Hack Protein Fasting?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 06, 2012 at 6:26 PM

On one of the Paleo Solution podcasts Mat LaLonde revealed that he does a protein fast in the mornings. Rather than fasting all together he has a can of coconut milk upon waking. He says that if you eat a little fat but refrain from eating protein you still get some of the benefits of intermittent fasting, still get the autophagies (our self cleaning system) to turn on but not necessarily stress the system. Chris Kresser also agrees that fasting can be stressful in people with poor insulin control, since fasting can elevate cortisol levels resulting in elevated blood sugar levels. He notes that many people switching over to the Paleo diet come from a background of high insulin and are at a higher risk for fasting???s potential negative effects. Waiting for the benefits of IF to kick in can cause a cycle of high insulin and cortisol.

I know many questions have been raised on here about IF with regards to the cortisol issues discussed above or people with Leptin resistance. Equally, there have been some who don't necessarily respond positively to IF even if they are metabolically sound and relatively healthy. I've done some 2-3 day bone broth fasts with good results to my digestive system, however, I have also attempted IF (16/8) with no positive results and some negative results. So I do think some type of fasting is appropriate and beneficial, but of course the benefits are individual. Therefore, taking the thought process that everyone would benefit with some sort of fasting, here are my questions:

Do any of you approach IF in this manner (protein fasting) and if so have you seen any benefits? Also, for the ones that have done both IF (16/8) and protein fasting can you provide a negative or positive comparison?



on February 07, 2012
at 01:51 AM

I gave you an upvote for mentioning Mat LaLonde


on February 06, 2012
at 08:34 PM

My point was that, baring any kind of strange medical condition, there's no reason to think that a 16 hour fast, half of which you are asleep for, is having negative effects on you. You may not find the changes going on in your body pleasant to endure, but that doesn't mean they are bad. Just keep yourself busy. Sometimes I'm tempted to eat in the evening when I wasn't planning to, but I'm never tempted to eat breakfast because I know I need to get to work or else I'll be late. In the evening when I have no important plans is the only time I'm tempted to eat when I didn't plan to.



on February 06, 2012
at 07:44 PM

Ratiocinative.....Its not for fat loss as I have never been fat or required to lose bodyfat. It's more for health purposes and as I mentioned in the post, when I don't eat for extended periods of time I get negative effects. Also, it's not a self control issue.



on February 06, 2012
at 07:26 PM

You might find that last 20 pounds gets a bit harder. In any case, the benefits being talked about here are about a sustainable eating plan.


on February 06, 2012
at 06:57 PM

Why not just be a real man and do an actual fast? I haven't eaten in 60 hours or so, and I do it all the time. It's not that big a deal to do, you just have to have some self-control. Down almost 50 lbs in 3 1/2 months. Only another month and a half or so before I have a nice looking 6pack. You're making fasting way more complicated than it needs to be.



on February 06, 2012
at 06:55 PM

Sort of. Every morning I have 2 mugs of coffee with heavy cream and a small amount of honey. I've said many times that for the first hour or two I don't feel any changes and I believe I'm probably still in ketosis. However, by the end of the 2nd mug (awake about 3 hours) I do feel changes and start to feel ready to eat so I assume I'm out of ketosis at that point. Without the honey I'd definitely qualify. Honestly, I don't enjoy protein until my system is fully awake and if I take a brisk walk fasted it's around 6 hours awake that I want protein.

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on February 06, 2012
at 08:57 PM

I've found my sweet spot to be eating a huge protein+fat breakfast (a la leptin reset), a moderate protein lunch, and a mostly carbs+fat dinner (mashed sweet potatoes with butter and steamed broccoli for example).

This allows adequate protein intakes for the day as well as ~ 17 hrs w/o protein to encourage autophagey.

Also, carbs seem to be better when consumed mainly at dinner, and the increased insulin response may work synergistically with the nighttime hormonal release to maximize muscle building and repair.



on February 07, 2012
at 12:13 AM

I have been practicing both types of fasts for several months. Usually it's for 16 hours, but sometimes 14 or 15 and, more rarely, 17. I find the true fasts more stressful, especially starting around the 14th hour. The use of coconut oil in my coffee (along with cream) makes the protein fast more easily tolerated.

On the down side, my fingers can get cold during the final few hours. (Part of that is due to my office being a 62 degree room during the winter). Also, it can be difficult to concentrate during the final hours of the fast, so I find it best to schedule highly-engaging activities for that time.

On the positive side, although my wife has suffered three major colds during the past year, I caught only one of those. I also think both types of fasting help me control overall daily food intake.

I have a question: in a comment thread ( of evolutionarypsychiatry) the person there said, about using coconut oil during a fast, "The lauric acid in the coconut oil will stimulate an insulin response. That insulin will stop autophagy dead in its tracks."

Anybody have an informed opinion?

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