back. https://nutritionfacts.org/2019/09/26/final-fasting-webinar-and-new-dvd/ As you can see by the link I provided, numerous fasting topics are yet to come. If you are in a rush you can purchase the dvd via the link provided.

      Nutrition Facts releases new short videos each monday and wednesday designed to look at what the literature says about a particular question.

      Dr Greger’s book, How Not to Diet is due to be released in Dec of this year.

  23. It seems like the negative effects can happen when you are avoiding carbohydrates and eating less calories. I fast, but when I break it, I eat a balanced vegan diet including carbohydrates and fats. I know my own experience isn’t research, but I have seen weight loss long term with this method. Maybe me being conscious of when I eat affects how I eat as well and that’s what’s improving my weight loss, but even so it is effective.

    1. My inner smartarse compels me to recall your earlier comment:

      ‘doncha love it when you make an utter fool out of yourself? :-)’

      1. Fumbles, most certainly! We have to laugh at ourselves and not take ourselves so seriously. Not be afraid to embrace our inner child & all that. *_^

        Too many fear-based people walking around, obsessed with what they eat or don’t eat, afraid of looking at different ways of doing things, etc. Sheepies who are afraid of “thinking outside of the box.”

        https://www.azquotes.com/quotes/topics/making-a-fool-of-yourself.html

        https://happinessmatters.com/21-ways-to-step-outside-of-your-comfort-zone-3/

  24. Here’s my personal experience with fasting, so far. I’ve been following Dr. G’s WFPB recommendations for about 2 years. My initial goal was to protect myself from a family history of heart disease. And I’d hoped to lose about 20 pounds. I lost about 4 the first month, and that was it. I’m 62. I’d lose a pound, then gain it back, despite sticking to healthy eating & exercising. Frustrated, and hearing about intermittent fasting, I recently read “The Obesity Code.” Dr. Fung is not anti-carb, he’s anti-processed-carbs (sugar, flour, etc.). I don’t agree with everything he says, but I liked his explanations of why the body “fights” against weight changes, and how intermittent fasting should be beneficial. So I tried it. I did a 36-hour fast and, like he said I would, I got hungry. But that hunger came and went in waves. If you ignore it, it does go away. I didn’t lose any weight after that fast. But he’d also said to be patient and persistent. Other than the occasional hunger pangs, I managed the fast just fine. Didn’t get any headaches or fatigue. Felt good. So after 3 days of regular eating, I did the 36-hour fast again. Lost 1-1/2 pounds that time. Went back to regular eating for a few days, didn’t lose, didn’t gain. Then tried a 16-hour fast: eating between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. only. Not even a snack after 3 p.m. I do this pretty consistently now, because it’s working for me. During the month I’ve been doing this 4-5 days a week, I’ve lost another 6 pounds. That may not sound like a lot, but when I got below a weight I haven’t been able to get under for more than 20 years, it was a very big deal for me. I feel great and have more energy. Whether that’s due to the fasting or the weight loss (or both), I don’t know and don’t care. I plan to continue the 16-hour fasts, and maybe doing occasional 36-hours fasts if my weight loss seems to plateau again.

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