Moving on… [DDF FAQ Part 10]

As we head towards the end of the Data-Driven Fasting 30-Day Challenge, many people wonder what they can do to dial in the WHAT to eat side of the equation.     

Data-Driven Fasting takes a data-driven approach to solve the WHEN to eat using your blood sugar as a fuel gauge.  We’re big believers in keeping things as simple as possible to allow you to master one new skill at a time.  If in doubt, it’s better to keep things simple rather than becoming overwhelmed.   

But eventually, WHAT you eat becomes critical.  While DDF has blown up over the past few months, at Optimising Nutrition, we’ve been working to help people solve the WHAT to eat puzzle in earnest for the past five years. 

This final section of the DDF FAQs will give you some ideas that you can implement once you feel you are ready to take the next steps in your journey towards Nutritional Optimisation.

10.1  How long can I do this for? 

You can follow Data-Driven Fasting until you achieve your goal (e.g. a waist to height ratio of less than 0.5 or a body fat level of less than 15% for men and 25% for women).  As shown in the chart below, a premeal trigger of 4.5 mmol/L or 80 mg/dL corresponds with a waking glucose of around 4.9 mmol/L or 90 mg/dL, which aligns with the lowest risk of all-cause mortality.

 

We recommend you transition to Maintenance Mode in the DDF app if:

  • You reach your goal (e.g., waist:height less than 0.5 and waking BG is less than 100 mg/dl or 5.6 mmol/L),
  • The process is becoming stressful,
  • You are becoming overly food-focused,
  • You are struggling to reach your trigger,
  • You are feeling overly hungry, weak, cold, depressed, or lethargic, or  
  • You notice changes in libido or monthly cycles (for women).

You can always restart Hunger Training when you feel you are ready or at the start of the next Data-Driven Fasting 30-Day Challenge

10.2  Maintenance Mode 

Long-term weight loss can get hard after a while, so it can be beneficial to take a ‘diet break’ to ‘practice maintenance’.  

If your eating routine has changed significantly during the challenge, it’s likely you will find that you will have a new trigger at the start of the next challenge when you baseline again.  You can then chase this new trigger to continue your weight loss journey.  

When you’re ready to activate maintenance mode, click on the three dots on the right of the DDF app home page and select ‘maintenance mode’.  

Maintenance mode will give you a slightly higher premeal glucose trigger (10 mg/dL or 0.6mmol/l above your final trigger) that will help you maintain your current weight. 

If you weigh yourself at least weekly, the DDF app will provide you with an updated maintenance trigger value that will lower if your weight goes up by more than 2%.  If your weight goes up by more than 4%, you should go back and restart hunger training.  

Maintenance does not mean you eat anything and everything.  You are practising eating in a way that enables you to maintain your weight.  

During this period of maintenance, you may be able to focus a little more on the WHAT to eat side of the equation without worrying so much about eating less frequently.

10.3  Should I switch to maintenance or keep on chasing my trigger between challenges? 

If you haven’t lost a lot of weight and are easily meeting your trigger at every meal, you may want to keep chasing your trigger between the Challenges. 

However, if it’s starting to get hard and feeling overly food-focused, tired, or mentally exhausted, we recommend taking a break and practising maintaining your weight until the next round.  Maintaining your weight after a significant loss is harder than it sounds and an important skill to master.   

10.4  Pause Mode

We designed Pause Mode for people who wanted to take a break from chasing a lower trigger but didn’t want to see their trigger go up for long term maintenance.  This would be ideal for a quick break between Challenges, especially if you are not finding Hunger Training too hard. 

To activate Pause Mode go to Quick Actions and select pause mode.  You can then restart Hunger Training when you’re ready. 

10.5  Should I do another DDF challenge?

Many people have found they love the community support in the Data-Driven Fasting 30-Day Challenge.  After one challenge, they feel they are just starting to get the hang of the process and want to keep going.

If you signed up for a single challenge, you will get access to the app for 45 days.  After that point, you will still have access to your data.  You just won’t be able to add more.   

If you are already a DDF Unlimited Member, you will get an email at the end of each challenge inviting you to join the next challenge group.  We plan to run at least seven DDF challenges per year.   We want to build a community of people who have mastered DDF to help all the new people who join in the future.  

If you want to continue with DDF, we have a number of options: 

10.6  When is the next Data Driven Fasting 30-Day Challenge?

The community that is growing around Data-Driven Fasting is extremely exciting!  More and more Unlimited Members are coming back to subsequent rounds to continue their journey and help newcomers find their way.  We’ll be running seven challenges per year.  You can check out the schedule of upcoming events in the Data-Driven Fasting Facebook Group here.

10.7  Should I do DDF or the Masterclass first?

Data-Driven Fasting is a great introduction to kick start your weight loss journey by dialling in WHEN you eat, but eventually, WHAT you eat becomes the critical limiting factor.  DDF is relatively simple, while the Nutritional Optimisation Masterclass takes more work to dial in your meal choices.  So DDF is an excellent place to start.  You should only bring out the big guns if you have exhausted all the other simpler options.  We have several tools that will allow you to dial in your nutrition before you step into the Masterclass to fine-tune things.

10.8  Nutritional Optimisation Masterclass 

Finally, we have the 6-Week Nutritional Optimisation Masterclass, which uses Nutrient Optimiser to guide you through dialling in your macronutrients and micronutrients over six weeks in a supportive group environment.  

The goal of the masterclass is to give you the knowledge and support to find the foods and meals they enjoy and will enable them to continue to move towards their goal through the six weeks and beyond.

  • In week 1, optimisers will establish their baseline to understand their macro and micronutrient intake.
  • In week 2, optimisers will ensure they are getting adequate protein (which aligns closely with satiety and nutrient density).
  • In week 3, optimisers will find their carbohydrate tolerance using their blood sugars as a guide.
  • In week 4, optimisers will dial in their fat intake to ensure they are moving towards their goals.
  • In week 5, optimisers will begin to focus on refining their food choices to ensure they achieve the minimum nutrient intake levels to prevent diseases of deficiency.
  • In week 6, optimisers level up to move towards the optimal nutrient intakes to ensure they were getting all the essential nutrients they required without excessive calories.

Optimisers will get full access to the Nutrient Optimiser with 400+ recipes to empower you to short cut your journey towards Nutritional Optimisation, a support community with daily lessons to guide you through the process and weekly Live Q&As.  We always find that people make better progress when they take the journey together in a supportive community. 

We will be running three 6-Week Nutritional Optimisation Masterclass per year.   For more details, check out the events schedule here

10.9  Your Personalised Optimal 30/30  

Our ultimate goal in all this is to use the minimum effective dose of tracking to get the results you want.  We don’t want you to be tracking your food and/or blood sugars forever.  But instead, we want you to find an eating routine and a selection of foods and meals that allow you to be healthy and get on with living your life.  This is where the Personalised Optimal 30/30 comes in.  

We are creatures of habit.  While we enjoy variety, our analysis of food diaries from thousands of people shows that most people have a regular repertoire of around thirty foods and thirty meals that provide most of their energy needs.  

While you don’t need to eat optimally all the time, identifying Your Personalised Optimal 30/30 gives you a default repertoire of enjoyable foods and meals that will align with your goals and tastes.

Using this process of Nutritional Optimisation, we want you to find a shortlist of your favourite foods and meals that you truly enjoy eating.   There will be times that you eat ‘off plan’.  But you can quickly get back on track with Your Personalised Optimal 30/30.

10.10  Free food lists

We have created a wide range of nutrient-dense food lists tailored for different goals that you can access here.

  • If your post-meal BGs are typically below the upper limit (i.e. your BF doesn’t rise more than 30mg/dL or 1.6 mmol/L after meals), we recommend using the maximum nutrient density or fat loss food lists.  
  • If you are still working to stabilise your blood sugar to a healthy range, you should choose the blood sugar and fat loss food list.

These food lists are organised into groups (e.g. plans, animal-based, seafood).  The foods at the top of each list are ranked the highest for each goal based on nutrient density, satiety and insulin load.  We recommend you work through these food lists and find foods you want to incorporate into your daily routine.  You will find some you like and others you don’t.   

Note:  If the links don’t work, make sure you don’t have a popup blocker turned on or maybe try incognito/private mode in your browser.

10.11 NutriBooster Recipe books

After publishing hundreds of articles about nutrient density, satiety, and optimising blood sugar and insulin levels, we finally realised that if Nutritional Optimisation was going to become a movement, we needed to make it as easy as possible for YOU to implement in your kitchen. 

When everything these days is optimised using artificial intelligence and big data, why shouldn’t you be able to optimise the nutrients in your food?  Our ambitious goal was to reinvent and revolutionise the recipe genre by bringing the essential micronutrients into the spotlight using a data-driven approach.  So, we created a series of recipe books tailored to a range of goals.   To help you decide, we have prepared this table with a brief description of each book and who it would be appropriate for. 

GoalAppropriate for
Fat lossDesigned for rapid fat loss with less hunger and cravings due to nutrient deficiencies along with adequate protein to prevent muscle loss. 
Maximum nutrient densityThese are the most nutrient-dense recipes available!
Low carb & blood sugarDesigned for stable blood sugars and weight maintenance on a nutritious low carb diet.  Ideal for someone with diabetes or anyone who enjoys a low carb way of eating.
Blood sugar & fat lossDesigned for anyone with elevated blood sugars and body fat to lose. 
BodybuildersGain muscle without excess body fat.
High protein:energyHigh protein:energy ratio for aggressive fat loss.  
Nutritional ketoIdeal for someone who enjoys a ketogenic way of eating but does not require therapeutic ketone levels.
Therapeutic ketoDesigned for people who require therapeutic ketone levels (e.g. for epilepsy, dementia, or Parkinson’s).
Plant-basedThese are the most nutrient-dense plant-based recipes available.
VegetarianThese are the most nutrient-dense vegetarian meals.
Low carb vegetarianNutrient-dense low carb vegetarian meals to help stabilise blood sugars.   
Maintenance Designed to help you maintain your body weight providing plenty of nutrients to live a healthy and energised life.  
PescatarianThese are the most nutrient-dense pescatarian recipes (i.e. vegetarian plus seafood).
Egg-freeThe most nutrient-dense meals without eggs.  
Dairy-freeThe most nutrient-dense meals without dairy.  
Egg & dairy-freeThe most nutrient-dense meals without eggs or dairy.
Athletes & bulkingDesigned to support activity or growth with an eye on nutrient density. 
MeatThese are the most nutrient-dense meals that contain meat (i.e. beef, pork, chicken, etc.).  
ImmunityThese recipes prioritise the nutrients that support healthy immune function (i.e. vitamins A, C and D, iron, selenium, zinc and potassium).  
Cancer (weight loss & nutrient density)Designed for someone with cancer (i.e. less glutamic acid and methionine) while maximising nutrient density and satiety to promote fat loss.
Cancer (weight maintenance)Designed for someone with cancer (i.e. less glutamic acid and methionine) while providing enough energy to maintain a healthy weight.
Cancer (weight gain)Designed for someone with cancer (i.e. less glutamic acid and methionine) while providing plenty of energy to support weight gain after cancer treatment.

10.12  Cronometer 

While DDF solves the energy balance equation without food tracking, paying attention to your macronutrient and micronutrients is also helpful to help you dial in WHAT you eat to reach your goals.  

Similar to tracking your blood sugars, tracking your current diet for a period can be super valuable to empower you to ensure you are giving your body what it needs.  

We recommend tracking your food in Cronometer for a few weeks.  Cronometer has a paid (Gold) option, but the free version is fine.  

If your blood glucose trigger is not dropping, but you’re not losing fat, we recommend you slowly dial up your protein % (by dialling back the carbs and fat in your diet).  

We tend to see the best results when people get to 40% protein or above, but you don’t need to jump there immediately.  It will be more sustainable if you progressively dial it up.  So, if you find that your current protein % is 15%, then try 20% next week.  Then, if you find the scale isn’t moving, you can try 25% the following week.  

10.13  Free Macro Calculator 

We also created a simple free macro calculator.  This is particularly useful to understand how much protein you should be getting from your diet each day.  

We recommend you get at least 1.4 g/kg lean body mass of protein per day.  If you are tracking your body fat and weight, the calculator will determine your lean body mass (i.e. weight minus body fat).   

More protein is fine.  We see people get better results when they get 1.8 g/kg LBM protein and above.  But there is only so much protein you can consume while still being in an energy deficit.  If you are above 40% protein, you won’t need to worry too much about the absolute amount of protein you are getting (i.e. in grams).

You can set your carb target based on what you are currently consuming, or possibly a little bit less if you still see elevated post-meal blood glucose numbers.  

Don’t stress too much about the maximum calories if you are still using hunger training.  Waiting until your blood glucose is below your current trigger will look after the energy balance side of the equation.

10.14  Free 7 Day Food Discovery Challenge  

Nutrient density is central to everything we do at Optimising Nutrition.   But there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to solve the puzzle of what food YOU need to prioritise to improve the micronutrient profile of your diet.  

To help you understand what foods and meals you need to focus on, we created a 7-Day Food Discovery Challenge.  Each day you will receive emails that guide you through the process of tracking your food in Cronometer and then connecting with Nutrient Optimiser.  Nutrient Optimiser will then calculate your micronutrient fingerprint (see example below) and identify which foods and meals you need to focus on to get more of the nutrients you are currently getting less of.  

10.15  Nutrient Optimiser 

Nutrient Optimiser is the DDF app’s BIG brother.  We have been working on this for three years, trying to make it as powerful and simple as we possibly can.  

If you have already done the 7-Day Food Discovery Challenge, you will already have a login, but if not, you can do the Quiz at https://nutrientoptimiser.com/ to get set up.

We also have a Nutrient Optimiser Facebook Group you can join at https://www.facebook.com/groups/nutrientoptimiser

To get familiar with all the functionality of Nutrient Optimiser, you can check out the guides at https://www.facebook.com/groups/nutrientoptimiser/learning_content 

If you want to dive a little deeper into our world, you can check out the links below.  

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Facebook Groups 

Free tools 

Products 

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