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KetoFast Explained

In the featured JJ Virgin Lifestyle Show podcast, I discuss my KetoFast protocol, which is the topic of my latest book by the same name. KetoFast is the term I coined to describe a protocol that combines three key strategies: a cyclical ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting and cyclical partial fasting.

In this interview, I describe how to implement the KetoFast approach, including the meal timing and the types and amounts of foods you should be adding to your plate. 

“KetoFast” is the follow-up to my bestselling book “Fat for Fuel,” and I strongly recommend implementing the strategies laid out in “Fat for Fuel” first (which include daily intermittent fasting and cyclical nutritional ketosis), before you move on to “KetoFast,” in which you add partial fasting to everything you’re already doing. 

Why I Wrote ‘KetoFast’

As I explain in this interview, the impetus behind “KetoFast” was two major realizations: First, that water-only fasting is a tremendously beneficial health intervention; and second, that while water-only fasting used to be an ideal strategy, the fact that modern man is so toxic makes it potentially dangerous to do extended water fasts for most.

We’re now surrounded by and exposed to some 80,000 chemicals in our environment, many of which are fat soluble, meaning they accumulate in your fat cells. Meanwhile, fasting effectively drives toxins out of fat cells, which can have devastating results if you’re severely toxic. 

What’s more, since you’re not eating, you’re also not providing your body with the nutrients it needs to effectively neutralize and eliminate those released toxins.

My answer to this dilemma was to devise — based on the best scientific evidence I could find — a fasting program that mimics multiday water-only fasting, while supporting your detox pathways and minimizing the risks associated with toxicity.

The KetoFast protocol is also easier to comply with than multiday water fasting, and provides greater benefits because you’re able to do it more frequently. At most, you might do a five-day water fast 12 times a year (once a month). With the KetoFast protocol, you can do 42-hour fasts anywhere between 50 to 100 times a year. 

The caveat is you need to have done at least a month of daily intermittent fasting and achieved nutritional ketosis as laid out in “Fat for Fuel” before you move on to KetoFasting. Once you’re metabolically flexible and can burn fat for fuel, the combination of cyclical nutritional ketosis and cyclical fasting is phenomenal for weight loss and optimizing your health and longevity. 

Eating Too Frequently Creates Metabolic Dysfunction

In his book “Circadian Code: Lose Weight, Supercharge Your Energy and Sleep Well Every Night,” Satchidananda Panda, Ph.D., cites research showing that 90 percent of people eat across a span of 12 hours a day, and many across even longer timespans. This is a prescription for metabolic disaster, and will radically increase your risk for obesity and chronic degenerative disease over time. 

Part of the problem is that when you eat throughout the day your body adapts to burning sugar as its primary fuel, which down-regulates enzymes that utilize and burn your stored fat. If you struggle to lose weight, this may well be a significant part of the problem — your body has simply lost the metabolic flexibility to burn fat for fuel.

The intermittent and partial fasting regimen described in “KetoFast” essentially mimics ancestral eating patterns, allowing your body to work optimally by allowing for periods of breakdown and cleanout, and periods of rebuilding and rejuvenation.

It’s particularly important to avoid snacking or eating a meal close to bedtime. You really want to stop eating at least three hours before you go to sleep, as feeding your body at a time when it does not need the energy fuels the creation of free radicals instead. Essentially, late-night snacking is a prescription for chronic disease and early death as it will impair your mitochondrial function.

Recent research1 shows men who eat supper at least two hours before bedtime have a 26% lower risk of prostate cancer, and women have a 16% lower risk of breast cancer than those who eat dinner closer to bedtime.2,3 This reduction in cancer risk makes sense when you consider the effect late-night eating has on your mitochondria.

Chronic inflammation is a hallmark of cancer, and by feeding your body late at night, the excess free radicals generated in your mitochondria will simply fuel that inflammation. Mitochondrial dysfunction in general has also been shown to be a central problem that allows cancer to occur. To learn more about this, see "The Metabolic Theory of Cancer and the Key to Cancer Prevention and Recovery."

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