Karim's Extended Fast Tracker - come along for the ride

(Karim Wassef) #1002

I also did the math above and based on my available fat, I had a reserve of weeks of fat to go before I’d “starve”… and by starving, I would be under 15% body fat… so not even then. Fat is very energy dense.

I ended with 38lbs of fat and 138lbs of not fat. So I could go down to 21lbs and be perfectly fine. That’s 17lbs “in the tank” to go. At 0.7lbs/day, I have 24 days in me… so weeks of high ketones squandered.

Anyway, I’m traveling so I’m going to fast with only 3 vegan bouillon and 120g of pea protein for the amino acids and see how that works out. That comes out to 19g of fat, 1.5g of carbs, 103g of protein. It’s less than 600 calories but should be more satisfying and keep me in decent keto without more muscle loss.

Only the data will tell.


It is very interesting, that even such a low number of carbs sets off such a strong hunger sensation.
Then again, hunger is very mysterious to me - I have noticed 3 different types of hunger: actual hunger, psychological hunger, and thirsty-hungry. Maybe you are hungry because your body is missing something, even transiently, and it responds as hunger?

I ate mushrooms and asparagus yesterday as well, so I completely agree about not regretting anything! :joy:

(Karim Wassef) #1004

It’s all hormones: Insulin, Leptin and Ghrelin

After keeping the insulin beast under control for weeks, it comes back and spikes just long enough. I know this because I get a little headache and a massive amount of thirst. I drank about a gallon of water… so I probably gained 8 lbs in just that :smiley:

Anyway, the insulin bounce is bad.

Leptin sensitivity should be good after fasting. It’s the hormone fat cells make to say “enough, we’re full”. Leptin is the satiety hormone. Usually Leptin resistance is why we don’t stop eating when we have a lot of fat cells already.

Ghrelin is the opposite hunger hormone and reacts to food going into the stomach. After a long fast, it may be that I’m very sensitive to this too.

I think the few carbs get the snowball rolling downhill… for me.

(Karim Wassef) #1005

Day 22 (19 days fasting and 3 days refeed):

So the water and waste change in the beginning is completely reversed. I wasn’t counting it in my math but we’ll see if my body is done or if there’s more to go. The fibrous nature of the food I’m eating doesn’t help.

Here was last night’s meal with all indulgences included (18g of carbs):

Still with a metabolism around 2200 and intake at 1300, the 18g of carbs (I had miscounted by 1 before :smiley:) caused massive water retention, glucose went up to 71 before eating and 95 a few hours later! And the hunger.

Here’s last year’s results:

I will say that the increase isn’t as bad as last year where I had gained back 8 lbs of “fat mass” in water by this point. I’ve only recovered 5 lbs this year…

Last year I tried to fast cycle but I wasn’t happy with the final result so I’m going to use protein instead this year and see how that goes.

Dr Boz Calculates levels of autophagy using blood sugar/blood ketones ratio
(Doug) #1006

Great data, Karim - beautiful data. :sunglasses: I haven’t fasted as long as you - my longest ones are 10 and 12 days - but I got that ‘increasing hunger’ thing too, when I started eating again. Lots of really good things happen to us during the refeeding period - I can’t remember them all but what I’ve read is impressive; I had a “high” feeling just from what I assumed was going on.

While the hydration level certainly matters and can throw things off in the short term, I think your numbers all make sense. If we take the starting fat mass of 53.9 lbs. (presumably ‘fully hydrated’ in the non-fasting mode) and compare it with that last figure of 42.9 (presumably re-hydrated), OR we go with Day 3 at 48.6 (really into the fasting steady-state) minus Day 19’s 37.6, we get 11 lbs. fat loss both times. The fat mass figures may creep up a little more, but for now if we say that 19 days of fasting did this, then it’s an average of 0.58 lbs. per day. I think for your weight and metabolism, this is just about perfect.

(Karim Wassef) #1007


I look at it as 11lbs over 16 days since the first 3 are not real fasting… I’m still digesting and expelling fiber and waste… so my average is ~0.7 lbs/day

The question is what happens when I allow just enough protein to spare muscle loss but stay in keto and caloric reduction? At 450cal of protein and 150cal of fat… am I going to be sated or ravenous? Will my ketones continue to crash & glucose spike? Will I continue to retain water for three more pounds or flush and reset? Will I be able to build muscle mass?

Need more data! :wink:

(Karim Wassef) #1008

I updated the format and added today’s G, K results before eating…

Surprisingly, my glucose was 47 and ketones went back up 3.0…

I also went back and reviewed last year’s G, K results and I had 5 datapoints per day. I was pulling the first one of the day in my results above but I decided to grab the ones closest to the times I measured this year and the results are a little different but still consistent:

One noticeable difference year-over-year is that last year my ketones remained higher for 4 days longer than they did this time. It almost looks like I had a premature crash this year that started even before I broke my fast on day 19. Maybe it correlates with my excess “unhappy” this year?

Today’s meal at 550 cal mostly protein will be interesting.

(Karim Wassef) #1009

Thinking back on why my ketones went back up and my glucose dropped, I realize that I made too many changes on Sunday to be able to discern which ones had an effect…

In the interest of community learning, here’s what I changed outside of the food I ate.

Serrapeptase (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003QW3GCI) - first dose. I added this to see if it would help with my loose skin.

Broccoli Sprout Extract (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OJNOX02) - first dose. I wanted to reintroduce sulforaphane. This is part of my attempt to epicgenetically reduce my myostatin to improve my lifting.

I was traveling and didn’t want to buy anything with open containers so I had no coffee for the first time in months. I had a coffee headache but didn’t really think about it.

Without coffee, no stevia either…

Traveling was stressful (face masks, alcohol hand sanitizers, etc…).

So unfortunately, the observed result could be the result of one or all of these effects :frowning:

Bad scientist and bad lab rat… that’s what you get for trying to have a real life while collecting data!


(Karim Wassef) #1010

I’ll add one more variable (even though I don’t want to), for thoroughness…

Coronavirus infections increase autophagy as the body goes to war (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3528273/)

I have absolutely no symptoms and I’ve been super careful (really! masks and all) so I doubt that had anything with my GKI drop, but I have to add it to the list of possible variables since I’ve been in 3 airports in 2 days.

So…6 variables and one outcome… :man_facepalming:

(Karim Wassef) #1011

Day 23 - flushed out 3 lbs without being fasted, so I’d say this is close to being a refeed reset weight (maybe) :smiley:

Comparing to last year, I’m at almost EXACTLY the same weight and composition… little sickening that I’ve made no progress in a year. But then again, it’s just one datapoint.

Ok Ok… it’s not so bad. I started with a lot more fat packed on this year so getting to the same fat mass is not a bad thing, but the same muscle mass is disheartening. Still, with hydration in the mix, it’s hard to be sure.

I feel good overall but a little hungry. That’s the problem with eating something vs. eating nothing, but it’s not intolerable.

Hunger - medium
Calmness - high
Mental Clarity - high
Energy - high
Happy - high

(Karim Wassef) #1012

I think my low “happy” while fasting may have been impacted by insufficient exercise…

great video talking about the benefits … but specifically, I like the section around dopamine and cortisol

(Karim Wassef) #1013

Day 24

I’m back in Texas and under self imposed (wife imposed) quarantine in the guest room for a while. She’s concerned that my multi-airport contact may have exposed me to the virus. I have no symptoms but I want her and the kids to feel safe, so … there it is. My prison cell is comfortable and productive though :smiley:

Gained a pound of “fat water” but that’s good since it probably means that I’ve plateaued on the refeed weight. On the way into the fast, I lost 8lbs (5.2lbs was “fat water”) and on the way out, I gained back 7.2lbs (4.3lbs “fat water”).

So I can now look at the result from day 1 to day 24 and consider it meaningful. I went from 201lbs to 183lbs overall - so that’s 18lbs of loss. My fat mass (hydrated and fed) went from 54lbs to 42lbs - so that’s a GOOD 12lbs of real fat shedding improvement. The cost was a muscle mass (also hydrated and fed) down from 67.5lbs to 66.1lbs - so about ~1.4lbs of muscle loss.

I hate losing muscle mass but the math is still in my favor - losing 1.4lbs of muscle while losing 12lbs of fat seems like a meaningful exchange.

Now during the partial fast (muscle sparing protein only), I need to gain as much muscle with the least amount of fat. This makes me hungry but emotionally, I’m in a happier state. The hunger starts in the morning too which is disconcerting… and extends into the late night after eating.

I am finding it hard to stay under 10g carbs vegan with high protein though. It constricts my options so much that I usually can’t break 1000 calories. So some days, I give in and float up to 20g of carbs … I’m planning on being stricter today at 6g, but we’ll see how well that works out.

Here’s the plan for today:

I have a recipe for my pea protein soup that is making it actually quite good… I use cumin and garlic :wink:

(Karim Wassef) #1014

Pea protein soup/porridge:

Vegan broth + salt + pepper with onions (removed)
Pea protein powder (add to appropriate consistency)

2 cups broth + 120g powder ~ soup
2 cups broth + 160g powder ~ porridge

Minced garlic (1 tsp)
Cumin (1 tsp)
Lime powder (1 tsp)
Garlic powder (1 tsp)
Salt (1 tsp)
Pepper (1 tsp)
Coconut cream (1 tsp)
EVOO (1 tsp)
Chipotle Tabasco (1 tbsp)
Liquid Aminos (1 tbsp)
Maggi Sauce (0.5 tsp)

This makes it very savory.

Then, if I make it thick, I add sauerkraut and pickled ginger slices to make a dip out of it.

If I want to go wild, I add small avocado slivers for creaminess.

Finally, I use small salted & roasted seaweed patches to make little wraps with the dip inside… or use the dip + avocado slices in the salty crunchy seaweed wraps.

I like weird things and I felt I should share :smiley:

I know all the fasting data is boring to most but how I refeed is probably even more important than the fast.


What does pea protein taste like? Does the soup taste like an unidentifiable vegetable medley soup or peas soup?
That is actually a very interesting idea, you can do a lot with protein powders. :slight_smile:

(Karim Wassef) #1016

If you’ve had lentil soup, it’s kind of like that. They just remove the carbs from the peas and leave the good fats, fiber and protein. It’s what vegan bodybuilders use instead of whey isolate (that I would usually use).

By the way, I think whey protein isolate is delicious with a little stevia or monkfruit for very satisfying shakes. It is a meal though, so I would use it carefully. While I’m on carnivore though, there’s lots of lean protein options that could work for a muscle sparing “fast” approach. For example, here’s what I would call my “Follistatin” Muscle Sparing Diet ( FMS™ )… trademark :smiley:

I consider egg yolk to be an almost perfect food so I’d double down on just that with some chicken breast for cheap protein and broccoli for the sulforaphanes. It looks very dry I know but that might be enough to keep me sated and still burn fat without compromising muscle.

(Karim Wassef) #1017

Unfortunately, I’m an all or nothing personality and since I’m not fasting, I find the hunger once I eat something to be very distracting. The only remedy is to eat more fat, but I’m intentionally trying to cut back to be as fasted as possible and only replace protein to avoid muscle loss. This is much harder than keto…

All that is to say that today was a food failure. I couldn’t do protein sparing low fat keto, and just went straight keto to curb my hunger.

And I have to admit that I feel totally satisfied. My GKI is probably going to be terrible tomorrow… but here’s today’s… I’m already under 2 ketone and that’s with 20g of carbs. I crash fast out of fasting mode now. We’ll call that “healthy adaptation”. :smiley:

Last year was similar and that’s when I started cyclic fasting to try to keep my GKI as low as possible.

I would fast most of the week and eat on weekends with the family… I just don’t think it had a great overall effect.

Over 33 days of cyclic fasting, I went from 41.7 lbs fat mass to 39.3 lbs. That’s 2.4lbs over 33 days = 0.07lbs per day or about ONE TENTH of the effect of the true extended fast. I also went from 66.1 lbs muscle mass to 65.7 lbs. That’s 0.4 lbs lost which is probably within the range of error… so I consider that irrelevant.

I see three options ahead of me now that I think I’ve “stabilized”.

  1. Start a new extended fast for 19 days (or longer).

  2. Continue to fight through my hunger and push for a muscle sparing protein keto (single digit carbs) on as many days as I can.

  3. Accept a 20 carb standard keto with sub-1 ketone and high GKI. No autophagy and very slow fat loss.

In all cases, I will stop this experiment on April 19th and go back to my carnivore keto experiment.

What do you all think? Time for the audience to give me some input :smiley:


I have issues with dairy, so I stay away from whey protein powders, but my husband and I used to make a dessert - 125ml of HWC with 1 sachet of flavored protein powder, whip, enjoy. :slight_smile:
I also remember baking him a loaf of bread with unflavored protein powder…

I am carnivorish and histamine intolerant, so your diet is a complete opposite of mine - I see your list and my body yells “abort, abort, abort!”:slight_smile:

(Karim Wassef) #1019

I’m a carnivore by nature, but for some times of the year, I choose to be vegan or pescatarian. I can honestly say that the first steak I eat after being vegan for a couple of months tastes like nothing else can. It’s emotionally moving. :smiley:

Yes. I add HWC to my Whey Isolate. I will say that I had some trouble with whey proteins in general until I found out about Whey Isolate. They’re not the same. The one I use is called Isopure and it is more expensive, but tastes better and feels better.

(Karim Wassef) #1020

Ok. As expected, I’m up 0.5lbs of fat mass, most likely water and waste from the fiber in my meal last night. I was very thirsty which to me indicates an insulin increase.

I usually measure my G, K before my OMAD, but I decided to take one earlier just to see where I’m at. Ketones went back up over 2, but Glucose is almost 90. It might be the morning effect, but GKI is now over 2.0…

Given this aggressive response to just a few more carbs, it’s no wonder it was impossible for me to lose weight using just exercise and calorie restriction at 255lbs.

(Karim Wassef) #1021

Still soliciting opinions on my three options going forward… noone from the peanut gallery wanting a say?

  1. Extended Fast again (try for 3 weeks again)
  2. Protein Sparing Keto (very hungry, maybe effective)
  3. Keto 20g (maintenance, no net loss)

If I EF again, I would start after Sunday night’s meal making this coming Monday day 1 of that fast. I’m leaning that way, but with the Broccoli sprout extract and Serrapeptase supplements.