Atkins Fat Fast Really Is As Awesome As I Thought

natural coconut walnut oil
As I write this, I have lost 6.4 pounds in 5 days.

Fat Fast Cookbook by Dana Carpender Published by CarbSmart Press

Fat Fast Cookbook by Dana Carpender

Introducing CarbSmart’s Fat Fast Cookbook:

  • Are you having trouble losing weight, even on the Atkins Induction phase?
  • Have you lost weight successfully on low carb, but hit a plateau or started to regain weight even though you’re still following your low carb diet?
  • Are you looking for a way to add more healthy fat to your low carb diet?
  • Are you interested in jump-starting your weight loss the low carb way?

Learn more about CarbSmart’s Fat Fast Cookbook.

On May 1st I turned in the manuscript for another cookbook,  500 Paleo Recipes.  It will be out sometime in the fall, and, needless to say, I’d love it if you all went to Amazon and pre-ordered it.  Heck, order two.

It is the supreme irony of my professional life that I can gain weight writing diet cookbooks.  How?  Why?  Does this suggest that my recipes aren’t as healthful as I claim?  Not at all.  What it suggests is that five hundred recipes is a whole darned lot of recipes to come up with in six months time.  I cook and eat more than I otherwise would, that’s all.

In the normal course of things, if I don’t like what the scale says I’ll cut back for a day or two, eating virtually no carbs, and certainly not eating unless I’m physically hungry.  Intensive recipe development doesn’t allow for this; I have to cook and eat whether I’m hungry or not, the scale be damned.  Indeed, I can get out of the habit of weighing myself.

All of which explains why I recently found myself asking a great deal of my size ten jeans.  When I did weigh myself, it turned out I was up a good 12 pounds since Christmas.  That’s most of a dress size.  Ugh.

I was determined to evict those pounds before they called up a bunch of friends and invited them over for a party.  So last weekend I started fat fasting. I’ve been talking about my fat fast on my Facebook fan page, and understandably people want to know more about it. I’ve written about it before, but interest is great enough it seemed time for another mention. So here’s the skinny, you should pardon the pun:

Recommended by the late, great Dr. Atkins as a way to overcome metabolic resistance to weight loss or to break a stall, a fat fast is simple: 1000 calories per day, 90% of those calories from fat.  Yes, this is calorie controlled as well as extremely low carbohydrate, and even low protein.  The fat fast catapults you into deep ketosis, with its triple benefit of appetite suppression, metabolic advantage, and protection of muscle mass.  Once you’re in that ketosis, the calorie restriction forces your body to turn to its liberated fat stores for fuel.

I’ve covered the research regarding the fat fast in a previous article, and wrote about my first experience with it last autumn.  Here are some other thoughts on the subject:

  • I was moderately hungry the first couple of days.  Then serious ketosis kicked in, and I’m far less hungry than you might imagine.  Di Bauer said she hates fat fasting, but I’m really not finding it that onerous, and certainly I find it easy considering the weight loss it is causing.
  • As mentioned in last autumn’s article, I have tried the widely-touted HCG protocol.  It worked, but it screwed up my blood sugar.  Despite the hype, I lost weight at about half the speed I am on the fat fast.  Further, my fat fast allows me twice the calories, and requires no injections.
  • More than actual hunger, I find myself wanting to eat a little something just to eat.  Most of us are prey to this.  One of the benefits of the fat fast is that it makes me conscious of how often I automatically reach for a handful of nuts, or a square of sugar-free chocolate, with no real hunger behind it.
  • I feel fine.  My head is clear, my energy level is good, my mood is cheerful.  This might have something to do with the fact that my ketostix are turning a deep royal purple.
  • I’m neither sitting around like a slug, nor exercising like a mad thing.  I go for a walk most days, because it’s June and it’s gorgeous out there, and I love to walk.  I did my usual Slow Burn weight lifting on Monday, and plan to do it again today (Friday.)  Oh, and I’ve been doing my breathing exercises.
  • Jimmy Moore has written about fat fasting.  I love and respect Jimmy, but disagree with him on this subject.  He asserts that fast fasting shouldn’t be used unless you are severely metabolically resistant and simply can’t lose weight any other way, but doesn’t explain why he feels that way.  He also asserts that fat fasting done simply to lose weight rapidly can be dangerous, but again, does not explain why.  The original research on the subject, first by Kekwick and Pawan and then by Benoit, mentions nothing about severe metabolic resistance, and indeed the subjects were put on other programs for comparison, losing weight on some of them.  They simply lost fat most rapidly on the fat fast.
  • Similarly, I’ve had queries as to whether it’s safe to fat fast beyond the 3-4 days recommended by Dr. Atkins.  I suspect that Dr. A mostly felt the fat fast was too restrictive for most people to want to continue for any longer than absolutely necessary.  In Benoit’s research at the Oakland Naval Hospital, subjects fat-fasted for 10 days, and reported no ill effects.  They lost an average of 14.5 pounds in that time, with only a half-pound of muscle mass lost.  The same subjects lost twice as much fat on the fat fast than they had eating nothing at all, without the considerable muscle loss the total fast incurred. Because of the muscle-sparing effect of ketosis, it’s hard for me to imagine a safer quick weight loss plan.
  • That said, the fat fast is notably short on protein – I’m eating about 30 grams per day.  I wouldn’t want to do that much longer than Benoit’s ten days.
  • It is hard – really hard – to get a full 90% of calories from fat, unless you can afford a lot of macadamia nuts (exactly 90% fat), or like plain cream cheese better than I do.  Most days I get between 80-85% of my calories from fat.  This seems to be sufficient.  Too, I often range as high as 1200 calories.  It doesn’t seem to be preventing fat loss.
  • When I do my Slow Burn, I eat at least 20 grams of protein afterward, making sure to get plenty of fat with it. (Last time I had 7 ounces of fatty pork ribs.)  Why?  Because Fred Hahn told me to, that’s why.  He says that there’s a magical hour after heavy resistance training when the muscles are primed to suck up amino acids for growth and repair.

So what do I eat on my fat fast?  I wrote about this in the first article, but there have been some additions to the menu:

  • Most mornings I’ve been eating 3 eggs scrambled in a full tablespoon of coconut oil.  This is a change from when I fat fasted last autumn, and I think it’s beneficial. This has 317 calories, 77% from fat.  The lower fat percentage means I have to eat extra-high-fat during the rest of the day to keep my percentage up, but I love eggs, love big breakfasts, and like getting most of my protein early in the day.  Too, coconut oil is profoundly ketogenic.
  • Pepperoni chips with whipped cream cheese.  I take an ounce of pepperoni slices (about 15 little pre-packaged slices), lay them on a plate, and nuke them for 90 seconds on high.  They get nicely crispy.  I then spread them with a total of 2 tablespoons of cream cheese.  Very tasty!
  • Tofu shirataki fettuccine with a tablespoon and a half of butter, two tablespoons grated Parmesan, and a touch of garlic.  This has a higher fat percentage than the fat fast Alfredo I mentioned in the previous article.

I have a great mac-and-cheese recipe:

Fat Fast Mac-and-Cheese

  • 1 packet  tofu shirataki, preferably fettuccine width
  • 2 tablespoons  heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon  whipped cream cheese
  • 1 1/4 ounces  cheddar cheese — shredded
  • ½ tablespoon  coconut oil

Drain and rinse 1 packet of tofu shirataki — I like the fettuccine width or the hard-to-find macaroni version.  Put ‘em in a bowl, and nuke them on high for 90 seconds or so.  Drain them again.  Nuke them again.  Drain them again.  This should get the excess water out of them.

Add everything else to the bowl, and stir till the cheese melts and you have a smooth sauce.  That’s all!

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

1 serving with: 339 Calories; 33g Fat (86.4% calories from fat); 10g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber

Being me, I have recipe ideas brewing that I haven’t tried yet.  I have a beautiful, ripe avocado in the house, so I think I’ll have half an avocado, sliced, with a teaspoon of olive oil and a half teaspoon lime juice, plus S&P, for my next “feeding.”  202 calories, 82% fat.  I have a party to go to tonight, and if the hostess okays my bringing something, I’ll stuff some mushrooms with Boursin cheese and bake them.   Too, I’ve figured out that 4 ounces of sliced mushrooms, sauteed in a tablespoon of butter, with a tablespoon of Boursin melted in, will come to 190 calories, 82% fat.  I’ve calculated that two jalapeno peppers, seeded and stuffed with a total of 1 ½ ounces of cream cheese, then each wrapped in a strip of bacon and broiled or grilled till the bacon is done, will have 230 calories, 82% fat.  And I want to try mixing an ounce each of cream cheese and sour cream with a little melted chocolate, plus chocolate liquid stevia.  How bad could it be?  234 calories, 84% fat.

You’ll notice that none of these is 90% fat.  I’ve been relying on at least one serving per day of macadamia nuts to push my fat percentage a bit higher.  It’s rough, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

(Oh, and I forgot!  I actually bought a couple of pounds of beef fat trimmings.  I cut this in small strips, lay it on my broiler rack, and roast it till it’s crispy.  Don’t have an exact figure on this, but surely it’s at least 90% fat.)

I keep track of my calories and fat percentage in my MasterCook program – I just enter everything I eat as if it were ingredients in a single recipe, then hit the recipe analysis button.  I very much recommend that if you fat fast you keep track as well.  If you don’t have a food tracker app or program, Fit Day has a free nutrition tracker program that works nicely.

So what’s the take-away message, here?  That fat fasting is an extremely fast way to lose fat with minimal muscle loss.  That’s it’s not a walk in the park, but it’s not gruesome, either.  And that regardless of the restrictions, Dana has to create recipes.  (In fact, there’s a part of my brain that given dietary restrictions immediately starts trying to figure out all the best things to eat within those parameters.)

But the most important message – hardly new, but one that needs hammering home over and over again – is that fat is not the enemy.  Your low carb diet should not be low fat as well, nor should it be, as so many think, high protein.  Super-low carb, moderate protein, high fat is the best way to lose fat.

Or as we say around my house, “Atkins was right.”

Fat Fast Cookbook by Dana Carpender Published by CarbSmart Press

Fat Fast Cookbook by Dana Carpender

Introducing CarbSmart’s Fat Fast Cookbook:

  • Are you having trouble losing weight, even on the Atkins Induction phase?
  • Have you lost weight successfully on low carb, but hit a plateau or started to regain weight even though you’re still following your low carb diet?
  • Are you looking for a way to add more healthy fat to your low carb diet?
  • Are you interested in jump-starting your weight loss the low carb way?

Learn more about CarbSmart’s Fat Fast Cookbook.


  1. carol Palinkas says

    I ‘m loving the new carbsmart magazine – lots of work went into this and it shows. Great article on fat fasting too. The only thing that would be better would be the podcast coming back ….

    Thanks for the visual feast.

  2. Vicki says

    I made your mac and cheese recipe last night for dinner, and it is so delicious. Thank you for all your work, putting together such good recipes. I bought shirataki noodles last week (it was a Groupon deal) and had not loved them until I made your mac and cheese.

    • says


      1000 calories per day, mostly from fat for 5 days is the best way to do it.

      You could have a little more calories but the high fat content should keep you satisfied for those 5 days.


  3. Hazel says

    Atkins revamped book published in 2002 discusses the fact that many people lose too much weight too fast (on Fat Fast) so be safe.

    This is not a warning from me but from Dr. Atkins’ book.

    I’m on Fat Fast right now, third day, my jeans and rings are looser. LOVE cream cheese and Brie. I don’t get bored or hungry. Three years ago I did a Fat Fast using butter; lost about 10 pounds in about 5 days, at the end I could feel muscles beneath my skin.

  4. Kiki says

    I’m on Day 4 of my Fat Fast now,

    I have 3 eggs in the morning but remove the yolk
    For lunch I have shiritaki fried in coconut oil with lemon and a bit of coriander
    For dinner I have cheese and cracked fresh black pepper
    Snacks: Double cream mixed with clotted cream and stevia and macadamia nuts

    I did day 3 with no calories restriction and instead consumed 2000 calories, at exactly 90% fat according to MFP, the scales were 1 lb lower.

    Don’t you think it’s mostly water weight though? My clothes defo fit looser, but I know water weight is visible so I wonder. I just don’t know how much FAT anyone can realistically loose on a 1000 calories

    Love ur post

  5. Wendy says

    Dana — will taking fiber supplements hinder a fat fast? I usually take benefiber (dissolves in the water i drink).

    I’m on day two of my fast… yesterday i wasn’t very prepared, so i ate macadamia nuts 5 times that day. Let me tell you — i didn’t want to get the last ounce down. BUT — then i woke up 2.1 pounds lighter this morning! whoo hoo! Today i’m adding in some chicken with mayo for a few of my ‘mini’ meals to see how that works for me.
    I’d love to make some fat bombs this weekend — do you know of any recipes that use chopped nuts like pecans or macadamias?

    I was a low carber years ago, and i should have stuck to it — so now I’m back and I’m glad i kept all of your cookbooks Dana, and I just bought this Fast Fat book yesterday. So far I’m down about 12 pounds….with a long way to go…. :D

  6. says

    Hi. I LOVE the Fat Fast recipe book! I lost 6 pounds in the last 5 days. Today is the 6th day and I really don’t know how to proceed in eating without gaining it all back! I hope you receive this and can maybe steer me toward a post elsewhere that suggests what to do next, in order to keep as much of the lost weight off as possible going forward. Thanks!

  7. Adeline says

    I’m on Day 1…never knew how much I don’t like heavy cream in coffee, but it’s down & I’m going to try something else tomorrow. I did this once before but this time I’d like to try adding pepperoni, egg yolks, etc. I have a lot to lose & am trying get off to a good start—so I need all the recipes & hints I can get, glad that some people posted what they’ve been eating !!

  8. Sue K says

    I have a been on fat fast for 4 days and have not any weight. I am 5’2″ current weight 165, goal weight 130 lbs.
    My meals consist of:
    Breakfast- 2 eggs fried in coconut oil, black tea with heavy cream and 1 Splenda
    Lunch : 2 oz Rib eye cooked in coconut oil with half avocado
    Snack- 1 oz macadamia nuts
    Dinner- Same as Lunch ( alternate between steak and chicken)
    I input my foods in the atkins calorie counter and it comes out to 900 calories with 70%fat, 20% protein,10% carbs.
    I walk 3 miles 2X a week .

    Am I eating too little? Not sure what I am doing wrong.

    • Sasha says

      Hi there,
      I love your posts and hope you can respond to the one in particular, about what to eat POST FF. I’ve done the FF 2 times already each with great results, but have stopped after about 2 or 3 days with the weight coming back because I really was not sure what to eat after the fast. So I’m doing it again – third time’s a charm – and plan to VERY slowly reintroduce carbs and more protein.

      Sue, I’m not professional in any of this so my advice is purely out of interest to help, but I think what might be holding you back is the general measurements you mention about the heavy cream with your tea, it can really add up; I am not sure if eating too little would stall a weight loss in this case. Also, try to aim for 80 percent fat at least, if you cannot make it to the 90 percent point which so few can.

      Thanks everyone!!
      Sassy Sasha :)

    • Yuri says

      Hi Sue K,

      You should be eating more fat. 70% is a little low for fat fasting. Try to bump it up to at least 80-90%. This can easily be done with bulletproof coffee. Just add a tablespoon of coconut oil and/or tbsp of butter to your black coffee. It will give you tons of energy. I’m on day 1 of FF and I’m already showing dark purple on my keto test strips and have lost 1 lb.

  9. Leslie tomlinson says

    I have been on Atkins induction for seven weeks with no real weight loss..six are at trace to mod. Overnight I go down two lbs.then up 3 the next day. This fat fast is my last hope. Please help.


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