(bright music) – Hi, I'm Susan Taylor with Scripps Health in San Diego, California. Okay, you're on a mission
to lose some weight and live a longer healthier life. Have you thought about
intermittent fasting and the flexitarian diet? Joining us to talk about this is Dr. Jennifer Chronis, she's a family medicine physician at the Scripps Coastal Medical Center in Oceanside, California. Dr. Chronis thanks so
much for being with us. – Thanks so much for having me Susan.
– Sure, all right what
is the flexitarian diet? – Flexitarian diet is pretty
much just what it sounds like the marriage of being flexible
and also vegetarian focus. So what that means is
focusing on whole plant foods for the majority of your diet. – All right, so what can you eat and not eat on this diet? – Allowable foods, foods
that we wanna encourage include lots of vegetables,
fruits, legumes, nuts seeds, healthy fats such as avocado and olive
oil and whole grains. And then foods that you want to avoid or very limit in a good amount
would be processed foods. So this is things like packaged chips, crackers, candy, and then limit meats, which would be specifically red meat, poultry and dairy products.
So cheese, milk, those types of things. – What about sugar? – Yeah so sugar falls more
into that processed foods category. So if it's sugar contained in sodas or sugar-sweetened beverages you definitely want to avoid that. Anything that comes in a box or bag again that has added sugars is gonna be something
that you want to avoid. – And is it okay to eat this
vegetarian plant-based diet? And then let's say once a week if you have any wiggle room to say, "well maybe I wanna
have a hamburger today." – As long as you're getting
the majority of your nutrition from the whole foods
and plant-based sources then it's okay to deviate once in a while.
– And what are the benefits
of this flexitarian diet? – I think the health benefits of following this mostly plant foods diet can include mainly decreasing your risk of many chronic diseases such as heart disease,
diabetes, depression and even some cancers. – All right, let's talk
about intermittent fasting. What is that? – Intermittent fasting is an eating plan where you go for a prolonged
period without eating or fasting for about 16 hours, and this period can be overnight so part of it will be
when you're sleeping. And then you have an eight hour period during the day, during which
you eat all your meals. – So people say breakfast
is the most important meal of the day.
So should you start
eating at breakfast time and then eat for eight hours
past that and then stop or is it better to try
and fast until lunch? And then you eat between noon and 8:00 PM so that you can still work in dinner with your friends or family. – The eight hour eating window is recommended to be whatever
fits your lifestyle the best. If you are hungry, the
first thing in the morning then you can go ahead and have your eight
hour window start then, but if you still want to have
more of a social dinner time and eat later in the day that's fine too. The main advice though is just
that we want to avoid eating later in the evening because that is when the calories are not being metabolized as well.
– So when you say later in the evening what hours are you talking about? – I typically will counsel patients to really end the eight
hour fast latest at 8:00 PM. Again, 'cause you really wanna avoid that late nighttime snacking. – And can you have a cup
or two of coffee or tea in the morning with no sugar to keep you full until 11, 12, 1:00 PM? – It's fine to drink those
during your fasting period. You just want to not have any additives like a lot of sugar or milk in the drinks because then that again
would break the fast.
– What about folks with health conditions like diabetes is intermittent fasting an issue for blood sugar levels? – Intermittent fasting
actually has been shown to help with insulin sensitivity and
stabilize blood glucose levels. So I actually may recommend mild type 2 diabetics can
do intermittent fasting as long as of course
they're not on insulin or any medications that would cause them to have hypoglycemia or low blood sugars. And it's definitely not a safe plan for anyone who has type 1 diabetes. – As far as the intermittent fasting and the flexitarian diet, is this something that
you're doing to basically change your lifestyle altogether, or you're doing these things let's say for a couple of weeks and then you go back to your old ways? – I recommend that both
of these eating patterns are a lifestyle change and a shift to doing
these of all the time, rather than just once in a while because you'll get so
many more health benefits If it's a lifestyle and long-term change.
– Who should avoid both the flexitarian diet
and the intermittent fasting? – The flexitarian diet is
because it's inherently flexible I think that can be more
broadly applied to most people. I think in general for
intermittent fasting people who should avoid this are as we mentioned certain
people with diabetes, the elderly, women who are
pregnant or breastfeeding and then people who are immunocompromised or on certain medications that may put them at
risk for malnourishment. – So when you change your lifestyle with regard to these diets, what kind of long-term benefits do you get from the intermittent fasting and the flexitarian diet? – Specifically with the
intermittent fasting diet because of the way that it works from shifting your metabolism from glucose to more of a ketosis or burning
fatty acids in the body, you get a lot of metabolic benefits. This includes better insulin sensitivity or lower blood sugars,
improving your blood pressure decreasing inflammation in the body. And then there's even been evidence that going into that fasting period can help clear out toxins and cellular blood byproducts.
It can decrease your risk
of developing diabetes high blood pressure, some cancers and even improve your
mood, boost your cognition, and decrease your risk of dementia or other
degenerative diseases. – Any final thoughts doctor? – These eating plans can be applied to many different people. I think it's very important
to contact your doctor and have them help you develop an eating plan that
incorporates some of these ideas and fits your lifestyle
and your health goals. – Dr. Chronis thanks so much we appreciate you taking the time. – Yeah thank you so much Susan this is really great. – Sure. If you want more information on the flexitarian diet
and intermittent fasting just click on the link or
go to scripps.org/videos Want more critical
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media @ScrippsHealth I'm Susan Taylor thanks for joining us. (bright music).