Sustained Fuel Source Between Meals
Fat digests much more slowly than carbohydrates, and ketones pack more energy per unit than glucose.2
When youre on a well-formulated high-fat keto diet, your blood sugar rarely drops to a point where you get hunger cravings and doesnt spike to a point where you lose focus.
Ketones are also effective at suppressing ghrelin, the hormone that makes you feel hungry.
Both intermittent fasting and keto diets have been shown to reduce hunger.1 And ketogenic meals are more satiating, leading to a reduction in food cravings. This in turn supports an intermittent fasting schedule that calls for extended periods without eating.
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Can I Have During A Fast
The general rule is that anything with calories breaks a fast. The main exceptions are supplements, electrolytes, and medications:
- Supplements: You can continue taking any that are recommended to take on an empty stomach. Read labels to know for sure, and pay attention to how you feel if you take them while fasting.
- Electrolytes: Its a good idea to take these during a fast. Just make sure they dont have calories or sugar. If you want to be less strict, you can have a keto electrolyte drink which has 8 calories, probably few enough to be okay for a fast.
- Medications: Many of these need to be taken with food or taken at certain times for optimum absorption. Talk to your doctor before changing when and how you take medications.
Whats The Best Approach
Keto and intermittent fasting both have benefits, that much is clear. Both can also be easier than they sound. The ideal approach would be an intermittent fasting keto diet. This gives you the best of both worlds.
But nutrition is complex.
Every persons situation and needs will be different . Plus, the best diet for your health is always the one that you can stick to. Whatever approach you take should be tailored around your own personal needs. For example:
- Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting applies many intermittent fasting principles but includes drinking Bulletproof coffee in the morning instead of skipping the meal. This can be easier to follow and reduces any negative hormonal effects for women.
- Other people follow a 16:8 approach to intermittent fasting, while also having a keto coffee first thing in the morning. The keto coffee breaks your fast, so the style isnt quite the same as intermittent fasting. But, the approach is much easier and you still get most of the benefits.
- Some people use intermittent fasting to get back into ketosis faster, but dont follow it in the long-term.
- You might follow intermittent fasting consistently and only sometimes follow ketosis too or vice versa.
The best answer is often trial and error. Pick the approach that sounds right to you and see how it affects your health and weight loss. You can then tweak it to best suit your needs.
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Can Combining Keto And Intermittent Fasting Help Me Lose Weight
Theres some solid consensus among the RDs: combining keto with IF does help you reach ketosis faster, which may lead to additional weight loss.
IF paired with keto intensifies the effects of the ketogenic diet, since they both increase the ketones in the blood, says Titgemeier. Since the time it takes to enter into ketosis differs from person to person , anything that can make that happen sooner is appealing to keto dieters…even if it means piling yet another diet on top of the one theyre already doing.
Additionally, Shapiro says that grouping your meals into a smaller window may allow your body to burn its energy stores instead of continuing to build them upsomething which could cause more fat loss than if you did only keto or IF. Eating heavy meals and then letting your body digest will allow for weight loss and hormone balance as well as time for our bodies to use the nutrients we are ingesting for energy, she explains.
Keto And Fasting Which One Should You Do
Everyone doesnt need to do a ketogenic diet and I think its not a good idea to be on keto all the time. At the same time, you cant fast indefinitely either and thats where restricting your carbs in some shape or form is beneficial for getting the benefits of ketones without necessarily fasting that frequently.
A ketogenic diet is more suitable for people with diabetes, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimers, cancer, etc. because they need to have elevated ketones present at all times. Regular people should use it only for diet adherence, convenience, and maintaining health.
On a daily basis, its recommended to still be confining your eating window as well as you can to keep yourself more in sync with the circadian rhythms. Daily time-restricted eating over the course of 4-8 hours is very easy and suitable for most people. You should do it on any diet whether that be keto or high carb.
If I had to choose which one is better and more effective, then Id saythat you can get most of the benefits of a ketogenic diet with intermittentfasting and prolonged fasting but eating low carb keto is also very sustainableand practical. I use both of them in various situations.
Most of the time I try to keep myself in ketosis by controlling my carbohydrate intake and eating within a certain time frame. In some cases, I deliberately kick myself out of ketosis and eat some carbs but I still practice intermittent fasting regardless of what I eat.
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Simplifying The Mechanisms Behind The Benefits: Autophagy Ketones And Fat Loss
Intermittent fasting is so powerful because you can use it to restrict calories, induce ketosis, and activate the processes of autophagy that are brought about by protein restriction and starvation.
If this scientific jargon is throwing you off, think about what it takes for you to clean your room. You may clean it in your spare time or have a set time on the weekend to do it, but what happens when the weekend comes?
Tasks or chores come up and you prioritize something else. After a week without cleaning, your room is just a bit dirtier than usual, but after a month of being too busy to clean, your room is filthy.
This is what happens to our cells when we eat three or more meals a day that completely fulfills our calorie needs every day. Even by eating the healthiest of foods, your cells still can get backed up with non-essential proteins and toxic compounds so what can you do?
To make sure that you clean your actual bedroom, you fast not from food but from being consumed by other obligations. To make sure that your cells can clean themselves, you must fast from food.
This fasting process will not only activate this clean process for your cells, but it will increase your ketone production and promote fat burning as well. Simply put, by adding intermittent fasting to your keto lifestyle, you can experience the benefits of keto more quickly along with the effects of autophagy.
Intermittent Fasting And Cancer
Although there is little to no literature on the effects of 2 or 3 day fasts on muscle loss in humans, many clinical trials are currently being conducted on the effects of 2 or 3 day fasts on cancer patients.
In initial case studies, people who were undergoing chemotherapy voluntarily fasted for anywhere between 48 to 140 hours. Each person reported fewer side effects and improved quality of life regardless of how long they fasted.
This may suggest that fasting for 2 days to a week can have a protective effect on the cells in the body while they are undergoing intense bouts of toxicity.
Other studies in animals have found that fasting was possibly as effective as chemotherapeutic agents in delaying the progression of different tumors and increased the effectiveness of chemotherapeutic drugs against melanoma, glioma, and breast cancer cells. Although this research may not apply to your life, it does suggest that intermittent fasting can help support your body in times of toxic stress.
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Keto For Weight Loss Fat Loss And Improved Cholesterol
The keto diet drastically decreases your carb intake, forcing your body to burn fat rather than glucose. This makes it an effective tool not only for weight loss, but also for the management of diabetes, insulin resistance, and even heart disease.
While individual results vary, keto has consistently led to a reduction in weight and body fat percentage in a wide range of situations.
In a 2017 study, participants who followed a low-carbohydrate keto meal plan significantly decreased body weight, body fat percentage, and fat mass, losing an average of 7.6 pounds and 2.6% body fat while maintaining lean muscle mass.
Similarly, a 2004 study observing the long-term effects of a keto diet in obese people found that their weight and body mass decreased dramatically over the course of two years. Those who drastically reduced their carbohydrate intake saw a significant decrease in LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and improved insulin sensitivity.
In 2012, a study compared a ketogenic diet to eating fewer calories in obese children and adults. The results showed children following the keto diet lost significantly more body weight, fat mass, and total waist circumference. They also showed a dramatic decrease in insulin levels, a biomarker of type 2 diabetes.
Intermittent Fasting And Keto Combined
Fasting helps you get into ketosis, and being in ketosis also helps you fast.
Along with achieving the typical benefits of fasting, a lot of keto diet followers fast regularly because it helps them break through weight loss plateaus, and its an easy way to further limit calorie intake if necessary.
And a ketogenic diet also helps with longer periods of fasting. The benefits and easier transition are mutual:
- Following the ketogenic diet macro portions helps you transition to fasting easier. In a ketogenic, fat-adapted state, your body is already accustomed to tapping into your fat stores for energy instead of relying on carbs for glucose.
- On the other hand, experience with fasting helps you avoid the keto flu if you begin the keto diet as an experienced faster.
- A fat-adapted or ketogenic state also prevents similar symptoms that can occur when you first begin fasting.
Protection Against Muscle Loss
A high fat diet like the ketogenic diet also makes sure your body has a source of fat and uses it during your fast, instead of breaking down muscle protein for energy. For this reason, keto diet followers who fast for the day sometimes drink black coffee with either heavy, full-fat cream, butter, ghee or MCT oil or powder.
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Intermittent Fasting And Keto: The Takeaway
As ways of eating inspired by ancestral eating patterns, intermittent fasting and keto are two sides of the dietary coin.
Intermittent fasting speeds up metabolism, while keto switches your body into metabolizing its excess fat stores.
Intermittent fasting activates cellular spring cleaning and renewal, while keto eliminates the sugar that can damage cells while feeding new cells with energy packed ketones.
These complementary forces enhance many of the shared benefits of intermittent fasting and keto including increased weight loss, reduced risk of diseases, reduced inflammation.
For women combining IF and keto can be particularly important by protecting against hormone imbalances that can be triggered by hypoglycemic stress. As always, these benefits depend on a well-formulated approach centered on healthy whole foods. We recommend building your intermittent fasting and keto meal plan around whole animal-based foods, keto specific superfoods, and exploring organ meats.
Eating Only 20 Grams Of Carbs A Day Is Hard
The keto diet is a high-fat and low-carb diet. I would actually describe it as extremely low-carb-you’re allowed to eat just 20 grams in a day. Some people on keto follow a net-carb plan and you’re allowed to eat more carbs in a day. For my 30-day diet and for the sake of simplicity, I stuck with total carbs.
As a rule, I aimed for 20 grams each day-2 at breakfast, 5 at lunch, 3 for snacks and 10 for dinner. I found that if I aimed for 20, I’d land under 30. That was successful enough for me.
The key to hitting my number was to plan, plan, plan. I worked out all three meals, down to the condiments, plus snacks on the weekends. If I knew what I was having and what I was “allowed” to have while staying under my carb goal, I found managing the infrequent cravings and hunger pangs easier. I can’t stress enough the importance of planning for a keto diet.
Ideal Intermittent Fasting Schedule:
There are no intermittent fasting times that work for everybody experiment to find the best one for you! Here are some of the most popular ones, any of which will work as an intermittent fasting keto schedule:
- 16:8 Fast for 16 hours, with an 8-hour eating window
- 5:2 Eat normally for 5 days, restrict calories to 500-600 for 2 days spaced in between
- Eat stop eat Eat normally for 5 days, fast for 24 hours two days per week
- 4:3 Fast every other day, and eat normally on non-fasting days
- One meal a day Fast for 23 hours daily, eat a balanced meal during a 1-hour window
- Skip meals spontaneously when you dont feel hungry
16:8 is one of the most popular ways to practice intermittent fasting for beginners. This keto beginner meal plan provides a way to practice keto and intermittent fasting with easy low carb meals for your eating window just omit the breakfast to practice fasting.
Intermittent fasting for beginners comes with a lot of questions. Here are the most common ones:
What Do The Experts Say
According to a 2019 review, intermittent fasting produces equivalent weight loss when compared to continuous energy restriction with no differences between groups in weight or body fat loss. Basically, this means that when it comes to weight loss, intermittent fasting provides no added benefit compared to just eating fewer calories throughout the day, provided you are burning more calories than youre eating.
Intermittent fasting may also give rise to additional health benefits. For example, periods of fasting have been shown to improve insulin resistance, glucose metabolism, and inflammation, decreasing the risk for developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. But as with weight loss, these effects appear to be due to the calorie restriction and not the fasting itself.
Please note because intermittent fasting as a weight loss method is a relatively new topic, there is not a lot of research on the long-term effects and potential complications of it. Furthermore, many of the existing studies have been done using animal models or were purely observational, meaning the evidence is not very strong. Randomized control trials using human subjects is the gold standard for strong research.
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What Does A Day Of Following Keto And If Look Like
Here’s an eating schedule that Gyimah proposes that’s both keto and IF-compliant. It’s based on a 12-hour eating window , and 20 to 25 grams of carbs per day. And remember to drink water, tea, or coffee with all of your meals to stay hydrated, she says.
- 7 a.m.: Breakfast stuffed peppers with cheese
- 10 a.m.: 4 ounces plain Greek yogurt with ½ cup berries
- 12 p.m.: Tuna salad-stuffed avocado boats
- 3 p.m.: Sliced, raw vegetables and 2 tablespoons tzatziki
- 5:30 p.m.: Steak, cauliflower rice, and roasted vegetables
- 7 p.m.: 1-2 cups of popcorn
For a slightly more challenging IF schedule, Gyimah suggests a 10-hour eating window that involves about 30 grams of carbs per day. Again, you need liquids, particularly water, with all meals to be adequately hydrated.
- 8 a.m.: Scrambled eggs with feta cheese, sliced avocado, and a salad with pepitas, peppers, and a 1/2 cup of raspberries
- 12 p.m.: Roasted chicken, collard greens, sliced cucumber, and celery with 1 tablespoon hummus
- 2 p.m.: Handful of assorted nuts and ½ cup mixed berries
- 6 p.m.: 4-6 ounces salmon, roasted asparagus, cauliflower rice
If you’re going for an even longer fast, Titgemeier lays out the following schedule for eating within the parameters of both diets, assuming an eight-hour eating window and 16-hour fast between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m.
Who Should Try Combining Intermittent Fasting And Keto
If you’re looking to shed pounds quickly, the IF and keto combo could be the right one for you. It may depend on what pre-existing health conditions you have.
“Individuals with type 2 diabetes may benefit from ketogenic diet and IF as it may aid with weight loss and potentially allow you to reduce your medications,” says Gyimah. People who’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes may also see similar benefits, including dropping pounds and reducing insulin, Gyimah adds.
However, if you have type 1 diabetes, keto might not be safe. People with type 1 who try this diet may be susceptible to a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, Gyimah says, which basically means the buildup of ketones in their bodies can be dangerous. Regardless of what health conditions you have, it’s best to check in with your healthcare provider before starting any dietary changes, especially keto or IF.
A New Study From Scientists At The University Of California Riverside Analysed How The Popular Keto And Intermittent Fasting Diets Work On A Molecular Level And Whether Both Sexes Benefit From Them Equally
Keto and intermittent fasting diets are similar, focusing on the body burning fat, resulting in weight loss. Keto focuses on eating low-carb foods and getting most daily calories from proteins and fats. The diet aims to force the body to use fat as fuel, resulting in weight loss.
In contrast, intermittent fasting restricts eating to a small window of time. During the hours without food, the body exhausts sugar and burns fat instead. The fat converts to ketone bodies that the brain can use as fuel.