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The 700 Club

Dr. Ian Smith on “Fast Burn” 

Why Intermittent Fasting?

Dr. Ian, as he likes to be called, has written 17 books about health, with an emphasis on healthy weight loss. In Fast Burn, his 20th book, his focus is on losing fat quickly and safely through intermittent fasting (IF). With IF being such a hot trend in weight loss management, Dr. Ian went “back to school,” so to speak, to study the effects of IF on the body, and how it’s best implemented. “The underlying weight loss principle of IF is to get our insulin levels low enough and hold them there long enough that our bodies have no choice but to burn fat,” he explains. In addition to weight loss, he also says that IF has many other potential health benefits: decreased belly fat, decreased inflammation, improved asthma-related symptoms, improved brain health, preserved learning and memory functioning, improved health markers, reduced insulin resistance, reduced risk of chronic conditions, autophagy (the body eating its own damaged cell bits and proteins, which protects against several diseases), and telomere lengthening (protecting chromosomes and lengthening life).         

Many IF programs, he points out, leave users to figure out what and how much to eat during their feeding window and how long to fast each day. The Fast Burn plan thoroughly addresses both. As to the latter, Smith says there are various ways to employ IF, such as Time-Restricted Feeding (TRF), 5:2 Method (eating normally for five days of the week, and fasting to varying degrees on two days), Alternate Day Method (fasting every other day), and the 24-hour Fast, eating no solid foods once or twice a week. Dr. Ian’s Fast Burn plan uses TRF, which forms two “windows” every 24 hours, one for fasting, the other for feeding. For example, one option is 12:12, where one fasts for 12 hours and eats all meals and snacks within 12 hours. Other options are 14:10, 16:8, and 18:6. While greater results will be seen with longer fasting times, he recommends starting with 12:12.   

The Fast Burn Program 

Dr. Ian’s nine-week plan is divided into three parts: ignition (four weeks), intermission (one week), and acceleration (four weeks). In the ignition phase, users get used to a new eating schedule (TRF) and style, meaning cleaner – not perfect – eating, which includes less-processed ingredients, and reduced calories from fried food, creams and sauces, and sugary foods. The intermission phase comes in the middle of the program and is designed to give the mind and body a rest. It allows less restrictive guidelines and more liberal food choices, and a chance to assess progress, and make whatever adjustments are needed. The last phase, acceleration, is the “big push” of the program where the goals are upped, but not to the point of frustration. Throughout all three phases, clear, helpful eating guidelines are provided, as well as healthy meal and snack options, and specific exercise choices, both for the gym and outside the gym, including illustrations.  

The Business of Food

Dr. Ian believes that to be successful in any weight loss program, one must be allowed to eat tasty, regular, easily accessible, and affordable food, and not feel frustrated and deprived. That way, a cleaner way of eating can become a lifestyle, not merely a short-term diet.  He says the primary goal of his Fast Burn program is to produce a negative energy balance. To put that in equation form:

For weight loss, ENERGY IN (food) < ENERGY OUT (calories burned)
For fat burning, ENERGY AVAILABLE < ENERGY NEEDED (so the body eats its own fat) 

Smith includes 33 delicious recipes focusing on improved calorie quality, including his signature Burner Smoothie, Baked Apple Heaven, Toasty Tuna Melt, Moroccan Sweet Potatoes, Supreme Strip Steak, Chocolate-Covered Banana Coins, and many more. He is also running The Fast Burn Challenge on Facebook with 10,000 participants already.  He often goes on the site himself and offers advice and answers to questions.  

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