Intermittent Fasting: Kickstart Your Weight Loss

October 17, 2018 by Joel Fuhrman, MD

Health Concerns: Weight Loss

Stuck at a certain weight and want to lose more? Or are you just trying to push the envelope on longevity? Try a strategy called Intermittent Fasting.

If you’ve reached a weight plateau and wish to continue to lose weight, perhaps adding the technique of Intermittent Fasting will help you to continue to achieve your weight loss goals. Even if you are at a healthy weight and follow a Nutritarian diet, intermittent fasting offers various health benefits.

Why it Works: The practice of intermittent fasting, or time restricted eating, is gaining popularity both as a weight loss aid and healthy living practice. Advocates report that the strategy has helped them to lose weight with ease, while research points to the strategy’s ability to optimize your body’s ability to repair and heal itself. It also reduces growth-related signals by improving insulin sensitivity and inflammation.  

Cells in the fasting state are more resistant to disease and stress, reducing cancer risk and slowing aging. Fasting and caloric restriction also increase autophagy, a process in which cells focus on repair work, recycling damaged components, and cleaning out harmful or dead cellular matter.1-6  

Combining a Nutritarian diet with intermittent fasting is where the real magic happens. A Nutritarian diet is full of nutrient-dense, whole plant foods that keep oxidative stress, inflammation and DNA damage at bay. The Nutritarian diet is already designed to prevent disease and help the body to repair and heal.7 Utilizing fasting with this superior diet offers an opportunity to enhance these advantages.  This means you will lose weight, feel better, and improve your overall health for a happier life.

In addition, the technique of restricting your eating time window most often results in reducing calorie intake unconsciously.89 This makes weight loss easier than other methods, such as counting calories or using special pre-packaged foods. 

Intermittent Fasting is also flexible, you can choose a plan that fits into your lifestyle. There is even a side benefit. Since fewer meals are needed, the time you spend shopping and preparing and cleaning up from meals is reduced.

How it works: Although people fast every day during periods of sleep, the idea of intermittent fasting is to extend the period of time overnight when you are not eating.  You can reduce your caloric intake for the day by having a light dinner, a green juice for example, or finishing dinner earlier, around 4 pm.

You can practice Intermittent fasting in a number of ways, including:

  • Limiting your caloric intake to a window of 6 to 10 hours a day
  • Try to push your fasting window overnight to 15 hours
  • Alternating days of regular meals with calorie-restricted days 
  • Alternating a longer eating time window one day with a shorter eating time window the next
  • Eat breakfast and lunch, skipping dinner whenever possible 

Action item: Looking to learn more about Intermittent Fasting? Join me for the Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss Boot Camp. You will participate in Zoom lectures and connect with others during this virtual event.

Lose weight and live better.

This event will allow you to increase your knowledge and find a comfortable plan to incorporate intermittent fasting into your life. The event will offer insight into the science behind intermittent fasting and the rules to follow to gain the most benefit. For example:

Eat in sync with your circadian rhythms: get most of your calories earlier in the day, preferably before 5 pm. Choose an appropriate eating window. Since insulin sensitivity is highest in the morning,10 evidence suggests that extending a fast during the evening hours is preferable to the morning hours (so skipping breakfast is likely not as beneficial as skipping dinner), Stop eating earlier in the evening to lengthen your overnight fast.

  1. Antoni R, Johnston KL, Collins AL, Robertson MD. Effects of intermittent fasting on glucose and lipid metabolism. Proc Nutr Soc 2017, 76:361-368.
  2. Tinsley GM, La Bounty PM. Effects of intermittent fasting on body composition and clinical health markers in humans. Nutr Rev 2015, 73:661-674.
  3. Mattson MP, Longo VD, Harvie M. Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes. Ageing Res Rev 2017, 39:46-58.
  4. Patterson RE, Laughlin GA, LaCroix AZ, et al. Intermittent Fasting and Human Metabolic Health. J Acad Nutr Diet 2015, 115:1203-1212.
  5. Longo VD, Mattson MP. Fasting: molecular mechanisms and clinical applications. Cell Metab 2014, 19:181-192.
  6. Longo VD, Panda S. Fasting, Circadian Rhythms, and Time-Restricted Feeding in Healthy Lifespan. Cell Metab 2016, 23:1048-1059.
  7. Stefanson AL, Bakovic M. Dietary regulation of Keap1/Nrf2/ARE pathway: focus on plant-derived compounds and trace minerals. Nutrients 2014, 6:3777-3801.
  8. Harvie MN, Pegington M, Mattson MP, et al. The effects of intermittent or continuous energy restriction on weight loss and metabolic disease risk markers: a randomized trial in young overweight women. Int J Obes (Lond) 2011, 35:714-727.
  9. Harvey J, Howell A, Morris J, Harvie M. Intermittent energy restriction for weight loss: Spontaneous reduction of energy intake on unrestricted days. Food Sci Nutr 2018, 6:674-680.
  10. Saad A, Dalla Man C, Nandy DK, et al. Diurnal pattern to insulin secretion and insulin action in healthy individuals. Diabetes 2012, 61:2691-2700.

Joel Fuhrman, M.D. is a board-certified family physician, seven-time New York Times bestselling author and internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing, who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional methods. Dr. Fuhrman coined the term “Nutritarian” to describe his longevity-promoting, nutrient dense, plant-rich eating style.
For over 25 years, Dr. Fuhrman has shown that it is possible to achieve sustainable weight loss and reverse heart disease, diabetes and many other illnesses using smart nutrition. In his medical practice, and through his books and PBS television specials, he continues to bring this life-saving message to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.


Comments (0):



10/18/2018 11:30 AM

I stopped eating after 7 pm & after about 6 weeks I lost 10 lbs without really trying. I sleep a lot better too!

Randi Carbone

10/18/2018 03:07 PM

That’s fantastic!


10/21/2018 01:25 AM

How long can I follow intermittent fast? I eat 3 times a day, I have dinner at 16:30-17pm. breakfast at 7-8am. Can I hurt myself if I do it every day for years? or need breaks?


11/08/2018 06:32 AM

My three year old son has been drinking a fortified soy milk three times a day. My family is plant based and do not consume any animal products. I heard you speak last weekend and you mentioned that synthetic vitamins A and E were harmful. Since vitamin A is in his soy milk I am going to switch him to another brand. I found one that is just organic soy and filtered water. My question is, if he is eating a plant based diet with little processed foods, and taking your pixie vites and dha supplement, does he really need to drink soy milk at every meal? He loves the taste and it would be hard to not let him have it, but now I’m questioning if he needs it or not if we no longer buy the fortified versions. 


Thank you so much!


08/15/2019 07:41 AM

Thank you so much for your post.  I lost 50lbs on your plan with intermittent fasting years ago.  Since then, I have had some major setbacks like: Chiari decompression surgery, that was the precursor to Intracranial Hypertension, which has led to hypothyroidism and other hormonal issues.  Now I have autonomic dysautonomia.  I have gained 70lbs since all the weight I lost and feeling very sad a defeated.  

I will try this diet again.  I should have stuck to it throughout the years but the diet slipped as my health kept going down the drain.  I will try again.  Thank Dr. Furhman. Wish you were my doctor here in Birmingham, Alabama.

spshastr replies:

12/08/2020 06:50 AM

Where  can we get Dr Furhmans Intermittent fasting plan ?


03/25/2021 05:31 PM

There are different ways to do intermittent fasting, and I have been using a different protocol that is working very well for me- a two hour eating window in the evening about 1.5 hours before going to sleep- by having a full stomach I sleep much, much better than trying to go to sleep quite a few hours after eating, and my blood sugar, blood pressure, and weight are improving much faster then ever before. Once I get all of my health numbers where I want them I will probably go to two meals per day- in a 6 to 8 hour window. There are other people I know of who are on Omad (one meal a day) who also have had a lot of success with their one meal being a later evening meal- I don't think this is a bad thing at all- it has been working very well for me.