Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Readers of my newsletter, or latest book Ten Secrets of Healthy Ageing will be familiar with the reasons behind the benefits of modified fasting, which lowers blood sugar levels and insulin production. This, in turn, reverses metabolic syndrome and burns fat. The Horizon programme emphasized the need to bring down levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) to extend life and reduce disease risk. In Issue 55 I explained in detail how IGF-1 is associated with disease risk and, in Issue 61, why it is critical for health to keep insulin down. Horizon recommended eating less protein to bring down IGF-1, but failed to mention that the biggest promoter is dairy products. This is why my low-GL diet, which is specifically designed to keep insulin down, includes very little meat or dairy products.
Interviewing Mark Mattson, who features in our Healthy Ageing book, Horizon’s Michael Mosley tried fasting for four days, then modified intermittent fasting, namely eating 600 cals on two days a week. The total fast, although severe, is actually a good way to kick-start a metabolic and genetic shift towards fat burning.
However, modified intermittent fasting is easier to do. I explained how to do this in Issue 69 and also in Issue 65. The simplest way is to have two days a week on 600kcals a day by having two Get Up & Go shakes made with soya or oat milk and low sugar, low calorie berries, such as strawberries.This is under 300 kcals so you can have this twice a day. You can even add a teaspoon of chia seeds and up the protein, fibre and omega 3 content. Add a heaped teaspoon of a super fibre such as glucomannan (from konjac fibre), such as CarboSlow or PGX, will really fill you up.
Get Up & Go is a powder made from a special blend of quinoa, brown rice and soya flour, giving an excellent quality of protein. This is balanced with carbohydrate, mainly from whole apple powder and a little xylitol, together with oat bran, rice bran and psyllium husks for added soluble fibre, plus sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds and some almond meal, cinnamon and natural vanilla for flavour. In addition, it has added vitamins and minerals, including 50mcg of chromium and 1,000mg of vitamin C, plus all the B vitamins.
This is my top recommendation because it also gives you a very good all-round intake of protein, low-GL carbs and vitamins and minerals and it fills you up the most, being high in soluble fibres – especially if you add more.
On the days in between it’s good to follow my low GL diet principles explained in the Low GL Diet Bible, with one day off a week. So that’s two days modified fasting, four days low GL eating, and one day off. It’s best to have the day off after a fasting day. The Horizon programme referred to the research of Dr Krista Varady of the University of Illinois at Chicago, who has found that there’s no real advantage of having a low-fat diet on that day off.
While many have pushed for low-carb, high protein diets as the way to lose weight I’ve resisted because of the evidence of dangers associated with too much growth hormone. Anti-ageing skin fanatics have also favoured upping growth hormone, for example from colostrum-based skin creams, due to its anti-ageing effects on the skin. Again, I’ve remained sceptical. Body-builders try to up growth hormone by consuming lots of whey (dairy) protein and, sure enough, you do build bigger muscles but at what cost?
If your goal is to live long and be healthy it’s better to have lower IGF-1 levels, achieved by eating a more plant-based, less meat and dairy based diet. The key is to keep blood sugar levels stable, which means less insulin release. These are the key principles in my low GL diet.
There is one ‘growth hormone’ exception, and that is exercise. Resistance exercise and sprinting/interval training does promote growth hormone naturally, but doesn’t switch off anti-ageing genes. In fact, it does the opposite. It’s very good for you, reducing disease risk and extending lifespan. Again, you want a balance between aerobic and resistance (muscle building) exercise. There’s lots of this in the Ten Secrets of Healthy Ageing book.
If you want to get started I have a full free Special Report on Alternate Day Low gL dieting on www.patrickholford.com/weightloss and you can also join my Six Weeks to Success groups, which includes virtual coaching week by week at this site.
I have just watched the Horizon Programme (& perhaps naturally within the time avaulable); it left me with quite a few questions on “How To” do this without undue risk.
I was not totally unfamiliar with the concept having read about it in Ten Secrets I will now read issue 65 & 69 to become better informed.
Posted by Jeremy Auton on 08/15 at 07:50 PM
Anyone else trying this? So far I’m impressed.
Posted by Eleanor Dow on 08/21 at 10:36 AM
Well after viewing the Horizon programme I was suitably impressed. I have been buying Patrick Holford books recently (over last six months) and now try my best to follow his advice. So I was really pleased to read the blog on this programme and promptly bought Patrick’s book ‘10 Secrets of HEalthy Aging’. I have been on the 5:2 plan for almost 4 weeks and feel fab. I cannot believe how good I feel on the day after the fast day. I have to admit the shakes are to ‘vanilla’ flavour but have experimented with different fruit and decided that blueberry and apple are my best combination! It’s amazing how after the fast days you don’t want to binge on processed rubbish rather you crave the ‘good’ foods!! Not sure though if I have to keep permanently on two days or reduce to one day once my weight is at it’s best - 3lb to go.
Posted by Kate Bonsor on 09/19 at 03:27 PM
One day should be enough for weight, but for switching genes to anti-ageing mode it looks like two days a week may be needed. There’s not enough research to know for sure. But well done anyway. My favourite is the equivalent of two servings of Get Up & Go with blueberries and strawberries, with a glass of water with a teaspoon of Carboslow beforehand.
Posted by patrick on 09/19 at 03:47 PM
I’ve been following ADF, alternating fast days (500-600kcals) with days of about 55 GL, sometimes a bit more, based on Patrick’s low GL diet. Almost abolished my migraine, big improvement in energy levels. 10 days ago I added in resveratrol - I have chronic fatigue syndrome, and whist the diet improved things it was very variable on a day to day basis. Upshot is huge improvement in mental energy, and I am now exercising again without major problems, albeit taking it slowly. Joint pain improved, skin improved, I can get out of bed on the morning without it being a major act of willpower.
And I’ve lost 12 pounds in 4 weeks, plus 10cm off my waist.
4 weeks ago I would not have believed this possible.
Posted by Eleanor Dow on 09/19 at 04:55 PM
O.K I have started fasting. a couple of questions remain:
Should I take my suppliments on fasting days ?
& Can the fasting days be consecutive ?
Posted by Jeremy Auton on 09/19 at 06:30 PM
Yes. Keep taking supplements but if you are having get Up & Go, which is the equivalent of a multi plus 1 gram if vitamin C, adapt accordingly.
From the current research it appears best to not do the two days consecutively, but I’m not sure of anyone who has tried this so, if you do, please let me know how you get on.
Posted by patrick on 09/20 at 09:55 AM
Thank you for the swift response Patrick, it’s appreciated.
Posted by Jeremy Auton on 09/20 at 10:20 AM
I’ve followed it as in I pick my 2 days - days were I don’t go to the gym and only work one of my jobs (!) and at the moment it is a Sunday and Thursday. This works out great with having Saturday as my ‘day off’. I don’t go mad on my day off because I’m feeling so good but I do have what I want. I’ve also followed Patrick’s advice and if I ever have a coffee (may be 4 a week - from coffee shop only) then I don’t have any carbs with it and I sprinkle cinammon on the top of my capuccinno instead of chocolate and it’s fab! one month in and people are commenting on healthy I look - so can’t be bad eh. My body fat percentage has gone way down too according to the bodyfat scales at the gym
Posted by Kate Bonsor on 09/20 at 11:16 AM
Jeremy wonderful results. I’ve been following Patrick’s advice - fast days I have a get up and go shake, light salad later, or 2 shakes if not a work day. Patrick’s book suggests on the non-fasting days to eat 55-60GL on the low GL diet. As I’ve got further into this - now 5 weeks - the fasting is easier, sometimes difficult to eat as much as I should on the non fasting days. I’m presuming if you eat too little on the non fasting days then metabolism is more likely to be slowed.
Posted by Eleanor Dow on 09/20 at 07:39 PM
Someone asked me about exercising on the fasting day. Here’s a comment I received from a regular exerciser: “I am also feeling great on my fasting!... I had a Get up and go breakfast (with almond milk), and for lunch and avocado and tuna salad for dinner. I have to say that I am not nearly as hungry as before and even my daughter has commented that I look good and I feel very good, very positive with lots of energy! I have also been training and it has not effected me at all on the fasting day.
Keep sharing what’s working, or not working for you so we can all learn.
Posted by patrick on 10/05 at 04:45 PM
Well I’d love to know more about maintaining my weight whilst doing the alternate day lifestyle, as I only want to maintain now but if I do the ‘optimum nutrition’ days as i like to call them, i lose weight! I am an exercise fanatic and do eat really well - I tend to relax a lot (!!) on a Friday and Saturday but have never felt better. I so wish more research could be done on this and not just on animals!! Think i’ll change my name to Roland Rat
Posted by Kate Bonsor on 10/27 at 11:30 AM
Kate(RR) - the interesting thing in human trials is that if people do a ‘modified fast’ day, followed either by eating a low fat vs eating whatever they wanted day, both worked. My hunch is that, if you are in good health and weight, and do two modified fast days a week, then there may be little need to be perfect on the other days, but broadly following low GL/optimum nutrition principles. Glad to hear you’re feeling great.
Posted by patrick on 10/27 at 12:21 PM
Hi Patrick thanks for the reply. This is the cheeky bit coming up. Do you think you’ll bring another flavour out for the get up and go shake? Anyway going to do Monday and Thursday this week and see how it goes. Also omg am I loving cinammon. It’s stopping me feeling hungry between meals. RR
Posted by Kate Bonsor on 10/27 at 04:40 PM
There are no plans at the moment for another flavour of Get Up & Go - but thanks for your feedback. Most people just use different fruits to change the flavour.
Posted by patrick on 10/28 at 10:15 AM
I’ve just bought the book Ten secrets of healthy ageing after reading about the alternate day fasting in the newsletter and on the blog. Since I haven’t read the book yet, I have a few questions. There are no Holford supplements available in Kuwait, which is where I live, so I’m unable to purchase the get up and go,so I chose the fruit option for my fasting days. I know that berries are preferable, but are all other fruits allowed and do I eat these whenever I feel hungry or do I eat it at the same time I’ll usually be having my meals?
Posted by email@example.com on 11/05 at 05:48 AM
Jill - FYI the supplements are in Bahrain, Dubai and Abu Dhabi at the Organic Foods & Cafe in case you know anyone going there. having Get Up & Go really makes the whole process so much easier since it is filling, low calories and full of nutrients.
Have a look at the recommended options in the two articles in newsletter issues 65 and 69.
Basically doing a fruit fast is not a good idea, especially with Middle Eastern fruits since these are high in sugar. The beneficial effect comes from lowering insulin release, which most fruit sugars promote. Having an oats for breakfast and a vegetable and protein based lunch or dinner would be better. For example, a white fish and salad or vegetable soup.
Posted by patrick on 11/05 at 08:35 AM
A little up date from Roland Rat. I’ve read with interest (well slight interest to be honest) a ‘version’ of alternate day dieting in Woman (or was in Woman’s Own) last week, and now in Women’s Health they are also running an article on it. With their own spin of course. I do wish they would reiterate the calories on these days should be optimum nutrition - but more importantly thought it interesting that this way of losing weight is gathering momentum. I was wondering if Patrick had read these articles, and would he give any credence to them?
Posted by Kate Bonsor on 11/05 at 11:23 AM
I think a key point, which many reports are missing, is that the reason low cals works is that it lowers insulin release. But what really lowers insulin release is eating a low-GL diet. So i think we will find it is more important to eat low GL than just low cals. On this basis i recommend the fasting days we low GL, and even the ‘normal’ days be low GL but no so strict on food quantity (calories).
Posted by patrick on 11/05 at 11:29 AM
I can do so. At work today but can send them tomorrow if that’s ok, unless someone can get them to you sooner.
Posted by Kate Bonsor on 11/05 at 11:36 AM
Hello Patrick, fyi I sent both articles to you last week at the email address given.
Posted by Kate Bonsor on 11/12 at 11:18 AM
Thanks. Read with interest. The focus is very much on calories when it’s GL and insulin release that appears to be the trigger for switching on ‘skinny’ genes (and fitting into them).
Posted by patrick on 11/13 at 11:46 PM
I have not been very consistent recently with the fasting regime, however, I am very pleased to report that since being on a Low GL eating regime my Cholestrol has reduced from 7.3 to 5.6 in six months. I was called into the Health Centre by the Practice Nurse today as she wanted to know how I had achieved it. She thought it quite remarkable. Took the opportunity to recount the low GL mantra & point her towards you web site Patrick. Thank you.
Posted by Jeremy Auton on 12/20 at 05:59 PM
Roland Rat back again. OK ok I confess what a rubbish December food-wise for me! But picked myself up etc and decided to go back to 2 day semi-fast thingymajig (incoporating low GL etc); BUT I bought Patrick’s book ‘9 day detox’ book together with the supplements (yellow pack). Question is can I mix the both i.e. kind of follow the detox plan on my non-fasting days? Also I take the optimum nutrition tablet and ImmuneC tablets - is it still ok to take these whilst taking the detox supplements? Just want to get off to a boost. Suggestions would be most appreciated.
Posted by Kate Bonsor on 01/02 at 05:05 PM
Yes - you can and should do it all at the same time. I designed the 9 Day Detox pack to be taken with multivitamin and extra vitamin C so this is exactly the right thing to do. I must admit i gained a few pounds this festive season - but am back on track today!
We have also launched today a Six Weeks to Success regime, incorporating alternate day diet and GL principles, and on-line ‘virtual’ coaching. Check it out at http://www.patrickholford.com/weightloss.
Posted by patrick on 01/02 at 05:34 PM
Patrick, thanks for your speedy response! Well day one almost over. The Six Weeks to Sucess looks fantastic but due to financial constraints (nobody wants a stuffed rat on tv anymore) unable to take advantage. Will you be bringing out a book? My house is a Patrick Holford library now so quite happy to add another to the collection!
Posted by Kate Bonsor on 01/02 at 05:49 PM
Having gone through a stressful time lately and my clothes getting too tight, I decided to tackle the alternate day diet head on. I found it surprisingly easy to do. I noticed hunger comes in waves and if you wait a while it goes off again. By 5pm on my “down” days I felt ok and not in need to raid the fridge. In fact, I felt much better than my “up” days because my body was resting inside.
On my “up” days I felt no need at all to over eat, in fact, I had to encourage my appetite with nutritious foods. NO sugar cravings, clear head and a general feeling of well being (including a calmness of mood)
It was a little mind boggling changing from calories to gls but I soon got organized.
Now my clothes fit nicely and I shall use it as and when I need to, but not on a permanent bases.
Knowing I could eat more on the “up” days was always an incentive to keep going but very soon I didn’t really notice the difference.
Good quality food is the key to enjoying this kind of eating plan. With the lovely foods and smaller meals I felt in control and happy with myself. I will definitely do it again and thank you Patrick for the emag with all the details, it was very useful!!!
Posted by Wendy Yaxley on 02/18 at 06:00 PM
I agree. This style of eating seems to be so natural. However, there seems to be so many versions now it is getting a bit confusing. For example there is the new 2 Day Diet which had been serialised in the Daily Mail. I was wondering if Patrick had viewed the different ‘styles’ of intermittent fasting available and if he had any comments. Unfortunately I seem to be going through a weird phase of craving rubbish food and I don’t know why so almost feel as if there is information overload and i don’t know what to do for the best.
Posted by Kate Bonsor on 02/19 at 10:46 AM
Most of the ‘alternate day’ research showing health and weight loss benefits were on alternate day low calorie diets, not just two days a week. I am suspicious whether two days alone will really achieve what we are achieving with three fast days, which most people find extremely doable.
The 2 Day Diet is basically Atkins on the two days - the problem with high meat and dairy is they actually promote insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) which seems to be exactly what you want to avoid - low GL, low insulin helps turn on skinny genes and shift metabolism to burn fat.
While some studies focusing only on calories have proven substantial benefits at lesser calories this is both hard to do and sustain, and other studies show that either halving calorie intake (a moderately active woman’s calorie needs are about 2000kcals) or having 20% less calories overall, but most importantly, low GL, which is what my Low GL Alternate Day Diet achieves averaged for the weak, switches genes and metabolism to fatburning.
Posted by patrick on 02/19 at 11:02 AM
ok that’s helpful, thank you. I was wondering about the extra protein because of the IGF factor. The 2 Day Diet also encourages you to have the 2 ‘fast’ days together which I don’t think I could do. Think I need to re-read the Optimum Nutrition Bible again . One of the best books i’ve ever read!
Posted by Kate Bonsor on 02/19 at 01:39 PM