A Holistic Approach to Intermittent Fasting with Dr. Frank Merritt of VitalityPro – EP077

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Here in ‘The Excited States of America,’ intermittent fasting or IF is all the rage. But fasting has been around since the dawn of mankind and even plays a role in most world religions. Long before it was popular, Dr. Frank Merritt was researching the benefits of intermittent fasting and helping his best friend, Jason, experiment with an IF protocol that would extend his life far beyond the six months he had been given to live in the wake of a brain cancer diagnosis.




Dr. Merritt is the founder of VitalityPro, a company dedicated to improving quality of life and athletic performance through the research and development of new, innovative health and exercise modalities, techniques and systems. In addition, he continues to practice emergency medicine in a regional trauma center, celebrating his 20th year in the field. Dr. Merritt earned his medical degree at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, and he is the co-author of The 17 Hour Fast: Reset Your Eating to Revitalize Your Life.

Today, Dr. Merritt shares the story of his best friend’s battle with cancer, explaining how the experience led him to develop the intermittent fasting protocol outlined in the book. He discusses how they landed on 17 hours as the ideal duration for fasting, the pre- and post-meals that are part of the process and the holistic nature of Dr. Merritt’s approach. Listen in to understand the physical, cognitive, social, psychological and spiritual benefits of fasting and get Dr. Merritt’s advice on fasting for endurance athletes.

Topics Covered

[1:47] The inspiration for Dr. Merritt’s fasting protocol

  • Best friend diagnosed with brain cancer at age 31
  • Ketone benefits of fasting offered ‘best bang for buck’
  • Lived for 7 years and continued to practice law
  • VitalityPro fulfills promise to share info with world
[9:52] The factors beyond fasting that extended Jason’s life

  • Purpose (family, career)
  • Best medical care and rich spiritual life
[12:00] The concept of 17 hours as the ideal duration for fasting

  • Minimum effective dose provides benefits without toxicity
  • Build something sustainable (i.e.: 2-year benchmark)
[16:19] The additional elements of Dr. Merritt’s protocol

  • 2 specifically designed pre- and post-meals
  • Incorporates sleep, relationships and self-reflection
[21:25] The benefits of intermittent fasting

  • Cognitive, psychological, social and spiritual
  • Physical benefits (evident after 3 weeks)
[27:13] The physical benefits of fasting

  • Weight loss (prevent heart attack, stroke)
  • Reduced sugar and high-fructose corn syrup intake
  • Less strain on pancreas, other organs
[33:18] Dr. Merritt’s advice for athletes

  • Work out in fasted state
  • ‘Demand the supply, not supply the demand’
  • Delay protein intake until after workout
[42:02] Dr. Merritt’s goal for VitalityPro

  • Remain students and continue to learn
  • Encourage people to take ownership

Learn More About Dr. Merritt



The 17 Hour Fast: Reset Your Eating to Revitalize Your Life by Dr. Frank Merritt and Phil White

Peyton Manning ‘Retirement’ Video

Books by Dr. Jason Fung

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