Two of the hottest diets right now are Keto and intermittent fasting. While both have solid research backing their purported benefits, many people wonder if it’s safe and effective to combine the two.
Many people use the two weight loss methods in combination. This makes sense. The keto diet and intermittent fasting actually have many aspects in common. The two actually work very well together. Let’s see why!
What Is Keto?
The keto diet works by switching your body’s fuel source from glucose from carbs to fatty acids. We do this by eating only low carb/no carb foods. The goal is to get into a state of Ketosis so that all the wonderful fat-burning can begin!
A ketogenic diet or keto diet is a low carb high-fat diet. While you eat far fewer carbohydrates on a keto diet, you maintain moderate protein consumption and may increase your intake of fat. After about two to seven days after starting the keto diet, the reduction in carb intake puts your body in a metabolic state called ketosis, where fat, from your diet and from your body, is burned for energy.
The ketogenic diet also has a lot of benefits such as weight loss, physical and mental health benefits. The idea is to get ketones in your blood. What you‘re doing is removing all carbohydrates from your diet and living off just protein and fat. This will force you into burning your own fat while releasing ketones to your blood.
When you’re consistently eating food rich in carbohydrates, your body produces glucose for energy and this serves as the go-to source for powering your body’s processes. When you eat something high in carbs, your body will produce glucose and insulin.
- Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy so that it will be chosen over any other energy source.
- Insulin is produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream by taking it around the body.
Since the glucose is being used as a primary energy, fats aren’t needed and are therefore stored. Typically on a normal, higher carbohydrate diet, the body will use glucose as the main form of energy. By lowering the intake of carbs, the body is induced into a state of ketosis.
When you enter a state of ketosis and become fat adapted most people start to lose their appetite and cravings for carbohydrates, they find that they are able to go much longer without needing food and this is where intermittent fasting comes in.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Fasting has been used for thousands of years by many religions, as they believe that it offers both health and spiritual benefits. Recently however fasting has become more mainstream and there seem to be a few methods of how one can incorporate it into their daily lives.
Intermittent fasting is currently one of the world’s most popular health and fitness trends. Intermittent fasting is when you go without food for a certain amount of time. That kind of seems scary to a lot people, but intermittent fasting can actually be a lot easier than many other types of meal plans or diets.
You’ll be eating less food, which takes away a lot of the stress around having to meal prep. After all, life is all about balance!
Intermittent fasting is better described as an eating pattern rather than a ‘diet’, and there is actually a solid amount of scientific evidence supporting its benefits – including weight loss, mental clarity and improved metabolism.
Intermittent fasting provides huge benefits if it is done right, including weight loss, lower inflammation, increased energy, a higher metabolism and lot more.
Why Combine The Two?
There’s a wide overlap between intermittent fasting and the keto diet. Below, you’ll learn about the health benefits of intermittent fasting, and why it’s so beneficial on a low-carb diet.
In other words, intermittent fasting can actually help boost the benefits of the keto diet. And the opposite is true. A keto diet can also make fasting even easier. The more fat-adapted you are the easier fasting can be. Pairing the two makes a lot of sense. Not just for weight loss, but also to increase the other health benefits of both protocols.
Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Enter Ketosis Sooner
Here’s how intermittent fasting works: When your body is in a fasted state, it starts burning your fat stores for energy. Sound familiar? That’s because a very similar process happens when you enter ketosis.
Ketosis is a natural state of the body, which happens not only on a low-carb diet but anytime when your body starts using fat to generate energy, including fasting or exercise. Many people go into ketosis while fasting, hence extending your time between meals helps to get into ketosis faster.
Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Avoid The Keto Flu
For keto beginners, intermittent fasting can also reduce some of the unwanted symptoms that come with the keto flu, making your transition into a keto lifestyle much smoother.
If you’re completely new to the keto diet, intermittent fasting can help you avoid some common uncomfortable side effects such as the keto flu. These uncomfortable side effects typically occur when your body transitions to a fat-burning state.
Now the question is, how can intermittent fasting negate keto flu?
Since keto flu commonly takes place when you’re getting into ketosis (and goes away once your metabolic switch flips, so to speak), the quicker you get into ketosis, the less likely you’ll suffer from negative side effects. Since a short fast can help you get into ketosis faster, it can help reduce the likelihood you’ll suffer from keto flu.
Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight Faster
One of the biggest reasons people turn to intermittent fasting is for fat loss. Fasting can help you break through weight loss plateaus in a few different ways:
- Your body can only comfortably take in a certain amount of calories at once, so limiting your intake window naturally limits total daily caloric intake.
- The smaller eating window helps eliminate unnecessary snacking, especially late at night.
- Eating a high-fat keto diet and being in ketosis reduces appetite and increases satiety levels. It’s much easier to do intermittent fasting when this is the case, versus a diet full of high carb foods that just increase cravings and snacking.
If you started the keto diet to help you lose weight, supplementing with intermittent fasting can help you reach your goals.
Both intermittent fasting and the keto diet encourage your body to use fat for energy rather than glucose. Therefore combining intermittent fasting with keto diet boosts your weight loss results.
Intermittent Fasting Creates a caloric deficit
The fasting aspect eliminates at least one meal from your day, automatically creating a caloric deficit — a key component of weight loss (unless you compensate with more food during the eating window).
Eating Keto Reduces Your Appetite Making Fasting Easier
Replacing carbs with fat on a keto diet causes appetite to decrease, possibly due to shifts in appetite-regulating hormones. Once you’re fat-adapted on the keto diet and your appetite is lower than normal, you’ll find the fasting portion of intermittent fasting easier.
It Can Help Stabilize Your Blood Sugar
One of the main benefits of the keto diet is that it helps balance your insulin levels. When you eliminate carbs and sugar from your diet, you also eliminate the blood sugar spikes that often follow eating these foods.
Intermittent Fasting Can Help Your Body Heal Itself
Intermittent fasting activates something called autophagy, a phenomenon which helps your body heal itself. It helps the body essentially “clean house,” removing harmful and toxic compounds and recycling damaged proteins.
Autophagy can be triggered during periods of starvation (intermittent fasting) or when carbohydrates are severely restricted (keto). This could help your body heal itself of cancer or other chronic diseases.
How To Get Started With A Combination of Keto and Intermittent Fasting
The best way to start combining the two diets is to start one at a time. Both these diets will need you to implement certain changes to the way you eat and doing them both at the same time could be overwhelming and lead to failure.
I was already on keto which in my opinion requires more changes then intermittent fasting.
When I had reached a stage where I was fat adapted my body naturally lent itself to fasting in the evenings and having a late breakfast which was ideal for me.
I made sure that I was eating whole foods and healthy fats. The fact that I would be having fewer meals meant that the meals I am having had to be nutritious, have sufficient calories and enough fibre to stop me getting constipation.
The wonderful thing about intermittent fasting is that your sleeping hours count towards your fasting hours.
I started with 12 hours and have gradually increased it to 18hrs. I stop eating at 5 pm and have brunch at about 12 pm the next day.
Don’t forget that coffee with cream or milk has calories so are not allowed in the fasting timeframe. You can, however, enjoy a herbal tea in the evening or have a black coffee first thing in the morning.
What A Day On Keto and Intermitting Fasting Will Look Like
You will need to have a decent keto dinner at night, something like a steak and salad or a grass-fed burger with roasted vegetables and avocado at 5-6pm.
This meal will keep you going until noon the next day, so try and make it high fat, moderate protein and low in carbs.
During your fasting period, you can have black tea, black coffee, water, and some herbal teas.
You will naturally find that you only eat between 1 and 2 meals when you are on Keto and intermittent fasting , this is quite common as your appetite will decrease but your energy levels will go up!
If you find that you are still hungry you can add snacks in your eating windows such as boiled eggs or avocados.
Ultimately, the combo of a ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting offers potential benefits for anyone struggling with their weight, metabolic health, or inflammation-related conditions. Give it a shot!!
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