How great would it be if gently coaxing your body toward wellness also happened to melt one, two, even three pounds a day? That’s exactly what Dr. Oz’s fasting trick can do. Called System 20, his new plan is “a comprehensive science-based health overhaul you can actually live with,” he recently revealed.
The doc spent a year getting the guidelines real-world ready, and his efforts paid off. Folks using just a handful of System 20 strategies are able to enjoy cocktails and cheat days while reporting hefty losses (50, 75, 100 pounds!). They also improve mood, memory, energy, blood sugar, blood pressure, and much more. As Dr. Oz put it, “It’s been the most successful plan we’ve ever rolled out!”
Here’s what a day on System 20 looks like: You wake up and enjoy coffee with special “creamer” (MCT oil) that boosts fat burn, kills appetite, and jump-starts energy. Next, use the energy it delivers to do any fun, blood-pumping activity. (Slimming aside: A new British study found light exercise before your first meal burns lots of extra fat.)
You’ll wait until you’re hungry to eat, which means “every day is going to be brunch,” said Dr. Oz. Both brunch and dinner will be a mix of nutrient-dense, fat-fighting protein, beans, and greens; you can also have an optional cocktail plus low-carb snacks as needed before 7 p.m., when you stop eating for the day. At night, look for little ways to relax and rejuvenate — and aim to hit the hay a bit early. “It’s super easy,” promised the doc. It’s also highly effective.
Smart Keto Hack
According to Dr. Oz, eating your first meal later in the day and finishing your last bite by 7 p.m. is a simple way to practice intermittent fasting, a strategy he declared “the best way to lose weight, prevent disease, and even live longer.”
Turns out, eating your food in a smaller time window allows your body to burn off all the blood sugar in your system — at which point it begins turning stored fat into ketones to use as fuel. “That’s what happens when people go on the keto diet,” Dr. Oz explained. But you get this keto benefit while still being able to enjoy carbs. And as if that weren’t enough, National Institutes of Health and Johns Hopkins research also shows this style of eating makes cells stronger, providing a dramatic overall health boost.
Dr. Oz gives his plan another leg up on keto by loading it with beans. Their starch nixes cravings caused by extreme carb cutting, plus they release metabolism-revving compounds so powerful that, per University of Colorado findings, a bean-rich diet spikes fat burn by 25 percent.
The same compounds improve belly-fattening insulin by up to 73 percent. Skeptical that beans beat keto? In a study at Loma Linda University in California, folks who ate beans at every meal lost as if they were on a keto diet while consuming far more food, far more carbs, and getting far more health benefits than their low-carb counterparts!
From beans to cheat days (which Cornell researchers found actually shock our system and send metabolism soaring), the components of System 20 “are all based on hard science,” said Dr. Oz. “This is not about dieting. This is about having a system to live your best life.”
Sumaya Kazi didn’t set out to use System 20 tactics, but that’s exactly what happened. Despite trying everything from Weight Watchers to intense exercise, constant stress eating left her struggling with weight gain, fatigue, prediabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. “Finally, I saw a documentary on intermittent fasting that explained the science behind it,” recalls the California entrepreneur, 37.
As she experimented with the approach, she found herself craving healthy foods and began building meals around protein, beans, and greens (like eggs with veggies and black beans, or salads topped with chickpeas and chicken). When she snacked, she reached for wholesome low-carb options like edamame and cashews.
“The first couple weeks were challenging, but I tried to think of hunger as a signal that my body had finished digesting food from my previous eating window and was starting to burn fat for fuel.”
Over time, it got easier. “My appetite is now so much smaller that I actually save a ton on groceries!” Her waist got smaller too. She sped off 64 pounds, shrinking from a size 14 to a 4 as her energy steadily grew and all her health concerns vanished. Says Sumaya, “Simple tweaks to the way we eat can do amazing things for our bodies!”
The Healthy Way to Lose
On System 20, eat between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily. Meals are a palm-size serving of lean protein, 1⁄2 cup beans, and 1 cup greens. (Plant-based option: tofu or extra beans as your protein.) Optional extras include herbs, spices, apple cider vinegar, more veggies, and small amounts of healthy flavor-boosters like olive oil, cheese, and nuts. Enjoy berries daily and a cheat day each week. Always get a doctor’s okay to try any new plan.
Drinks — Freely sip water and unsweetened tea all day. Optional: Coffee with 1 to 2 Tbs. MCT oil pre-brunch and daily cocktail with 1 oz. clear alcohol, seltzer, and lime.
Brunch — Toss a bowl of greens with healthy dressing; add a serving cooked chicken, 1⁄2 cup chickpeas, and additional veggies and healthy extras to taste.
Snacks — Go for healthy low-carb options like olives, nuts, cheese, hard-cooked eggs and lean deli meat, nibbling just enough to control between-meal hunger.
Dinner — Enjoy a serving of homemade chili (any variety with lean protein and beans), a leafy green side salad, and berries for dessert.
*Weight loss reported in this story is based on experiences of women who spoke to Woman’s World. Individual results will vary. Dr. Oz’s emphasis is on overall health.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.