If you’ve been following the ketogenic diet, you know that eating carbohydrates should be avoided at all costs.
But everyone is human.
Sometimes going out to eat with friends or family means you’re going to eat a tasty burger with french fries.
Other times your cravings are just too strong for you to possible avoid carbohydrates.
Don’t worry, we all make mistakes.
What matters is, the actions you take after the carb up.
Luckily, there are several things you can do to kickstart your metabolism and begin burning ketones soon after a carb up.
In this article, we’re going to talk about:
- What happens after you eat carbs
- Fasting after a carb up on keto
- How does intermittent fasting work
So You’ve Ate the Dreaded Carbs, Now What?
If you ate a fairly large carbohydrate-heavy meal, it isn’t the end of the world. After all, most of us have been eating carbohydrates all of our lives so it won’t set you back too much.
You see, when you consume carbohydrates like bread, pasta, beer, candy, and/or potatoes, you are filling up your body’s glycogen storages. Our metabolism prioritizes glucose over ketones for energy because it is a quicker fuel source. But, ketones are the more efficient, preferred fuel source by the brain and body[*].
Our metabolism can only utilize one fuel source at a time — glycogen (from carbs) or ketones (from fats).
So in order to for your body to enter a state of ketosis, you need to deplete those glycogen storages by restricting carbs and increasing your dietary fats.
This leads to the question, would fasting after a carb up speed up keto?
The short answer is, yes. Also known as intermittent fasting, by limiting the food you eat for a certain period of time, your glycogen storages will start to deplete and you begin to burn ketones for energy.
This is why if you haven’t eaten anything for a prolonged period of time, you might have noticed that you begin to feel better, more focused, increased energy, and even able to focus longer.
There’s a good chance that your body was actually in a state of ketosis and you had started burning fats for energy.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
Intermittent fasting (IF) has become an increasingly popular nutrition trend over the past couple years and for good reason. The main goal of IF initially was to let ourselves eat more food at one time rather than eating several small meals over the course of the day.
At first, fasting will feel relatively difficult because your metabolism isn’t used to going for hours without eating any food. But the truth is, our ancestors have been eating this way for hundreds of years and it’s actually the preferred way of eating for us.
Eventually, your body adjusts itself to fasting and you’ll find that you can go on for hours without feeling hungry.
You can compare it to a muscle. The more you work at exercising IF, the easier it becomes and the longer you can go without food.
When you are in a fasted state, the body starts looking for different sources of energy since it doesn’t have any glucose present (from carbohydrates) to use for energy.
Considerations Before You Fast
It’s important to take note of how long you have been on the ketogenic diet before you start having carb ups and utilizing fasting to get back into ketosis.
You should only consider doing carb ups on keto if you have been eating a low carb, high fat ketogenic diet for at least a month. This is because you need to prime your body to start running off fats before you reintroduce carbohydrates into your diet.
If you carb up before your body has adapted to ketosis, you run the risk of awakening your body’s carb cravings.
Anytime you plan on doing a carb up, it’s crucial that you try to keep fats to a minimum because your body is only able to burn through glucose or fat as its main source of energy. You simply cannot run on fat and glucose at the same time. This will help you keep your body from storing fat.
How Long Can We Survive Without Eating?
Once you start fasting, you’re going to feel very hungry and it’s not uncommon to have your mind constantly consumed with the thought of food. This is simply your brain reacting to being in a starvation mode and it does not mean that you’re going to lose all your muscles.
Many studies have shown that people who had to fast during hunger strikes or religious fasts were able to survive well over 15 days without food, so fasting for a day a week or fasting for 16 hours without food shouldn’t be a worry whatsoever[*]!
Here’s an example that should put things into perspective:
One monk had a goal to do a 40 day fast with medical supervision while continuing to do his daily tasks. After 36 days, they had to step in to assist him since he began to experience low blood pressure and weakness when standing.
Think about this story the next time you are experiencing intense hunger during your own fast. It will help you put it into perspective.
Incorporating Fasting After Carb Up on Keto
There are tremendous benefits to fasting on the ketogenic diet. If you aren’t already familiar with how ketosis works, your body has to deplete all of its glycogen storages from carbohydrates before you can begin to experience the benefits of burning fats for energy.
Here is the simplest way to incorporate fasting after carb up on keto:
- The day after you ate carbohydrates, wake up and start your day with drinking a bottle of water.
- Hold off on any caffeine until you begin to feel hungry. This should be about an hour or two after you wake up depending on your fasting experience.
- Drink black coffee when you are experiencing hunger.
- Around lunch time, make a drink consisting of salt and water. This will help you keep your electrolyte levels in check.
- The longer you can fast, the quicker you’ll be able to enter a state of ketosis…
If you aren’t comfortable doing a 24 hour fast, one of the most popular intermittent fasting protocols is a 16 hour fast followed by an 8 hour eating window.
This means if your last meal was at 8PM the night before, you won’t eat anything until 12PM the day after.
Here’s an article that goes more into intermittent fasting: The Guide to Intermittent Fasting
The 3 Day Tim Ferriss Ketosis Accelerator
Here’s how the process works:
- Eat a low carb dinner at around 5 or 6pm and make it the last meal of the day.
- Drink coffee if needed then go on a long walk immediately upon waking.
- Bring a water with pink himalayan sea salt to ensure you are maintaining optimal electrolyte levels
- The walk is designed so you are deplete your body’s glycogen storages. The faster you get into ketosis, the quicker you begin to experience mental clarity and also benefit from muscle sparing.
Remainer of Friday
- Drink exogenous ketones or MCT oil up to 3 times throughout the day to maintain high ketone levels.
- Exogenous ketones should be consumed because they will help provide you with the additional energy and brain boosting benefits your body needs while in a fasted state.
- As soon as you wake up, test your blood ketones to make sure you’re at 0.7mmol or greater. The most accurate way to test this is with a blood testing meter like the Precision Xtra or ketone strips.
- If you’re at 0.7mmol or more then you can go on with your day.
- If not, go for a long walk and test again.
Saturday and Sunday
- If you’re feeling tired, consume more exogenous ketones or MCT oil.
- Make sure to add pink himalayan sea salt in your water to ensure optimal electrolyte levels. Many times when you are feeling tired in ketosis it’s because you have excreted your sodium intake and simply need more salt.
- Now you can break your fast. Enjoy.
Fasting After Carb Up on Keto to Achieve Optimal Ketone Levels
The research, both anecdotal and scientific is clear[*].
Fasting whether it’s after a carb up or not is one of the most effective ways to get yourself back into a state of ketosis.
While at first you’re going to experience hunger pangs, it’s important to remember that this is just because your metabolism and brain is used to eating every few hours.
It’s crucial to test your ketone levels preferably using a Precision Xtra blood ketone meter.
So the next time you have fallen off the wagon and ate a bunch of junk food be sure to utilize the method of fasting after a carb up keto.
I dive more into practical strategies and everything you possibly need to know step-by-step about getting into ketosis in the Ketogenic Diet Roadmap.