Dr. Greger’s Secret for Burning Fat While You Sleep. Wake Up Slimmer
Science can sometimes be hard to follow and hard to understand, but not when Dr. Michael Greger is speaking! He delivers evidence-based nutrition facts with clarity and generous abandon. Dr. Greger is an internet sensation and my favorite nutrition nerd! He might become your favorite, as well, after you find out his secret on how to lose weight while sleeping!
Dr. Greger, Founder of NutritionFacts.org, author of The New York Times Best Seller How Not to Die, and well-known figure for his advocacy of a whole-food, plant-based diet, sat down with me at Althea Restaurant in Chicago for my Awesome Vegans Influencer Series. Nestled together in a corner just before social distancing was established, we dished on fat blockers, his favorite snacks and his newest book, How Not to Diet. Plus, the great Dr. G. shared a few hacks from his book for weight loss, something we could all use just about now.
Secret 1. Trick your body Into burning fat while you sleep by raising your feet
In his book, Dr. Greger writes about the 21 tweaks you can make in your daily life for an even healthier diet and for losing weight. Luckily for us, in the interview snippet below, he shares his favorite tweak-- which he calls "exercising while sleeping!" But don't worry you don't have to actually jog your way through slumber or hold a plank while under the blankets.
Put a couple of bricks or large coffee table books under the foot of your bed to sleep with your head down six degrees below your feet. This will make your body think that you're exercising and mobilize fat as you sleep.
Dr. Greger calls it “the mild Trendelenburg.“ He explains that the idea of lowering your head and upper body during sleep is based on Russian Cosmonaut research showing that “increased pressure in your chest causes your heart to produce a hormone which, basically, mimics exercise.
So your body is tricked into thinking 'Oh, there's all this extra pressure--we must be exercising! Quick! We need to burn more fat to support our exercise!' And indeed, you get this big boost for about four hours of burning fat, just when you lie down with your body sloped downhill 6 degrees for sleeping.” Dr. Greger only recommends trying this if you don’t have heart failure, head injuries, or any other problems with high blood pressure, such as pressure in your eyes. As always, consult your own doctor if you are considering making major changes to your diet and sleep patterns.
Secret 2. Eat high-fiber foods, especially toward the end of the day
Dr. Greger adds “If you eat high fiber foods [before bed or later in the day] your entire musculature of your intestines, which is a 24-foot muscular tube, is working all night long! As opposed to eating fiber-deficient foods, [like sugary snacks] there is just nothing to 'pump iron' down there.”
Dr. Greger reminds us, “There’s really only two major sources (of fiber) and that’s whole grains and legumes (beans, split peas, chickpeas, and lentils).” In fact, Dr. Greger recommends a serving of at least one and a half cups of beans or legumes a day to boost fiber intake.
Fiber only comes from plant-based foods, which lack the skeletal infrastructure that animals have to stay upright. So think of the asparagus or plants growing in your garden--what makes them shoot up toward the sky is fiber. Same with fruit. What gives the apple its shape is fiber. Meanwhile, there is no fiber in meat, eggs or dairy. “More than half of Americans think that steak is a significant source of fiber, whereas, of course, just to set the record straight, by definition, fiber is only found in plants. There is zero fiber in meat, eggs, dairy, and junk.”
Secret 3. Pre-Load Supper to Lose Weight Tonight
Another sneaky tweak from Dr. Greger to keep the pounds at bay is to "pre-load" your supper. Before you stack your dinner plate with heavy, calorie-dense foods, Dr. Greger recommends starting your meal out with a soup, salad, fruit or vegetables, a tall glass of water, or anything less than 100 calories per cup (whole food and healthy, of course).
He calls this “negative calorie pre-loading.” Greger shares an example: “For example, eating a large apple before a meal causes people to eat about 300 calories less during the meal. An apple is about 100 calories. So, if eaten before a meal, it has the effect of negative 200 calories!”
Due to the typically high-water content of fruits and vegetables, pre-loading with healthy, low-calorie options can fill you up and prevent you from overeating at lunch or dinner. “So next time you sit down with soup, imagine calories being sucked out of your system with every spoonful!”
So, don't forget the run, or the walk, or an online workout for healthiest results. But if you want to supplement your workouts with a chance to burn fat overnight, follow these three tips: Raise the foot of your bed approximately 6 inches, eat high-fiber foods, and pre-load dinners with low-calorie filling foods li veggies to take in overall less calories. For the full interview with Dr. Greger, follow this link.
Elysabeth Alfano is a plant-based expert for mainstream media, breaking down the plant-based health, food, business and environmental news for the general public on radio and TV.