Autophagy: A Nobel Prize Winning Lifestyle Hack
In 2016, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Yoshinori Ohsumi for discovering some of the mechanisms of autophagy the process by which the cell devours itself. Superficially, this sounds like a terrible thing for our cells to do until you consider what is really taking place.
When our cells undergo the process of autophagy, non-essential parts like damaged proteins are recycled and invading microorganisms and toxic compounds are removed. This means that autophagy plays an important role in stopping the aging process, reversing disease, and preventing cancer, but it doesnt happen all the time.
Fasting, protein restriction, and carbohydrate restriction are the three main ways that can initiate different autophagic processes all of which are not the same. This is part of the reason why a ketogenic diet has so many positive effects, and it also shows you why intermittent fasting is a way to improve your diet even more.
Though this is reason enough to fast more, autophagy isnt the only upside of intermittent fasting. In fact, the combination of keto and fasting can provide us with a wider array of benefits.
A Sample Menu For Keto And Intermittent Fasting
If youve gotten the green light from your healthcare team and want to try this combined approach, you might be wondering what youll eat . Your instincts are right: This diet is all about the timing.
Below, heres what Shemek says three days on the plan might look like when done with time-restricted eating in a 16-hour fast, 8-hour feed pattern. This approach isnt the only way to do IF there are many ways to fast. For example, you can also do a 12- or 14-hour daily fast.
In this plan, youll see that snacks are optional. Also keep in mind that your carb, protein, and fat needs to stay in ketosis depend on your individual health. Working with a registered dietitian familiar with keto-IF can help you determine those ratios.
Increasing Healthful Fat Intake
As carbohydrate intake decreases, most people replace the loss of carbohydrates with an increase in healthful fats. Some fats that a person can eat include:
- avocados and avocado oil
- flaxseed oil
However, for people looking to lose weight, it is important to keep the total calorie count in mind as well. Eating too many calories in a day can make it harder to lose weight.
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Anything High In Carbs
All high- to moderate-carb foods are off-limits on the keto diet. This includes healthy carbs like sweet potatoes, winter squash, legumes, and whole grains. Processed foods are also out. This list isnt comprehensive, but it should give you an idea of what to avoid: All grains: quinoa, millet, wheat, rye, spelt, rice, corn, amaranth, what berries, etc. Beans and lentilsAll pasta All bread Chips and crackers Winter squash: acorn, butternut, delicata. All sweets: ice cream, cookies, cake, brownies, candy, etc.The good news is that there are tons of recipes online that can help you feel like youre eating these foods by using creative substitutions that remain keto-friendly.
What To Drink During Fasting Windows
Although some purists argue that water is the only acceptable drink while fasting, theres no strong evidence to support this claim.
Their thought process holds that anything other than water could potentially disrupt the benefits of fasting, but even if thats the case, any effects from non-caloric beverages are likely to be minor compared to eating food.
Any drink that doesnt contain calories is fine. Ideally, you should also avoid the artificial sweeteners and other chemical additives mentioned earlier in this article.
Here are some of the best drinks that wont break your fast period:
- Springwater, mineral water, or sparkling water
- White, black, oolong, pu-erh, or green tea
- Herbal teas or tisanes
- Black coffee with nothing else added
If you prefer slightly sweet tea or coffee, stevia does not appear to raise insulin levels or stimulate appetite, making it acceptable in moderation while fasting.
Read Also: What Are The Best Foods To Eat When Intermittent Fasting
Example Keto And Intermittent Fasting Macronutrient Intake
Lets say we have a 180-lb person who is currently 20% body fat and they want to lose body fat. They determine that their calorie goal for fat loss is 2,000 calories per day.
- Protein and carbohydrates each contain 4 calories per gram
- Fats contain 9 calories per gram
So, heres how this person would calculate their macronutrient goals for keto intermittent fasting:
- Set protein intake at 20% of total calories.
- Example: 2000 calories x 0.2 = 400 calories from protein which is 100 grams of protein per day.
Update: we now have a keto calculator here that will do this math for you, based on whether you want to gain, maintain or lose weight!
Bear in mind that these calorie and macronutrient calculations are merely a starting point to get you out of the gate. Follow these numbers as closely as possible for the first few weeks of your ketogenic intermittent fasting diet and then assess your progress.
If youre consistently losing body fat, dont make any changes until your reach a sticking point/plateau. Once you reach a weight loss plateau, recalculate your calorie and macronutrient needs using your new body weight .
The Proven Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Also Check: What’s The Meaning Of Intermittent Fasting
What To Eat During Your Fasting Periods
If youre engaging in strict fasting, which is the correct approach for health and possible longevity benefits, you wont eat anything while fasting. Period.
Otherwise, there are a few circumstances where at least small amounts of certain foods could be acceptable or useful.
One such situation is if youre unaccustomed to extended fast periods and youre struggling to meet your intended duration of fasting.
For example, if youre 9 hours into a 12 hour fast and you begin feeling hungry and irritable, eating a minimal amount of an appropriate food could allow you to be more comfortable for the next 3 hours until the fast is over.
Over time you could become more comfortable with fasting and go the full 12 hours without eating anything.
Another reason could relate to weight loss. If your main reason for fasting is to reduce your body weight, using small amounts of keto-friendly foods to decrease hunger, prevent irritability, and make it through your fast can have the net effect of helping you achieve your weight loss goals.
While youll theoretically receive fewer health benefits compared to a true fast, youll still become healthier as long as you lose excess body fat in the process.
Here are the top foods to extend your fast periods with the least impact on weight loss and other beneficial effects of fasting:
Keep reading to learn what you should and shouldnt drink during your fasting periods.
Intermittent Fasting And Muscle
Two ground-breaking studies have recently been published on the effects of intermittent fasting on males. One group of researchers studied the effects that 16 hours of intermittent fasting had on males that lift weights. They found that muscle mass stayed the same, fat mass decreased significantly, and the males who fasted for 16 hours a day burned more fat for fuel compared to the control group that only fasted for 12 hours.
Another study showed that combining 20 hours of fasting with resistance training resulted in an increase in muscle mass, strength, and endurance, and this was achieved by eating ~650 calories per day less than normal.
The benefits of intermittent fasting translate to untrained overweight and obese individuals as well. One study published in Obesity Reviews found that eating fewer calories is effective for fat loss, but it does come with some muscle loss. However, if the subjects fasted for 24 hours and ate as much as they wanted on the next day for a period of 12 weeks, they lost significantly less muscle mass.
Yes you read that correctly 24 hours of intermittent fasting without any resistance training and these subjects were able to preserve more muscle mass than the subjects that ate fewer calories every day without fasting at all. This finding contradicts our common sense, but when we dig deeper into autophagy we can find the mechanism behind this result.
Recommended Reading: How To Start Fasting For Beginners
How To Ensure You Stay In Ketosis
Once youve entered a state of ketosis, youll naturally want to stay there. That means practising a proper keto diet and consuming keto-friendly drinks as well. Heres a quick rundown of some ways you can maintain ketosis:
Can You Have Coffee While Fasting Or Fat Coffee
I get this question all the time! Usually its asking what you can drink, such as bulletproof or fat coffee or Ketones. Dr. Ryan Lowery, the co-author of The Ketogenic Bible, has some great info on this topic if you want to go in depth. When you add fat to your coffee or tea, you technically break your fast because of the calories. However, whats your outcome?
Digestive rest? Avoid anything but water. Deepen Ketosis? Add Ketones! We suggest Pruvits Keto NATLengthen your fast without adding carbs? Add a little fat in your coffee . We sometimes use Keto Kreme
Recommended Reading: How Much Weight Do You Lose With Intermittent Fasting
Are There Drinks You Should Avoid During Intermittent Fasting
There are a few beverages that you might not realize are capable of breaking your fast. This means that if you consume these, you will knock your body out of the fasted state.
If youre wondering whether common beverages, like diet soda, almond milk, coconut water, or alcohol will break your fast, we found the answers:
How Long Should You Intermittent Fast
How long is intermittent fasting sustainable? When it comes to intermittent fasting for beginners, 24 hours or fewer is a safe limit.
Those more experienced with fasting may go 48-72 hours, or even longer however, youll have to experiment and work up to a long fasting window, and stop if it doesnt feel right or keeps you from doing daily tasks.
You can incorporate some form of fasting into your schedule every day, as long as you stay healthy and nourished with the right foods during your eating windows.
Recommended Reading: How To Do Intermittent Fasting Right
Keto Drinks: Choose Low
There are many options when it comes to keto drinks, but water is the only one necessary for your survival and overall health.
Others like bone broth, tea, and coffee can offer various health benefits and can be consumed in abundance on a keto meal plan. Coconut water and kombucha add a little flavor to your keto meal plan but should be consumed in moderation.
When it comes to alcohol, limit it to social gatherings, and choose hard liquor with a zero-carb mixer and citrus.
The ketogenic diet is all about being your healthiest self, so making water your preferred choice is the best way to keep your body running in its optimal way.
Coffee Other Than Black Or Green
Only black coffee is OK during a fast.
Generally, any other type of coffee except for black and green usually contains carbs and sugar. A latte is just one of the bad examples of coffee. The same applies to cappuccino and other instant coffees . Thats a NO.
Just stick to back or green unsweetened coffee with anything but water in it and you are going to be fine.
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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.
Can You Drink Flavored Sparkling Water While Intermittent Fasting
Although there is now flavored sparkling water with only natural flavorings, most products do not get by without sugar or sweeteners, which break the fast.
However, natural flavoring means that the flavoring agent has been extracted from a natural source product by a chemical process.
Unless other additives are included, natural flavors can be limited to minimal amounts of macronutrients, so they hardly affect autophagy. Nevertheless, such products are still scarce.
In case of doubt, I would therefore not resort to flavored sparkling water. Besides, most flavored options dont taste good.
If you want to bring more flavor into your intermittent fasting plan, maybe natural flavors from fruits could get a variety to the water.
Recommended Reading: How To Stick To Intermittent Fasting
What To Eat While Intermittent Fasting
During your fasting window, you shouldnt eat anything. During your eating window, enjoy nutrient-dense keto foods like healthy proteins, vegetables, and fats.
Avoid breaking your fast with processed foods, carb-heavy meals, and dirty keto foods, as these can hinder the health benefits of fasting in the first place.
May Normalize Blood Pressure And Cholesterol
A 2007 study, 110 extremely obese patients were hospitalized to be treated with a three-week fasting diet for obesity. The results showed a significant reduction and normalization in blood pressure and a decrease in cholesterol. They also found improvement in glucoregulation 8.
In another 2001 study, 174 patients with high blood pressure underwent a supervised fasting treatment program 9. For the first two to three days, they were only allowed to eat fruits and vegetables followed by a 10 or 11 days of water fasting before a refeeding period. The results revealed that medically supervised water fasting was safe and effective in normalizing blood pressure.
Recommended Reading: What Should My Fasting Blood Sugar Be In The Morning
Eating Windows Vs Fasting Windows
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that breaks your day into two parts:
There are actually a variety of intermittent fasting schedules you can follow to determine what hours of the day these windows actually include. We have a handy guide to fasting schedules for you to check out here.
The most common schedule is the 16/8 plan, which means you eat for an 8-hour window and fast for 16 hours. You can also choose to do shorter or longer eating windows, or even opt for alternate-day fasting.
If youre new to this way of eating and need help getting started, definitely check out our Beginners Guide to Intermittent Fasting.
During your fasting period, you want to refrain from consuming any food or beverages that contain calories. So.. no food. But you have several beverage options, and these are important because it is critical to keep yourself hydrated while fasting.
Ginger And Chai Tea On Intermittent Fasting
In a broader sense, ginger and chai tea are pretty similar to regular herbal tea. If you can get the straight dried herbs in a tee specialty shop, you can drink the brewed tea during intermittent fasting.
Please keep your hands off instant mixes and chai from coffee shop chains , as they almost always contain additives that will break your fast.
If you are lucky, you can even get straight chai or ginger tea in grocery stores, but always check labels before purchasing.
However, its not that easy to get it straight since most people drink chai as a latte . If the label says chai latte, its going to break your fast anyway.
On the other hand, ginger tea brewed with nothing else than freshly chopped ginger root and hot water should be fine, as long as you dont eat the pieces .
Read Also: How Long Fasting To Lose Weight
A Few Beverage Tips And Drink Tricks
You might have experienced uncomfortable symptoms when becoming ketotic. Unfortunately, intermittent fasting can do the same. Here are a few fasting modifications-to-symptom matches to get you through the acclimation period.
- Hunger Try sparkling mineral water, green tea, and cinnamon-infused hot beverages like coffee.
- Headaches this almost always has to do with dehydration. Up your water intake and try adding in mineral water to replace salt.
- Constipation During your eating window, up your fiber intake. You can do this with veggies, fruit, and soaked chia seeds. Upping your total water consumption will help move things along too.
- Dizziness Again, dehydration is probably to blame here. Up the amount of water, youre drinking, or add in mineral water if youre not already drinking that.
- Muscle cramping Magnesium is your best friend to help with this. You can either take a mag supplement or soak in it via Epsom salt baths.
There you have ityour complete guide for drinking while intermittent fasting!