Zone Diet + Intermittent Fasting Advice

Zone diet + Intermittent fasting

First of yes I am aware that tracking calories yields far better results but I have started the zone diet purely as a experiment also having been a low carb strict calorie counter for a long time recently cycling of a year long keto diet so I thought i would experiment around with the zone diet to give myself a mental break for a while and go on my bodies response and not by how many calories i have consumed.

During the period that i was following a keto diet i was following a 16:8 IF protocol and would like to hear from anybody who has previous experience with the zone diet in regards to incorporating intermittent fasting with it

Goal of this experiment is to determine a maintenance base level on the zone die and establish a IF protocol then once adapted move on to gaining some weight somewhere around 165lbs to begin with whilst monitoring effects on performance and body composition

Starting point Zone diet at 17 blocks a day - 5 breakfast, 5 lunch/pre wo, 1 post, 5 dinner, 1 pre bed Currently 155lbs approximately 8 -10% bf training 2 hr strength 4 x week, 2 x conditioning/metcon weekly and cardiovascular daily

Hi mako.

This means 16 hour fast, with an 8 hour eating window, correct?

Sure. I see no problem with this plan.

I have no experience with a keto diet, so I can’t speak to that.

I do very well with Zone macros (40% C, 30% P, 30 %F). For what it’s worth, I’ve sometimes been closer to 40% P, trying to hit higher protein targets as a petite woman, but I now think it’s overkill, and have pulled back from eating so much protein.

A 14 hour window for fasting is very natural for me. I don’t think about it as IF, in a purposeful sense, but I don’t think I’d have any problem at all with a 16 hour window.

Also, thanks for the link. That was interesting. “Crossfit’s best performers are Zone eaters.”

Just thinking about this.

If your goal is to transition to eating this way at maintenance, and then gradually attempt to increase your BW to 165? You may want to also weigh and measure food at least for a week or two and do something like FitDay, just to see how accurately you are at hitting Zone macro percentages, and so you know where your maintenance calories are. You may have already done this. When I first started eating like this, I didn’t worry so much about thinking about “blocks” but I was weighing and entering all of my food into FitDay so I could see macro percentages very accurately.

Best of luck! I’m curious about how this works for you. Please, keep us posted.


That is correct 16:8 IF protocol being 16 hour fast, with an 8 hour eating window, I have plenty of experience wit IF on a low carb diet but going back to eating a higher ratio of carbs is completely foreign to me.
The approach to the zone diet outlined in the link thou it may not the most accurate way to track nutrition by measuring in blocks instead of calories or weight it has been a great break from tracking so far

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Got it.

@ Getting away from weighing and tracking food. For sure! It’s such a pain, and I was a bit OCD about it for longer than necessary. I rarely weigh anything anymore. Most of us develop enough experience after awhile that we’re pretty good at eye-balling our usual foods. You can always track macros if you find that the needle on the scale isn’t moving, or if you aren’t happy with your body comp as you gain.

Much respect for anyone who can live with a Keto diet, BTW. This should be easier to live with, I’d think.

I felt great with keto and my training was fantastic but yes it is a very hard diet to be sustainable in the long run. your diet must be able to meet your health/ fitness goals but also fit in with your lifestyle if not it cant be sustained in the long run

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currently losing weight so not sure what my first approach will be, increase daily blocks to 19 to begin with or stick at 17 and double fat blocks first to try keep the weight gain leaner so i can sustain the bulk for a much long period

Hmmm… You’re used to doing keto and liked it so you could up fat and be gradual about moving carbs up in proportion.

I don’t know. Hopefully someone else will jump in here. I know a lot of people here have done something like Zone macros, and certainly lots of people have tried IF. Maybe not BOTH which may be why you’re not getting a lot of response to your question.

Also, this forum seems to be a place where threads go to die. Lol. I think I’m quoting you, @Dr_Pangloss.

My feeling on the thread topic. A major advantage of the zone diet is that it helps you self regulate calorie intake by maintaining stable insulin and blood sugar levels and providing a balance of nutrients. IF is primarily a strategy to avoid overeating by shortening the feeding window. Is may have some advantages in promoting autophagy of damaged or cancerous cells. If doesn’t make sense to me to eat to provide self regulation, and then to limit your feeding window to a few hours too. Zone type eating teaches you not to binge eat, but the small widow can encourage it.

I think IF is OK with zone type eating if it is done only 1-2 days a week to improve insulin sensitivity.

Either eat in a way that promotes self regulation (zone) OR that restricts the eating window.


cheers for the feed back

As @mertdawg mentioned, I recall reading recently about how a percentage of people who try IF will develop binge eating.

You have already tried IF but with a Keto diet, and did well, so you may be in the percentage of people who aren’t prone to binge eating with IF. Of course, more people are going to want to binge on a deficit, than when they’re maintaining or on a calorie surplus. I still think this is an interesting idea. If you have difficulty, you could also make your eating window a bit longer. Like IF for only 14 hours.

Adding carbs back in may make you want to binge. Most binge-worthy foods are carb-a-licious.

Keto is a natural appetite suppressant so fasting becomes extremely easy and Natural feeling when following a ketogenic diet. I never had a problem with binge eating while doing it

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Then why limit your eating window? Note though that when “straddling” ketosis, autophagy is flipped on during IF period as gluconeogenesis is the primary source of glucose for the brain, and the brain will still be running on glucose. In keto adapted state, gluconeogenesis is substantially supressed because the brain starts working on ketones. This means that keto adaptation is anticatabolic. The body even loses its ability to burn glucose as glycolytic enzyme synthesis is triggered by insulin, so low insulin shuts off cells’ production of glucose burning enzymes. The problem with this is that keto adapted state then would actually defeat one of the primary health benefits of IF which is autophagy of damaged polypeptides. Since there is minimal drive for gluconeogenesis, there is no drive for autophagy, so basically full time keto adaptation makes IF senseless on both counts: 1) you don’t need a limited eating window if you already have appetite supressed and 2) IF wont result in protein autophagy when keto adapted because ketones take over for glucose derived from protein breakdown.
(consider a few implications. One is that “straddling ketosis” approach used by many bodybuilders like Frank Zane is great for fat burning and long term insulin sensitivity, but it requires extra protein to prevent catabolism because low insulin non-keto adapted state triggers autophagy for gluconeogenesis. A keto-adapted state appears to largely shut off gluconeogenesis, so protein needs go down, but of course protein will kick you out of keto-adaptation. The loss of autophagy of pre-cancerous cells might be negated by the low insulin levels since low insulin inhibits growth of cancerous cells).

IF makes more sense on zone, or what I prefer, 20-30% carbs (plus peri-workout), but I would only do it at most every second day just to kick on ketosis and autophagy a little.

Trying to gain weight but since experimenting with the zone diet and macro blocks instead of tracking calories unsure to which approach i should undertake, either go for a straight increase in overall blocks or increase in fat blocks prior
Week 1 17 blocks
Week 2 17 blocks @ 2X fat
Week 3-4 19 Blocks @2X fat
Week 5-8 21 Blocks @2X fat
Week 9-11 23 Blocks @2X fat
Week 12+ 25 Blocks @2X fat
every 5-7 days drop things back to a base 17 blocks to give the digestion and metabolism a rest.