My 7-day Fasting Experiment

A simple blog with my experiences

 

Although I tried the Animal Diet in 1998 (the original intermittent fasting diet) and began to incorporate 24 to 36 hours fasts in 2008, I haven’t done any fast lasting longer than 36 hours. While I’ve read thousands of pages on fasting and have corresponded with several people who have done 5, 7 and 10-day fasts, for me personally, this is new territory. In this “blog” I will document every day to give you an idea of what to expect if you’d venture on your own fast. Also, it might help you out to make your own journey easier.

 

Day 1: Saturday, November 19, 2016

I had my last meal on Friday evening at 7 pm. Usually I have a big morning coffee with butter and MCT-oil, but this morning all I had was about a liter of water and a few grams of sea salt.
At about 9 am a mild headache surfaced, which by all probability was from the lack of coffee (caffeine). I guess I have a mild addiction to caffeine from drinking 3 to 4 cups of coffee a day. So, I guess this 7-day fast is as a good opportunity as ever to clean that out of my system as well.
Since I also felt a bit drained, I did some deep meditation while listening to Theta (4-7.9 Hz) sound waves (by Centerpointe’s Holosync). After 30 minutes, I felt a lot better and had more energy, although the headache remained.

The headache passed away at about 4.30 pm and at the same time I got “super energized”. I fed my dog and took him for a 60 minutes evening walk and then sat down to write this little summary.

So, what will this 7-day fast consist of? Only water? Yeah, pretty much. I will add in electrolytes to help my cells stay as hydrated and efficient as possible. And we know that a good electrolyte balance is crucial to feeling good, energized, and avoiding brain fog. They are important for muscle function, managing the acidity of you blood (pH), and keeping your cells hydrated. Of all the electrolytes, sodium (as in salt) is most important.
When your sodium levels drop below normal, your body responds by limiting blood flow to the extremities and you get cold feet and hands. Even though your body can recycle sodium, on longer fasts it can get too low and then you start getting cramps and dizziness from low blood pressure. Low sodium is one of the causes to the really bad “fasting flu” some people experience (also on restricted ketogenic diets).
Low electrolyte levels will also make your muscles even more flat and it will make you feel weak.

As for electrolytes, it will look something like this on a daily basis:

  • 3 to 5 grams of sodium from sea salt or Himalayan salt, taken in the morning and evening
  • About 1 gram of magnesium (organic) 30 minutes before bed
  • A supplement with ample amounts of potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and chloride.
  • If needed, an additional potassium supplement.
  • Probably some water-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin C and the various Vitamin B – except for folic acid which blocks the pathways that useful folate (methylfolate) would normally use. With those pathways blocked, your body can’t use folate even if you’re getting lots of it in your diet and supplements. Folate should only be provided in its organic form by consuming vegetables, never as an artificial ‘folic acid’ supplement.

That is all. 5 to 6 liters of water a day and some electrolytes. No food prep, no sitting down to eat and no food bills for the next 10 days. It’s actually a liberating feeling.

And no, I haven’t felt any hunger at all. Probably because I was already in ketosis when I started my fast. But I do suspect that I will feel some hunger on occasion once I’m in “starvation mode”.

 

Day 2: Sunday, November 20, 2016

Woke up about 6:10 am and felt really energized and full. No hunger or cravings. Actually, the thought of food seemed anything but appealing.
My sleep was good. I did wake up at 1.30 am as I had to pee. But all in all, I got 7 hours and 50 minutes, of which 1 h and 32 minutes was registered as deep sleep. Resting heart rate at 42 beats per minute, one of my lowest recordings this month (it was 48 last night).

As I usually do, I have some salt water and then I walk my wolfdog. During my walk, I experienced some muscle fatigue. The feeling can best be described as what you could experience after a hard and draining workout – a bit weak, and a bit fatigued. That however, went away during the forenoon and I felt perfectly fine at noon and during our second walk.

Aside from feeling a bit weak during the morning walk, I’ve felt really good today. Not a single moment of hunger. And this evening I passed the 48-hour mark. I’ve now been in a fasted state longer than I ever have before. And so far, it’s been a breeze. Probably because I switched to the ketogenic diet a week ago, and already was in pretty deep ketosis as I started my 10-day fast.

As for water during the day, I drink about 4.5 to 6 liters of ice water, as I prefer my water as cold as possible – and I really enjoy to chew on ice cubes. 🙂

I spent a few hours on the phone today and at times it felt like my brain was racing – as when you “overdose” on caffeine or ephedrine. Pretty funny as I haven’t touched caffeine since Friday morning. Luckily no withdrawal headaches today.

I also tried the game Killing Floor 2 and was on top in pretty much every game. In other words, my level of focus and my reflexes are still unaffected.
That’s pretty much it for today. See you all tomorrow!

 

Day 3: Monday, November 21, 2016

Didn’t sleep that well this night. I usually fall asleep within 5 or 7 minutes. Last night it took close to 20 minutes, I woke up 2 times, and my resting heart rate was up to 49. Also, this morning I felt really weak in my body, like my muscles were totally drained. It was not fun to walk with my wolfdog for 45 minutes. However, in the forenoon my energy levels returned and my mid-day walk went pretty well.

That being said, my mind is clear and I’m feeling more creative and productive than in a long time. What about hunger?

Usually, ghrelin (hunger hormone) peaks during day two or three of a fast, and then it declines from there. This is seen in almost everyone who fast – hunger virtually disappear after three to four days into a fast. Luckily, I’ve felt no hunger whatsoever. Only a feeling of “emptiness” in the stomach, but it passed within minutes.

 

Day 4: Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Slept better this night. Resting heart rate still high at 50 beats a minute, but I got more deep sleep than yesterday. Still feeling weak in the mornings and I don’t feel like moving around too much. Also, as I woke up my throat was a little bit clogged and sore – probably from my body detoxifying itself. That did pass within a couple of hours though, and I felt totally fine in the afternoon.

As previous days, my mental energy has been really high. No real dips whatsoever. Just as good as on a ketogenic diet. I do meditate for 20 to 30 minutes a day, but the difference is very noticeable compared to when I have a lot of carbohydrates in my diet (which gives me dips in energy and a little brain fog from time to time).

Thus far, fasting has been pretty easy. I do not like the drained feeling in my body, but my focus, concentration, creativity, and productivity are through the roof, so it’s okay. It’s like my mind is racing all day long, but my body need 4 to 6 hours to catch up. I’m also happy that I don’t feel any hunger at all, not even feeling empty.
Unfortunately I twisted my lower back during the day and I was really stiff in the evening with quite a lot of pain.

 

Day 5: Wednesday, November 23, 2016

When I write this (about 7 pm), I’ve been without food for exactly 5 days (or 120 hours) – and yes, I’m alive and well. 🙂

I slept better this night. Resting heart rate showed 49 beats per minute, which is still somewhat high for me. But I got about 2h and 50 minutes of deep quality sleep out of the 7.5 hours I slept, which is really good. This morning I also had more energy. My body is adjusting, and my morning walk felt pretty ok. Happy times!

My lower back felt a little better this morning, but it stiffens up as I sit and work, and standing up after an hour or two is difficult. It takes a few minutes of “warming-up” before I can move as usual again. So, it’s slightly better than yesterday, but far from good.

All in all, I’ve had more energy today. My body or muscles haven’t felt as drained as previous days.

 

Day 6: Thursday, November 24, 2016

Productivity and mental clarity is high. For the last couple of days, I’ve been working on a new book. It’s a collection of the most popular articles from CMN during 2015 and the better half of 2016. The book will feature about 42 of the roughly 100 posted articles in that time-frame. As usual, I do all the work myself, including covers, layout and editing (Adobe InDesign) and all that stuff (it’s actually a lot of fun). As the looks of it, it will be finished by the end of the day.

I’m also re-building my JBC Store at store.bartoll.se by upgrading it to the latest OpenCart and implementing a more efficient Social Login and Check Out process. It should be a breeze to use once its finished.

So yeah, there’s no problem with energy, concentration or focus on a prolonged fast. Actually, I feel more productive when I don’t have to prepare meals and sit down to eat.

 

Day 7: Friday, November 25, 2016

The last day of this extended fasting trial. Although I have experienced some feeling of weakness and sluggishness in my muscles, I’ve had a lot of energy throughout the 7-day fast. I never felt any kind of brain fog or mental tiredness, only the opposite.

My back is now fine again and even a 1.5 hour walk with my dog felt like a breeze. During this week, I’ve lost about 2 kg (4.4 lbs) in body weight. Since I was on a ketogenic diet before entering the fast, my glycogen stores were not full. Otherwise my weight loss would have been far greater. These 2 kilograms is simply some lost body fat and a little bit of glycogen and water weight – and perhaps a little bit of muscle tissue (very easy to gain back, so who cares considering the health benefits gained?).

In the late afternoon, I had a small portion of cod with steam cooked (almost mushy) vegetables. The reason for “overcooking” the veggies is to make it easier on the digestion. Simply put, when you start eating again, do it gently. No need to chock the system.

I followed up with some mackerel and steamed vegetables about two hours later. And as a “dessert” I had two rows of dark chocolate (80 % cocoa). Tomorrow I’ll resume my ketogenic diet with a little bit of carbs in the evening – as a way to raise calories a bit.

 

By | 2018-04-18T15:35:04+00:00 November 26th, 2016|Articles from 2016|0 Comments

The Quick Diet Experiment: Day 15 – aftermath

The Aftermath and what comes next…

 

Read the introduction by clicking here! | Day 1-3. | Day 4-6. | Day 7-11. | Day 12-14. (Will open in new window)

These are extracts from my daily journal entries over at Classic Muscle Newsletter. To get the full story, including tips and more detailed thoughts, become a member today. As a member you’ll also enjoy 4 to 5 new full-length articles a month, a review of the latest research, access to more than 260 articles and training programs, and much more!

Sunday, June 25. Day 15 – aftermath: ketogenic diet and the next step:

Day "0" versus Day 15. Higher resolution photos at Classic Muscle Newsletter Day “0” versus Day 15. Higher resolution photos at Classic Muscle Newsletter.

Guess what? Yeah, got home late again after collecting 10 big “dino bones” from a friend and staying 2.5 hours at the dog park in the evening. Had to make my last meal for the day at close to 10 PM and then hitting the bed just before 11 PM. Didn’t sleep too well and woke up at 5 AM as clockwork. Yeah, I usually don’t sleep in on weekends when I sleep alone. If sharing a bed, I usually get up early, get some important work done, and then slip back into bed.
But yeah, sleep this night was not the best. And my morning weight was slightly up by 300 grams (0.66 lbs.), putting the scale at 70.2 kg (154.4). It’s actually what I weighed on June 22.
I took new photos at 7.30 AM. Not the best of conditions and it was freezing having to open the balcony door to let some early morning light inside. But it had to be done. Hopefully you can notice some small changes (although it’s only been 5 days since the last photo).
I also got a new body comp done and I’ve lost yet a few millimeters at most measuring sites. According to the 9-site Parrillo formula, my subcutaneous body fat is now at about 6.29 % – quite a drop from 7.79 % in just 14 days – especially considering that my body fat was “low-ish” to begin with.

Day "0", day 5, day 10, and day 15. Day “0”, day 5, day 10, and day 15. Higher resolution photos at Classic Muscle Newsletter.

And speaking of body weight and body composition. Although fluid retention changes from day to day, I think I’ve actually gained some muscle mass during this experiment. When I started, I weighed 73.5 kg (161.7 lbs.) with a lot of muscle glycogen (which binds water inside the cells) and I had quite a lot of fluid retention beneath the skin. Now, after 14 days of a pretty restricted ketogenic diet (including three instances of 36 hours without protein and only about 200 to 300 kcal), I weigh 70.2 kg. That’s only a loss of 3.3 kg (7.26 lbs.) The skin fold caliper body composition test says I lost about 1.25 kg (2.75 lbs.) of body fat, which might actually be pretty correct considering that it’s only been 14 days – and that would come down to 625 grams (1.375 lbs.) a week on average. That is about as much as my body can release in fatty acids at this level of leanness. At the start, I had about 5.7 kg of subcutaneous fat. At my level of leanness, lifestyle and activity level, I probably have an additional 3.5 to 4.0 kg of intra-fat (the fat surrounding organs and residing behind the abdominal wall). So with about a total of 9.2 to 9.7 kg (20.2 to 21.3 lbs.) of total body fat, I should be able to release and burn about 644 to 679 kcal of fat a day, when using the standard of 70 kcal per kg of body fat formula. That’s about 585 to 617 grams (1.29 to 1.36 lbs.) of fat a week – if perfectly healthy and in an ideal world. And… This number goes down as your fat stores shrink. Today, with at least 1.25 kg less body fat, I would only be able to release and burn 557 to 591 kcal a day, which is 506 to 537 grams (1.11 to 1.18 lbs.) a week.

Body composition sheet.

Body composition sheet.

So yes, I think the “pure fat loss” is pretty accurate. It might look like I lost a lot more, but that would be pretty much physically impossible. And the fact that I look so much “sharper” and ripped is also due to loss of subcutaneous water. Remember that the main reason for doing this experiment was to reduce inflammation, which also reduces water retention.

Considering that I should have lost at least 100 grams of liver glycogen, and 500 grams of muscle glycogen (probably close to 600 grams since I carry more muscle mass than the average man), which binds an additional 1 400 to 1600 grams of water, and at least 1 250 grams of fat, and then adding in the loss of additional subcutaneous fluids/water retention, the math fails – as it adds up to more than the 3.3 kg lost. And that without even considering the water retention.
So only one answer remains. I’ve gained a little bit of muscle mass – on a restricted ketogenic diet with a total of 4.5 days without any protein out of 14 days. According to all the Facebook and YouTube Bro-experts, I would have withered away and lost muscle mass.

It’s a funny thing how the body actually work, respond, and perform when you know what you’re doing instead of following old dogma, myths and bro-science.

So what now?

Shameless selfie. Sucking in and contracting the abs make my arm look bigger. ;) Shameless selfie. Sucking in and contracting the abs make my arm look bigger. 😉

I went into this diet experiment thinking that it would be difficult and challenging at times, especially during the fat only fasts for 36 hours or more without any protein. But truth is that it was extremely easy – and I felt great the whole time. I can see and feel the difference it has done in lowering inflammation and that my body feel “lighter” and “fresher”. It will be interesting to take new blood tests this week and to see if my kidneys are operating better than three weeks ago.

Considering all this, I will continue with a ketogenic diet with the main goal to stay in ketosis most of the day. I will experiment with carbohydrates before and after my training sessions. In other words, I’ll start by adding about 20 to 30 grams of simple carbs before my workout and another 20 to 30 grams of complex carbs after my workout. On my days off from the gym, I’ll do a strict ketogenic diet.

My main goal is, and will be, my health and feeling as good as possible – with an energetic and clear mind. Keeping my body fat as low as possible without noticing any adverse effects is second on my list (since this will minimize inflammation and toxic load), and adding a bit more muscle mass comes third.

Speaking of keeping your body fat low. I’m planning an article about that. There’s simply so much misinformation out there, claiming that low body fat is bad for you; as it will wreck your hormones, contribute to mood swings, lowered attention span and learning difficulties, etcetera.
Still, the observations that exists and warn about these adverse effects are from people who have starved themselves – as in prisoners of war, people with anorexia, etcetera. It’s not the minimal amount of body fat that is the problem in these subjects, it’s how they got there by denying their bodies the nutrients it desperately needs – that is the problem. The diet they followed or was forced to follow destroyed their hormone production, microbiota, electrolytes, etcetera. The low level of body fat is only an effect of energy deprivation, not the causation.

Anyway, I’ll start increasing calories slowly over the coming weeks, but I’ll probably lose another pound of fat or two before I focus on a short muscle gaining phase. I’ll also continue with my fat fasts. At least twice a month, simply because the health benefits of autophagy is enormous. Being in ketosis and activating autophagy is one of the best ways to remove dysfunctional cells and prevent/reverse cancer and other modern diseases. The benefits are so great that not doing regular recurring fasts would simply be extremely stupid. It’s about investing in your health. Besides your family, it’s the most precious gift you have.

I will continue with a journal, documenting the things I’ll do next – and I’ll do my best to share useful and interesting information. Thank you for reading!

 

By | 2016-10-16T14:03:07+00:00 June 29th, 2016|The Diet Experiment 2016|0 Comments

The Quick Diet Experiment: Day 12 to 14

The Journal: Day 12 to 14

 

Read the introduction by clicking here! | Day 1-3. | Day 4-6. | Day 7-11. (Will open in new window)

These are extracts from my daily journal entries over at Classic Muscle Newsletter. To get the full story, including tips and more detailed thoughts, become a member today. As a member you’ll also enjoy 4 to 5 new full-length articles a month, a review of the latest research, access to more than 260 articles and training programs, and much more!

 

Thursday, June 23. Day 12 – MCT-“fasting”:

Day "zero", day 5, and day 10. Day “zero”, day 5, and day 10. Next photo update in “Day 15: the Aftermath”.

It’s that day again – my third day of complete fasting from protein. I’ll only have about 20 grams of MCT oil today. The MCT’s support a deeper ketosis and provide immediate energy because they are able to cross the double mitochondrial membrane very rapidly and do not require the presence of carnitine to do so (as other fatty acids does). This results in the production of excess acetyl-coA which breaks down into ketones. Also, the shortest 8-carbon medium-chain triglycerides (Caprylic Acid) within MCT oil does not need to be processed in the liver and it only need 3 steps for your body to turn it into ATP (sugar needs 26 steps). And as ketones are your brains preferred fuel (much more so than glucose), you do feel fantastic all day – even if you’re not used to fasting and/or being in ketosis. And fats do not interfere with autophagy, so you get the best from both worlds when doing a fat- and/or MCT-fast.

Funny thing is that I weighed in at 70.4 kg today, that’s a gain of 200 grams (0.44 lbs) since yesterday. This is probably due to toxic load and other factors (I’ll explain this in more detail in a day or two).

Total for the day sums up to:
20 grams of MCT
0 grams of protein
0 grams of carbohydrates
About 166 kcal total

Felt fine the whole day. Only noticed some “tiredness” in my legs during my evening walk with my wolfdog, but just as last time I experienced this, it went away after about 10 minutes and then I actually felt really energetic instead.
Mental clarity was very high the whole day, and I was also very active as I had a lot to do. No weight training, but I did walk and move about a lot. Total energy expenditure for the day at about 2500 kcal.

Friday, June 24. Day 13 – ketogenic diet, adding in protein again:

Down 100 grams today, weighing in at 70.4 kg. Slept pretty good considering yesterday’s MCT-“fast” with only 166 kcal in total.

Kicked off the day at 5 AM with some coffee with MCT and a little butter. I had my first protein (20 grams) at 9 AM as part of my pre-workout nutrition – and I had another 20 grams during the workout, and then 30 grams in my post-workout meal (of which 5 g was collagen protein for strengthening joints and improving the skin). In the afternoon I had another 20 grams and then I had one larger meal in the evening with about 40-45 grams of protein (with an additional 5 g of collagen) and a small snack an hour later.

For my training session, I did a push-oriented workout – and as usual I kept rest intervals to a minimum, going back and forth between two exercises. Started off with some strength work in the high incline barbell press (70 degrees), ramping to my 2 RM and then doing some cluster set with 10 % less weight. While doing these, I did high-rep side dumbbell laterals in between sets (only using 33 to 44 lbs dumbbells for 15 to 20 reps). I then lowered the incline to 30 degrees and did the same with incline bench press and alternating between that and bent-over rear-delt dumbbell raises. Finished off with some mechanical drop sets for triceps.
Peak heart rate at 178 beats per minute, average heart rate at 142, and total duration at 1h 4 min.

As for food, the daily total looked like this:
195 grams of fat (of which 25 g was MCT oil) – about 71 E%
137 grams of protein (of which 10 g was collagen protein) – about 23 E%
35 grams of carbs (15-20 g fiber) – about 6 E%
About 2 408 kcal total

I was very active today (it was midsummer celebrations here in Sweden) and I took 14 121 steps and torched about 3 300 kcal total during the day – so, a huge 900 kcal deficit. But I’m not worried.

Saturday, June 25. Day 14 – ketogenic diet and words of wisdom on fluctuating body weight:

Kind of messed up my sleep this night. I got home late, didn’t really wind down, and just went to bed. I woke up four times during the night and only got a few minutes of deep sleep. Total time at sleep at about 5 hours, but sleep quality very low (which is what really counts).
Also, I hit my biggest drop in body weight this morning – a whopping 0.5 kg! I’m actually below 70 kg, weighing in at 69.9 kg (153.8 lbs.) That weigh-in was at 4.50 AM, and after re-hydrating, I’m at about 71 kg. But yeah, 69.9 kg when weighing in under the same conditions as all previous days.

So why is that? We all know that burning/losing fat is not a linear journey. You get ups and downs all the time – but why? I’ve covered a lot of reasons in several articles (and books) during the years, but the main reasons are toxins and inflammation. It’s mainly about the level of fluid retention in the body. This will have the biggest impact. Chemicals and toxins from the environment or anything you put on your skin or in your mouth are either excreted by your body or it ends up in your fat tissue. Actually, toxins you consume can be metabolized by the liver and then excreted by the kidneys – unless any of these organs are overworked/overburdened, or damaged.

Now, keep in mind that most chemicals are lipophilic, meaning that they are attracted to fat and are easily stored there. Chemicals that are absorbed by the skin, gum tissue, scalp, mucous membranes, and respiratory tract instead of through the digestive system are deposited directly into the bloodstream – and reach all of your fat cells and organs before they get to the liver!
This means that chemicals and toxins you get into your body from air pollution, skin lotions, sun screens, makeup, shower creams/soaps, toothpaste, deodorants, etcetera, can wreak havoc in your bloodstream before they end up (to a far greater amount) in your fat tissue and your organs (including your brain!)
These chemicals that prolong a product’s shelf life, emulsify water with oil, promise to make us look younger, heal a skin conditions, or stop us from sweating are actually contributing to skin problems, psoriasis, low testosterone, high estrogen, brain fog, learning disabilities, memory problems, water retention, low energy levels, slowed metabolic rate, and the rise in obesity of adults and children by damaging our endocrine systems and causing inflammation.
So be careful with that crap. Read the labels and you’ll never put that on your body again! I stick with natural oils, organic deodorants, and toothpaste made of bicarbonate, clay and some mint – and I suggest you do too.
I’ll write more articles about this in the future – since what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body for your health and longevity.

Anyway, when you’re on a diet and you release and “burn” off more fatty acids than you store, these stored chemicals and toxins are released together with the fatty acids. These toxins are stored unevenly (depending on when they entered your body and in what quantities) and they have different characteristics, so they influence your body in different ways when released – but they mainly cause inflammation, making you hold more fluids within your body as a defense. They also cause brain fog, lethargy, and tiredness, so if you have “bad days” on your diet without any obvious explanation, it’s probably because of the toxic load in your body temporarily being higher than usual.
This is probably what happened to me a few days back during my fast and when I actually gained 200 grams of body weight. Today however, the toxic load is lower and I lost some of the water weight I retained during those days.

Also, even if you could replicate several days in a row with both energy intake and expenditure, you would still not burn the exact same amount of body fat as energy from day to day. Your body is in a constant flux, reacting to anything you put in it and anything you come in contact with. Your hormonal milieu differs from day to day, so does you microbiota, and so on and on. You can never calculate or predict a weight loss with 100 percent certainty. You simply have to make sure that you support your body, do not starve yourself (unless it’s a short time plan to maximize autophagy), and learn from how your body respond.

As for those delicious nutrients, the daily total looked like this:
182 grams of fat (of which 30 g was MCT oil) – about 68 E%
148 grams of protein (of which 10 g was collagen protein) – about 26 E%
30 grams of carbs (15-20 g fiber) – about 6 E%
About 2 317 kcal total

Although I got good training session, my activity today was somewhat lower – having me “clocking in” at about 2850 expended kcal. So, a deficit of about 530 kcal. That’s nice!

In the next article, I’ll cover the days following the experiment. I’ll discuss the results, new blood work, and what I’ll do next.

By | 2016-10-16T14:03:08+00:00 June 29th, 2016|The Diet Experiment 2016|0 Comments

The Quick Diet Experiment: Day 7 to 10

The Journal: Day 7 to 10

 

Read the introduction by clicking here! | Day 1-3. | Day 4-6. (Will open in new window)

These are extracts from my daily journal entries over at Classic Muscle Newsletter. To get the full story, including tips and more detailed thoughts, become a member today. As a member you’ll also enjoy 4 to 5 new full-length articles a month, a review of the latest research, access to more than 260 articles and training programs, and much more!

Saturday, June 18. Day 7 – MCT-“fasting”:

Weighted in at 71.1 kg (156.4 lbs) today, another 200 grams (0.44 lbs) less than yesterday. The decline in body weight seems rather constant at the moment, but I expect a larger drop by tomorrow.
Since I’ve been training four days in a row, I have a MCT-“fast” with no protein today, and the fact that I have so much else going on I my life for the moment, I decided to take the day off from the gym.

I had one cup of coffee in the morning and one in the forenoon. Only 5 g of MCT oil in each cup. Also took a longer morning walk with my wolfdog, and at 1 PM we took a 4 km (2.5 miles) bike ride to meet up with some friends and their dogs at a dog park, where we stayed for 1.5 hours – walking around, playing and taking some photos. On the way back home, I took another, a bit longer, route home. And I did notice a bit of ammonia in my breath. And since I had my last meal with protein at 7 PM on Friday, it’s due to autophagy – the body is recycling bad cells as protein and energy.

During my evening dog walk I actually felt a bit tired in my body for the first time, but it went away after 10 minutes and then I felt really good again. Considering I only had 15 grams of MCT oil since 7 PM yesterday and that my body is still adapting to run on fat and ketones, it’s expected.
I remember the first time I did a ketogenic diet (Dan Duchaine’s Body Opus) back in 1997. Back then I felt really miserable the first week and I had the infamous keto breath and smelled of ammonia for two weeks before my body started to adapt to burn fats and ketones more efficiently.
With that said, I haven’t done pure keto since 2008, but I have done some 28- to 36-hour water fasts, especially during 2009 to 2012 – and I do a lot of intermittent fasting. So my body is a lot quicker to adapt nowadays.

In the evening, I did have some extra fats, a little bit of dark chocolate, raw cacao nibs, and cacao butter. Also 3 grams of omega-3 and a scoop of greens powder.

So to recap, my last meal yesterday was at 7 PM and it was probably absorbed within 3 hours (since it was small), which means that I was in a fasted state around 10 PM. During the day I had a total of 15 grams of MCT oil, which do not interfere with the fasting or autophagy. Then I had a small meal at 8 PM in the evening. That’s 22 hours of MCT-“fasting”. However, since I had almost no protein at all, my protein fast will continue until Sunday before hitting the gym. It will probably be close to 35 or 36 hours without protein – pretty much as during day 1 and 2 of this experiment.

When adding in my 8 PM meal, the total for the day sums up to:
32 grams of fat (of which 15 grams was MCT oil) – about 91 E%
4 grams of protein – about 5 E%
3 grams of carbohydrates (about 2 grams of fiber) – about 4E%
About 303 kcal total

That’s a deficit of around 2100 to 2200 kcal and almost no protein. Feeling pretty good though. Tomorrow I’ll add in some protein before, during and after my workout, and then I’ll raise the calories again, going back full keto on Monday.

Sunday, June 19. Day 8 – intermittent fat fasting, adding in some protein:

As predicted, my morning weight after yesterday’s MCT-“fasting” and 303 kcal total, was 70.7 kg (155.5 lbs) – a reduction of 400 grams (0.88 lbs) since last morning. I honestly thought it would be a little bit more, considering loss of body fat and contents within the intestines. Perhaps the extra electrolytes I take daily helped to maintain a good hydration/water balance (which can be tricky on a low energy ketogenic diet.)
Speaking of fluids. My previous water/fluid retention around the face and ankles has improved considerably. The fasting and high intake of fats is working. Total body inflammation is lower, which I also noticed during today’s workout (more on that in a bit.)

As I woke early today (4:15 AM), I started the morning with coffee, MCT oil and a little drop of double cream. After a brisk walk with my dog at 7 AM, I took another cup as an early pre-workout at around 8.30 AM. I then had my first protein since Friday evening – about 20 grams of whey isolate mixed with 10 grams of MCT oil. I loaded an additional 30 grams of whey isolate and 5 grams of MCT oil as my intra-workout shake and did yet another push-oriented workout. As my back is still a bit stiff, doing shoulders and some easy chest and triceps seemed as the best choice – so I can go in with more intensity tomorrow and hopefully get a good leg workout.

As mentioned earlier, whole body inflammation is lower and all my joints feel better. I’ve had a lot of trouble with my shoulders and during May and early June, I could only do barbell shoulder presses and high incline presses. If I lowered the bench beneath 45 degrees, as in incline bench press or regular bench press, my shoulders would hurt like hell and I would lose strength and control. I could actually only lower the bar half the way in bench press before the shoulders would give out, risking an injury.
Today however, I could easily do the incline bench press at about 30 degrees. My shoulders felt fantastic.

After the workout I had a tiny bit of unpasteurized raw milk with 20 g of whey protein, 5 g of collagen protein, 5 g of isomalto-oligosaccharide (prebiotic), 10 g of pumpkin seeds, 5 g of sunflower seeds, 10 g of raw cacao nibs and some raw cacao for additional taste. In the afternoon I had another cup of coffee with MCT and in the evening I had a chicken leg with veggies and a bit later some eggs with veggies. And of course, a lot of spices and herbs. A lot!

The daily total looked like this:
170 grams of fat (of which 30 g was MCT oil) – about 71 E%
120 grams of protein (of which 15-20 g was collagen protein) – about 23 E%
30 grams of carbs (20-25 g fiber) – about 6 E%
About 2 096 kcal total

My total energy expenditure for the day was in the neighborhood of 3100 kcal as I was a bit more active than I’ve planned, which yields a deficit of about 1000 kcal. No worries though, as calories will be raised tomorrow.

Monday, June 20. Day 9 – ketogenic diet, more on health:

Slept pretty well for a total of 7 hours with three instances of deep rejuvenating sleep, totaling about 1h 50 min. Got up at 4.55 AM and had my usual cups of coffee. Morning weight was 70.7, a slight decrease by “the usual” 200 grams (0.44 lbs.) Once again, I was expecting more. But it seems that my body is doing quite well on this experiment.
Noticed increased definition and vascularity in my legs, so they are finally coming along. I can now see muscle fibers contracting on the upper part of my calves. The lower part still holds some subcutaneous water, but to a much lesser extent than before the experiment.

Since the main focus of this experiment is to heal my inflamed and injured kidneys, I don’t want my intake of protein to creep up too high. So to keep the calories going up, I can only add more fats. Even if I have room for a few more carbs, they don’t really mount up to anything much. I’d like to keep my “energy giving” carbohydrates below 20 to 25 grams so I’m sure I’m staying in ketosis. After the experiment, I’ll start adding them around the workouts, but for now, more fats it is.
Another concern is the fact that my mother has a very aggressive form of rheumatism and psoriasis. Most of her joints and bones have been eaten away by inflammation, especially the shoulders and elbows, as well as her hip and ankles. When I was younger and hungry for gains and didn’t really care about healthy foods or avoiding chemicals in skin care products or beauty products, I did notice some spots of psoriasis. Luckily they all went away as I became more health-conscious and when I did my first famous diet experiment in 2007 and 2008. Since then, it’s been totally gone. But I still need to be careful because it’s hidden away in my genetics, and although it’s dormant, a compromised immune system or a lot of bodily stress could bring it back to the surface. So the most important thing is to keep inflammation under control, keep my hormones in check (thyroid and testosterone as high as possible and estrogen low, but not too low) and to keep my body fat as low as possible without compromising my health.

In the evening I had pork chops with butter, onions and some veggies. Made it two separate meals, because convenience.

The daily total looked like this:
182 grams of fat (of which 30 g was MCT oil) – about 70 E%
135 grams of protein (of which 10-15 g was collagen protein) – about 25 E%
30 grams of carbs (20-25 g fiber) – about 5 E%
About 2 263 kcal total

Torched about 2900 kcal today, so the deficit for the day comes in the neighborhood of 600 to 700 kcal.

Tuesday, June 21. Day 10 – ketogenic diet:

Slept pretty well for a total of 6 h 45 min. Morning weight at 70.3 – another 200 grams (0.44 lbs.) down since yesterday, like clockwork.

Had a day off from the gym today. My schedule today and tomorrow is crazy – and I’ve been wading through 50+ studies to find some of interest for my research series here on Classic Muscle Newsletter. I got 4. Will wade through another 50 on Thursday.
Diet wise I have nothing much to report really. The veins in my chest, lower abdomen and legs are coming along nicely. And I have tons of energy. Brain fog is a lot less than two weeks ago, and that’s a big plus!

The daily total looked like this:
162 grams of fat (of which 30 g was MCT oil) – about 71 E%
115 grams of protein (of which 10-15 g was collagen protein) – about 24 E%
25 grams of carbs (15-20 g fiber) – about 5 E%
About 1 985 kcal total

Burned about 2500 kcal today, so the deficit was about 500 kcal.

Wednesday, June 22. Day 11 – metabolic day, increased calories, some tips on back training:

Day "zero", day 5, and day 10.

Day “zero”, day 5, and day 10. Click to zoom.

Another pretty good night. I slept for about 6 h 35 min with three instances of deep restful sleep, totaling 1 hour and 55 min.
Sleep efficiency was at 97 % according to my Microsoft Band II and the MS health app. Time to fall asleep was 4 min 39 sec, which is a bit longer than usual. Resting heart rate at 50 (I usually fluctuate between 46 and 51). Not too sure about the accuracy of the data, but I usually check it a few hours after I wake up to see if it matches how I feel – and so far it usually has been pretty correct.

Morning weight at 70.2 kg, so only 100 grams (0.22 lbs.) less than yesterday.

Day "zero" and day 10 of the Diet Experiment.

Day “zero” and day 10 of the Diet Experiment. Click to zoom.

Today is another metabolic day to keep the hormones flowing. I’m a bit pressed for time as my afternoon and evening is fully booked. Anyhow, I took some quick photos this morning before I started to increase my calories. Since I took them 2 to 2.5 hours earlier than usual (at 7 AM), the sun was still low and didn’t give as much light as in the earlier photos, so I had to lower the shutter speed (I don’t want to go above ISO-400, as the photos will be too grainy). Unfortunately, the photos came out with a little bit of motion blur, but they’ll have to do. They look decent when shrunk, and you can still see a lot of changes in only the five days that have passed; abs a little bit tighter, vascularity is beginning to show in the legs again, etcetera.
Higher resolution photos are available at Classic Muscle Newsletter.

My workout this day was all back. I usually have two distinct different ways to start a training session. For as long as I can remember (mid-90’s) I always have begun by ramping the weight on my first and main exercise. Keeping the repetitions between 3 and 5 not to waste energy. By increasing the weight by each set your nervous system gets activated and you get warm, ready to do some serious lifts without burning much glycogen in the process. In other words, you’re fresh once you hit your heavy work sets.
This is usually the approach I take with most clients to learn and program their nervous systems to become more efficient, teaching them to recruit more fast-twitch muscle fibers.
However, once you have a pretty efficient nervous system and can switch it on with only a set or two, I have another approach that is very effective if your main goal is muscle hypertrophy and you don’t care much about doing strength work. This method is simply to start the workout with a mechanical drop-set. In other words, you pick a weight that is about 50 to 60 percent of your max and you do an exercise where you can shift positions without resting. You start in your weakest position and when you are about one repetition short of failure you shift to a stronger position and so on in three steps.
For example, since I did back, I started with Barbell Row. When I was close to failure, I raised my torso and continued to do reps in a Dorian Yates row fashion. When I was close to failure on these I finished off with Romanian deadlifts. This set took about 1 min 40 seconds and it was enough to get me warm, fired up, reach a heartbeat of 170+, and it also sat the bar for the rest of the workout. No way you can drag your legs behind after such a start!

Skin-fold body composition from day "zero" to day 10.

Skin-fold body composition from day “zero” to day 10.

Also got my body composition tested just before my workout using the Harpenden Skin-fold caliper. Most dramatic changes occurred in my upper and lower back, and to a degree in the thighs.

The daily total looked like this:
210 grams of fat (of which 25 g was MCT oil) – about 66 E%
177 grams of protein (of which 15-20 g was collagen protein) – about 26 E%
55 grams of carbs (15-20 g fiber) – about 8 E%
About 2 785 kcal total

At 55 grams and 30 to 35 g of energy giving carbohydrates, that was my highest intake of carbs thus far on this experiment. Did feel fine all day though, never dipped out of ketosis. Probably because I had a lot of things to do and didn’t sit around a lot. According to my MS Band II, I took close to 16 000 steps during the day. I usually average 9000 to 11 000.

So, the “calorie burn” through the day landed at approx. 3420 kcal. More fuel plus more activity equals higher metabolic flux. Still I had a deficit of about 650 kcal, which is just fine.

 

 

 

By | 2016-10-16T14:03:12+00:00 June 24th, 2016|The Diet Experiment 2016|0 Comments

The Ketogenic Diet, Part 2

The Different Types of the Ketogenic Diet

 

In this part we’ll continue our introduction journey by looking at the different recognized types of the ketogenic diet. I’ll explain their composition, how they work, their advantages and possible disadvantages for dieting and as a long-term diet. We’ll also look closer at the variants of the ketogenic diet used to treat various diseases.
Even if you’re not suffering from any of these diseases, you probably know someone who is – and by getting a basic knowledge of these applications you can point this person in the right direction.
Another aspect of disease treatment and prevention is that there are many other benefits that can improve your health, quality of life, and longevity. The more you know, the better you can tailor your own diet to suit your needs, goals and life situation.

 

The Standard Ketogenic Diet

The Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD) is the most common type of the ketogenic diet. It’s usually the type that is used in studies and what people usually refer to when speaking of ketogenic diets and being in ketosis.
The definition is quite simple; you restrict your carbohydrate intake to less than 20 to 50 grams of net carbs per day (depending on your muscle mass and level of activity). You set a protein intake suitable to your goals and then fill up the rest of your daily caloric intake from fats. Usually, fats make up at least 70 percent of total calories.
Your carbohydrates in the ketogenic diet usually come solely from vegetables, and it’s important to note that most carbs in vegetables are fiber that can’t be used as energy (other than for your gut bacteria). In other words, when looking at vegetables, you need to separate fibers from actual energy giving carbohydrates, also known as “net carbohydrates”. In its most simplicity, this means that you can eat a lot of vegetables as long as you limit or stay away from the few that are high in starches such as corn, green peas, butternut and acorn squash, pumpkin, carrots, tomatoes, and of course any kind of potato or yam. We’ll look at the best food choices in the upcoming parts of the series.

The SKD is also the type that people use long-term or as a “base diet” for life. It’s also important to recognize that just because you structure your diet around the principles of the SKD, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have foods with carbohydrates on occasion. Once you’ve adapted to the ketogenic diet and your mitochondria runs efficient on fats and ketones, it’s much easier to transition in and out of ketosis if the occasion arises for consuming some carbs – at, for example, social gatherings, business meetings, or simply because you feel like having some variation or trying some food you never had before. Being fat adapted also means that you won’t feel as drowsy or tired when you have carbs again and shift out of ketosis. You will by all likelihood feel and perform better than you previously would, since your mitochondria can now efficiently use both glucose, fats and ketones as fuel.

 

The Targeted Ketogenic Diet

The Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD) is simply a traditional ketogenic diet where you place, or “target”, a single intake of carbohydrates before your training session/exercise. It’s advisable to use simple and easy digestible carbs to avoid stomach upset. Also, fructose should be kept to a minimum or avoided, as it replenishes liver glycogen instead of muscle glycogen.
Typically, you eat 20-60 grams of net carbs (depending on body weight and muscle mass) 30 to 60 minutes before exercise. The post-exercise meal should be high in protein and low in fat.

Some people does better with carbs before their workouts, while other do not. TKD is a variation you can try if you exercise at a high level and you have been following a traditional ketogenic diet for a few months so you’re fully “fat adapted”.
Ingesting carbohydrates before and/or during your workout can give some people a performance boost and can help a little with recovery if you exercise at a high level. It’s also a convenient way to get in more calories if you have trouble pushing your fat intake even higher (if trying to gain muscle mass). This is especially true if you already have a muscular physique and require a lot of calories just to maintain your weight.

If you perform well without carbs, another powerful pre-workout strategy is MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides). You can get them as a pure MCT-oil (preferred), as a powder or from coconut oil.
MCTs are easily digestible, less likely to be stored by your body and are used for immediate energy. Research also shows that MCTs are thermogenic and can therefore aid in fat loss.
MCTs can of course be used in combination with carbohydrates before and/or during your training sessions.

 

The Cyclic Ketogenic Diet

The Cyclic Ketogenic Diet (CKD) is obsolete and should not really be used by anyone – as it defeats the purpose of a ketogenic diet. On a CKD you’ll alternate days of ketogenic dieting with days of high-carb consumption also known as “carb-loading”. Typically, this kind of carb-loading lasts for 24-48 hours. Usually, you consume about 450-600 grams of carbs during the carb-loading phase. And on some variations used by larger bodybuilders, about 50 to 80 grams of carbs are allowed daily while following the ketogenic diet. Due to hard training and more metabolic active muscle mass, these 50 to 80 grams of carbohydrates won’t affect ketosis. Bodybuilders and other athletes used CKD during the 90’s and early 2000 to maximize fat-loss while also building lean mass. Usually insulin was used during the carb-load and even after to quickly get into ketosis again.

The idea behind CKD was the faulty belief that a strict ketogenic diet would lead to muscle loss in the long term. This has been proven to be false. Actually, the opposite is true. A ketogenic diet is very muscle sparing when you’re in a calorie deficit – more so than a low-fat diet if the amount of protein is the same over the board.

The biggest problem with CKD is that you disrupt ketosis at given intervals, which will increase hunger and cravings for more “sugary and high-carb foods”. You will also feel like crap once the body dumps a lot of insulin to handle all the carbs – and you will probably get a kind of “carb-load hangover”, where you feel drowsy and tired the day after and before you have returned into ketosis again.

CKD is one of the few ketogenic diet types that would not be advisable to follow as a long-term or life-long diet as it was originally designed for bodybuilders and fat loss. 

 

Restricted Ketogenic Diet: for treating various diseases

The restricted ketogenic diet is a calorie-restriction version of the standard ketogenic diet and is designed for specific therapeutic uses. We touched on this in the beginning of the first part, as ketosis is a very beneficial condition for treating cancer. We know from several studies that calorie restriction, that is, eating about 15% less calories than you need in a day, is beneficial for healing the body and slow down aging – mainly from a lowered protein synthesis and reduced levels of insulin and IGF-1. When combining a low caloric intake with the benefits of ketosis, you will starve and slowly dispose of cancer cells.

Some of the more prominent researcher’s within this field are Dr Thomas Syfried, Dr. Ron Rosedale, and Dr. Dominic D’Agostino. They recommend that you begin with a water fast for 3 to 5 days to quickly get into deep ketosis while turning on your body´s own repair and recycling program known as autophagy. Then you continue with a low-calorie ketogenic diet, aiming for blood sugar levels of 55-65 mg/dL and blood ketone levels of at least 4.0 mmol. This means that the daily carbohydrate intake will likely have to be below 20 grams of net carbs for the average person. Also, protein intake will have to be kept pretty low, in the neighborhood of 50 to 70 grams a day, and preferably spread out over several feedings to lessen the impact on mTOR. Stimulating mTOR and protein synthesis can lead to accelerated cancer growth if you have cancer cells. Although the impact will be low if you’re in ketosis and already starving your cancer cells, it’s advisable to do anything in your power to minimize anything that can promote cancer growth or slow down the healing process.
There is also some evidence that certain brain tumors and some breast cancers can, when there is a lack of glucose, turn to burning glutamine or glutamate (from proteins). So, when treating cancer, it would seem that a calorie-restriction ketogenic diet with high fat, low protein and very low carbohydrate content would be the best bet.

Additionally, restricted ketogenic diets, as well as the standard ketogenic diet, have been used for treating neurological diseases (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, autism, depression, migraines, epilepsy), chronic fatigue syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome (POS) and more.

Unless you’re suffering from one or more of these diseases, or if you really need to lower inflammation in your body, I would not recommend the restricted ketogenic diet due to its low protein recommendations.

It’s also worth mentioning that Dr. D’Agostino is a passionate weight-lifter and has worked with various athletes and bodybuilders. He’s currently an Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida. He works to develop and test nutritional and metabolic therapies including ketogenic diets and ketogenic agents for CNS oxygen toxicity (epilepsy & seizures), metabolic disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, muscle wasting and cancer. He’s one of the true pioneers of ketogenic diets for both performance, body composition, optimal health, and disease prevention and treatment. If you want to dig really deep into the possible therapies of the ketogenic diet, look him up.

 

In the next part I will take you through the first steps of the standard ketogenic diet. What to do before you start, how to start in the best way possible, and some other tips and guidelines.

By | 2018-04-21T13:16:57+00:00 June 21st, 2016|All in Nutrition, Articles from 2016|0 Comments