Welcome to the DDF QuickStart Guide, your gateway to understanding the intriguing dance between your body and the food it craves.
While the world of nutrition and metabolism might seem like a confusing maze, the fundamentals of harnessing your blood glucose as a trusty fuel gauge to steer your eating habits are refreshingly straightforward.
In this guide, we’ll give you a high-level overview of the Data-Driven Fasting processes we guide participants through in the 30-day Data-Driven Fasting Challenges.
The Purpose of DDF
- Validate your hunger using your blood glucose as a fuel gauge.
- Retrain hunger signals to align with your need for fuel.
- You test to validate your hunger, not eat because your blood sugars are below trigger when you are not hungry.
- Test glucose before every meal and snack you usually eat.
- The Data-Driven Fasting App will calculate your initial premeal trigger based on the average of your pre-meal glucose.
- It’s crucial that you eat as you usually would during baselining. If you’re ‘too good’ during baselining, you’ll get a trigger value that is too difficult to keep up going forward, especially after a few weeks of hunger training.
In Hunger Training, you play a ‘get to know you’ game with your inner lizard brain.
You will learn to tame Lizzy and find out what makes her happy and content. Before long, you will find that she goes back to sleep when you give her WHAT she needs WHEN she needs it, using your blood glucose as a guide.
- If you’re not hungry -> don’t test.
- If you feel hungry -> test your BG to validate hunger.
- If BG is above trigger -> wait.
- If BG below trigger -> eat.
- If BG is slightly above trigger AND hungry -> prioritise protein and nutrients by focusing on fuel with less energy from carbs and/or fat. This tends to be a super useful ‘hack’ for people with some level of insulin resistance or a lower-carb diet who tend to see higher blood glucose levels in the morning.
- If BG is significantly below trigger and hungry -> allow some carbs to replenish, but not overfill, your glucose fuel tank without gravitating to fat+carb comfort foods.
- When you test your blood sugar, reflect on physical symptoms and sensations that indicate you’re hungry (e.g., stomach rumbling, mental exhaustion, can’t think straight, light-headed or feeling cold). Over time, you will learn to calibrate your physical sensations of hunger with your blood glucose levels and understand your true hunger signals.
Your Personalised Trigger
- After five days of Hunger Training, the Data-Driven Fasting App will recalculate your new trigger based on your average pre-meal blood glucose over the past seven days.
- Progressively targeting a lower trigger will stretch you so you continue to move toward your goals without pushing you to the point of breaking.
- The maximum your trigger drop is = 0.5% per day. However, it won’t lower if you’re not consistently reaching your trigger.
Your Fuel Gauge Lines
- Wait until BG is below your current trigger to eat.
- If post-meal BG is above the ‘upper limit’/full line -> reduce food quantity and/or processed carbs.
- To reduce the time between meals -> reduce dietary fat.
To maximise sustainability and minimise cost, it’s wise not to overtest. This table outlines the stages of the Data-Driven Fasting 30-Day Challenge and when to test your blood glucose.
|Hunger training||Wait to refuel until BG ? trigger||yes|
|Eating Window||Ensure you’re not eating|
|Meal skipping||Skip meals if BG > trigger||yes|
|Consolidation||Establish your new sustainable routine||yes|
Progressive Overload for Your Metabolism
- The descending blood glucose trigger is a crucial part of the DDF process. It’s like a progressive overload workout for your metabolism, designed to stretch you without breaking you.
- We don’t reach our goal overnight but rather by small doses of stress (fasting) and recovery (nutrient-dense eating).
- If you are hungry and your BG is below your trigger, eat!
- Waiting longer typically leads to excessive hunger, poor food choices, rebound bingeing, burnout, and unproductive feelings of guilt and failure.
- You only need the minimum effective dose to progress sustainably over the long term. The DDF process should gently nudge your eating habits into a more optimal routine.
WHEN to Eat
- If pre-meal BG is higher earlier in the day and you are hungry -> prioritise foods and meals with a higher protein % (i.e., prioritise protein and reduce energy from carbs and/or fat) at your first meal.
- If your pre-meal and post-meal BG is higher later in the day -> eat more satiating meals earlier.
- If waking BG is not lowering -> try to finish eating a little earlier in the day.
Your Main Meal
- After a week of Hunger Training, you can adopt a Main Meal that you can eat regardless of BG (e.g., family dinner or before or after exercise).
- You don’t need to test your BG before Your Main Meal.
- All other meals and snacks become Discretionary Meals that you eat if BG is less than your trigger.
What To Focus on in Each Stage
- Focus on achieving blood sugars in the normal healthy range.
- Focus on delaying meals until your glucose is below trigger.
- The final phase is to dial back fat to increase protein % to increase satiety and eat again sooner. We focus on this stage more in the Macros Masterclass.
|Stage||Limit||Action||When to progress|
|1. Stabilise blood glucose||< 30 mg/dL or 1.6 mmol/L rise after meals||Reduce processed carbs to achieve healthy glucose stability.||When BG rise after meals is < 1.6 mmol/L or 30 mg/dL|
|2. Meal timing||One Main Meal with one Discretionary Meal (OMAD+)||Reduce the number of times you eat per day.||When your average number of meals per day is less than 1.5.|
|3. Protein %||Slowly work up to 40% protein.||Increase protein % by reducing dietary fat until weight loss re-commences.||When you have reached goal weight, body fat, waist: height or waking glucose.|
WHAT to Eat
- Once you are comfortable using your BG to guide WHEN to eat, you can use your BG to guide WHAT to eat.
- If post-meal BG is above the upper limit -> look to reduce refined carbs that are spiking your blood glucose and overfilling your glucose fuel tank. Check out our Blood Sugar & Fat Loss food list for some inspiration.
- If BG is above trigger and you are hungry -> go ahead and eat a protein-focused meal (this can be particularly useful in the morning when most people have elevated BG due to Dawn Phenomenon).
- If post-meal BG is typically below the upper limit -> progressively reduce your fat intake to allow your BG to return to below trigger sooner.
- When pre-meal BG is significantly below trigger -> allow some fast-acting carbs to bump your BG back into the normal range to avoid binging on fat+carb comfort foods.
- It will be hard to fail if you give your body optimal nutrients when you know you have plenty of fuel onboard.
Guidance of the DDF app
As outlined in the table below, the DDF app will give you feedback when you log your premeal glucose values. This guidance about WHAT to eat is a critical part of the success of DDF. In time, you’ll learn to understand your hunger and give your body exactly what it needs when it needs it.
|Significantly above trigger||Whoops! Your glucose is still significantly above trigger. Wait an hour or so to allow your glucose to drop and/or do some gentle exercise before retesting. If your glucose is higher than usual due to stress, exercise, poor sleep, pain, fatigue, or you’re premenstrual, you can tick one of the events to get a higher temporary trigger for the next 24 hours to allow you to eat until you’re recovered.|
|Just above trigger||Your glucose is just above trigger. If you’re particularly hungry, go ahead and eat, but be sure to prioritise protein and nutrients while consuming less energy (from carbs and fat) to allow your stored energy to be used.|
|Just below trigger||Congratulations! Your BG is below trigger. It’s time to eat!|
|Significantly below trigger||Your glucose is significantly below trigger. It’s time to eat! Consider adding some whole-food starchy carbs (e.g., rice, potato, beans, pumpkin or oatmeal) to bring glucose back up into your normal range quickly.|
If In Doubt
The End Game
The hourly glucose chart from the DDF App shows what a healthy blood glucose chart could look like after some experimentation with what and when to eat. That is:
- Lower premeal trigger,
- Most glucose values under the upper limit (i.e., 30 mg/dL or 1.6 mmol/L above your current trigger),
- Lower waking glucose, and
- Similar premeal and post-meal values across the day.
Many people settle into eating two nutrient-dense meals a day while chasing a lower trigger and losing weight.
If you keep an eye on portion sizes, getting in three meals a day is possible!
- Data-Driven Fasting: How to Use Your Blood Glucose as a Fuel Gauge
- Join the next Data-Driven Fasting Challenge
- Try the Data-Driven Fasting app
- Get the DDF Manual
- Join Our Community
- QuickStart Guide
- DDF app User Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions