Fasting versus Carb Restriction: Which Works Better for What Scenarios

Both fasting and carb-restriction appear to operate along similar physiological pathways. Both lower carbs. Both increase fat-adaptation. Both have the potential to get you into ketosis. Both lower insulin and blood sugar.

But is one better than the other? Are there certain scenarios in which an intermittent fasting protocol works better than a low-carb diet, and vice versa?

Let’s find out if the distinction matters.

And what scenarios are most impacted by any difference.

Fat Loss

Ketones, shmetones. Autophagy, shmautophagy. Cognitive decline, shmognitive shmecline. (Shall I keep going?) The number one reason anyone attempts either a carb-restricted diet or intermittent fasting is to lose body fat. We all know it’s true.

Carb restriction works well. That’s been well-documented. Sure, the results get a little fuzzy if you use “low-carb” diets with 35-40% of calories from carbs or enforce calorie-matched control diets, but legitimate ad-libitum low-carb diet studies where people are free to eat what they want find that subjects spontaneously reduce calories and lose body fat faster than with other diets.

Intermittent fasting has also been shown to work. In non-obese patients, alternate day fasting increased fat oxidation and weight loss. In obese patients, alternate day fasting was an effective way to lose weight; dietary adherence remained high throughout. In young overweight women, alternate day fasting was just as effective as caloric restriction at causing weight loss, and adherence to the former was easier than to the latter.

Intermittent fasting and carb-restriction are pathways to easy calorie restriction. Fasting removes the possibility of eating entirely. Carb restriction removes the least satiating macronutrient and increases the most satiating macronutrients. Both diets increase fat burning and, provided you eat adequate protein and lift some heavy things, preserve lean mass.

The trick is sustainability: If fasting makes you unfathomably hungry, it’s probably not going to help you lose weight. Anecdotally, I find that basic carb restriction helps the most people and is the best-tolerated.

Type 2 Diabetes

You just got back from the doctor and you have Type 2 diabetes. Or maybe you have “pre-diabetes.” Perhaps you haven’t been to the doctor yet, but tracking your blood sugar at home reveals some high postprandial numbers. Or maybe you have a strong family history of diabetes, and you’re looking to avoid it manifesting in you. Whatever the reason, you know that you need to make a dietary change.

First and foremost, type 2 diabetes is a type of “carb intolerance.”

Seven subjects with untreated type 2 diabetes either fasted for 3 days or went zero-carb for 3 days. What happened on day 3?

  • Overnight fasting glucose went from 196 to 160 (on zero carb) and 127 (fasting).
  • 24 hour glucose dropped by 35% (zero carb) and 49% (fasting).
  • 24 hour insulin dropped by 48% (zero carb) and 69% (fasting).

Both approaches worked. Fasting worked better, but you can’t just keep fasting indefinitely. At some point, you have to eat something.

A very recent study just came out on the effect of time restricted feeding (a type of IF) on prediabetes. This is also known as a compressed eating window. The compressed eating window in this study was six hours long, and it was an early one—from morning to the mid afternoon. They ate breakfast, skipped dinner. What happened?

The IFers improved insulin sensitivity, lowered fasting insulin, increased pancreatic beta cell function, and reported feeling less hunger at night. They had better blood pressure and lower oxidative stress. What’s most remarkable is they achieved all this despite not losing much weight. In previous IF studies, most of which paid no attention to the time of feeding, the benefits to people with diabetes or prediabetes were almost always dependent on weight loss.

The time of the day the fasting occurs is quite relevant. Skipping breakfast may not have the same effect as skipping dinner. If you’re using IF to treat high blood sugar, prediabetes, or full-blown type 2 diabetes, make sure you track your results and are willing to try fasting during different parts of the day.


As far back as Hippocrates, fasting has been used to treat seizures. Ketogenic diets hit the seizure scene back in the early 1900s. Both approaches produce ketones, which appears to be the important factor. Other methods of increasing ketones, like taking supplementary ketones or eating medium chain triglycerides that convert to ketones, also reduce seizures. So, are both IF and low-carb/keto interchangeable when it comes to seizure reduction? A recent study suggests an answer:

Mice were separated into three diet groups. One group ate a ketogenic diet. Another group ate a regular lab diet. The final group combined the regular lab diet with intermittent fasting. After a couple weeks, researchers induced seizures by dosing the mice with a seizure-inducing agent or subjecting them to seizure-inducing electric shocks. Both the ketogenic diet group and the lab diet/IF group experienced relief from seizures in different ways. The keto group resisted the electric shock seizures but was vulnerable to the seizure agent. The lab/IF group resisted the seizure agent but fell prey to the electric shock.

If these results play out in humans, the best approach to combat seizures would be to do both: carb-restriction with intermittent fasting.

However, many seizure patients are children who still have a lot of growing to do. While ketogenic diets have been tested and shown to be safe and beneficial in these populations, regular fasting could have negative effects on growth and development. Best to stick with what’s known and safe. Adults who’ve got all their physical growing out of the way? Have at it.

Athletic Performance

Endurance athletes who aim to maximize their aerobic output and improve glycogen retention should do carb restriction and increase carbs for competitive events. This is known as “train low (carb), race high (carb),” and it’s a great way to teach your body to utilize its own stored body fat for energy for as long as possible during events and hold off on burning lots of glycogen until the last portion of the race. Done correctly, this method allows an athlete to have plenty of gas left in the tank when the rest of the pack is running on fumes.

Higher-intensity athletes who need/want to eat more carbs to replenish the glycogen stores they’re always emptying can’t do that on a carb-restricted diet—by definition. They may opt for a more carb-agnostic form of intermittent fasting. While intermittent fasting may not directly improve athleticism, it can certainly co-exist with it. One popular method of intermittent fasting is the Leangains approach:

  • Eat low-carb, higher-fat on rest days. You won’t be burning any glycogen, so there’s no need to eat carbs.
  • Eat higher-carb, lower-fat on training days. You’ll be burning through your glycogen, so it’s the perfect time to eat carbs because they’ll go directly to your muscles.
  • Fast for 16 hours a day with an 8 hour eating window. Try to put your training right around the time you break your fast.

Low-carbers can always modify their diets to include more carbs with training—sort of a cyclical ketogenic approach—but that ceases to be “strict low-carb.”

Cognitive Performance

One little-known effect of not eating is that it can improve our cognitive function thanks to ghrelin. Most people know ghrelin as a hunger hormone. It makes you want to eat. But ghrelin has other cool effects:

It’s neurotrophic, improving learning and memory.

It increases the dopamine response, potentially increasing the reward of goal achievement.

This makes sense when you think about the environment under which our ghrelin system evolved. Today, hunger means plodding over to the fridge for a snack. It means ordering a vat of chicken tikka masala from the comfort of your smartphone to be delivered to your door. Ghrelin doesn’t have to do much but make us hungry. For most of human history, hunger meant you had to creep through the wilderness, spear or bow or atlatl at the ready, taking care not to step on any twigs or make any sudden movements, following the tracks of your prey. You needed to be cunning, alert, on point, and prepared for anything and everything. Of course the hormone that makes us want to eat also makes us better at thinking and acting.

Low-carb doesn’t have the same effect. For one, you’re eating. The biggest ghrelin response will come from not eating. Two, low-carb meals are bigger reducers of ghrelin than high-carb meals. This probably explains by low-carb is such an effective way to reduce hunger. This doesn’t make carb restriction bad for cognitive function. Becoming a better fat-burner, generating ketone bodies, and not having to snack every two hours or else lose cognitive steam are all great ways to improve output and productivity. It just means you won’t see the same acute effects of a spike in ghrelin that you’d see fasting.

So, which is it?

If you want to lose body fat, control dysfunctional blood sugar responses, get more mental energy during the day, be better at burning fat and saving glycogen during workouts, and/or reduce treatment-resistant seizure activity, you’d be hard pressed to find a better pair of options than low-carb/keto and intermittent fasting.

Start with a baseline of carb restriction—whereby you restrict unnecessary carbohydrates, only consuming the ones you’ll use to fuel high-octane physical pursuits like CrossFit, lactation, and fetus construction—and try skipping a meal or two when you feel up to it. Maybe you never feel up to it. That’s fine.

Maybe you even go the opposite way. You can’t hack restricting carbohydrates, but you have no problem skipping meals on a regular basis.

The key thing is that you achieve extended periods of fat-burning and low insulin. Both IF and carb restriction achieve that.

That’s it for today, folks. Thanks for reading, take care, and leave your thoughts down below!

TAGS:  mental health

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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68 thoughts on “Fasting versus Carb Restriction: Which Works Better for What Scenarios”

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  1. I do IF on a daily basis and low carb on more of a rotating basis; i.e. anywhere from 80/20 (and sometimes even less) to 90/10. Some days are higher carb than others, but they are what most people would consider “healthy” carbs such as potatoes and other root veggies, now and then rice, beans, etc. This generally works well for me. It’s not a terribly straitlaced way to eat and doesn’t cause weight gain if I don’t overdo it.

  2. Is there an adaptation time frame to know about IF? Because each time I try it, I feel like I can’t do anything and I actually prefer to eat and move than do nothing. Maybe if I stick to it, I would improve.

    1. I was the SAME way, then I tried carb cycling and upping my fat and protein at breakfast and lunch (but no carbs other than non starchy vegetables and limited), sticking to low carb at dinner. This was tough (but tolerable) at first, but once I got through the carb flu I was great. Now, it’s much much easier for me to fast. My thought is my body needed to switch over from a carb burner to a fat burner (previously, I was eating very healthy, but a bit of complex carb at each meal). Now I feel amazing and as though I can do anything. Give it a shot and stick through the times when it feels crappy. Mark has a great article with some tips that I used – bone broth and lots of salt during the first few days helped with the headaches.

  3. Did I read that correctly? In a fat-adapted person, adding carbs before athletic pursuits will burn fat first and then sugar? I thought sugar always got burned first. What triggers the switch from fat to sugar? Digestion? Some level of depletion?

  4. @ Coccinelle, you are already doing IF overnight, unless you’re checking out the fridge contents at 2 a.m. That’s usually a 7 or 8 hour IF even if you eat breakfast as soon as you hop out of bed. Try gradually lengthening your already-existing IF by an hour every other week or so. Go slow and give your body time to adjust. If you normally eat at 7 a.m., try to stretch it to 8, and then 9, etc., until you can comfortably go until around 11 a.m. or noon before you even think about food.

    Don’t carve IF in granite. If you get hungry earlier than you want to, then go ahead and eat and don’t worry about it. If you have trouble with overnight fasts you should probably forget about longer ones, such as several days or more. They can be unproductive, unnecessary, and too hard on the system for many women.

  5. “What’s most remarkable is they achieved all this despite not losing much weight.” – is the problem. THIS is why people who can’t lose weight no matter what they do get so frustrated. And losing weight, as you started with, is the big goal of most people. We get tired of the keto crowd telling us we just aren’t doing it strict enough. Our metabolisms are just screwed up.

  6. I do a combination of both. I fast 16-18 hours a day and when I do eat it’s keto/ LCHF.

  7. I went hard core low carb years ago and that allowed me to become a regular faster, and I now eat more carbs. For me, that worked really well and I think it is the most logical approach. Once you become a fat burner, you’re always carrying your go-to snack. But it’s all about sustainability. I just find fasting is now easier and more interesting than low carb was. I don’t think I could have remained hard core low carb.

  8. Exactly. I’ve been doing almost zero carb with IF and can’t seem to lose the 10 lbs. I gained last year on a raw vegan diet. Did the raw vegan diet mess me up that bad?

  9. So what’s the answer for those of us who do keto and IF and even extended fasting and don’t lose weight? What if we binge eat after fasting? I lost 30 pounds after going keto, and then the holidays hit and I enjoyed some family and work functions and the non-keto foods there. And 6 months later I’m still back up 20 pounds from where I was. It’s frustrating.

    1. Perhaps check out Jason Fung Obesity Code – book and podcast which include discussion of your described frustration.

  10. If “carbs” are so bad, how do people eat only potatoes and lose large amounts of weight? Andrew Taylor ( and Penn Jillette (Penn & Teller) are two high-profile people, but there are lots more. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend an unbalanced diet of only one food, but the point is that potatoes are a natural food and are not inherently detrimental.

  11. Thanks for providing this helpful overview.

    Just a couple of observations: First, there’s more to cognitive improvement than ghrelin in fasting. In longer-term fasting (more than 72 hours), ghrelin levels actually go down, yet cognitive improvements continue to rise. Another benefit from this ghrelin drop, is that hunger goes away. I think that’s the main reason people can tolerate longer fasts — the absence of hunger.

    I’ve done two long-term fasts, the latest one was two-weeks long (with only water, tea & coffee), and experienced both phenomena, along with a slew of other health benefits.

  12. I have a question for advice if someone know. According to most sources I find the so called anabolic window persist at least 24 hours after resistance training. How can then an intermittent fasting with 8 hour eating as in lean gains, from what I understand, be optimal on training days. It seems to me that a bit of overeating on carbs and protein during all this time would be most beneficial?

    This is what I do as a strategy including eating some carb-food and 40g protein before sleep. Just to mention: It seems that some fellow humans manage good ketogains but for me paleo-carbs around training seems more efficient. Otherwise I do keto/lowcarb approximately a week a month.

  13. This was a great summary. Been Primal for 2 years with great results. Doing the 21 day challenge to reset and have been experimenting with IF the past couple weeks. I eat at 6:00 PM and then 12:00 Noon.

    No hunger with the window and I do 3 heavy gym sessions per week. The main issue I have is waking up early and being zoned in and not able to go back to dreamland. Interestingly enough, my clarity is lazer sharp and I can think through some complex problems. Beats countung sheep, but not my objective.

    Think I am going into Keto with less than 50 grams of carbs. I think this is a side effect of IF and Keto. Anyone else experienced this?

    Other than that, love the less full feeling and mental clarity of IF.

    Grok On everyone!

  14. Fast for a minimum of 48 hours to get into hard-core ketosis, then when your body starts burning calories from 100% of your own body fat (about the 3rd day), then you will suddenly feel MUCH better. If you concoct an electrolyte solution (based on the gov’t recommended RDAs of Na and K…about 2000mg Na PER LITER of water consumed, and about 4000mg K TOTAL regardless of volume consumed), then the “hunger pangs” and mental discomfort are minimized. Get a “Keto-Mojo” glucose/ketone meter and you can easily see what’s happening as far as ketone (BHB) levels and blood glucose levels, which is VERY motivating as the weight comes off. BTW, I’m primarily talking about weight loss here…if you have a lot of fat to lose, you can fast for a long time…the record is something like 382 days! Once you adopt a “fasting lifestyle,” you feel SO much more in control…read Dr Jason Fung MD’s “The Complete Guide to Fasting” for guidance. I’m speaking here based on my own experience with many multiple-day fasts (2, 3, 4, 5, and 7-dayers) over the course of 4 months – I lost 45 pounds and my husband lost 70 over that time. We’re keeping it off by now mostly by eating low-carb/keto in a 18hr fast/6-hr eating window. The nice thing is that even if you “fall of the wagon” from time to time, you can easily and quickly get going again by doing a 2-day fast once again – I manipulate my food now, it doesn’t manipulate me.

    1. This was so helpful Rhonda – thank you! Are you on social media anywhere? I appreciate hearing about the electrolytes as info seems sparse on that. I loved the obesity code – it’s been a life changer for me!

  15. I am often comfortable not eating/fasting at dinner time. I don’t miss the meal but my family really gives me a hard time about it. That being said, now I have started a lower carb/keto diet and still find myself comfortable with the fasting but seem to be staying at the same weight. My sister and I have both learned that “carbs” are not our friends but we both find it extremely difficult to lose weight. I am finding it a bit frustrating but will keep with it.

  16. I typically am doing the IF eating window in the morning to early afternoon. With adrenal and other issues I find my body can handle this much better right now. Do you know if you can still enter autophagy when the window is early and not later. I’ve heard various opinions.
    Thanks Mark
    Kevin May

  17. You know, this kind of eating becomes a little addicting. When you are losing weight and feeling strong and not feeling any hunger….its kind of a high isn’t it? And, what if you need to eat more?? I guess what I am saying…for older women (calcium needs) and becoming too lean for all age groups, there is a slippery slope to situations like osteoporosis/anorexia or not meeting nutritional needs. This could be a fun discussion to have, don’t you agree?

    (I have been tracking my macros and trying to eat enough calories and calcium etc…. and the right kind of calories….important for people to know that unless you do things right….you can go overboard.)

    1. I know this is an old comment but you really hit the nail on the head with a perspective that no one talks about regarding all the fasting and weight loss, etc.. that it in and of itself can become addicting!

      I personally fell into a hole of being addicted to losing weight (and wow, it was SO easy through fasting, right…) and developed anorexia.

      There very much is ‘too much’ of a good thing.

  18. Ironically I just read the early time restricted feeding article from earlier today! Fascinating stuff that supports IF/early time restricted feeding. In the article they fed the participants, who were men with pre-diabetes, absolute JUNK–bagels, pasta, “tropical fruit cups”, etc and despite the crappy food their cardiometabolic markers significantly improved. Who knows how much better the results would be if they followed a paleo/primal approach??

    For my own n=1, I’ve tried low-carb, very low-carb/keto and moderate carb as well as different lengths of fasting. I tend to put my sympathetic nervous system into overdrive if I fast for too long on a regular basis, such as 16+ hours and this is made worse if I am very low carb (<50 g/day).

    I am 5'10" and 162 lbs and around 10% bodyfat–for the past few months I've shortened my fasting to 12-14 hours most days with an occasional 16-20 hour fast about once a week (I try to keep it random) and I have upped my carbs to 150-220 grams/day (depending on my workouts) in which usually about 50 grams is from fiber. My carb sources are all plant-based from veggies, fruits, tubers and occasional white rice and occasional beans. I feel great on this–sleeping better, less cranky, more energy, strong sex drive. When winter comes and I'm not as generally active (I live in the midwest) I may cut back some on the carbs and increase fat and/or protein.

    As with anything health related, it should all be individualized depending on our situations–stress level, genetics, hormones, environments. There is definitely not a "one-size fits all" and it often takes some trial and error as part of the n=1 experiment.

  19. Thanks Rhonda, you have given me some bed time reading, which I seem to have available!

    I only have a few pounds to drop at this stage, about 4-5. Just need to better understand and adapt my body’s reaction when I drop below 50 grams.

    Really appreciate your feedback.

  20. Love this post because it covers so much. But at the end of the day it all comes down to listening to your body and figuring out what works for you. I wish I could IF but it just doesn’t seem sustainable with my schedule. However there are days when my eating windows are somewhat compressed. Carb restriction works great for me…more energy and better focus. Just ate chicken livers with bacon and roasted brussels sprouts and that will keep me going for hours.

  21. Question: EVOO, Ghee and grass-fed butter–which to use when and for what?

  22. Stephan,

    If you’ve been “…Primal for 2 years with great results,” then why the need for the 21 Day Challenge?


  23. Oops, my mistake. My comment was meant for Spider and not Stephan. My apologies.

  24. Regarding that study, they had to be finished eating dinner before 3pm.

    Weight loss was purposely prevented (with additional calories) “… to test whether intermittent fasting has benefits in humans in the absence of weight loss.”

  25. Hey Walt. Using the 21 Day Challenge to move into IF and experiment with Keto state a bit. Also slipped a bit over the last month so the need for more focus and journal of activities and food is great timing. The learning never stops with this it seems. Also learning our bodies all react somewhat different and one size not for all.

    Continued Success on your journey!


  26. Doing great, doing it all. Granted it’s only been 6 weeks, but I’ve dropped 11 pounds. Coffee with Collagen Peptides & cream in the morning, big-ass salad or plant based protein shake around 2pm, usually not hungry the rest of the day… but if I am, it’s meat and a side veggie for dinner prior to 8pm (6-8 hour window). Some days a bone broth fast. I feel great; don’t feel my arthritis, energy is way up (not fatigued after work anymore), and my sleep is improving.

  27. After years of yo-yo dieting I ended up 100 lbs. overweight and nearly 40% fat. It turns out that my problem was strong insulin resistance. It didn’t matter what I ate or how little I ate, eating anything kept me from losing. I followed a strict ketogenic diet (carbs=10% of intake) for nearly a year and I didn’t lose an ounce. Fasting is the only thing that works for me. After a few weeks of extended fasting I’ve lost 42 pounds and I feel great. Fasting has allowed me to break through my insulin resistance, lower sugar and insulin levels, and enjoy all the other hormonal benefits of extended fasting. When I get to my goal weight I’ll use keto and IF to maintain it. Fasting works!

  28. Pretty much the same, here. I do a 16-hour fast Mon-Fri with two meals, and three meals on the weekends. I tend to up the carbs some with potatoes, rice, beans when I’m more active and I’m able to maintain a stable weight. Been doing this about three years now.

  29. Great post! At the risk of sounding dogmatic and falling for the naturalistic fallacy, I have to favor IF.

    Food, especially “Fat Bombs” regularly spaced throughout the day, are evolutionarily novel. Before Art De Vany shut down his Facebook account, he spoke more eloquently and succinct on the matter but suffice it to say that the human animal thrives on whole foods and variability.

    Robust organisms NEED the correct dosage of hardship to become more robust and frequent feeding is akin to the American Workweek and Chronic Cardio. We need to stress our muscles and brains in a fasted, limited resource state to preserve and grow what is absolutely necessary and discard the literal fat and damaged cells (read: autophagy).

    Personally, I follow Mark’s WHEN protocol and make sure to lift heavy and sprint in a fasted state. Protein and veggies are king, whole foods are best, carbs are opportunistic (I don’t buy them). Thank you for your perspective as always, Mark!

  30. I went Primal/Paleo back in March of 2012. I lost the 15 pounds I wanted to lose. In 2015, 7 pounds crept on, and for the life of me, I can’t lose ‘em! April of this year, I went Keto. I track my macros, and do my best to keep my carbs to 20 grams per day, tho I don’t beat myself up if I have 24. I haven’t lost an ounce! I’m going to have to do the IF thing, I’m sure. As it is, my breakfast is bone broth (1 1/2 cups) and a mug of Coffee with Brain Octane in it. Lunch is yer basic “Big Ass Salad”. Dinner is good, too, and within Keto guidelines. I try to keep my caloric intake to ~1600 calories/day.

    To add to the mess, I have Multiple Sclerosis, so stuff like Cross Fit is outta the picture. I can manage some stationary cycling, and some Pilates, with lighter modifications. Any advice?

  31. At a recent talk by a Jeff Volek he stated that bx shows liver storage of glycogen returns to normal in a ketogenic athlete the same as a high carb athlete.

  32. I’ve seen a few mentions online of people who reversed their diabetes with a whole food plant based diet. I can see how it would help depending on what the previous diet was, but I’m having trouble seeing how it would reverse it unless it was also low carb. I think it would be interesting, if there are studies supporting it, to compare it side by side with the studies using low carb/keto for diabetes.

  33. Went From keto to zerocarb, I stopped fasting and counting macros/calories. I eat when hungry until I’m full which happens to be close to a typical 16/8 fasting window but I’m not rigid with it. I drink water to stave off a craving. Eat a few jolly ranchers or a spoonful of honey before I do any high intensity workouts. Lifting is always done fasted and no sugar required. It’s very simple and haven’t gained any unwanted bodyfat since I ripped on keto. I almost wish I could try the weight loss experiment again with zero carb just to see the difference if there is one.
    Keto sometimes makes you like a scientist. Zerocarb is a true caveman’s existence.

  34. Months of Keto. Scads of energy and no more brain fog (I mean zero). I am currently around 8 lbs over where I need to be and nothing moves on the scales for weeks and weeks. I’ve adjusted calories, macros (always at under 20 on carbs), exercise. I have lovely definition in arms but still this stupid belly. And, i am freaking HUNGRY all of the time. IF does not affect my scale.

    Will I stop Keto? No, because I have never felt better. I just would like to be leaner.

  35. What about if it’s for health issues, like cancer? It seems all I ever hear about is weight loss and Keto??

  36. I am a newbie to keto. So far it’s amazing. I tried something new, enhanced keto diet that I heard from a friend of mine which made me lose almost 9 pounds in 8 days.

    This is what I did for two weeks, before I started standard keto diet.


    1. Consume/drink extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil 70 grams perday, I literally drank 3 25g cups three times a day. Sometimes with black coffee.

    2. Drink up to 4 liters of water with 3 lemons. Shouldn’t add sugar or salt, or honey.

    3. Multi vitamin tablet.

    Food to eat
    Any meat up to 250gms per day, eggs upto 6, all Veggies except potatos, butter, cheese, greens. Limited 10 soaked almonds per day, 10 pistachio, 10 walnuts as snack.

    Replaced salt with sea salt.

    Food to avoid completely during the diet.

    Lentils, beens whatsoever
    No milk products
    No sugar whatsoever
    No white or brown rice, bread
    No fruits


    Drinking coconut oil was uncomfortable first two days, even caused stomach upset until I got used. Body goes into keto mode in couple days and starts burning the fat reserves from body.

    Idea is this, keep insulin index low by taking fat and proteen, that causes our body fat to burn as needed for energy I guess. I am not a doctor, this diet worked for me. In fact this diet for three months reversed type2 diabetes

    My routine.

    8 am. 1 liter water with 1 lemon
    830 am 25g coconut oil
    10am 3 eggs with some veggies.

    1pm. 1 liter water with 1 lemon
    130pm 25g coconut oil.

    2pm. Veggie soup or chicken soup, just soup from boiling veggies, no pulp or veggies. Garnish as you like.

    4pm. 1 liter water with lemon.
    430 coconut oil 25mg

    7pm upto 250mg meat and veggies.

    Nothing after 7pm.
    Water before going to bed.

    This takes lot of attention needs patience. But worth, check with your dietitian.

    Upon completing diet after 2 weeks, followed standard keto, but continuing 1 lemon per day, and a multi vitamin tablet. Any one can do this diet for 2 weeks to 3 months, of course after consulting dietien or Dr.

  37. @Susannah
    Keto will resolve issues like type2 diabetes, thyroid, blood pressure, cholesterol.

    We need to stop using GMO products, stop using veggietable oil, only use virgin olive oil, no soda, no sugar. You will be cancer free.

    You really don’t need carbs from rice, bread, pasta etc, you are getting enough carb from veggietables. I am still learning, it’s good to know, how our body functions.

  38. What are your thoughts on exogenous ketones? My dad has MS and dementia and seizures way too often. Should we try adding these?

  39. @walter sobchak,

    The reply function doesn’t seem to be working but re:rice diets, etc….There has been much discussion about this. For example, check out Denise Minger’s writing on the rice diet and search hyperlipid on “carbosis”. Just because something appears to work for one variable for some people doesn’t mean it’s optimal, but if it works for you, great.

  40. The Reply buttons aren’t working so I’m posting this as an original comment:
    Darren Starks wrote: “I do a combination of both. I fast 16-18 hours a day and when I do eat it’s keto/ LCHF”
    Will you tell us what results you have experienced?

  41. This has really helped to reinforce what I was planning to do to help lower my blood sugar and lose fat. I was planning to combine both. After reading this it has given me the motivation to put it into practice. I have done the research on both IF and Ketogenic eating.

  42. Very well written article. You described some major differences between fasting and following low carb diets. Thanks for sharing this. It really helps many masses.

  43. Before you accept the results of the small study on early time restricted eating, read the menu of foods that were eaten, It included PROCESSED REFINED FLOUR FOODS. BAGEL, OATMEAL, WAFFLES WITH MAPLE SYRUP, HONEY NUT CHEERIOS, BLUEBERRY MUFFIN, GRAPE JUICE, BREAD, HAMBURGER BUNS, FAT FEE ITALIAN DRESSING, SPAGHETTI, PASTA, DINNER ROLL. Remarkable that despite these foods insulin sensitivity improved, one wonders what the results would have been without the refined carbs.

  44. As others have pointed out, the ‘reply’ function isn’t working for some reason, but I wanted to clear up something. I think it was Spider or someone else who said they were going to start doing keto with <50g carbs, to see if it would help. It's my understanding that a Ketogenic diet must be <20g carbs per day. I just didn't want a newbie coming along and getting confused when they start reading more and more about keto.
    Thanks for the article, Mark, and thanks to all the great commenters. I always learn a little something new here.

  45. Autophagy, the cellular recycling of damaged cells etc…. is suppose to happen only with starvation.

    If you are keto adapted, and so are never starving, how can you get this wonderful process?

  46. My husband is 5’10”, 140lbs. super thin, little apparent muscle. He can expend heavy lifting working around the house and garage. He would like to gain weight. I keep telling him to give up the exercise bands (been doing the same ex. for years!) and lift some heavier dumbbells to build muscle. Maybe if he reads it here he will believe me. He has IBS issues so eats a limited diet of chicken, turkey, cooked vegies and a high fat smoothie in the morning. Then snacks on rice tortillas with butter, macademia nuts.

  47. “They ate breakfast, skipped dinner.”

    “Skipping breakfast may not have the same effect as skipping dinner.”

    Well I always thought skipping breakfast was a silly idea to begin with, while skipping dinner made a lot of sense.

  48. first of all thanks for this amazing post, I’ve been doing almost zero carb with IF and can’t seem to lose the 10 lbs

  49. I always think better when fasted. After eating, my motivation and interest towards intellectual effort drops significantly and I am much more easily distracted. Now I know why!

    Mark, what is your take on the statements made by the authors of the “Mastering Diabetes
    The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes” book ?

    They advocate for a high carb, low fat, low protein approach to treating the mentioned disorders.

  50. It contains such useful information. I loved it. Keep sharing with the right one, I have also created a website kindly go there and leave a comment so that i can make some changes.  


  51. I believe fasting works well because if you have a set time for eating then it will help reduce how much people snack. I think snacking might be one of the worst things you can do if your really serious about losing weight. I don’t people have to drop there carbs and enter keto to lose weight. Honestly I think keto is one of the worst ways to lose weight because nobody will stick to a diet they hate and most people wouldn’t enjoy keto. Instead id recommend staying in a calorie deficit and introducing fasting so that way your still in a caloric deficit and you can still enjoy your diet. I’m not saying keto isn’t for everyone, but it definitely isn’t for me.

  52. Very Nice Information!

    Though I feel keeping a balance between Fasting and Carb Restriction will definitely works faster than choosing only one.

    What you think?

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