“The Hurdles That I’ve Had Enabled Me To Take Control of My Health.”
This episode covers the benefits of replacing diabetes medication with fasting to address illness at the root.
Megan Ramos is a clinical educator and expert on therapeutic fasting and low-carbohydrate diets, having guided more than 14,000 people worldwide through The Fasting Method program she co-founded with Dr. Jason Fung. She is the co-author of the New York Times Bestseller Life in the Fasting Lane.
In this podcast, The Truth About Fasting For Diabetes, we cover:
The health benefits of fasting with diabetes
Why the pharmaceutical industry won’t promote fasting
The problem with pharmaceutical remedies for diabetes
How does fasting work in the body?
Health 101: how to make fasting work for you
The Health Benefits of Fasting With Diabetes
Diabetes is our body’s way of letting us know that we are doing something harmful to it. You want a specific range of body temperature, glucose, and insulin. Too much or too little of anything can be bad for you. The benefits of fasting are scientifically apparent, and we can trace them back to the cave person days. Back then, people with genes that allowed them to go long periods without food survived at the highest rates. Because we still have that gene inside of us, we believe that diabetes is happening because we resist our genetic predisposition to fast.
The Problem With Pharmaceutical Remedies
When you have a lot of stored sugar, the liver will pour out that stored sugar in the middle of the night, you wake up, and your blood sugar has gone up. The problem with diabetic medications is that they treat high blood sugar levels by addressing symptoms rather than the cause. These medications remove the sugar from the blood, put it elsewhere, and cause disease, which results in inflammation and all this awful stuff. When you keep eating and taking medication, the medication removes sugar from the blood, but our bodies do not become cleaner.
Why The Pharmaceutical Industry Won’t Promote Fasting
Traditional healthcare poses a big problem with convincing sick individuals to try fasting. Because it is not profitable for pharmaceutical companies, many people are unaware of alternative treatments that may work better. Disease and wellness are heavily political topics. We want to walk into our doctor’s office and feel we are getting the best care possible. However, it is essential to remember that doctors are financially incentivized to prescribe medications and that the information they receive is primarily from pharmaceutical companies.
How Does Fasting Work In The Body?
When the body has insulin resistance, the insulin is not even really starting to fall until around the 22 to 24-hour mark. By suppressing insulin for a more extended period, we want to help the body become efficient at having metabolic flexibility of transitioning fuel sources, which occurs between the 24 and 48-hour space. Most people do 36 to 48 hours two to three times a week. It’s an incredible fasting regimen for many tremendous health benefits, including neurochemical shifts, diabetes reversal, and weight loss.
Health 101: How to Make Fasting Work For You
During the detox process of fasting, ketones calm many people, but some may experience irritability or headaches. A good ketone level varies by individual. Some people see results at five, and seven is not necessarily better for them. If ketones shoot up and it causes an adverse reaction, a workout may help stabilize the level. Some individuals may observe the benefit of exercise through physical activities such as laundry. To figure out what works best for you, experiment with various strategies. You can build a better fasting mindset by focusing on meal timing and food quality. Once people become seasoned fasters, they can typically break their fast with whatever they like. We don’t want to spike the insulin when breaking a fast, so we encourage prioritizing good protein and healthy fats. For some people, breaking the fast causes adverse reactions such as gut issues, so we recommend they do straight bone broth and collagen fasting.
Dr. Mindy So okay, here’s my first question to you, Megan, that I’m so curious. I know that you were working in Dr. funks clinic and that that is a large part of how you all started learning about fasting. But did you know about fasting prior to working in that clinic? Like what were How did you What was your door in to understanding fasting?
Megan Ramos No, actually, so I started in the nephrology clinic. So Jason’s a nephrologist, my backgrounds in nephrology. So kidney disease actually started there. And I was 15. Jason being with the group for about five minutes at that point. And I as a young nephrologist on the team, he had to do some research projects, and I was a student that was working with him on those research projects as part of my summer, summer job. And I just really loved the program there, they did a ton of research, really trying to be proactive about slowing down the prevention of kidney disease through lifestyle and pharmaceutical interventions, a combination of them both, and I think they use a lot of the proceeds or proceeds from the pharmaceutical to help fund a lot of the lifestyle stuff. And I was just really intrigued about preventative medicine from a young age because my mom was so sick. So I had this group like this really cool opportunity. Jason was a nice guy, it was a large nephrology group, we’re actually our oral group is one of the largest medical research departments of any kind in North America and nephrology. So I just love the whole, you know, let’s try to stop disease, let’s try to make people better, let’s stop trying to slap medications onto the list. And I’ve never seen that anywhere else in medicine. So I just stuck it out us hug out there. Like I love the team, all of the doctors have the same perspective. You know, let’s help save these people. And you get to know dialysis patients that come in four to six hours a day, three to four times a week, I’m you know, the three to five years, typically on average, and sometimes longer. I mean, some of these patients that I met at 15 are still kicking around the dialysis unit today. And they literally watched me grow up. Yeah, warm relationships. So it was kind of in my mid 20s, I was just, I was just heartbroken because it seemed like all of the interventions we were doing, were making individual sick. So Jason, myself and the nephrology team there you have this prospective observational study going we’re looking at FGF 23 is a growth hormone, as a better predictor of kidney function decline, then creatinine which we typically use to help estimate kidney function. And the idea is if you know, we can detect it earlier, we can prevent it, or we can try to prevent it or slow down the progression of it. So we enrolled 2800 people with very, very mild kidney dysfunction. And it was a three year study. But we’re a year in and patients were just rapidly declining. Patients were dying from type two diabetes that was the root cause of why they eventually pass. And it got to a point halfway through the study where we had to do another enrollment onboard to bring back up our sample size because we were losing so many patients who are really quite healthy, who we would expect to live or not be on dialysis for like another decade or longer. And it was just crazy just to see how the all of these lifestyle recommendations that they were getting, and their diabetic care is just nosediving them down the toilet. And I started to panic about my own health at that point. Because I thought to myself, Okay, we’re doing these interventions in them, but they’re already very disease. They’re already quite old. So I’m young. Let me do it. Now. Let me get ahead of this curve. So I don’t get diabetes, heart disease like the rest of my family. But that did mean no good. Because of the new year. I have a diagnosis of type two diabetes, and I’m having a ton of weight. So
Dr. Mindy around, just out of curiosity, how old were you at that time?
Megan Ramos I got this news for my 27th birthday. Oh, my God. Don’t annual physicals around your birthday.
Dr. Mindy Because you might get a diagnosis. Yeah,
Megan Ramos it was brutal. But at the same time, too. I was feeling so brokenhearted. For these patients. I was kind of at a loss. I just you know, when I was 15 and I walked into the dialysis unit, we had a handful of patients. By the time I was 27. You we had centers upon centers just in our group. We were dialyzed and 1000s of people around the clock 24/7 We were airlifting them to places like Ottawa from Toronto, which is a five hour drive. It was it was Just wild, you know, to see diabetes become such an epidemic. And, you know, Jason was saying to from a different lens, then I was. And he had, he had come had some personal discussions, a friend of his I believe, she started fasting for spiritual reasons following a divorce. And she had these health benefits from it. And this really sort of Spike Jason’s interest to do a bit of a dive into this. Most people don’t realize it that Toronto is the most culturally diverse city in the entire world. And Jason and I worked in the most niche area. So it wasn’t unusual to have someone who practice different religions, like Muslims in Ramadan, or we would have different patients who had you know, always passed on Fridays, or you know, or would pass on Mondays and Fridays. Like these are very common things. It was so many, over 50% of the population of Toronto is immigrated there. So, you know, these are people that were until they acclimate to the gluttonous culture that Canada in general has become, they were still bringing these practices or older generations, reverting back to them or not giving them up. So we’re aware that fasting was a huge part of every major religion fasting didn’t faze me, my best friend was Hindu growing up, she fasted on Fridays when she was old enough. But in my culture, like it was a real foreign thing, like, you know, McDonald’s was Monday, pizza was Tuesday, Wednesday was Chinese food, you know, that. Those were our religious practices. So, Jason said, you know, to me when I was telling him about my diabetes diagnosis, you know, this fasting, and I’m first you know, I had heard rumors around the clinic that he was talking about this, but it just seemed too easy. And then later on that same day, I heard him giving a talk to some of his patients about fasting and I decided to sit in and listen to it. sure as heck beat sitting in traffic on the way home, and everything just kind of clicked. And I went through about 1000 different stages of emotions. Not even and that’s I think that’s really good
Dr. Mindy for people to hear, though, because it would be easy to look at you like a fasting X, you know, the fasting expert that you are, and think it was easy. So like, what were those 1000 emotions just because I think people don’t recognize that they’re not alone in that, then that emotional journey.
Megan Ramos So there’s, this can’t be true, it can’t be wrong, you know, we cannot live in this huge conspiracy theorists, you know, population like how could the government of Canada we’re Canadians are supposed to be so nice, how could they let this be? How could they be lying to us? about it? So I went, you know, down some dark path, anger at my parents, they’re brilliant people. I know their law and finance. But why can they figure this out? You know, it’s just that so much anger my professors there are they brainwash, are they lying to me, or a mix of both, you know, anger at myself, like I sat through years of years of school, and you’re just like, as a student, you’re just so busy trying to stay up to date on top of the grades, 500 extracurricular activities, a job to finance it all. And you’re doing all of these things. And, you know, sometimes things don’t make sense. But you know, you’ve got this, you’re paying 1000s of dollars for this expert, there’s a world leading expert to tell you, Hey, this is this is the fact that you just have to sometimes memorize the fact because you don’t always have time to fully understand everything and those moments and kind of kicking myself, you know, or yeah, not forcing it.
Dr. Mindy You know, I had the by the way, I had the same feeling when I learned about a toffee G and Dr. Assamese work. I was like, Wait a second, this is so simple. If if this guy just won the Nobel Prize for this concept of a toffee G. Why doesn’t the world know about it? And, you know, do you do the conspiracy theory idea? Do you feel like it’s just worse? There’s no financial incentive for people to fast?
Megan Ramos There’s definitely none. And now that I’ve definitely, like I’ve pivoted in my career, I hung up my nephrology hat in 2015. Right before my wedding, I had to make a call, you know, what am I going to do because I was trying to do both at the same time still maintain my nephrology giving people the wrong advice, but that’s what was funded versus doing what was right and serving people in in Canada that, you know, that’s not funded. It’s not public health. It’s public health care, but it doesn’t you know,
Dr. Mindy when it’s gave Canada a lot of money if everybody fasted and were able and started overturning type two diabetes, this is, you know, like, I look at Kaiser by us, and I think oh my gosh Kaiser needs to know, because ultimately, and they are already talking about fasting, they’re one of the rare few hospitals are because they’re trying to save money and save lives. Yeah,
Megan Ramos it’s, you know, I think there’s the there’s a certain branch in Canada of sort of government that did reach out to us at one point because their particular sector was to obese and to diabetic and they said, You fasting is less politics and food. So I’m like, okay, you know, this is this, I’m like, fourth generation Torontonian Canadian, and I just sort of the, the lenses, you know, the fog clearing, and now now I live in the United States and
Dr. Mindy hear me we’re still gonna go do lunch here soon. I probably,
Megan Ramos we should. Yeah, I’m in the Bay Area. And it’s, it is just, it’s you, I’ve worked with clients in the US my husband’s American, my in laws and very close with them, they’re in the US. You here and but to physically live, live it and just sort of see what’s brought about in the last couple of years to it is it is totally a business. And then there’s, there’s certain larger organizations, we’ve, we’ve got some insurance pilots and stuff going, that are quite interesting. And it’s great people are looking to bring fasting, and then there’s some other pathways where it’s like, well, it doesn’t really matter, because it doesn’t really cost the insurance company, anything in the end, whether you’re sick or you’re not sick. And it’s just such a there’s a lot of politics, that goes goes into disease and wellness. I think that’s really hard
Dr. Mindy for people to grasp, because we want to walk into our doctor’s office and feel like there’s only one person in that room that matters. And that’s me, and my doctor is going to give me the best advice. But when you’ve got you know, financial incentives for doctors to prescribe medications, and the information they’re receiving is primarily from are largely from pharmaceutical companies. It really taints your your view. And I really have to give Jason a lot of credit for being willing to step out of that and say, Hey, there’s a different way to do this. And at what was the what kind of, like feedback. Did you guys see as you were starting to fast and seeing results? did? Did it is insurance companies, were they mad? Were you know, how did that all roll out?
Megan Ramos In in Canada, and it says public health care, which isn’t just saying it, but we definitely got blowback. So we first I had like, done a month of it. And my agency dropped down to six, and I had lost some weight. But I still looked very sick. And you know, my numbers weren’t, like off the charts impressive. And it was only a month worth of data. So no one cared. So Jason and I went to our, you know, team, and we’re like, we’re so excited. And let’s do this. And Jason had been talking to like the higher powers that be in the nephrology space. And no, you guys are not your mental, you know, we’re not even going to listen to you. But then as I started to come back to life, and as I started having, you know, months worth of data, it just getting better and better. And people see me not waste away and then there’s some holiday weight loss pool going on in the nephrology department and I found out that certain people were betting that I would win and I would just you know, conquer, conquer the challenge. And there’s the sustainability part afterwards. And I think I made a few people extra pocket change.
Unknown Speaker The added office pool I do that’s hysterical. Yeah,
Megan Ramos not as really wild place. And then as a joke that we’re in for, you know, making them a little bit richer, gave me a McDonald’s gift card, which is really ridiculous. But on that note,
Dr. Mindy they what kind of fast links were you doing? Because I know people are going to ask that, like, what did she do? What was her fasting late to lose all that? Well,
Megan Ramos I really kind of changed. Changed it up a lot on the way my first fast I’m like, I’m young, I’m motivated. I’m not too sick. I’m going to do seven days and that did not go over well. We were water. Just pure water. I felt like totally depleted. It was it was not not good. Didn’t know what I was doing. Coming off of the awful awful diet. So I started for a couple of weeks I did but 1618 hours tried to cut out snacking. Then I focused on the 20 fours for about a month or two. But the snacking part I was a grazer I must have been some type of farm animal in the past life. Because I totally grazer. So I knew if I was going to be successful at this, like I wasn’t going to bad data that with longer fast. So I put in the time and even today, it’s something that I have dealt with with the COVID lock downs. I was in Canada for the first year COVID. And they were locked down for nearly two years, for the most part. So it was it was a little bit difficult. So the snacking because of COVID, something that I have to go back on. But I spent about a month or two perfecting the 20 fours and then moving into some combination of 40 twos and 20 fours, I would typically why we need to, because I wasn’t hungry in the morning. And it became very easy to fast through the evening. So you know, I would, for example, where you know, I’d eat on Sunday, and then Monday, you know, after eating Saturday and Sunday, I wasn’t really hungry. Anyways, Monday’s are such a busy work day. As long as I stay properly hydrated, gotten in my salt, I was good to go. And then you know, after the crazy workday, that was Monday, which is always so the surrender to the pizza day, because Mondays are always so crazy. It’s just was so easy not to eat. I had this crazy, crazy day. And I could do other things to de stress, like go on a walk, take an Epsom salt bath, go for a massage, get my nails done, do something else. Rather than eat for that decompression. And then it was really easy to go to the next day. But I’d wake up on the Tuesday in the morning, and I just wouldn’t be hungry. And at the time I was diabetic and my blood sugar levels were high. So you know, my blood sugar levels are going up because of the Dawn affected DOM phenomenon. But outside of the normal range, and my body’s obviously secreting insulin, it just seemed like eating will be adding fuel to a fire that I’m trying to put out. So you know, I know.
Dr. Mindy I think I think your story is so interesting, because there’s a lot of concern about fasting for type two diabetics. And when you have a lot of stored sugar, you’re let’s just I just want to make sure I understand. So Donna fact is where the liver is going to put pour out that stored sugar in the middle of the night you wake up and your blood sugar is higher, ketones might be lower. So how do you but that’s what the big concern that’s a part of the big concern with type two diabetics. What how long did you see when you were fasting? Did you keep seeing spikes of blood sugar as your body was going after those reserves?
Megan Ramos Yeah, absolutely. And patients do to all the time, like I have patients come into the clinic so concerned, you know, they had a 30 year history of being diabetic, type two diabetic, they got a 15 year 20 year history of being on insulin. And you know, they’ll be a day and a half into their fast and their blood sugar levels will still be around 180. And it’s just like, well, you are a very sweet individual. And I think that people don’t realize this with a lot of the diabetic medications. I mean, they all have unique group classes. And those classes have unique functions, they don’t all function in the same way. But in the bigger picture of things, it’s you know, imagine you have a really dirty kitchen, and you just you have got company coming over. And you don’t have time to fully clean the kitchen and do the hard work. So you take all of the rubbish and you put it in your basement, you’ve got a cleaner kitchen for the company, but your house is cleaner, the rubbish is just elsewhere in the in the house. And that’s what a lot not all, but a lot of these diabetic medications do is they treat the symptom. It’s like, okay, the blood sugar levels are high, it doesn’t treat why it’s high, or it let’s just take the sugar out of the blood and, you know, let’s put it elsewhere and cause disease and you know, turn it into inflammation and all this awful stuff. So, you know, we we keep eating, or we keep taking our medication, the medication removes it from the blood, but our bodies are no clean, or they’re actually becoming dirtier and dirtier and dirtier. And eventually it becomes condemned. This is a toxic hazard. And you know, that’s where we really see like, we’ll have people come in 400 500 units of insulin, three different types of insulin, oral medications on top of that, like, is it just raw and it’s not working like it is
Dr. Mindy that that part is like, to me that’s malpractice. Like if you keep throwing a solution at a health problem, and it’s not working, it’s time to take a different approach. And again, I want to just applaud what you guys did with type two diabetes because you you stood up for that. And you said I’m going to do this differently. What what’s the most just so that in case we have any doubters listening to this, what’s the the most amount of weight you’ve seen somebody lose and the most dramatic? A one see drop?
Megan Ramos Yeah, so the most amount of weight someone that is lost that we’ve checked who’s been in our program was around 225 pounds? How long did that take? So it’s, you know, it doesn’t take forever. But it does take a couple of years, two and a half years for that particular individual, and they had some health challenges along the way. So, you know, it’s, it’s a while for some people, you know, I’ve lost 80 pounds and a year, I saw someone on, you know, our group, the other day lost 93 pounds and eight months, and sometimes it takes two years, but it you lose it and sustainable and that’s a great thing about it, because you’re facing problem, which is great. Um, you know, we’ve seen a one sees within six months go from undetectable, because they are so elevated down into, like, you know, 5.8, within six months, and then to get it from 5.8 to just, you know, like five or 4.9 Takes about another six or six to 12 months, depending on the individual to do, but in six months to get it, you know, from this undetectable range and their glucometers constantly weren’t working and CGMS were a bit of a failure on them. But to get it down to 5.8. And six months is pretty fantastic.
Dr. Mindy It’s a it’s, it’s crazy. I mean, nobody gets those kind of normal numbers with medication do they
Megan Ramos know, they know, it’s just so while we published them case series that BMJ has been very kind to fasting, because we’ve had so many issues. So this is probably wild. And I don’t know if I’m gonna get in trouble for saying this. But Jason and I, when we had our clinic in Toronto, we’re all online now. But when we had our clinic in Toronto, we had such great data. And we wanted to do a retrospective chart review of our data. So we had to go to a research ethics board, which I had gone to 9000 times. I mean, it was essentially my job. And to that point, to execute studies, and I got called in for our review of a chart review, like it was just wild, like these are expedited approvals, like nobody tells you, you can’t look at your own charts, analyze the data and potentially share it with the scientific community at large. Nobody tells you can’t. Like it was just the fact that they then submitted it for a larger review amongst the ethics board and then call Jason and I in and I am very, the only jeans that I got, which I know it’s attributed both of my genetics and to my lifestyle is that I look quite a bit younger than I actually am. So at the time, you know, I was in my late 20s. And I look like I was in my like late teens. And Jason couldn’t come to that ethics board, they wanted to come and question us over chart review, a retrospective chart review, you can go so I show up and they’re just attacking me. They’re trying to get me to throw Jason under the bus. Like he’s forcing patients to do this. He’s forcing me to force patients to do this. I’m like, I’m an equal participant, I’m not his employee here. You know, I’m doing this myself. And I’ve done it and then eventually, you know, it got so hostile, someone stood up and ended the meeting, and we never got the approval to do a chart review. But yeah, it was wild, just totally wild. So but we’ve BMJ is let us submit some case reports and case series, and they’ve been so kind of published them. And you know, we’ve had patients that have so much better blood glucose control off of all of those medications, when we’re talking 2436 42 hours of fasting, like we’re not looking at, you know, patients trying to fast for, you know, 21 days and I and we’ve had patients who have now been off of insulin and like our initial pilot after me, it was eight individuals, seven of them are still alive, one passed away, because he had so much cardiovascular damage and he was in the a stage five kidney disease, which is end stage kidney disease before we even started the the fasting and he came up with insulin. He was actually our first patient we ever took off insulin, but too much damage had already happened. And he was quite elderly. But the seven living individuals like we started with them on June 5 2012. You know, were now in the fall of 2022. And they’re still off of insulin.
Unknown Speaker It’s crazy. Yeah, people
Megan Ramos you know, they’ll say, Oh, you’re just controlling it with fasting. I’m like, that’s not the case. I’ve been human throughout my journey. And I’ve had these very human moments where I’ve navigated. It’s been really tough to navigate my relationship with food. I’m very proud of where I am now. I look at certain quote unquote foods. I don’t see food, I see poison, but it took a while to get there because my diet was just so such garbage and I had such a huge issue with emotional stress eating I didn’t even know Throughout these learning experiences, when I would retreat to an old habit meal, on a stressful day, I would have a normal glucose response. I want to have a diabetic,
Dr. Mindy what’s the end just so people know, because this is something we don’t talk about the fasting world enough, what’s a normal glucose response.
Megan Ramos So you want your pre meal glucose level, and your two hour post meal glucose level to be about the same, you know, are quite close to you want to make sure within that two hours that the glucose level is coming back down. And then if you do have something a little bit Carvey, you might see you know, within the two hour mark and another little spike up and then coming back down again within a timely fashion, versus diabetics who it will take, you know, several hours for their blood sugar levels to come back down. So they end up running chronically high for hours and hours, because there’s just too much insulin resistance for their own insulin to do the job.
Dr. Mindy Yeah, that’s crazy. And you know what, it’s so interesting that I’ve, one of the most eye opening experiences I’ve had with teaching fasting to the world is how many people will come to like my YouTube channel. And they’ll tell stories, like you just said, the medications, they get off the weight, they get off, and then their doctor gets mad, and their doctor doesn’t believe it. And especially if you’re dealing with a type two diabetic. And so what I started doing, and I know you guys do the same as I started putting the links to all the science and I started saying send your doctor here like they doctors need to be more educated on this. And I can’t I think people are waking up now I do get people asking me like, Oh, we’re still talking about fasting. That’s still a thing. And I’m like, we just got started talking about this. It is a thing. So what what are you noticing within the the medical community are more and more medical doctors starting to embrace it? Are they more? Are they still in a place of fear?
Megan Ramos Yeah, I definitely think so. You know, especially when it comes to perhaps the shorter fast. So I was on the call with the IRS as a private call is rather a particular patient and an interesting group of physicians involved in this patient’s care throughout North America. And it was so I was expecting it was my first time I’m the new expert to the care team. And I was nervous, like really nervous going in. I used to travel so much before COVID And being in Toronto, that I was used to going head to head with the likes of people like Steve Finney, like low carb, Denver and Breckenridge. And you know, so I had it but I’m like, oh, has been a while and because stupid thing shut down the stupid virus shut down the world. Like, it’s been a while and I’m like, I have a feeling I’m gonna get eaten alive. I was telling my husband in the morning and he was like, good luck. And they jumped in, you know, everybody, they did not want to hear about extended fasts. Sure, okay. But you know, even this, the one guy thought I was gonna get the most resistance from to 30 hours, 36 hours, 48 hours, go for it, you know, doing? And I thought, Okay, this is really cool. And then when the conversation turned into nutrition that got a little bit more political. But it was, you know, really about real. The nutrition focus was on real food. It’s not, you know, let’s put them full of cereal, granola, bread, you know, processed and refined grains and other junk food became more about, you know, should we include butter? Or should we just stick to olive oil? And like, honestly, this is such a huge advance in the last 10 years from you know, where we’ve been, I’m going to take this whole experience as a win right now. Yeah. No, no one should give the butter and ingredient.
Dr. Mindy Right, exactly. Like, let’s like, at least we’re talking about fat, you know, so we’re at least there. Do you? Do you feel like there is a benefit that people can get at 36 hours, 48 hours with fasting that they can’t get at 15? And how does somebody decide when to go into that longer fast?
Megan Ramos Absolutely. I don’t think there’s incredible health benefits of doing 15 hours of fasting or 16 hours of fasting. I mean, there’s some for maintenance. So if you’re out there and you are healthy individual metabolically and you want to maintain that good metabolic health, there are benefits of doing you know, somewhere between 14 and 18 hours of fasting on a regular daily basis. We know that it can help with certain metabolic cancers like breast cancer, certain types of breast cancer, we know that there’s still some autophagy that cellular recycling for disease prevention and anti aging happening. We know there is some hormonal checking, you know, that is occurring. So there are I think there are health benefits for healthy individuals to maintain. But what When it comes to a lot of us here in North America, like you’re not healthy. One of my last talks before COVID, I was on a panel and Dara Lee, he said to me, you know, like, PCOS, right? So I say nowadays, you know, if you’re a woman, you have PCOS until proven otherwise, you know, if you’re following the standard North American diet, whether you’re, you know, 10 years old, or 85 years old, you know, it’s a problem that can plague women. So it is a it’s complicated, you know, to sort of look at where we are today and, and say that most people are in good health. There’s a lot of people walking, yeah. Then on the outside, but are fat on the inside? Oh, yeah. When you’re doing the hour, like you, when someone’s got insulin resistance, the insulin is not even really starting to fall into like the 22 to 24 hour mark. So you know, we’ve got to get it to fall, we’ve got to get the toffee G happening, we want to get that happening, we want to suppress the insulin for a longer period of time, we want to help the body become efficient at you know, having that metabolic flexibility of transitioning fuel sources. So we find the most you know, bang for our buck is really sort of between the 24 and the 48 hour space, with usually somewhere you know, we do this 3016 protocol to help people build up their fasting muscles, which is a spin on the omad diet where you vary the meal that you’re having. But most people do 36 to 48 I find how often? Two to three times a week. Yeah, amazing. It’s pretty cool. I find now that fasting is beginning a lot or is becoming a lot more popular. I don’t know if you found this. But in 2016, myself and our colleague Dr. Nadia Pat iguana on our team, too, as the third person to join our team after Jason and I started. And she’s like, it’s a year of fascinating burnout. It was the first year that we saw more of the public at large be really intrigued by fasting, we started to see very positive spins on it. And the news started popping up on magazines, you know, the checkout, and it’s in our human nature, okay, one day of fasting is good for us. And it’d be fast for 365 days, it’s better grass. So we saw these people trying to do five day fast after Friday, fast, every single week. And their objective was to do it for like six months, and they will crash and burn for so like a whole variety of reasons, physiological psychological, and it just wasn’t, it wasn’t good. We were about to rip out our hair. And we found two with some people alternate daily approach like a Monday, Wednesday, Friday was just challenging logistically. So and this is something I wish I did back in my own journey to is sort of the 248 hour fasts a week and I think we talked about this when you were so kind of be a gas in our community, and it just being it’s an incredible fasting regimen for so many wonderful health benefits. I know you’ve talked to your kids.
Dr. Mindy Yeah, I love the 48 hour you there are so many neuro chemical shifts that happen. That’s my favorite relate.
Megan Ramos It’s amazing for all those and then something that from just like the clinical execution side of things, it’s so easy for people to do yes, like it is just so easy. And for those who have communities that they eat with and that evening meal is you know, very sacred, it’s only twice a week where they’re abstaining from that meal or they’re trying to sit there you know, with their water or their cup of broth and you know, muddle their way through well individuals are eating or for the caregivers out there who are the cooks you know, it’s only two meals are trying to do prep and cooking with on the days and it’s just such an effective fasting strategy for getting results Reversing Diabetes, losing weight and proving metabolic markers.
Dr. Mindy Not it’s undeniable I mean, to your point about your nervous going in front of those experts. I was I keep saying like bring me any anybody who opposes fasting bring him to me. I’ll take them on in any any debate because you look at the science and then you see how many fasting wins are there are it’s just hard. It’s undeniable. You can’t you can’t second guess those results. So have you heard of the Thrifty Gene hypothesis? No, I haven’t. Okay, so I found this when I was doing research for fast like a girl. And it is the hypothesis that went way back in the primal days, the cave person days, that one of the genes that was able to get people alive were people that were able to go long periods without food. So they had a genetic predisposition to being able to go for harsh winters and long times. So those are the ones that are survived. So that ones that didn’t have this gene, they died back then. So that gene has continued on through, you know, the general and, you know, 1000s and 1000s of years. And we still have that gene inside of us. So one of the beliefs of the research is that diabetes is happening, because we’re going against our own genetic desire. What do you think of that? No, I
Megan Ramos mean, it makes a ton of sense that it’s happening. And I think it’s, you know, something like diabetes is our body’s way of knowing you are letting us know that we are we’re doing something that’s harmful to it. And that we need to correct course, and if you think of type two diabetes is a dietary illness in so you eat processed and refined carbs and fats, you get the these huge spikes of insulin, or then just the chronic stimulus of insulin through you know, snacking and eating all day long. And why can’t we reverse it by doing the opposite, and we’ve clearly have thrived. I was a few years back I was doing. I was like a newspaper interview for some outlet in Texas. And this woman newborn raised Texan probably saw snow on some vacations. But you know, we were joking that it was minus 40 in Toronto that morning. And she was like, living it up at like 85 degrees.
Dr. Mindy You say she was out by
Megan Ramos you know, she she was gonna give me the the question about, you know, this new fad and I just looking out the window. And I was like, lady, like, you know, this was an earlier human times, like my options today would be bark and snow. And it’s Toronto’s it’s going to be this way for the spring at you know, we still get snow in March, sometimes. I even in April, every now and then. And then sure, June, July, August, it’s, you know, 80 to 100 degrees. And there’s plants and whatnot and animals that are out of hibernation, and all this kind of great stuff. But this treacherous climate? Yeah.
Dr. Mindy Do you think then, this is a question that I’ve had in my mind for so long? So do you think then that we’re meant to go into longer fasts in the winter? Like, do you think there’s a seasonal variation that we should look at with our fasting?
Megan Ramos I do, you know, we encouraged people that we work with to vary it up, you know, sort of with the, with the seasons, or at least, you know, sort of with the holidays, like, if you kind of want to use them as as a guiding marker like you through a lot of major religious practices to there’s the feasts, and then there’s a faster, there’s a fast and then there’s a feast, and then there’s a fast, so kind of rolling with the season. So right now, September, this fall, you know, going into the holiday season, trying to do a lot of fasting, this is the time to do a bit of fasting, which kind of goes against what animals are doing right now in terms of hibernating, but just really trying to plan the fasting, kind of around the feasting schedule and teaching people to go through these these ebbs and flows. So it’s a little bit more different than, you know, sort of probably seasonal shifts we would have done as a species, but just trying to, you know, recognize that there are these certain times in the calendar year where it’s easier to fast, and there are these certain times that humans have made it more difficult to fast, and that’s okay. And it’s about finding the balance between the two and then practicing good meal timing habits during the quote unquote, feasting times, but you’re really getting a balance of both and, you know, the summer time perhaps is not the best time to do a lot of fasting. But then, you know, as we start to get into the fall, it’s it’s not not too bad, because we’re not going to be depleted, the harvest is going to be there for us nowadays throughout the winter. And there’s these holidays that are going to be coming that are going to be feasting time, so we kind of do the opposite with some, you know, harvest time fasting.
Dr. Mindy Yeah, I, I’ve thought about that a lot. Like if we’re truly trying to go back to mimicking what our primal ancestors did, then we would eat less in the winter and we would eat more in the summer, because that’s what nature has provided for us. Do you feel like what you break your fast with matters? Have you guys experimented with that
Megan Ramos at all? Oh, yeah, of course. So we, we find that once people become pretty seasoned fosters, for the most part, they can break their fast with whatever they like. And even people who are brand new to fasting, sometimes they can and sometimes they can. And I don’t usually try to discourage people unless there’s a very known reason why we would want to avoid any type of issue whatsoever. But if people are not terribly concerned about it, I, we tried to say, okay, you know, like, let’s stick to the real you know, the real foods, prioritizing some good protein, some good healthy fats, if the individual eats fiber nonstarchy source, we don’t want to spike the insulin right after attending a fast. So as
Dr. Mindy I zoom in a little bit, you feel like easing in longer fast.
Megan Ramos Yeah, it’s not even, like every now and then someone will start with the 36 or 42. And they’ll have some GI issues. I usually in those cases, we do find it’s nuts or eggs. And those are things that I think are quick and easy for people to go to. And, you know, think of something like eggs or, you know, a good quality egg, like, we’ve got some really great duck eggs upstairs. I know, Mike’s ducks, you know, from the neighborhood. Um, and, you know, like, they’re, they’re wonderful. So people say it was a great, you know, I can, I’m breaking my fast, I can cook these in less than five minutes. That’s one pan kind of, you know, meal. But those things can be a little bit difficult for people to digest. So
Dr. Mindy yeah, the first the first three day water fast I did, I broke it with scrambled eggs. And then I just wanted to fall asleep. And I was like, I was like, you could just tell my body was like, whoa, what did you just give me? And then after that I experimented with like bone broth and things like that and did a much better approach. But it is interesting what you’re saying about eggs. Do you feel like there’s a microbiome change that happens with fasting? Because some of the research around that is really intriguing?
Megan Ramos Yeah, absolutely. I definitely do. I will say I’m not as up to date on the research, as as I would have liked to be, but it is just pretty wild. We do see a lot of dumping to that, can’t it gastric dumping, while someone is sometimes doing it fast, and these are people that are very symptomatic of like leaky gut, and a lot of gut dysbiosis in general. And sometimes we’ll take these individuals and just do straight bone broth and collagen fasting with them as compared to regular fasting. I mean, what do
Dr. Mindy you what do you see? What do you see when you say you see the like, how would somebody know if they were dumping? It’s
Megan Ramos a ton of ton of loose stools, and a lot of gastric distress that can’t necessarily be explained by big insulin falls. You know, maybe they’ve been doing a woman’s been doing a ketogenic diet, a six year old woman’s been doing a ketogenic diet for a few months real eugenic diet, maybe a carnivore approach to a diet very consistent with it. Their glucose levels are exceptionally stable, you know, their insulin circulating insulin is not insanely high. But they they’ve had gut issues. They’ve had history of lots of antibiotic use in the past and others, like stop steroid use for certain conditions. And they just they’re, they’re really struggling with the gut dysbiosis. And then finally, things seem to start to settle, yes, we use the bone broth, just to kind of help expedite the process. We found that to be good. Yeah, I
Dr. Mindy found that to that bone broth can be a really good if you’re like having a lot of adverse reactions. So have you seen people not do well in ketosis like they either are detoxing a lot, or they’re, you know, mentally like ketones should create GABA and should calm us, but sometimes when we throw somebody goes into ketosis, they start to really get edgy and irritable and there’s a lot of like detox reactions that I’ve seen and I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what the body’s doing. Have you guys seen
Megan Ramos that? Not too much to the ketone level start to get sort of, you know, north of like five or six and then ah, yes, I’m playing with the mental fog and the headaches and the Thorgy and just the overall feelings of unwell there with a lot of the patients we worked with and individuals I we’ve really focused a lot on the diabetic individual and they’re so sick you know, they’ve got 10,000 other conditions they’re used to feeling so awful that it hasn’t really come up when they’ve necessarily been
Dr. Mindy they don’t notice it as much What do you think is a good ketone level for a typical like this we get this a lot of like, what’s the number I’m shooting for? What do you feel like ketones should be at that is like a sweet spot and where would you say hey, this is a dangerous spot.
Megan Ramos I get asked this question a lot. So during a fast we really like to cap people kind of at like five was the fasts are upwards of seven but you know, we let people know that ketones are insulin a genic. You know, seven is not necessarily better for them. Hi, I know individuals who have developed diabetic ketoacidosis, with ketones, 5.6 and 5.7, even in the absence of abnormally high blood sugar levels are talking like ICU hospitalizations, and usually between five and seven, most people don’t, you know, feel fabulous at that point. So we tried to buffer them around, you know, as they started creeping up at five, and then we tell people to cut off their facet seven,
Dr. Mindy do you give them Do you ever give them like a bone broth at that point and see if it kind of tap temporarily brings it down from that escalating number.
Megan Ramos Yeah, and it will often do it. So when the when they start to notice the ketones are okay, we’re getting to six here, or perhaps not feeling that fast? Well, actually, bone broth is a great thing to to recommend, will sometimes ask people to do some physical activity, even if it was just, you know, doing push ups off the side of their counter, like really reaching their muscles. And you know, driving those ketones down and spiking that glucose a little bit in the fasted state. And that can sometimes rescue a fast, I went to the gym, once my ketones were 7.1, I was going through some mycotoxin issues that I didn’t know at the time. And I was I was struggling with some adrenal problems. And I’ve just was not doing the whole gluconeogenesis thing in the liver. So my ketones are shooting up, I felt awful, but I would sometimes do a workout to drop them down 4.5. And then I would start to feel really good. But as the only way I was really able to liberate glucose in that particular state. So even I had to kind of put a pause on my fasting and focus on time restricted eating for about a year to figure to detox from the mycotoxin issue at the time, but I would I would rely heavily before I was put all the puzzle pieces together to do that physical activity. So now we’ve encouraged some individuals, like just do laundry, right? Like if you, you know, fine, but just tired. Just do you do laundry, moving it, you’re engaging muscles is bending up and down, you’re squatting without even realizing it. And that’s often enough just to blunted the ketones down and to have people start to feel better again.
Dr. Mindy Yeah, oh, my God, that’s such a good idea. Because you do see people when they go into ketosis, I always say ketones are healing. So the body is going to start to go into this amplified healing state, but a fever is healing too. So you know, fevers don’t feel good. And sometimes ketones don’t feel good, either. So
Megan Ramos we’re about finding the right range, right? Like, you want to have the right range of body temperature, the right range of glucose, the right range of insulin, your too much or too little of anything, you know, can be bad for you. So too little insulin is bad, too much insulin is bad, too little water is bad, too much water is bad. I mean, it really goes with that
Dr. Mindy homeostasis. Yeah, and you know, in the diet world, I feel like we want to know, give me the magic bullet, tell me the magic diet, tell me the magic fast. And I’ll just do it and what I hear in everything you’re saying, and what I know you guys believe in and we teach is, you got to find your path, you got to and you got to vary it and you got to because that’s if we’re gonna go back to the primal example, they didn’t have consistency with food, and they’re fasting late, they did whatever they could get. So that’s how our bodies are designed. And it’s, it’s really, really want the magic bullet as humans, that’s really interesting. Like,
Megan Ramos everyone was like, you know, gray, or a black or white do this or do that one standardized protocol. And it’s just, it’s not how, you know, we’re meant to function. And we’ve got to, we’ve got to roll with the ebbs and flows. There’s certain things you know, when we tell people that mindset strong Crush It, you know, and the mindsets not necessarily there, let’s work on the meal timing, let’s work on the food quality. And then we do see this kind of ebb and flow with the different seasons and different patterns and evenings we observe here in North America too. And, you know, if you do that, and you’re consistently about doing that, then you’re gonna end the year always, there’s so much better health than you were at the beginning. So true, so true.
Dr. Mindy Well, we’re out of time, but I gotta tell you, like I could sit and have this conversation with you like for hours. So let me finish up with I always end it with this question. Because when we went into 2022, there was so much like, frustration around the the pandemic and people would lost sight of a key nutrient which is gratitude. And so do you have a gratitude practice? And if so, was what is it and what are you grateful for this year?
Megan Ramos So I, I do I have a gratitude journal that I use every evening before bed? It’s my husband’s job to clean up the kitchen if we’ve had dinner and I do my little daily stoic reading at the night instead of in the morning. And I have a gratitude journal where this five things I’m grateful for. And it’s a bit of a manifestation journal too, because I’m working on developing a family. And I guess, you know, this year, I’ve got weird amount of gratitude for all of the health hurdles that I’ve had, because it’s really enabled me to take control of my health. You know, I enjoy being a continuous student of this and always learning. But I wouldn’t be where here I am today. I think right before we started recording, I was telling you, you know, I have PCOS, I started cycling right before my 10th birthday. I thought, you know, when you’re younger, you think you have all the time in the world, I met my husband at 30. We got married in my early 30s He lives in the US like there is we were immigrating life was really hectic. And, you know, oh, I’m 38 and I want to have kids. And you know, so it’s just like, okay, you know, I don’t have the egg reserves. But because of my lifestyle. My egg quality’s Very good. Oh, good. Yeah. And so, you know, it’s, we’re, we have to go through a little bit of hoops right now, because we want to plan not just for this year, but for future years and in growing our family. So we’re trying to be proactive, but I am just so, so grateful. Because if I didn’t learn everything that I did over these last few years, I probably wouldn’t have good egg quality, and my reserves would be even more diminished than they are if they even still existed at this particular stage. So I’m just feeling really grateful for that, you know, quantity might not be there, but quality is there. And that’s what really matters at the end of the day.
Dr. Mindy It’ll like and like I told you, it only takes one and I really do believe what you just said as gold is that sometimes our biggest health hurdles actually end up becoming our biggest assets down the road. So this was amazing. And again, we’re gonna bring you back and I’m and you and I are gonna go do lunch. So I’m gonna make sure that that happens now that you live in my town. And just thank you and thank Jason for just all the amazing work you guys did. I mean, you really paved the way for people to see fasting and we’re just really grateful for you. How do people find you and what you all are up to?
Megan Ramos Yeah, so all of the infos over on our website, the fast thing method.com So all kinds of free resources linked to social link to podcast and then as well as some of our coaching and community paid resources too. So everything will be up on that websites. Check it out. And thank you so much, Mindy for having me on. I look forward to connecting with you. Great to have a true fasting friend in my neighborhood.
Dr. Mindy If you don’t we’re gonna do is when we get together we’re going to eat and then we’re gonna like take a picture and be like you can be a fasting expert and eat to eat right. I love it. I love it.