Intensive Dietary Management Program: A Guided Fasting Program (IDM)
Have you been hearing about fasting? I’m sure you have unless you have been a hermit for the past few years! Have you been curious to try it but wanting more guidance on how to do it? There is a program I want to tell you about.
Who started the Intensive Dietary Management Program?
The IDM was co-founded by a nephrologist and world-renowned author, Dr. Jason Fung and clinical researcher Megan Ramos, who herself used the program to practice fasting and reversed her obesity and type 2 diabetes. Dr. Fung and Ms. Ramos have both been instrumental in spreading the word about fasting as a treatment tool for treating obesity and type 2 diabetes.
In October of 2018, in the British Medical Journal, a group of investigators, including Dr. Fung and Ms. Ramos, published a case report of 3 patients who used therapeutic fasting under the guidance of their IDM fasting program. These patients were able to come off of insulin, lose significant amounts of weight and reduce their waist size and hemoglobin A1c, a marker of blood sugar control.
What is the IDM Program?
The program is an online structured digital lifestyle intervention. They offer a free 12 week introductory course as well as paid health coaching to guide individuals on their fasting journey. They provide education, practical tips and support to help people use fasting as an effective tool.
What do the studies show about fasting?
Many studies have been done on lab animals and some on humans as well. As you may have heard, there are different kinds of fasting (time-restricted eating, periodic fasting, alternate day fasting and extended fasting).
Many investigators, both in the basic research field and in clinical research are studying the various effects on health, including effects on cholesterol, markers like adiponectin, insulin and markers of inflammation. There are various studies in progress to also delve into anti-aging and autophagy effects of intermittent fasting.
Randomized control trials studying the effects of alternate day fasting on normal and overweight people, and a separate trial on people with obesity and insulin resistance (example: individuals with pre-diabetes/type 2 diabetes/PCOS) have shown promising findings. Over 12 weeks, in the normal weight and people with overweight, muscle mass was preserved and people lost body fat. Also, LDL and triglyceride cholesterol decreased, and markers of inflammation decreased as well. A hormone called adiponectin (which helps insulin function) also increased.
A quick Pubmed search will show you there are numerous studies out there and it is an exciting time as we are learning more and more every day about this FREE, EFFECTIVE and ancient practice.
Who needs medical supervision during fasting?
So, we have established that there is a role for fasting, along with nutrition and lifestyle, in the treatment of metabolic diseases like overweight/obesity and type 2 diabetes, but what kind of supervision is needed?
For people who have chronic health problems like type 2 diabetes, PCOS, pre-diabetes, and high blood pressure it is important to be supervised medically when starting a fasting program.
Especially before any extended fasting, it is important to be screened for nutritional deficiencies, as well as electrolytes abnormalities and kidney function, to name a few. If you have any medical issues, it is important to seek medical assistance for anything beyond time-restricted eating.
For those people who are on medications for conditions, especially high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, it is very important to be supervised, as fasting typically results in a brisk need for a decrease in medications. People can be at risk for low blood sugar and/or low blood pressure.
We provide such guidance in our practice to such individuals. The Intensive Dietary Management Program is a wonderful resource to educate yourself on how fasting works, the practical aspects of fasting, and for a community of support.
*The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.