The KetoFlex diet, also known as KetoFlex 12/3, is a diet that can promote weight loss, reduce the body’s inflammatory responses, and improve brain function.
The diet combines ketosis and time-restricted healthy eating. Read on to find out if the KetoFlex diet is for you and how it works.
What is the KetoFlex 12/3 Diet?
KetoFlex 12/3 is so-called because it restricts eating within a 12-hour window and until 3 hours before bedtime. This means that if you go to bed at 11 pm, then you must take your last bite or sip of any liquid other than water no later than 8 pm. Taking into account your regular bedtime, your 12-hour eating window should begin at 8 am.
A lot of people already follow a similar eating schedule so they find it easy enough to switch to the KetoFlex 12/3 diet, as doing so usually means making minimal changes. Following the KetoFlex 12/3 schedule is relatively easy even for those who eat within a longer window. The KetoFlex diet allows a long enough eating period so that there is no hunger or deprivation involved.
The purpose of the 12/3 window is to allow blood sugar to go down to the lowest possible level before the first meal of the day is consumed. As it is also a mostly plant-based diet, it also promotes ketosis, which can aid in weight loss and reducing inflammation.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a natural metabolic state that enables the body to switch from burning glucose from carbohydrates for energy, to burning fat. The body undergoes ketosis when it is on a low-carb, high-fat, and moderate-protein diet and/or when it goes through a fasting period.
Mild ketosis can offer some health benefits, including weight loss and reduced blood sugar levels. It can be intentionally induced through a ketogenic diet and/or intermittent fasting, wherein a lack of glucose from the diet triggers the liver to produce ketones in order to burn fat for energy. The fat-burning promotes weight loss, whereas the reduced carbohydrate intake lowers blood sugar levels.
Guidelines for the KetoFlex Diet
The KetoFlex 12/3 diet is a modified intermittent fasting strategy combined with a plant-based, low-carb diet. Meat is allowed, but only in small amounts. Healthy fats are chosen based on one’s genetic information. Carbohydrates should only come from foods with a low glycemic index, ideally under 35, as well as non-starchy vegetables.
Below are the guidelines when following the KetoFlex 12/3 Diet:
- The diet’s focus is on eating raw and cooked vegetables that include all the colors of the rainbow, and are organic, seasonal, and local; the more colorful the plate, the more nutritious it is.
- Include whole fruits with a low glycemic index, and skip the pre-packaged fruit juices. Fruits that have a high glycemic index and should be avoided include mangoes, papaya, and other tropical fruits. Fruits that you should always fill your shopping bags with include berries, grapefruit, lemons, and limes.
- Get good fats from avocados and avocado oil; nuts and seeds, including their oils and butters; olive oil; and MCT oil.
- When it comes to high-quality protein, sources include grass-fed beef, pastured chicken and their eggs, and wild-caught fatty fish, particularly salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and herring (also referred to as SMASH fish).
- Meat should be treated as a condiment instead of the main course, and should be limited to 2 to 3 ounces two or three nights a week.
- Other good protein sources include beans, nuts, and soy.
- Include probiotics and prebiotics in your diet. You can get probiotics from kimchi, kombucha, miso soup, sauerkraut, and sour pickles; prebiotics are found in dandelion greens, garlic, onions, raw artichokes, and raw leeks.
- Avoid processed foods, or consume only minimal amounts. Any food product with a list of ingredients is processed. Exceptions are packaged products that only list a few, clean/real ingredients.
- Avoid or minimize consumption of gluten and dairy products. These are not only high in carbs, but are also associated with chronic inflammation.
- As much as possible, keep cooking time short, cook using lower temperatures, and cook with water. Avoid broiling, frying, grilling, roasting, and searing; these methods change the chemical structure of foods, which typically produce harmful substances that can induce inflammation.
- A combination of aerobic exercise and strength training for at least 45 minutes per session and at least 4 times a week is recommended. Your minimum weekly goal should be 150 minutes of exercise that gets you huffing and puffing.
- Get adequate, naturally-induced sleep; 8 hours per night is ideal. It’s okay to take melatonin to help you sleep better; about 0.5 mg is recommended, but up to 20 mg is also okay.
The KetoFlex 12/3 Diet – Bottom Line
The KetoFlex 12/3 diet is a combination of a mild keto diet and intermittent fasting; it is also flexible enough that it can be safely adopted by omnivores or vegetarians. The diet requires limiting food intake within a 12-hour window each day, with the last meal being consumed at least 3 hours before bedtime. It also emphasizes a diet rich in whole foods and low in carbohydrates.
The KetoFlex diet can effectively lead to weight loss, and it is easy enough to follow and sustain long-term. Other benefits of the diet include reduced inflammation and, consequently, reduced risk for diseases caused by chronic inflammation. It is also promoted as a diet protocol for preventing cognitive decline, particularly in relation to Alzheimer’s.