What is fat fasting and when should you do it?

Fat fasting is a great tool to help you get started with regular fasting and to regain control of your appetite after eating a lot of carbohydrates.  We started using fat fasting I the IDM Program several years ago when I saw a patient who was struggling to get started with fasting.  He was a middle-aged male patient, who worked nightshifts at a factory that was full of donuts and potato chips.  We had asked him to fast for seven days because he was starting to develop a lot of complications related to his type 2 diabetes.  He was also on over 200 units of insulin per day and his blood sugars were out of control.

After a few failed attempts at starting a seven day fast, the patient came into my office and broke down in tears.  He was losing his eyesight very rapidly and said he was so hungry all the time that he couldn’t fast for more than two-hours while he was awake.  He felt like our program was his last hope and he was failing.   I had never worked with a patient who struggled so much with both the fasting and the low-carb, healthy-fat diet.

It was clear to me that he couldn’t do both and it would be easier for him not to eat than to eat so differently, and that he was a severe carbohydrate addict.  If I was going to help him, I needed to get him to fast immediately.   But how the heck was I going to do this?  I thought of bacon.  Bacon and eggs.  The beloved and timeless combination.  Without putting too much thought into it, I asked him if he would be willing to eat only bacon and eggs for the next two weeks.  He looked at me like I was from Mars because I was telling him to eat all that crazy cholesterol he’s been told to stay away from his whole life.  He asked if he should anything else to balance it out, and I told him to go wild eating avocados and olives too.  He quickly went from crying to bursting out into laughter.  Here he was being told to eat as much bacon, eggs, olives and avocados as he wanted.  What kind of dietary advice was this?  Since he loved those foods, and I was only asking him to do it for two weeks, he agreed.

What happened when I saw him two weeks later?  He was on day four of a fast and was feeling great and had reduced his insulin by over 50%.  He looked like a new man and was full of hope for the first time in a long time.  He said that he ate quite a lot and at all hours of the day when he first started the challenge, but by day three he barely felt hungry at all.  He naturally started eating less and less until the point where he didn’t want to eat at all any more, and then he started fasting.

That was the appointment where the fat fast was born!

 

When to use a fat fast?

A fat fast can be a useful tool to get started with fasting or when you want to get back on track. The idea is to eat lots of fatty foods until sated for a few days before you start fasting. Doing so will help your body reach fat burning mode faster and without as many negative side effects, such as headaches and hunger pangs.

  • Coming off a period of eating a diet high in carbohydrates
  • Extreme hunger or carbohydrate cravings
  • Periods of stress when fasting seems impossible

 

How to Fat Fast

  1. Eat when hungry, until full as often as necessary
  2. No dairy or nuts during a fat fast
  3. You may use up to 3 tbsp of heavy cream for your tea or coffee

 

Foods:

  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Olive oil, coconut oil, MCT oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil
  • Butter
  • Ghee
  • Mayo (healthy oil base)
  • Avocado
  • Olives
  • Spices are allowed
  • Leafy greens cooked in or covered in fat

 

You can also consume these fluids at any point during a fat fast:

  • Bone broth
  • Tea/coffee

 

Why it works?

There are two reasons why the fat fast works so well: it’s an extreme version of a ketogenic diet and the monotony of the limited foods suppresses your appetite.  Most of the foods listed above are extremely fatty, and fat is extremely satiating.  We eat less when we eat fatty foods.

Have you ever fallen in love with a song but heard it so many times that you no longer wanted to listen to it?  This is what happens when you eat the same foods over and over in repetition.  Even in my past life as a carbohydrate junkie I ate so much pizza over a two-week period that I didn’t want to eat it for months afterwards.  This is another reason why we want you to stick to a limited number of foods.

You may find that you’re eating nonstop during the first few days, which is okay.  Listen to your body and use the fat to fight your desire to eat and your carbohydrate cravings.  Over time you will find that it takes less to satiate you, and you will start fasting naturally.

 

Happy Fat Fasting Everyone!

 

Megan Ramos

2018-10-11T10:57:15+00:0073 Comments

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Mahesh
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Mahesh

Love this article

Yvette
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Yvette

Thanks for the great article!

Michael
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Michael

Congratulations on your recent publication. It’s a wonderful step which I hope leads to the acceptance of larger studies.

Mendy Ford
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Mendy Ford

I am having a hard time with water fasting. Am trying the Bulletproof Rapid Fat Loss Protocol. Plain butter is tough to eat so have tweaked the program so for every 2T od grassfed butter I am melting one square of 90% Lindt chocolate in it. Had this while my 4 year old had a cheeseburger. So satisfying. Just hope small amount of chocolate won’t hinder results. Any thoughts?

Julesc
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Julesc

I am doing OMAD already and have thought about moving the goal post and getting into 3-5 day fasts.
I eat a ketogenic diet now, would this be a good way to move towards those longer fasts? What about non-reactive sweeteners (like Erythritol) in coffee and tea during fasts?

Yvie
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Yvie

For me even the taste of ‘sweetness’ increases my blood Insulin levels even if it’s non caloric Erythritol. Not worth it for me, high blood Insulin means I would loose my resolve completely. Insulin = hunger for me.
If it works for you that’s wonderful…..

divediva2.0
Member
divediva2.0

Fat Fasting today and yesterday. Taking care of Thanksgiving shenanigans!

Melody
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Melody

Can I have a green powder like Amazing Grass on a fat fast?

Cathy
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Cathy

This is powdered stuff for sale that makes someone else money and I would like you to reconsider using the original food the way nature made it:)

glib
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glib

nice post Megan. I get grass fed back fat that I render into lard or tallow, and I put it in my daily bone broth. The two of them certainly qualify.

kyklop
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kyklop

Glib, can you provide recipe for you bone broth?

glib
Guest
glib

I use the remnant of my marrow bones, after the marrow has been eaten, in which case i simmer them two days. Sometimes I add vegetables in the last few hours sometimes not. I freeze it. When ready to consume, I warm it and mix in tallow (and gelatin if it is not thick enough). Alternatively, I use the carcass of my roast chickens.

Kathy
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Kathy

Where do you find grass fed back fat?

Amanda Grimes
Guest

May I ask why the limit on heavy cream? Because the carbs add up? Drinking a cup of heavy cream and coffee is very satiating for me.

Nina
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Nina

Thank you, Megan. Much needed information!

greena
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greena

can we do a fat fast when the liver is fatty and have no gallbladder??

Nancy J Williams
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Nancy J Williams

Berberine.and ox bile may help.

Nienke Hendriks
Guest

Thank you so much for sharing this! This will be so helpful for people struggling to switch to a keto diet!

Mat
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Mat

why no nuts?

Alejandro Herrnsdorf
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Alejandro Herrnsdorf

Carbs

Sally
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Sally

You recommend No dairy ( or nuts) but don’t say why also you then recommend up to 3 tbs heavy cream in tea or coffee???????

Maria Lourdes Delda
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Maria Lourdes Delda

i am confused by this also and seek more clarification!!

Alejandro Herrnsdorf
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Alejandro Herrnsdorf

Carbs in nuts. And in milk. Just follow it. You’ll be fine.

Deborah Rawlings
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Deborah Rawlings

Is this regimen appropriate for a weight loss stall? Been doing 20:4 OMAD (with a few 18:6 thrown in) and have been stalled for weeks. I am currently mid way into a 72 hour fast. (Ive done a few 48 and one 56) A week ago I completed 4 days of a “beef and butter fast” which promised to break the stall and actually gained 2 pounds while eating 1 cup of ground beef and butter OMAD! I’ve been doing OMAD with Keto since April 27. I am following a macro calculator and have lost 25 pounds. I’m 64 years… Read more »

Adriana
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Adriana

Doing a 2 day Fat Fast helped me break a stall.

juliet
Guest

Thank you….a very interesting approach which I am sharing with friends and family. Megan would it be possible to just clarify the dairy issue please as it states no dairy and then lists cream butter and ghee so is it no dairy except these?
Many thanks

Antoinette
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Antoinette

I would like clarification as well, is that 3 Tablespoons per cup, or per day? Thanks!

Shelley
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Shelley

Just curious why “No dairy or nuts during a fat fast.” First, what is wrong with full-fat dairy, such as cheese with zero to one carb per ounce? How is that functionally different from allowing heavy cream in coffee, butter, etc.? Secondly, regarding nuts: macadamias and pecans are high in fat and fiber while being low in carbs per ounce. Avocados are also high in fat and fiber, but much higher in carbs per serving, relative to nuts: you would have to eat about a cup of avocado to get the same amount of fat as in 1 ounce of… Read more »

Natasha
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Natasha

Is there anything that can substitute the eggs? I’m sensitive to them and have to use a salbutamol inhaler if I eat them!

Nancy J Williams
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Nancy J Williams

I am sensitive to the whites or the casein (protein) but not the yolks (fat) of the egg. Have you tried eating these parts separately to see if you might be allergic to one or the other but not both?

Soosie
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Soosie

Avocado

Kathy Peters
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Kathy Peters

When satiated, Do you then fast on water and electrolytes only? If so, for how long?

m.anderson1228
Member
m.anderson1228

Hi! Are there particular types of olives recommended? Thanks!

Soosie
Guest
Soosie

Black olives

Gage Hastings
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Gage Hastings

Dr. Fung, have you looked into the connection between high ferritin levels and insulin resistance? Fasting and keto diets seem to be effective but there may be another contributing cause to obesity that is being overlooked, high iron levels due to the fortification of foods in the US with ferrous sulfate. A frequent claim made by people who have spent a few months in Europe is that they lose up to 20 pounds without dieting or feeling hungry. Europeans also gain weight when they spend time in the US. Europe does not mandate that all grain products be fortified with… Read more »

juliet
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juliet

Hello please could you explain if dairy is allowed on a fat fast? Text says no dairy but then says cream allowed in coffee and lifts butter and ghee in the allowed Foods so I’m confused.
Many thanks

Elon Swift
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Elon Swift

Nice content :). There is something I’d like to have your opinion about. Recently there is a so popular pdf around on internet. It promises to get rid of diseased cells and overweight in 23 days. A lot of people buying it, can you take a look, is it worth to buy? https://bit.ly/2zuShCY Thanks for your help.

Sandra
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Sandra

how many days last the Fat Fasting?

Jo Tampas
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Jo Tampas

Thank you, Megan. I’ve fallen off the wagon and I can’t get up! I’ve just been through a very stressful time but the move is over. This sounds like the perfect way to get started again and see a change quickly. And eggs cooked in coconut oil are just yummy.

gpisabela
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gpisabela

Just what I needed right now!

Sunshine
Guest
Sunshine

Love this article, maybe this Fat Fast will help me cut out the carbs.
I could eat bacon, eggs, Avacodas, olives all the time. Having a very difficult time cutting out the carbs..
I’m definitely a carb-addict!!

Francine
Guest
Francine

Wow! That was an Awesome Blog, but What if you don’t eat Pork. What other meats can you eat during a Fat Fast? … Chicken, Beef?

Soosie
Guest
Soosie

Have you tried turkey bacon?

Allison Houston
Guest
Allison Houston

Is there a vegetarian version of the fat fast?

Soosie
Guest
Soosie

Avocados and eggs and olives

Karen
Guest
Karen

Thanks, Megan. Very helpful! Can you say a bit more about why “no nuts”? I make a pecan loaf that is just ground pecans and eggs. It’s 92% fat. Pecans are very fatty, very much like macadamia and brazil nuts. Is there something I don’t know about nuts? Thanks again!

Susan
Guest
Susan

Karen, will you share your pecan loaf recipe?

Brenda Zorn
Editor
Brenda Zorn

Nuts have a significant amount of carbohydrate, therefore avoided on a fat fast

Jacci Barrow
Guest
Jacci Barrow

Is that a total of 3Tbsp cream per day…what if I drink coffee through out the day….to be honest I am a cream in my coffee junkie! 🙂

A. Alexei G.
Guest
A. Alexei G.

Based on The Complete Guide to Fasting, they may have meant 3 spoons per day: 1 Tbsp per coffee, up to 3 times a day.

(If fasting, you can have this instead of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, if you need that to help you keep fasting. Otherwise just drink plain black coffee or plain green/black teas if you can.)

Kas
Guest
Kas

Can I have pawpaw leaf juice a tablespoon or so while fasting will it break my fast

Soosie
Guest
Soosie

Why? Why not just stick to the fasting protocol as set out by the experts?

A. Alexei G.
Guest
A. Alexei G.

Hey Gang, for everybody asking questions, this is just Drs Ramos and Fung’s list of chosen foods. A fat fast would work nearly as well with other foods, but there is a reason for each of these choices. Nuts are NOT on the list most likely because they are rewarding and snackably delicious morsels of YUM. Most obese people would nibble on nuts all day, which defeats the purpose of fasting! Cheese and Heavy Cream would normally be just fine, except that the DRs * generally do not like added fat bombs. * And they want you to eat real… Read more »

Paul
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Paul

Thank you for the clarification! There seems to be so many questions here but no answers from anyone.

Soosie
Guest
Soosie

I like your comments but there is no evidence to suggest people need fibre.

Paul
Guest
Paul

Full fat organic cream?

Soosie
Guest
Soosie

Yep!

Janet Kaye Price
Guest
Janet Kaye Price

Maybe I’m not able to FAST longer than 24 hrs because I still haven’t stoped eating carbs. (50-80) range.
I will be trying to limit more in the coming year. No desserts or sweetened drinks, no dairy, except cheese, bread is the hardest for me to eliminate from my eating plan.
I’ve given up chips and all snack foods, I don’t snack at all anymore.
Thanks for all of you help and Dr. Fung’s.

Nancy J Williams
Guest
Nancy J Williams

20 grams of carbs a day should be your ultimate goal. And any bread certainly will knock you out of ketosis! It seems that you made great strides in your eating choices and habits, but you need to stop straddling the fence and totally commit to the keto diet along with fasting. “The time is now!” says Dr. Seuss.

Soosie
Guest
Soosie

Why are you still eating bread? Why are you doing this at all if you’re not consuming fewer than 20g carbs? Start with Keto first, then you’ll find it easier to transition into fasting.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

How long should you fat fast for?

Ken Williams
Guest
Ken Williams

OMG this makes so much sense, I tried doing the egg fast diet for 5 days. I never could get near the recommended # of eggs per day for calorie maintenance. I’d always get full halfway thru. I was never hungry and by day 4 I’d lost all desire to eat.

Kelly
Guest
Kelly

Why no nuts on a fat fast?

Angela Rooney
Guest
Angela Rooney

Wow, nice and doable too☺

Shelley Wilson
Guest
Shelley Wilson

Australians can cheat. Our tablespoons (20mls) are a whole teaspoon bigger than American(15ml), or are Canadian tablespoons 20 ml also?

Amanda
Guest
Amanda

Does it always have to be heavy cream in coffee? I don’t tolerate cream or dairy well. Can you sub any other non dairy substitutes in?

Lauren
Guest
Lauren

Butter works well in coffee too, if you can tolerate it.

Mariana
Guest
Mariana

Love it!!! I’m all ready doing it naturally before knowing it and I love it. Thanks

Erica Dibden
Guest
Erica Dibden

I love our work Dr Fung,
One question, why can you have cream and butter when the diet is no dairy??
Thanks

denise mccleese
Guest
denise mccleese

Wow!!! My answer

Bryan
Guest
Bryan

Megan you and Jason are literally changing the world Steve Jobs style. So excited for you! I am a surgeon if I could do what you guys are doing I would!

Carol
Guest
Carol

Dr. Fung, I have read your books and studied your videos. I have been pre-diabetic for years. The only medication that I am on is for my thyroid. I have been IF for the past year, eating one low carb/KETO meal per day. I still have high morning blood sugar levels (120) but my A1C is coming down. It dropped this year from 5.8 to 5.7. I have only lost 25 lbs and still have 50+ to go. I have tried several times to fast for a week but as soon as I pass day three my blood sugar drops… Read more »

T
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T

Great article. Would love to share this but no Messenger button.