Take the KetoFast 30-day challenge

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola  Fact Checked – August 30, 2019
Reproduced from original article:


  • KetoFasting can help you lose unwanted weight, rejuvenate your mitochondria and prevent or even reverse chronic disease
  • KetoFasting combines a cyclical ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting with cyclical partial fasting to optimize health and longevity and support safe detoxification
  • The KetoFast protocol is easier to comply with than multiday water fasting, and provides greater benefits because you’re able to do it far more frequently than you could do multiday water fasting
  • Key components of KetoFasting are eating a ketogenic diet three to four days a week, eating a higher amount of net carbs than usual one or two days a week; doing a modified 42-hour fast once or twice a week; and avoiding food within three hours of going to sleep
  • The 30-day KetoFast Challenge is an online program that guides you through what to do each day for a full month

In my latest book, “KetoFast: A Step-By-Step Guide to Timing Your Ketogenic Meals.” I present a nutritional lifestyle plan that can help you:

  • Lose unwanted weight, including the most dangerous type of fat in your body — the visceral fat (deep belly fat) that can raise your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes
  • Rejuvenate your mitochondria and cells throughout your body
  • Prevent and even reverse disease — primarily by eliminating insulin resistance that fuels obesity, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes

Written in straight-forward language, “KetoFast” will explain, in great detail, what to do and when. As the name “KetoFast” implies, this program is a combination of nutritional ketosis — achieved through a ketogenic diet — and cyclical partial fasting.

What sets this program apart from other diet and fasting programs is the preliminary focus on nutritional ketosis, the focus on cycling in and out of ketosis once you’re able to burn fat for fuel, and the cycling through a modified fast once or twice each month.

The 30-day KetoFast challenge

Along with the book, I’ve also published a KetoFast cookbook, and an internet-based 30-day KetoFast Challenge. While you will need to read the book before taking this course, this monthlong program will lead you through the implementation of the information in a step-by-step manner, one day at a time. As an overview, the KetoFast program involves:

  • Eating a ketogenic diet three to four days a week
  • Eating a higher amount of net carbs than you usually do (also called feasting) on one or two days a week
  • KetoFasting (a modified 42-hour fast) one or two days a week
  • Avoiding food within three hours of going to sleep

This simple online guide will walk you through the first 30 days of KetoFasting meal by meal, making it easier for you to follow and track your progress.

ketofast challenge

What sets KetoFast apart from other fasting programs?

In recent years, popularity of the ketogenic diet has skyrocketed, and for good reason. It works, and it works for many different things, be it weight loss or disease prevention. The importance of fasting has also become more clearly evident. I used to believe that multiday, water-only fasting was one of the most effective health-boosting strategies I’d ever come across.

Research1,2,3 published in 2017 confirmed fasting can effectively reverse Type 2 diabetes in a relatively short amount of time. In this trial, Type 2 diabetics were placed on a severely restricted calorie diet where they ate just 600 calories a day for eight weeks.

By the end of their fast, all were disease-free and three months later, having returned to their regular diet, seven of the 11 participants were still disease-free. Fasting has also been shown to trigger the regeneration of the pancreas in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics4,5 — a testament to the regenerative power unleashed in your body when fasting.

I discovered a problem, though. While people have fasted safely for centuries, modern man is deluged with pervasive exposure to tens of thousands of chemicals. They’re in our food, air, water, household products, furnishings and personal care products. Common culprits you’re likely exposed to on a daily basis include:

  • Toxic chemicals like herbicides and pesticides
  • Heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium and lead
  • Artificial sweeteners and other synthetic food additives
  • Industrial chemical products or by-products like flame retardants, plasticizers such as BPA and phthalates, and PFOA from nonstick coatings

Most of these toxins are fat-soluble, which means they accumulate in your body fat, and when you start to shed that fat, these toxins are liberated. If, like most people, you have impaired Phase II detoxification pathways, these toxins will not be properly metabolized and eliminated from your body.

The liberation of these toxins, I believe, greatly contributes to the so-called “side effects” many experience from multiday water fasting, such as headaches, brain fog and nausea.


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Toxicity is a key consideration, and KetoFasting can help

The take-home message is that while fasting is an excellent strategy to improve your health, it could be risky if you’re severely toxic — and many of us are. The KetoFast plan was developed to provide a solution to this widespread problem to allow as many people as possible to benefit.

So, a primary difference between KetoFasting and other fasting protocols is its focus on supporting your body’s ability to safely and effectively detoxify the toxins liberated in the process. By following KetoFast’s gradual, thoughtful approach, you will:

  • Prime your detoxification systems and correct existing deficiencies; by choosing the best nutrient-dense food and supplements, you’ll facilitate your body’s ability to carry harmful substances out of your body
  • Radically reduce harmful and unpleasant side effects from fasting
  • Help avoid the dumping of toxins from your bloodstream into your tissues and organs
  • Lose weight with minimal feelings of hunger and deprivation, and keep it off
  • Slowly, but surely become metabolically flexible so you can burn fat for fuel

As an added boon, the KetoFasting protocol also tends to be easier to adhere to than, say, a five-day, water-only fast, and adherence is key to any program. Unless you’re able to maintain it, it won’t do you any good.

The reason why KetoFasting is easy for most is because you become metabolically flexible before you start implementing the partial fasting. This way you can easily burn fat for fuel and not have any fatigue or brain fog when you finally start fasting.

KetoFasting — A 3-step summary

The following is a quick three-step summary of my KetoFast protocol, to give you an idea of how it works:

1.The first step is to compress your daily eating window to six to eight hours for at least four weeks, meaning you eat all of your calories for the day during those six to eight hours, and for the remaining 16 to 18 hours, you’re fasting. This is your base. Remember you sleep for eight hours; eat for eight hours; and have no food in your gut for at least 16 hours.

Most people will become metabolically flexible after this protocol, but you can test your ketones and confirm that you are, especially if you are heavy to start with, or diabetic, as it might take you longer to shift. Ketocoachx.com6 is the best blood meter out there and only costs 70 cents per strip to test your ketones.

2.Once you’ve followed this intermittent fasting schedule for a month — or when you have restored your metabolic flexibility to burn fat for fuel — you can move into the second phase, which involves having a single reduced-calorie meal, ideally breakfast, followed by a 24-hour, water-only fast, either once or twice a week.

This meal will typically be somewhere between 300 and 500 calories. To determine how many calories you should have at this meal, first calculate your lean body mass by subtracting your percent body fat from 100. (So, if you have 20% body fat, you have 80% lean body mass.)

Multiply that percentage (in this case, 0.8) by your current total body weight to get your lean body mass in pounds (or kilos). Next, multiply your lean body mass in pounds/kilos by 3.5. This is the number of calories you’ll want to eat for that meal.

Contrary to other partial fasting programs, KetoFasting emphasizes the use of healthy foods at all times. This meal should not consist of junk food of any kind! The following is a general guide for the nutrient ratios you’re looking for in this meal:

Carbs — Less than 10 grams of net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber) so as not to replete your glycogen stores. Primarily, your carbs would then be nonstarchy vegetables, seeds or nuts.
Protein — Half of your personalized daily protein requirement. If you’re younger than 60, a general recommendation for your daily protein requirement would be 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of lean body mass, or 0.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass. Let’s say your daily protein requirement is 80 grams. For this meal, you’d cut that in half to 40 grams.

The key here is not just lowering your overall protein intake but, rather, restricting your intake of branched-chain amino acids such as leucine, found primarily in meat and dairy products.

The reason you want to restrict branched-chain amino acids at this meal is because they inhibit autophagy — essentially blocking the very cleanout process you’re trying to activate through fasting. An ideal form of protein to include in this meal is collagen (and/or bone broth), which provides great support for your connective tissue. Chlorella is another excellent protein you can include.

Fat — The remainder of your calories comes from healthy fats such as coconut oil, avocado, MCT oil, butter, olive oil and raw nuts.

By eating just that one 300- to 500-calorie meal and then fasting for 24 hours, you essentially end up having eaten once in 42 hours. This will effectively allow your body to deplete the glycogen stores in your liver, which sends autophagy soaring.

3.The day after you’ve completed your 42-hour KetoFast, you feast. This is also the perfect time to do hardcore strength training and load up on animal protein such as grass fed organic steak and/or whey protein, as now you’re in rebuilding mode, which includes muscle building.

How KetoFasting helps optimize your health

As mentioned, KetoFasting is a powerful strategy that can help you lose unwanted weight, rejuvenate your health and help you prevent and even reverse disease. These benefits are achieved because KetoFasting:

Boosts autophagy — Autophagy is a natural process in which dysfunctional and damaged cellular components are digested and cleared out, and their constituent elements are used to rebuild new parts for your cells. These damaged structures would otherwise compromise your health by clogging your system and increasing inflammation.

Boosts cellular regeneration — The other side of the equation is the regeneration part, which occurs when you break your fast and start eating again. This is really where the metabolic magic of fasting occurs. The key is to cycle through the autophagy and rebuilding phases on a regular basis, and one of the best ways to do that is to alternate between feast and famine cycles once you are metabolically flexible.

Optimizes mitochondrial health and inhibits free radical generation — This is another crucial factor for disease prevention and longevity. In order for your cells and organs to work properly, you need well-functioning mitochondria. While the DNA in your cells’ nuclei have elaborate and highly efficient repair mechanisms, mitochondrial DNA do not have very good repair mechanisms.

So, to protect your mitochondrial DNA, it’s important to minimize the generation of free radicals in the first place. A foundational dietary strategy to optimize your mitochondrial health then is to consume the best fuel — healthy fats, not carbs. Once you become an efficient fat burner, you minimize the oxidative stress placed on your mitochondria, which is key.

Activates new stem cells — Another major benefit is the activation of new stem cells. Stem cells are “blank” cells that can be used to heal and regenerate any tissue or organ. By increasing and accelerating the production of stem cells, your body is better able to repair any damage you may have incurred.

Another significant benefit of KetoFasting, compared to other multiday fasting protocols, is that you can do this partial fast far more often, and by cycling through these autophagy and regeneration phases more frequently, your body is given more opportunities to heal.

For example, if you were to do five-day water-only fasts, it’s unlikely you’d do them any more than once a month, which means you’d complete about 12 in a year. Most people probably would only do it once or twice a year.

Using the KetoFast protocol allows you to go through this regenerative process anywhere from 52 to 104 times, depending on whether you’re fasting once or twice a week. While this shorter fast limits your detoxification and autophagy benefits, by doing it more frequently, you’ll reap greater gains in the long run.

How round-the-clock eating harms your health

If you’re like 90% of people, you’re eating for more than 12 hours a day. This habit of grazing throughout the day and evening has serious ramifications for health, as it:

Raises your risk for inflammation, hypertension and cardiovascular disease
Prevents effective digestion and elimination of waste
Prevents your body’s natural housekeeping and rejuvenation processes since you are in “digest” mode all the time
Prevents the emptying of your glycogen stores (the sugar stored in your liver)
Increases fat storage, as you’re loading your body with energy even when it doesn’t need it
Harms your cells’ DNA, mitochondria, membranes and proteins (this damage is caused by the excess free radicals created by unused, inefficiently-burning fuel)
Lowers your cells’ resistance to stress and disease

One of the most important benefits of my KetoFast program is the elimination of these potential side effects, as it supports your body’s ability to cleanse and detoxify itself while using its fuel most efficiently.

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