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The Fat Fast - Does anyone use it?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 14, 2010 at 3:04 AM

Hi all, I was curious if anyone here utilizes the fat fast (of Atkins fame I believe). I could only find two articles on it ( http://www.carbsmart.com/fatfast.html and http://www.low-carb.com/atarfatfa.html ) and no mentions of it in the context of paleo, though I did first hear of it on http://girlgoneprimal.blogspot.com ... I was wondering if anyone could recommend or discourage the fat fast, particularly in the case of stalled weight loss and falling off the paleo wagon.

72a1e3ccf044c2fe1f994e10927e18a8

(183)

on July 15, 2010
at 08:06 AM

I believe that you undergo some amount of gluconeogenesis per day. The brain has a downregulating mechanism for the amount of glucose it uses and overtime it can be made to rely more on beta-hydroxybutyrate, but it still does need some glucose. I have not actually read any numbers of percentages or ratios of this regulation, I've only seen this effect mentioned in several texts, so I won't speculate as to how much of this happens. Ketosis is by definition an elevation from the norm of ketone bodies, so it seems by the strict definition all people who eat carb deficient diets are in ketosis.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on July 14, 2010
at 12:32 PM

Just because protein can be used to make glucose, doesn't mean you won't go into ketosis if you eat protein. I eat a couple of pounds of meat a day and I'm in ketosis.

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6 Answers

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4
691f120a3e7a1a036845d105d86c99a3

(3641)

on July 14, 2010
at 05:36 PM

I found it works rather well. Pick up some keto strips at a pharmacy to monitor your ketosis and once you are in you can decide when to stop the fast and switch to just a low carb regimen. You can lose your keto state pretty quick tho by eating too much fruit and such. I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist but I will give you my method (hopefully without getting a million negatives for offering it up...)

  • I generally get a big bottle of Mauna loa Macadamia nuts and eat about an ounce every few hours. The 6 serving jar is good for an entire day. When you get real hungry just eat another ounce. I find it helps hunger mostly.

While eating only nuts really isn't very paleo, Macadamias have a very high saturated fat content which is what you want on a fat fast. They are easy to prepare, just measure and eat. The dry roasted ones have no evil vegetable oils. They are a bit salty, but I suppose you could rinse them and then eat them to remove some salt. 21g of fat per serving, 4 carbs (2 fiber) and 2 grams of protein. Its a really low calorie couple days with about 1200 cals but most will be from fat and on the bright side you will be at about double the SAD diet's recommended fat intake (YAY!). It is a 'fat fast' after all. After about a day I am in keto on this but I generally only fast max like 3 days. Once you switch back to paleo you can just keep your carbs in check and stay in mild ketosis for fat burning anyway. I usually take fish oil every day and this doesn't mess with the fat fast as it's just fat and it has the added benefit of balancing the Omega-6 load of the nuts.

5
1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01

on July 14, 2010
at 06:41 AM

It is really hard to find information online, so I'd be suggesting you get hold of one of the old Atkins books since it details everything clearly. The important note to make is that Atkins only recommends the Fat Fast for people who are having real trouble adapting to burning fat as fuel. Krish's comment is really good - if getting into ketosis is the problem, eating nothing but fat (no matter how much) will help. I was tinkering with the fat fast since I was trying to cut calories by using fasting without my body necessarily responding with cortisol. I already eat a 70%+ fat diet so ketosis wasn't so much of an issue for me.

Atkins says - if you are already able to lose weight through cutting carbs, you don't need to Fat Fast. If falling off the paleo bandwagon is the issue, just get back on and enjoy the range of paleo foods your system prefers, since deprivation could just push you back into the SAD street. If your otherwise-successful weight loss has stalled (significantly, as in you've been stuck for a month with zero physiological change) then you might want to assess whether you need to adjust your intake levels, since you may not be burning us much fuel as before. Look at other health issues as well - if nothing has changed, then cutting back on calories might help. Your needs will be different after you've dropped 10kg, especially if you haven't been building muscle at the same time via strength training.

Extreme measures just shock the system if the system is otherwise functional, and could have detrimental effects. Get back into typical Paleo - don't look for quick-fixes.

3
Ba98aae93b2fe441fd10a58295a8a79a

on July 14, 2010
at 03:30 AM

I don't have a response to this particular technique, but I think this post will give you some more information on which to base your decision.

2
72a1e3ccf044c2fe1f994e10927e18a8

(183)

on July 14, 2010
at 06:08 AM

I'm a BS in biochemistry and it seems that Adams information source is good. From my knowledge, it does take 3-5 days for all a transcriptional turn over to ketosis. If you ate 100% fat, it shouldn't matter how much fat you're eating (even if its above base metabolic requirement). If I decided to do this myself, I would tend to go above my caloric usage slightly I think to avoid a stress response (cortisol release etc.). The problem with eating protein is that our bodies can use protein to make glucose via gluconeogenesis. However, unfortunately, your body recycles protein at a pretty regular rate which depends on your intake of protein. Your body typically cycles as much protein as you typically eat. And the regulating mechanisms for this have a couple of days. Unfortunately you are probably on a reasonably high protein diet, and the day you stop eating protein your body will still discard the same amount (maybe 150-200g?). This will probably continue for the 3-5 days of the fast. Thats maybe 600g protein which equals a couple of pounds of muscle. This may be what some people see as a quick weight loss of a couple pounds in a couple days, in addition to the calorie deficit, but it will definitely get you into ketosis quick.

Also from my understanding of ketosis, even if you 'get into ketosis' as soon as you start adding protein/ carbs back into your diet you can fall out pretty quickly (this may be likely to happen using this technique, because people don't really have a time to acclimate to their new lifestyle). Anyway, all the best, my advice to people is always to take it slow and adjust their lifestyle gradually because diets don't work, only lifestyle changes. In fact most studies on diets show that dieters actually end up with a net increase in fat percentage. So take that for what you will.

72a1e3ccf044c2fe1f994e10927e18a8

(183)

on July 15, 2010
at 08:06 AM

I believe that you undergo some amount of gluconeogenesis per day. The brain has a downregulating mechanism for the amount of glucose it uses and overtime it can be made to rely more on beta-hydroxybutyrate, but it still does need some glucose. I have not actually read any numbers of percentages or ratios of this regulation, I've only seen this effect mentioned in several texts, so I won't speculate as to how much of this happens. Ketosis is by definition an elevation from the norm of ketone bodies, so it seems by the strict definition all people who eat carb deficient diets are in ketosis.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on July 14, 2010
at 12:32 PM

Just because protein can be used to make glucose, doesn't mean you won't go into ketosis if you eat protein. I eat a couple of pounds of meat a day and I'm in ketosis.

1
D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

on September 05, 2010
at 08:27 PM

Dr. Harris' post at his blog, PaNu (PaleoNu) on losing weight might be of interest.

http://www.paleonu.com/panu-weblog/2009/8/27/how-to-lose-weight.html

If I were someone who couldn't lose weight on the ratios Barry Groves recommends at the following page, I would try the fat fast.

http://www.second-opinions.co.uk/diabetes-6.html

10% ??? 15% carbohydrate,
20% ??? 25% protein,
60% ??? 70% fat

I have read of others using the fat fast as an alternate day plan with their regular way of eating, or just using the fat fast on the week-ends, or staying on a modified fat fast for a short length of time.

Hope this helps some.

0
Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on May 25, 2011
at 08:05 PM

I tried this, and I didn't love it...I've been doing IF lately with way better results, have you looked into IF?

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