On a “protein-sparing modified fast,” or PSMF, you cut back to 800 calories a day and eat mostly protein. Why? Evidence is overwhelming that the fewer calories we eat, the more we lose. Yet skimping on protein causes our systems to break down muscle, leaving us weak and slowing metabolism, notes Cleveland Clinic obesity specialist Irene Dejak, MD. A PSMF menu with upwards of 60 percent protein “is designed to ‘spare’ or protect lean muscle so you’re only losing fat,” she explains. Metabolism and stamina stay high, which aids in long-term success.
PSMF prescribed for patients during a health crisis is usually strict, with just tiny amounts of chicken, fish, and veggies a day. Luckily, many of us can benefit from a more relaxed regimen…
Shortcut to Big Success
“I’ve found you only need to do PSMF one to three days a week to see a big impact on the scale,” shares Emmerich, who personally used the trick as she shed 85 pounds. “People are amazed to lose [a significant amount] in a week, even after progress has been stalled for months.” The reason: In some ways, PSMF works like a keto diet, lowering carbs to a point at which we don’t make enough blood sugar for fuel. “So your body makes compounds called ketones from both dietary fat and stored fat, and uses that as your fuel,” notes Emmerich. “However with PSMF, you’re eating little dietary fat, so virtually all your fuel is pulled directly from fat cells.”
The feel-great bonus: Dozens of studies show that short fasts trigger beneficial shifts in our body chemistry, dramatically improving levels of hormones linked to weight control, speeding the production of health-promoting compounds and even making our cells stronger.
So, you keep losing at a faster pace, even on days when you’re not using the tactic, plus health soars. In addition to diabetes reversal, part-time PSMF dieters report eliminating high cholesterol, high blood pressure, joint pain, IBS, moodiness, fatigue, insomnia, and more.
Note: Talk to your doctor about this dietary regimen before trying.
Concerned you’ll be starving if you try this technique? No need! Blitzing the body with protein is study-proven to slash appetite. “We have women tell us they can’t finish all the food on the plan,” Emmerich reveals. “But we tell them to try — the protein is important!”
Worried the food will be boring? Emmerich has you covered. She suggests drizzling low- carb sauces on meat and fish and using the “wonder bread” recipe at right. “The food can be lots of fun,” says Emmerich, author of 20 nutrition books, including the upcoming Protein-Sparing Modified Fast Method. “You won’t feel deprived, you’ll be back in your skinny jeans and you’ll have a smile on your face!”
Easy Meals That Stoke Fat Burn
BREAKFAST: Prepare 4 egg whites with herbs, optional 1 ounce lox or very lean sausage and cooking spray.
LUNCH: 4 ounces chicken breast cooked in 1 teaspoon coconut oil; drizzle with 2 tablespoons keto barbecue sauce.
DINNER: 4 ounces lean beef and 1 egg white prepared with cooking spray, herbs, and salt and pepper.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World. It was originally published online on January 8, 2022.