August 13, 2017 By Leanne Vogel July 24, 2018
Interview with Dr. Michael VanDerschelden, a passionate advocate of natural healing, chatting with us about the different protocols of fasting and their individual benefits, fasting with imbalances, how to break your fast, and more.
If you’ve been following me for a bit, you know I believe keto is not one-size-fits-all, which is why it was so great to chat with Dr. Mike about all things fasting! Keto is all about doing what is best for YOUR body, and in this episode, we talk about different fasting protocols in the hopes that our talk might resonate with listeners and encourage you to explore the benefits of fasting to see what feels best in your body.
Fasting is another great option to add to your keto tool belt — the experience you have will vary based on how you use that tool. If you’ve been thinking about trying out a fasting practice but don’t know where to start, this episode provides some solid information. If you’re a fasting pro, this episode is still for you, and Dr. Mike might just blow your keto mind with some alternative strategies.
For podcast transcript, scroll down.
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Leanne Vogel: You’re listening to Episode Number 46 of The Keto Diet Podcast. Today we’re chatting about fasting for weight loss, forms of intermittent fasting and which are best, and the benefits of going in and out of ketosis, plus more, so stay tuned.
Hey, I’m Leanne from HealthfulPursuit.com and this is The Keto Diet Podcast where we’re busting through the restrictive mentality of a traditional ketogenic diet to uncover the life you crave. What’s keto? Keto is a low carb high fat diet where we’re switching from a sugar burning state to becoming fat burning machines.
All listeners of the podcast receive a free seven-day keto meal plan complete with a shopping list and everything you need to chow down on keto for seven whole days. Download your free copy at HealthfulPursuit.com/ketomeal. The link will also be in the show notes for today’s episode. Perfect if your daily keto meals have become a bit lackluster, if you’re new to keto and a bit lost when it comes to eating what and how much, or thrive on being guided on what to do and when to do it. Again, that’s healthfulpursuit.com/ketomeal. Let’s get this party started.
Hey guys, happy Sunday. The show notes and full transcript for today’s episode can be found at healthfulpursuit.com/podcast/e46. The transcript is added to the post about 3 to 5 days following the initial air date of this episode, and any of the details that the guest and I go through today will also be in those show notes. So again, that’s healthfulpursuit.com/podcast/e46. Let’s hear from one of our awesome partners.
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If you have an idea for an episode or if you want to submit praise over and above the review, which you can leave by going to healthfulpursuit.com/review. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Super important that we get those reviews, if you’ve been listening to the podcast for a couple of episodes, I would love for you to head on over to healthfulpursuit.com/review, leave your review, leave me a couple stars. That would be amazing, that way more people can find the show.
I have one announcement, and it’s a super exciting one. If you haven’t heard already, I’m going back on tour for my book tour. This will be the second leg of the tour. We’re going to all sorts of places starting on August 29. They’ll be New York, Dallas, Austin for KetoCon, which I’ll be speaking at, Denver, Colorado, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, then we pop on over to Canada for Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montréal and Balzac, which is right outside of Calgary. A bunch of other cities are still being determined, so head on over to ketodietbook.com/tour. The link will also be in the show notes where you can RSVP. There’s a couple of events that are getting full to capacity already, so definitely, if you’re thinking about going or even bringing a friend, head on over to ketodietbook.com/tour to RSVP and reserve both of your spaces.
Our guest today is Dr. Michael VanDerschelden, who is a passionate advocate of natural healing and wellness champion, and a visionary who has implemented much-needed changes to our current healthcare system. Dr. Mike, as most people call him, is one of the most sought after nutrition and exercise experts in the marketplace. He is famous for implementing and mastering lifestyle changes, like intermittent fasting and high intensity interval training, which will maximize health and function. As a frequent lecturer, he continues to educate on important issues, emphasizing that there is much more to health than treating symptoms of disease. With all the profit driven websites, magazines, TV ads, and other publications offering health advice, it’s not always clear who to trust to get the life enhancing health information you deserve and desire.
His sole motivation is to provide people with the best, relevant, and accurate health information possible, so that they can reach their goals of living the best and healthiest life possible. My time today with Dr. Mike was awesome. I can’t wait to cut on over to the interview.
A couple of notes I wanted to share with you before we get started: the first one is, if you have questions about fasting for women, specifically, we didn’t totally get into that, I wanted to have the focus in this episode little bit different. But if you’re looking for fasting for women, specifically, head on over to Episode 37 of the podcast. You can access that from any podcast app that you’re currently listening to this episode on, or you can head on over to healthfulpursuit.com/podcast/e37.
And a couple of other notes, if you’re not too sure what fasting is, we didn’t get too much into it. So if you’re new to fasting, and you don’t understand what intermittent fasting is, intermittent fasting is basically where you go a longer period of time without eating. The way that I see it is, intermittent fasting is anywhere between 16 to 24 hours without eating, and then usually have an eating window. So say you are fasting for 16 hours, you would have an eating window of 8 hours, so 16 + 8 is 24, or you could have a fasting window of 20 hours, and then have a feeding window of 4 hours. So that would be called 20:4, which also equals 24, and then you could also go as long as 24 hours and then just go back to the way that you were before. That’s intermittent fasting in a nutshell.
Another thing we talked about on the episode is fasting every day, and while Dr. Mike really thrives on that, and that works really good for himself and his clients, if you have found a different method, as I have for fasting, and you thrive really well on three, sometimes four times a week or whatever that case may be, you just go on and rock your bad self and do what you need to do and what feels good.
And the last and final thing is that we briefly mentioned testing ketones with the breath. So, if you’re curious about what I was talking about when I was talking about testing the breath and the LEVL system, I will include a link in the show notes about LEVL. It’s a new tool that I’ve been using in the last couple of weeks to test my ketones via breath. Kevin’s been getting into it a lot more than I have, because I don’t really totally enjoy testing, personally, I find it very triggering for me. So if you want more information about LEVL head on over to the show notes. It’ll be there. I will have a video on it very soon on my thoughts about it. It can be a little bit costly, but in the end, ends up saving you money. It depends on what your priorities are. But let’s cut on over to the interview because there’s lots to cover, and I hope you enjoy it.
Hey Mike, how’s it going?
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: It is going fantastic, lovely day today in Southern California.
Leanne Vogel: Yes, oh my gosh you’re so lucky. I love it there.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Okay, I lied a little bit, it’s overcast. We’re going through some June gloom, but usually 75° and sunny every day, so I can’t complain.
Leanne Vogel: Oh, amazing. I think it’s about 85° here. I’m in Canada, so I always have to do the conversion quickly in my head, but it’s hot today.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Wait, it’s warmer in Canada than here? What?
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, psyche. Yeah, this is a real thing. I’m totally kidding. It is actually this hot today.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Wow, that’s impressive.
Leanne Vogel: I know, right? Everyone thinks we live in igloos, but it’s not a thing. It’s actually quite hot sometimes.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: … igloos?
Leanne Vogel: I’ve had that, I’ve actually had people ask me if I live in an igloo, like for real. So, no I do not, it’s a real house, just like what they have in Southern California probably.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: And what city are you in?
Leanne Vogel: I’m just outside of Calgary in Alberta.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Okay, cool.
Leanne Vogel: It’s about a four-hour drive from Great Falls, Montana, for people wondering.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Okay. I’m familiar with BC, I go to BC. I just got back from Whistler a couple months ago.
Leanne Vogel: Beautiful place.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: I’m familiar with Canada, just not Calgary.
Leanne Vogel: It’s a great place, if you like oil and gas. There’s not much else going on here. So why don’t we start off by you telling us a little bit about yourself.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Yeah, sure. I grew up always in the health and fitness field, with a primary interest in just doing something exercise and diet based, and it stems from my interest all the way up through high school. And went to college in Washington state, that’s where I’m from, Seattle area. Got my undergrad there with a Bachelor of Science degree, and pre-physical therapy, kinesiology, and then moved down to Southern California, I was sick of the gloomy days and the darkness going on, and was ready for some nice weather. Came down here, and working as a trainer for a little, but then I really found my calling.
I wanted to go in the health field, but I didn’t want to be that typical allopathic medical doctor, not that just prescribe medications, because I already know we take all these medications, more than the next six countries combined, yet rank nearly towards the end of health among developed nations. So it’s clear that the drugs are not making us healthier, so I want to do something natural to basically fix people’s physiology to get them healthy, instead of just putting them on drugs for the rest of their life and monitoring symptoms.
Leanne Vogel: The reason I wanted to have you on the show is because you’ve done a couple of videos on fasting, and I’ve watched them, and I’m like, “Yeah, this guy knows what he’s talking about. I like this. We need to have him on the show.” What is your stance on intermittent fasting? Because we chatted about it a little bit before we started the recording, but I’d love to set the tone for what we’re gonna talk about today, and get your overall experience with it and where you feel it’s beneficial, just right off the bat.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Yeah, there’s countless studies on continuous fasting, fasting for an extended period of time. I wrote a lot about those in my book, The Scientific Approach to Intermittent Fasting, but the studies are undeniable, and then also too, it’s not just like studies. It’s also just looking at natural populations of people fasting for religion, or for Ramadan. They’re doing pre and post blood marker tests, and just by those intermittent fasting pretty much, they’re basically doing intermittent fasting. They’re not eating during the entire day when it’s light, then they’re eating at night. There’s basically a natural study done on these populations, and the results are magnificent, and that’s just from taking a break from eating during the day. It’s not telling you to go five days without eating, it’s just taking a break.
And I read these studies, I saw that, it piqued my curiosity, I started doing that, and I probably implemented it myself, doing it daily, for probably the last five years or so doing it every single day, not missing a beat, and I just haven’t looked back. And one thing I love about the intermittent fasting approach and, typically it’s the 16:8 method. I do more of like a 20:4 type of method, where you’re basically taking a break from eating for 20 hours, eating for 4. But I mix and match my time ratios there a little bit, but it just works so well for me, and it’s worked so well for patients. It’s easy to implement, and so it just became my go to intervention for people trying to get a boost in health.
Leanne Vogel: Awesome. And what kind of benefits have you experience personally, or benefits that you’ve seen with your clients?
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: So for me, personally, I’ve always been a fit person, someone who’s eating real food, paleo-like foods. But the intermittent fasting and with my really busy schedule, it’s simplified my schedule, first of all. I have to worry about one less meal a day, I don’t start my day off eating a huge breakfast anymore, and that changed. And because a lot of times too after a big breakfast, you get that food coma in the morning and feel lethargic.
I’m up super early riser, I’m up at 4:00 AM every day, and I have my most mental clarity in that fasting period in the morning, and that’s what I notice the most. I’m able to do so much work with just a clear head and with this massive brain function, and I just haven’t looked back since then. So I noticed massive mental clarity, not to mention my physique has been a lot leaner, as well it seems like I’m able to become more cut with a lot more ease, if you will, and so I love that.
And then going on from that to my patients, patients lose weight dramatically under this method, because they’re constantly in feast mode throughout. What’s a typical nutritionist gonna tell you to do? Eat every two and a half to three hours. Start your day off with a big breakfast and then eat small meals throughout the day, six small meals a day.
And they don’t have a whole lot of science, if any, to back those claims up, but yet you learn that in school, part of your curriculum, you learn all this stuff, and that whole theory is to avoid starvation mode, which is honestly a pretty big myth out there, and it’s good to debunk that.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, and really scary too when you start eating this way and you’re fasting, you’re like, “Wow, I feel so much better.” And then you feel like, “I’ve been lied to for the last 30 years.”
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: It’s so true. And it’s called fasting, but really, when you do this method, it’s like skipping one meal a day, so it’s really not that extreme. We’re not saying go a whole day without eating. It’s just, narrow your eating window a little bit.
Leanne Vogel: Totally.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: I think a lot of people get confused, and, “Oh, this is so extreme.” This is easy, it really is easy, you’ve just got to give it a chance. If your body is expecting a huge meal first thing in the morning because you’ve trained that way for 20+ years, however long it’s been, well guess what? When you wake up in the morning, your body is going to expect a meal. You have to go through that transition period, as if you were doing anything, whether you were quitting caffeine or anything. You’ve got to expect a transition because your body was expecting that pattern for so long.
Leanne Vogel: Yes, I’m so happy you said this, because I can’t tell you how many people I’ve spoken to and they’ve been eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, two, maybe three snacks a day, and then that was on a Sunday for the last 30 years. And then they decide on Monday they’re gonna just start fasting, and they try to go until 5:00 PM without food. Like, no guys, baby steps. Try to remove the snacks first, and then increase your fat so that you’re not as hungry, and then remove the breakfast. So I’m really happy that you brought that up.
And also, too about the baby steps, something that you said previously is that you do this every day. Do you have to do it every day, do you find, to get those benefits? Or like, for myself, I fast maybe three times a week, and I find that that’s where my body is best. I know that a lot of people probably heard that and thought, “Okay, so now I need to fast every day to get in on the benefits.”
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: There’s a ton of different intermittent fasting methods. You could do the 5:2, method fast for two full days and the other five days are normal. You can do the alternate day fasting. To me, I just like the daily, because I like to create patterns in my day, in my weeks. And if you have a cyclical pattern that you do each and every day it becomes easy, and you start doing things in autopilot. But if you’re gonna go alternate day fasting, to me, that’s too sporadic. And for a lot of my patients, it doesn’t come out and work with their behavior, because they need consistency, and so it tends to be more of a long term lifestyle change when you do it daily, then being so rapid with all these changing things going on in our environment. So I just like to keep things steady, consistent, and I feel like that way it ingrains in human behavior, to really keep this method going for a long term, because it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. That’s what I always like to say.
Leanne Vogel: Yes, totally, completely.
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We had a lot of people submit questions, and we haven’t even gotten to them yet because I just wanted to set the stage. Let’s chat a little bit about fasting for weight loss, because you mentioned that fasting can be beneficial for losing weight. What protocol have you found most effective for weight loss, specifically within the fasting realm?
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: I generally will start patients off on the just the 16:8 method. I’ll tell them to skip one meal a day, and usually that meal’s going to be breakfast or dinner. Basically I need to find what eating window works best for you. Now to be quite honest, to probably get the best physiological benefits, it’s probably best to skip dinner. And the reason why I say that is because eating right before bed can actually have devastating effects on your mitochondria. When you give yourself a huge energetic surplus of food in your least energetic state, sleep, that’s not a good thing. But with that said, as well, it’s way easier for most people to skip breakfast versus dinner, which is why I do it. And also too, dinner’s like a social activity. I do it with my family, my wife, and so that’s like our at home dinner. So I don’t skip dinner, I skip breakfast, but if you’re going for the most benefits, skipping dinner may be the best strategy, personally.
But in regards to that, for weight loss, most people just skipping that one meal a day, just taking a little break off eating, they lose weight very, very fast. Now, most patients and most people out there, they’re going to be obese now based on statistics going on. When you have a lot of excess white fat on you, you’re going to basically lose weight pretty quickly. The intermittent fasting, this method just seems to be an easy way to implement it and get almost instant weight loss results. Now, with that said, when people start to taper off with their results, then I get them to go on more of a ketogenic diet as well. So you’re combining the ketogenic diet with the fasting, and then that seems to break some of that periodization and the plateaus people get, and then they start to get even more and more results.
Leanne Vogel: Before I ask you my next question, I have never heard of mitochondria being affected by eating too late in the day. I would love to find out where I read that, where I can learn more.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: One of my favorite, recent books I just read is Fat For Fuel by Dr. Mercola, and basically, your mitochondria are your energetic powerhouses of your cells, they’re your cellular battery chargers. So basically, their job is to make ATP for energy for our body, but what happens is if we eat a ton of food, you generally want to use that food for energy. But our least metabolic state we go through is sleep, so if you eat a huge meal right before bed, you’re basically giving your mitochondria all this food to basically convert to ATP for easier energy sources, and it ends up just getting stored, because we’re not going to be using that for any type of activity. We’re sleeping at that point. At least, if you’re gonna try to eat dinner, at least try to wait a couple hours before bed to take some pressure off your mitochondria, so they can rest as well.
Leanne Vogel: Brilliant. I love learning new things, thank you so much. I’m totally gonna read that book. It’s actually been in my recommended things on Amazon since it launched, and I keep ignoring it, so now I’m gonna get it. So thank you for that.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: It’s great, and it complements everything I’ve been talking about for years, which is like a biased thing, but that’s also why I have a very high affinity that book. But I mean, I like to learn new things as well, but it was really refreshing to hear one of my favorite mentors of all time, Dr. Mercola, come out with a book that I’d been preaching for the last five years. So it’s really cool to hear that.
Leanne Vogel: Exactly, awesome. Would fasting still be beneficial, say, for digestion and even weight loss if you’re not in ketosis? Because you mentioned, and I know, fasting is so much easier when you’re in ketosis. It’s just a natural progression. But have you seen people do the fasting thing without being in ketosis?
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: I have and so again, like with the intermittent fasting, in general, when you’re just looking at digestion of food. When you consume a meal, say, just a meal with all your macronutrients, you’re gonna have an insulin spike, you’re gonna be replenishing your blood sugar, and you’re gonna be replenishing your blood glycogen stores. Now, some sources vary, but anywhere from like 8 to 12 hours it takes your body to basically get rid of those glycogen and blood sugar stores for energy, where your body can finally go after its fat stores for fuel. Now, with the intermittent fasting, say that you do a 16:8 method, you’re basically going 16 hours without eating. So 8 of those 16 hours, especially that second 8 hour period of that 16 hour full period, you’re gonna basically be looking towards more fat as fuel.
Now, you’re not gonna quite get into clinical ketosis from just this daily intermittent fasting, but you’re still gonna be changing your metabolic capacity a little bit, from glucose, to ketones as fuel. It may just go a little bit, but you’re not gonna quite get into that full-blown, clinical ketosis that most people on the ketogenic diet are on, so it does help with that respect.
Leanne Vogel: That’s awesome. And so you chatted a little bit about your eating window, and either removing breakfast or dinner. I want to talk about 24 hour fasting, but also, I guess, if somebody is just doing intermittent fasting, what I often see in my practice is that people will do intermittent fasting coupled with the calorie reduction. What’s your thought on that? Because like, we’re talking massive calorie reduction. I’ve met people that think that they could maybe combine intermittent fasting also with eating like, a thousand calories a day, and then that will help them lose weight quicker. What’s your thought on that, as it affects your metabolism and insulin resistance and such?
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: I’m not really a fan with caloric restriction. It just seems too diet-y to me, too much in that diet fad. And we all know diets are multibillion dollar industry, and they’re such a huge industry for a reason. People are always failing, and so they’re constantly doing them over and over and over again, giving them more and more business. I’m more of a lifestyle change. When you do intermittent fasting, the 16:8 method, for example, I pretty much let them eat to when they’re comfortable, but again, it’s hard to fit your full day of eating into a smaller eating window. There’s hardly anyone that can eat the exact same amount of food in that shorter amount of time, especially if you’ve got work and stuff like that, that’s using up some your time.
I actually see people naturally restricting calories, but not trying to. They’re still eating until they’re full, they’re still listening to their body and eating when they want to, or not eating when they don’t want to, but again, it’s hard to fit your major breakfast and the snacks all into that smaller window. So people end up restricting calories naturally that way, but they’re not really trying to.
Leanne Vogel: Yes, yes, I agree completely. So, is it necessary to mix up your fasting protocols? Like you mentioned, more of a 16:8, or a 20:4, or are you more of the thought of, if you commit to the 20:4 that’s what you’re doing, that’s what’s best?
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: I switch it up, because I find that if you can narrow that eating window even more, I feel like you’ll get even better results, especially more fat burning results, more growth hormone secretion, and basically, you’re able to purge a little bit of those cancer cells of your body from the autophagy or stimulating, the recycling of your body in regeneration. But 20:4 works good for me, because now, to become fat adapted, I’m not that hungry all the time. And a lot times when I eat, I do get an associated little tiredness or food coma afterwards, and since I like to be productive during the day, the 20:4 method works really good for me. Now if I have a long day of work, sometimes I’ll just do the full 8-hour method, where if I have to eat at lunch and then dinner, that turns into an 8-hour window. But in general, I like to restrict as much as possible for me. It doesn’t have to be for everybody.
Leanne Vogel: Interesting that you mention the tiredness after food. Why do you think that is? I know that when I was fasting quite considerably, I was doing mostly 20 hours fasted, 4 hour eating window, and then I would get extremely tired after my meals. Like, to the point where I would have to do it in the evening when I knew I didn’t have to work, otherwise, my brain would be kaput.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Sure, yeah, I think a lot of it too was like, once you eat something, your body is now dictating its energy for metabolism, and it’s not necessarily for having a brain that’s gonna be well-functioning and doing tasks. So it shifts your energies into storage mode, versus using your energy for doing everyday tasks. So that’s why I feel that you get this food coma a lot. And to me, it just ruins my routine of my day I when I eat too much in one meal, and so I just try to avoid that, and the intermittent fasting is a great way. Dinner tends to be one of my bigger meals with result, but I also try to eat at least two hours before bed, so I can avoid that taxing on the mitochondria.
Leanne Vogel: Brilliant. There’s a lot of confusion around fasting, like a lot of it, especially as it relates to “eating during your fasting window, but still fasting.” For example, people drinking, I mean, this is just a random example, but Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, or having coffee with butter in it. What’s your stance on “eating during your fasting window, but still fasting?”
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Yeah, right, or the juice fast, bone broth fast, there’s so many fasts out there.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Now, it depends on what your goals are. Fasting, in general, can basically rejuvenate your entire body. But I think a lot of those benefits, when you look at the research, is because of the suppression of insulin. So that’s why I do think coffee, or bulletproof coffee, it’s such a popular word now, but that coffee with those healthy fats in there, I do think that’s a good thing, because you’re not giving yourself any carbs during that morning. Now not saying you two tablespoons of coconut oil, two tablespoons of butter. I do like a half tablespoon of each, so I’m not getting really any more than like 300 calories of just pure fat in the morning.
But when you have people go on this method, especially if their eating every two hours, and most people are coffee drinkers, and you say, “Oh, but you can do this bulletproof coffee thing in the morning.” That isn’t a crutch, they absolutely love that, and it just creates so much more compliance with this. And for me too, I mean, I’m a huge coffee drinker, and just for the coffee.
I know we’re switching gears, but if you’re doing a juice fast. Well, juice fast is purely almost all fructose. Now, it’s healthy fructose from a natural food source, like fruit, but you’re gonna be completely elevating insulin doing a juice fast, and so you’re not gonna be getting some of those rejuvenation effects that fasting can offer. Now with that said, it can be good to get your digestive system a break and give yourself a lot of these nutrients from the juice. So it really depends on the goal of doing a bone broth fast, a juice fast.
To me, I actually like doing the fatty coffee, but there’s a limit for that. Some people do way too much, and it gets out a hand, in my opinion. But doing a little bit and giving your brain some of that easily digestible medium chain triglyceride fats to give your brain a boost during that fasting period, it is just a tends to be very beneficial for me and my patients.
Leanne Vogel: So you’re saying, depending on your goals, you can choose different things: bone broth, water, fatty coffee, but I’ve seen people drop like a thousand calories into one fatty coffee and I’m like, “Oh, girl.” That’s a lot.Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: I thought you were fasting, that’s not fasting.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, yeah, totally.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: For fruit, if you’re going for insulin resistance, for example, you’re doing fasting. Well, a juice fast would not be appropriate for that, obviously, because not only are you taking up the fiber of the fruit, you’re also just getting this straight kind of … it’s nutrient dense, but there’s a ton of sugar there. That’s absolutely going to spike your insulin, and definitely not help if you’re trying to get rid of the insulin resistance, for example, which over 50% of the people now have.
Leanne Vogel: Speaking of insulin and insulin response, there’s been a lot of news in the media lately about Stevia and its effect on insulin. Have you experienced this? I know I can eat Stevia and it’s totally fine with my blood sugar and all that stuff, but a lot of people are saying that it’s affecting them. Have you seen anything in your practice?
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: I heard that, yeah. And there’s also a Stevia product called like, I think it’s Truvia or something like that.
Leanne Vogel: Yes, yeah.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: I’ve heard some negative things about that product. Stevia, in my experience, I found it to be fine for when patients are taking it. It’s naturally more sweeter than sugar, and a lot of people just have this massive sweet tooth, that I think even getting off the Stevia … it helps reset their taste buds as well, and they begin to appreciate real, whole foods again. I don’t recommend Stevia, but if they actually have to have like a sugary substance or sweetener, I recommend it. But I mean, for like my coffee, for example, I just add a pinch of cinnamon and I just don’t have that sweet tooth like many people do. So I think that getting off sugar but doing a bunch of Stevia, that’s not really going to reset your taste buds. In fact, it won’t, it will actually make it worse, because Stevia is actually more sweeter than sugar, even though you don’t have that huge insulin response like you do with regular sugar.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, it’s interesting you say that too. I don’t eat a lot of Stevia anymore, like maybe I’ll have it like once every couple of weeks, but I don’t crave as much sugar now than I did when I was putting Stevia in my coffee every morning. It was just, then I would crave more sweet things, and yeah, so I agree with you on that.
More on my interview with Dr. Mike after this message from one of our podcast partners.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: And one thing I just wanted to mention is that you asked the question earlier about fasting and ketosis, and is necessary to be into ketosis. Well to be quite honest, fasting is one of the best ways to get into ketosis, because ketosis literally is mimicking your fasting physiology by going after ketones as fuel. But the best way to do that is to actually not give your body all this food to get into ketosis faster. So that’s why I like the protocol I like to use to get into ketosis is to fast for the first day or two, because you can get into it exponentially faster than if you just start eating a ketogenic diet right away.
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Leanne Vogel: Yes, yes, I’ve experienced that as well. That’s how I got my husband into it really quick. I’m like, “Just don’t eat for two days. You’ll feel great.”
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Exactly. But I hear some weird things, like you have to get into ketosis first, and then you fast. Well I’m like, I think it’s backwards. I think fasting helps you get into ketosis fast, and also too you can experiment was exogenous ketones to get through that transition period faster, but the fasting actually is key to get into that ketosis, which is why, too, fasting completely and the ketogenic diet got developed by John Hopkins for epileptic children, and their protocol for children entering their clinic is to fast, to get into ketosis. And there’s a reason why it starts with fasting: to get into ketosis, because it speeds up that transition period and it’s way, way easier. I think those two topics get mixed up.
Leanne Vogel: They totally do, and I’m happy that you mentioned exogenous ketones. I was actually really, really, really, really against them a couple of months ago, and then I went on my book tour and started speaking to women one-on-one, in person, which is such a powerful experience, so much more than getting an email. And they were just saying like, sometimes it’s hard for people to get into ketosis or to fast, and they really want to get there. But I met woman one woman who had been going through keto flu for a total of six weeks, nonstop. And then she used exogenous ketones, and it went away in two days, and then she kept using it for a couple weeks here and there, and now she doesn’t need it. So I think it can be used as a powerful tool to get over that hump. But before the book tour I was like, no, you don’t need it, just fast, just eat keto, it’ll be fine. But I see that there is a use in some cases, but I do see them being used in the wrong way. I don’t know if you see this as well, but people will think, “Okay, well I’m eating keto, but I really want that cake, so I’ll just eat the cake and then take some ketones and all will be well with the world.”
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Yeah, it becomes a continuous crutch they always use, and I don’t think that’s healthy at all. And I think it does help you get through that transition period a whole lot faster, especially when you actually add some MCT with the exogenous ketones, because you’re giving yourself the precursors and the actual ketones, themselves. And just like you, I’ve gone back and forth with that concept, because I’m not a big fan of taking something in my body that it makes naturally.
Leanne Vogel: Yes.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: With that said, this is just a short-term thing to really speed up that transition period. And so for people, because I know ketosis offers so many benefits, but for most patients out there, they’re not gonna wait through that multiple week keto flu to get into that, because it’s gonna be so discouraging. They’re gonna be like, “Wait, this sucks. This doesn’t feel right.”
Leanne Vogel: “Why am I doing this?” Yeah, yeah, totally. You mentioned fasting first versus doing keto first. I guess what I wanted to ask is more … those people, because there are women listening that have a very blistered relationship with food, and they’ve really been working on encouraging their body and listening to their body, and something that we mentioned a little bit earlier of just sticking to your fasting window and going with it. What do you have to say to maybe women that, or even men, too that are listening, that have that blistered relationship with food. Maybe they’ve been chronic dieters for a really long time, restricted their calories for longer than they can count on their fingers. How does fasting change for those sorts of people, who are trying to listen to their body, but also trying to benefit on fasting?
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Yeah, I think the key with those people, who … Just with these chronic battles with food consumption, I think that the fasting with the ketosis is going to be huge, because they gotta become fat adapted. The sugar, it’s such a fast burning fuel that you get hungry instantly. So if you’re always, always hungry, you’re always gonna be thinking about food. And it all stems back to getting into ketosis. I think the faster these women, and men, definitely I see a lot of men where this is a problem too, the faster they can get into ketosis … We all know that once you’re ketosis, you can go multiple hours without even thinking about food, because you’re literally just using your stored fat, breaking that down by your liver into ketones for fuel. And you’re completely energized, a constant energy flow, and you don’t have to think about that food.
I think getting into ketosis, and definitely measure your ketone levels. Don’t just assume you’re in ketosis, measure the ketone levels. Because if you’re constantly hungry, but you’re like, “Oh, I’ve done ketosis for this long,” then you’re probably not in there because you haven’t checked. So I think that the ketosis is really the magic bullet for that.
Leanne Vogel: How do you test your ketones? I always like to ask people, “What’s your go-to?”
=Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: I used to advise the urine strips, definitely not anymore. I think that is the worst thing to do, because some people in ketosis don’t excrete that much ketones in their urine, some do. So people can get false negatives, false positives, and to me, I was getting a lot of false readings too. I think the best method is the Precision Extra tool by Abbott. You buy these keto strips, it comes with a blood pricker, everything, you just test your blood, put it on the strip. It measures your blood levels to the exact millimolar, so that, I think, is the best way to do it and it’s super easy.=
Leanne Vogel: Have you heard of the LEVL breath analyzer of ketones? I just got one, and I haven’t tried it yet, but I just wanted to ask like, have you heard of this?
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: I’ve heard of it, and it measures the acetone, correct, in the breath?
Leanne Vogel: Yeah.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: And I think that’s good, but I think beta-hydroxybutyrate is more abundant, that’s using your body. I think that when you have a blood test measuring your beta-hydroxybutyrate levels, in my experience, I just feel like that’s super easy, and I know that beta-hydroxybutyrate is the primary ketone we use as fuel. So I think that that way might be a little bit more superior than the acetone breath analyzer, but I certainly think the breath one is better than the urine strip.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, yeah, on a scale urine, is “Eh,” breath is okay, and blood wins every time.Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Yes, exactly, because the blood doesn’t lie. That’s what I like to say.
Leanne Vogel: Totally, it’s so true, it does not.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: If your blood’s negative, then guess what? You’re negative, 100%.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, cool. I like that. And so there’s a lot of people that have some health imbalances and want to try fasting. Do you adjust your fasting protocol, if a client works with you that maybe has adrenal dysfunction, or Hashimoto’s, or insulin resistance?
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Yeah, I do. I’ll tell them to, instead of starting with a 16:8 method right away, we start in baby steps. So I just say instead of eating first thing in the morning, which they’ve been trained to do, just start to delay a few hours, or in 30 minute increments every day or every week. Just baby steps your way up, because for these kinds of people, starting one day off right away, not eating breakfast … just like trying to get into ketosis and going through that transition period. It just demoralizes them, because they can’t commit to something like this that’s making them feel so bad. And so I think for all these thyroid issues and stuff, which is a whole ‘nother topic, I just think that starting in the most baby step as possible, but working your way up to that 16:8 method is gonna be fantastic, but you just don’t do it right away.
Leanne Vogel: Would the same apply for low testosterone or low progesterone? I know that my experience, when my hormones, my sex hormones are low, fasting doesn’t work as well with my body and my hormones. But I’ve seen where hormones are higher, like high progesterone or anything like that, that it’s actually beneficial to fast. What’s your thought on people that have wonky hormones when it comes to fasting?
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Well it seems like, based on the literature, that you have insulin and, for instance, growth hormone. And they’re indirectly related, so when we can suppress insulin, we’re gonna raise growth hormone. And fasting definitely shows so much research and the ability to raise growth hormone, which in turn, can affect our testosterone, progesterone, everything, both males and females. So I do find that fasting, not necessarily long-term, but especially with intermittent fasting, it actually shows very positive benefits on hormone levels for that.
Leanne Vogel: Cool, awesome. And is it true that the longer you fast … I guess we already answered this question. More like if you have adrenal dysfunction or thyroid issues, can fasting potentially harm these organs, that are already weak and sad?
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Yeah, if you have adrenal fatigue, I don’t think that doing a ton of bulletproof coffee is gonna help. It’s actually just gonna tax your adrenals even more.
Leanne Vogel: Because of the caffeine, right?
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Exactly.
Leanne Vogel: Okay.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Yeah, and it because of the caffeine. And then also, too, that’s why some people will notice, without eating, they feel like they have these tremor type issues. I think a lot of that actually stems from the caffeine consumption. A lot of people who aren’t going the caffeine, or if that’s the case and they feel weak, just having a good pure fat source like, a half an avocado or something would be definitely beneficial for that. Just as long as you’re not spiking insulin, because again, I do think that a lot of these benefits stem from keeping insulin low. So aiming at food to keep the insulin low is basically gonna help with every single thing else going on, because once you work on insulin, you’re gonna work on every hormone in the body. Insulin is like that signal molecule. So once you lower insulin, almost every other hormone your body, and every other organ, starts to work better.
Leanne Vogel: Is it fair to say too, like I know that if you have too low of insulin, that’s also not a good thing.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: It’s not a good thing, which is why I don’t recommend continuous ketosis. And I know I said it, and you got the keto podcast, and I’m sorry.
Leanne Vogel: Dun dun dun dun!!! No, let’s go there, I love it.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: I’m not a continuous guy, and I don’t think that’s what we’re made for. And it all stems back from our ancestors. They would go, and they would go hunting for three, four days without any meal in their body, but they were still able to hunt effectively, because they were in ketosis. But then what happens is when they finally catch their game and they get a bunch of food gathered up, then they’ll go into feast mode, and they’ll get out of ketosis. So they literally use both of their metabolic capacities, using glucose as fuel, and fat as fuel, in a cyclical fashion.
And I totally think that’s what we’re made for. Our body does not like to be in the same state forever, that’s why we sleep, that’s why we wake up, that’s why we do high intensity interval training. Periods of high intensity intervals versus periods of rest. So I think our body likes these different states, and our body has these different metabolic capacities because they should be used, both of them should be used. And so especially after like a period of strength training, I do think fruit is good, fruit in proportion. I think going a full day, or many, many years in this continuous ketosis state, and so avoiding all fruit and everything, and lots of vegetables for that matter, I don’t think that’s healthy.
Leanne Vogel: I couldn’t agree with you more, and I’ve never had a guest on that said that, and we need to have you on every week.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: I have a protocol I do with the cyclical ketosis, and how to get into it and out, and right now me my wife do it actually once a week for a three-day period. We’ll get into ketosis and then we’ll go back out. But those days I’m in ketosis, I don’t do a whole lot of major strength training during those days, but then once I’m off of it, that’s when your body is getting the benefits. For example, you could talk about the mTOR pathway, which is a whole ‘nother discussion, but super, super interesting, that I’m very passionate about. There’s all these things associated with ketosis and fasting that just spike my curiosity, I get too excited and I talk too fast and my mind goes all over the place. But it’s just so important to do it cyclical, in my opinion. And that’s also, too, why I talk about that in my book, and also to Dr. Mercola with his Fat For Fuel book. It’s exactly on point with everything I’ve been saying.
Leanne Vogel: Yes, and it’s so nice to speak with somebody that agrees on that. It’s something that I’ve been practicing. I did six months hardcore keto, didn’t cheat once, and I felt like garbage. I did not feel good, and I started dealing with a lot of issues. And now that I have that cyclical practice, I’m on top of the world. Every doctor said I would never get my menstruation back, that’s been back for almost two years this September, and ovulating and everything. It’s because I’m always changing that state of my body, and I think if those listening who are like, “How? What? I don’t even understand.” Very much in line with the daily fat burner, fat field profile, or even the adopted fat burner full keto profiles I share all over, and Fat Fueled and The Keto Beginning, or sorry, in The Keto Diet. In my paperback I talk about that very thing of the cyclical practice, and the benefits that it can bring.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Yeah, and that’s huge. But if you’re severely obese, you can obviously stay in ketosis for a little bit of an extended period of time, because you’re obviously going to go into a massive fat burning state in ketosis, but just know that’s not gonna be in the state you’re gonna be in forever. And some people think that, and they do it, some people do it for months and months and months, and I don’t think that’s good, because a lot of the benefits you get is doing re-feeding stage, but also, too, you can’t get to those benefits of re-feeding until you go through those benefits of fasting in ketosis. So it all prepares you for these re-feeding phases and all those benefits you get from that.
Leanne Vogel: And I guess it would depend how long you stay in ketosis, based on what your goals are. Because I know people listening that just heard what you said, they’d be like, “Okay so like, how long is too long? And when should I re-feed?” And they want the details of like step one: this. Step two: this. Can you give any insight as to what they should do, or could do?
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Yeah, so you the first thing you gotta do is you have to train your body into getting into ketosis, because that whole metabolic pathway, it has a muscle memory. The more you’re able to get into ketosis, the easier it is. So for me, I can literally get into ketosis in 24 hours now, which is very, very nice. But for some people, it can take two, three, four weeks, so your first step is to just get into ketosis. When you’re getting into ketosis, your first step, we gotta get to that metabolic flexibility, actually reach that state. I like to fast for the first day doing the exogenous ketones with the MCT oil powder, that’s what I personally. I use Quest MCT oil powder. I mix those, and I do two to three drinks of those a day and that’s it for the first day. And then the second day, I still do that intermittent fasting, where it’s the 16:8 method, for example, but during your eating window, you’re just eating those ketogenic foods.
For me, I don’t do that exogenous ketone drink beyond the first day because that gets me into ketosis right away. But for other people, they can do that continuously for a few days until they reach that level, especially if they’re measuring their blood levels of beta-hydroxybutyrate, your ketones. And then, once you’re at that level, I like to stick with it, because you’re gonna feel really good once you’re in ketosis. It’s not hard anymore. Once we can reach that metabolic flexibility of getting into ketosis, then I recommend roughly a three day period, once or twice a month going into ketosis and going out, going in, going out. Now, I do it once a week, but for some people that’s a little bit too extreme. So for most people, I recommend a two day, three day period each month.
Leanne Vogel: Cool, I like it, awesome. And let’s get into more of the specifics of fasting, because we chatted about a lot of things, but I think that people have questions about how to do stuff. So what are the best foods to break a fast? Do you care about that if you’re only doing more of the intermittent fasting, where you’re having, a 20 hour fasting window? Or is it just whatever you want?
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Yeah, I think anything over like two or three days, I think, it becomes important what you’re introducing your first meal during the re-feeding stage, but during the intermittent fast, I typically always break my fast with bone broth and a smoothie. It’s just easy, and the smoothie’s gonna have some super foods, some raw cacao powder, maca root, collagen, Great Lakes gelatin with like a frozen green banana, just to have more of that resistant starch versus the simple sugar. It’s something just very easy and whole food, but I don’t think you have to complicate it too much, especially if you’re just doing the intermittent fasting, a daily one.
I think when you have longer fasting periods that becomes important, where you don’t want to eat too much. To me, avocados are just my go to. I mean, I consume two avocados a day, just like, that’s my crutch right there.
Leanne Vogel: Oh, me too.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: To me, that’s always a good answer. And then after that avocado, if you’re still hungry, keep going. But I think that’s a good way to start, and if you’ve through a three day or longer fast, usually if you have an avocado right after that to introduce back. You’re kind of like, you don’t really need to eat anymore beyond that, just for a little bit of time period. Just let your body be like, “Okay, this is the food,” let it take its time digest that food instead of going all in and eating like a 1500 calorie meal.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah I’ve done that, it really sucks.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: It’s not fun, it’s not fun.
Leanne Vogel: I’ll never do that again.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: It really isn’t.
Leanne Vogel: And how should people deal with like medications or supplements that require food if they’re fasting? We mentioned probably the best meal to cut would be dinner, so in that case, you should be okay because most medications are in the morning. But what if you need to take food with your medications? How do you manage that?
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Well again, the best meal to skip would be dinner, but it’s just not practical for the majority of people. Most people do the breakfast, because dinner is a very social activity, where breakfast is not. Breakfast tends to be this on the go thing, but with that said, I usually recommend, when you talk about supplements, medications during your first meal of the day, because a lot when you’re taking any type of pill on an empty stomach, you feel that nausea feeling, just that sickness. And a lot of the supplements and stuff, vitamin D et cetera, they’re fat-soluble. So you want to take it with a fat or some food to improve the absorption.
But things like vitamin C or iodine or something like that, those are easier to take during the fasting period. But to keep it simple, I would just do everything during your first meal of the day unless, the medication says take on an empty stomach, obviously.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, definitely, then do that, because winning.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Yeah, exactly.
Leanne Vogel: Say somebody’s been fasting, maybe a couple of times and they’re not really sure what they’re doing. Are there certain signs that they should watch for that maybe this isn’t a good thing for them? Or that they should probably eat and break their fast?
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Yeah, to me that stems more with the ketosis, because with ketosis there’s some blood markers you do definitely want to be mindful of. If you see these massive spikes in like, for example, triglycerides or LDL cholesterol, first of all, if you have a huge spike in LDL from being in ketosis, then that probably means you’re having too much dairy fat. To be honest, it’s very easy to eat a really gross amount of cheese and stay in ketosis, and a lot of that can wreak havoc on your cholesterol levels. But if you see your LDL spike big time, I would take out more of those dairy fats and maybe change it up to more of a coconut based milk or something like that, which actually helps, but also, too, if you notice that your triglycerides in your blood is elevated or anything like that, then I just definitely think that ketosis or a ketogenic diet is probably not for you, because you’re just not adapting to it. So I would like those two markers for sure.
In regards to the fasting, I mean, people … you gotta expect that you’re gonna have some cravings for the first one to two weeks. Really, you’re transitioning. You’re going from eating breakfast or whatever meal you’re skipping each and every day to not having that. And so you’re going to go through a transition period, just like if you’re gonna quit anything in life, and so you just got to expect that, but just know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and those cravings will eventually go away. And that’s just how your physiology works. You’re gonna start to become more fat adapted and you’re not gonna get those cravings.Leanne Vogel: Wonderful, wow. I could talk to you for like, 700 more hours about all the things. Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Same here, let’s keep going.
Leanne Vogel: Let’s do it, let’s do it. Where can people find you?
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: My website is in the making right now, but that’s gonna be DrMichaelVan.com. Most people find me on YouTube, that would be just YouTube.com/DrMichaelVanDC, or they can just type in my name, Dr. Michael VanDerschelden, it will pop right up. Facebook, and also, too, you can find my book, The Scientific Approach to Intermittent Fasting, which really goes into every detail. To me, it helps when you know why something is good for you, and when you really understand the science behind why it’s good and how it’s working in your body, it becomes way easier to implement. And so to me I wrote it in layman’s terms, it’s really good for all levels of understanding with the body, because I really go over basic, simple principles of anatomy and physiology in that book, so you can find that on Amazon. Just type in intermittent fasting and it will come right up, so yeah.
Leanne Vogel: Cool, awesome. Well I will include the links to all of the things that you just mentioned, as well as a bunch of different books that we talked about during the episode. You guys can find it at healthfulpursuit.com/podcast/e46, and thanks so much for being on the show today, thank you so much.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Thank you so much for having me, and also, too, if anyone has any questions regarding what we talked about, you can also message me on YouTube and/or Facebook, and I always get back to those as well.
Leanne Vogel: Wow, that’s impressive. That’s really cool. Okay, thank you so much.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: It may take a couple days, but I will get to it.Leanne Vogel: Brilliant, thank you so much for offering that up to all of the listeners.
Dr. Michael VanDerschelden: Thanks for having me Leanne, appreciate it.
Leanne Vogel: You bet.
And that does it for another episode of The Keto Diet Podcast. Thanks for listening in. You can follow me on Instagram by searching Healthful Pursuit, where you’ll find daily keto eats and other fun things. And check out all of my keto supportive programs, bundles, guides, and other cool things over at healthfulpursuit.com/shop and I’ll see you next Sunday. Bye.
I work on finding the best products that have quality ingredients, care about their customers, and have integrity. The brand(s) I’ve shared here are awesome, and I stand behind them 100%. Opinions in this blog post are never ever influenced by the partner. Like, never!
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Hi! I’m Leanne
a Keto Nutritionist, host of The Keto Diet Podcast, and best-selling author of The Keto Diet & Keto for Women. I want to live in a world where every woman has access to knowledge to better her health.