Dr. Joseph Mercola explains the profound health benefits when you combine a ketogenic diet and well-planned fasting.
Dr. Mercola: So Keto fasting which is a partial fast and essentially you can do it because it’s so easy to do, you can do it twice a week which means you can do it more than a hundred times a year and get all magnificent benefits I described earlier and a hundred times a year rather than doing it there you know in five, ten, fifteen times a year. So collectively you’re just radically improving the metabolic benefits by this type of intervention strategy and in addition, when you do only a partial fast which is essentially a two day that’s it’s a little bit less than a two day fast instead of a five day fast or a fasting-mimicking diet, you are still in an up and you’re just pretty beaten up by the fifth day and it’s really hard to get into the scoop of things because another benefit, on the day you are fasting your recovery rate or recovery index goes through the roof, typically goes up ten or twenty points which means that the next day after you’ve done your fast you are just energized you’re ready to kill it and you can do an unbelievable workout and really challenge your body and activate these switches to turn on muscle growth something that we call an anabolism which you don’t want to do when you’re fasting and the cool thing is that when you are fasting your growth hormone goes up by 300%. Now you might say, well growth hormone increases Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF–1), doesn’t that suppress autophagy? Normally it does but when you’re fasting the receptors in the liver become relatively resistant so your growth hormone can be high but your IGF–1 still low. So what does that mean when you have high growth hormone?
It means when you workout you have high growth hormone, my gosh it’s like taking steroid shots so you get all this benefit. So it gives you the opportunity to really add an exercise program on top of the autophagy because you want to exercise when you’re fasting and then right after your fasting you feast. You have loads of branched-chain amino acids, loads of healthy carbohydrates and it’s great!!
Dr. Gundry: So in other words this is not all about deprivation?
Dr. Mercola: Oh heck, no and the beautiful thing about it is, the other side benefit in addition to the mental clarity is that the hunger disappears. If you’re eating one meal right so and then basically you eat your next meal and you’re off to the races so you don’t even think about it once you had that restricted window of six to eight hours, it becomes as easy as can be.
Dr. Gundry: You know it’s interesting, my research in Yale was on evolutionary human biology and one of the interesting things is that actually when you are fasting when you’re literally starving your performance actually increases and the reason evolutionary wise, if we were starving we had to catch that animal and if we didn’t catch that animal you know that was curtains. Yeah, that was it and so it’s fascinating that you know we have a built-in evolutionary advantage to perform well while fasting. It makes incredible sense just to bring it down to what people can understand and then of course when we caught that animal or we found the fruit tree or the honey tree you know we didn’t sit there “Oh let me eat only a little bit” Really!
Dr. Mercola: Yeah so yeah that’s it exactly you know and it gives you this opportunity for a really significant muscle game because when you get to be our age or maybe even older, you know Sarcopenia or the loss of muscle fiber becomes a real serious issue and that’s why the recommendations for protein intake actually increase as you get older just to compensate for this loss of muscle mass and so you have to be really diligent and focused and concentrated on strategies that can help prevent that from being a real issue for you.
Dr. Gundry: Okay, let’s take the average American. What are the risks associated with taking up intermittent fasting, what if someone has insulin resistance, what if they don’t have metabolic flexibility?
Dr. Mercola: Well use the oral glucose challenge test and you measure sequential insulin levels afterward and eighty percent of the population is insulin resistant, it’s almost everyone. Yeah, so it’s the rare person who doesn’t have a problem. So they are metabolically inflexible, insulin resistant, and essentially all of those people are not activating autophagy. You cannot activate autophagy when your insulin resistant, it’s just like you can’t, it just doesn’t work metabolically. So the people who can’t, virtually from my perspective you might have a little wider intermittent fasting window but I mean you could potentially make a cause for it in pregnant women or certainly people with eating disorders but probably if you’re careful you can get away with it. If you’re underweight, if you have an eating disorder or you’re pregnant or breastfeeding fasting is probably not a good idea especially breastfeeding because that’s an anabolic muscle building tissue building state and the last thing you want to do is impair that by fasting.
Dr. Gundry: Right what about folks who are going to get the Atkins flu or the low-carb flu or the keto flu any tricks to get them through that?
Dr. Mercola: Well that keto flu so it’s called, is typically a result of sodium depletion or electrolyte depletion and it can easily be compensated for with salt and it’s not too much of an issue because in the keto fast we can start to go into how I do it. I recommend it is that I don’t recommend anyone do it until you are first metabolically flexible and what does that mean? It means that you can restrict your eating window to six or eight hours. The only time you’re eating, no butter in your coffee or anything outside that window, only calories you have are in that six eight hour window. You can do that for 1 month straight and most everyone will be metabolically flexible by the end of that period but there are some who may not if they’re really seriously metabolically damaged or 200- 300 pounds overweight. Then you’re gonna need you know, longer period but most people that’s all you need and how do you know you’ll know because you’re making ketones and it’s real easy to measure. You can do them in your breath and your urine, blood. The best one is the blood test I like is the keto mojo because it’s the least expensive. It’s only a dollar strip instead of $4 a strip so that’s how you can objectively test it and you don’t really need to go there unless you’re massively overweight because most likely you’re gonna be metabolically flexible and then you could participate so then I think there’s virtually no contradictions other than the ones I previously listed.