keto and intermittent fasting

Why to combine keto and intermittent fasting? A beginner’s guide

As human, we are never satisfied with our current state. We always want to improve and hence this urge to improve little bit keeps us going in new directions. keto and intermittent fasting both have a common theme which is depriving the body of carbohydrates and push body towards burning fat as fuel which results in fat loss.

On the contrary, how to push the body towards weight loss? they both follow a different approach. The ketogenic diet allows you to eat fat and restrict carb intake while intermittent fasting bans all calories for a certain period.

What is a ketogenic diet?

The ketogenic diet is high fat-low carb diet, in which carbohydrates restricted to 50 grams per day. Also known as “Atkins diet” popularized by Dr. Atkins.

In ketogenic diet due to low intake of carbohydrates body generate ketones for energy from stored body fat. This process of generating ketones also called “ketosis”. Ketones are an excellent fuel source for the body, people experience increased concentration and cognitive abilities during ketosis.

 

High fat- low carb diet similar to the ketogenic diet was used to treat epilepsy patients successfully a century ago. Ketogenic diet name became popular in recent times for weight management purpose.

 

Apart from weight loss ketogenic diet provides multiple other benefits like regulating blood sugar, improve insulin sensitivity, lower risk factors for heart disease.[Study 1,2]

 

Due to, its high fat intake some may call it unhealthy, but if your meals consist of high-quality natural fats like cheese, bacon, eggs, avocado, coconut oil this risk is low.

However, there are also several adverse effects of ketogenic diets. These include muscle cramps, bad breath, changes in bowel habits, keto-flu and loss of energy. Hence, monitoring individuals on ketogenic diet closely once or twice a month for blood glucose, ketones cardiac and other parameters is essential.[Study 3]

 

Summary

To put simply Ketogenic diet is a high-fat low-carb diet which pushes the body to burn fat as fuel, which results in weight loss, improved body composition with other benefits.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

First of all Intermittent fasting is not a diet. Intermittent fasting is more about when to eat rather than what to eat.It doesn’t ban anything from eating.

    • Intermittent fasting is a cyclic pattern in which a person goes on fasting for a certain period and eats after that.
    • Due to no food intake body goes in ketosis, which means the body burns fat as fuel for body functions.
    • Intermittent fasting can be short terms like 16 hours or 24 hours per week or month as per your convenience.
    • Intermittent fasting provides benefits like weight loss, lowers blood sugar, and lowers blood pressure, ketosis and autophagy.

Most popular and easy to follow is 16/8 routine which is a beginner-friendly fasting routine.

  • 16/8 fasting, means 16 hour fasting period followed by 8 hours of eating period. You eat in a shorter time interval of 8 hours.
  • 16 hours fast” can be done every day or alternate days of the week.

16/8 Intermittent Fasting

For example, if you had dinner last night skip breakfast and have lunch between 12 followed by dinner between 5 pm.    The time interval between last night’s dinner and today’s lunch is around 16 hours which also include 8 hours sleep.

Fasting in conjunction with resistance training, could improve some health-related biomarkers, decrease fat mass, and maintain muscle mass in resistance-trained males.[Study 4]

Summary

Intermittent fasting is a cyclic pattern in which fasting period followed by an eating period.

How does intermittent fasting work?

Our digestion process is very complex.below is a simplification.

  • When we eat food, it’s broken down into nutrients like Glucose, Fat, Proteins, Vitamin, and Minerals and absorbed in the blood.
  • The body uses glucose as a primary fuel source. As we keep eating /snaking throughout day glucose is always available to the body to burn as fuel.
  • When we fast there is no glucose available in the body, so body forced to get energy from stored fat hence we burn stored fat by fasting.
  • Pro-longed fasting cause’s autophagy in which the body converts dead or malfunctioning cells into energy, the body eats itself. Which results in new cell generation beneficial for body organs and skin.

Should You Combine keto and intermittent fasting?

Imagine if you have to lift a heavy object by one hand, you struggle initially but at the end, you lift a heavy object. Now you need to lift the same object with both hands, you lift it easily.

  • Ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting both forces body to use stored fat as energy which results in accelerated weight loss.
  • When you combine keto + intermittent fasting you put your body in long-duration ketosis which causes extra weight loss in a shorter time frame.
  • As the body stays longer in ketosis other benefits like insulin sensitivity, low blood sugar, low blood pressure follows.
  • However, autophagy is not achieved due to the availability of dietary fat.

Benefits of keto and intermittent fasting

 

Weight loss

“If + keto diet” makes you lose a lot of weight in the shortest amount of time. In the absence of food, the body starts burning glycogen stores (a form of carbohydrates) and stored fat for energy. [Study 5,6]

Boosts metabolism

Studies show that intermittent fasting improves metabolic rate. Fasting gives rest to digestion system, also allows it to recover from damages caused by daily use. Fasting causes toxic substances to go out of the body, hence there is a greater balance of body hormones such as insulin, ghrelin, cortisol etc.  Which results in boosting metabolism. [Study 7,8,9]

 

Detoxifying effect

Your kidneys stores a lot of water for removing impurities from the blood and contains toxins removed from the blood. During “If + keto diet”, as no food intake happens water stored in kidneys no longer required and passed out of the body in the form of urine. [Study 10]

 

Insulin sensitivity

When you eat multiple times in day insulin level remains high in the blood, after some point body develops resistance to insulin. In “If + keto diet”, we go on and off on insulin which increases insulin sensitivity of the body and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. High-Fat diet does not generate insulin response like carbohydrates.[Study 11,12]

 

Healthy Heart

Studies have shown that “If + keto diet” lowers bad cholesterol, blood pressure, Controls inflammation and increase insulin sensitivity.[Study 13, 14, 15]

 

High Growth hormone levels (GH)

Studies have shown that body secretes more GH in the fasted state, it’s due to the evolutionary fact that we need to search food to end fasting state, hence increased energy availability for the body functions with high growth hormone levels which aid in various body functions. [Study 16, 17]

 

IMPROVES BRAIN FUNCTION

“If + keto diet” generates ketones which is the best fuel for brin, increases concentration and cognitive abilities.[Study 18,19,20]

 

SLOWS DOWN AGING

Studies have shown that calorie restriction slows down the aging process.[Study 21,22]

In fasting, body starts a process called “autophagy”. In autophagy, body uses its own cells for energy. Cells used for energy are damaged or broken cells which are toxic for the body. Once the broken or dead cell is used up for energy body replace them with a new working cell. In other words, body renews itself.

 

For more information read here.

 

Is intermittent fasting mixed with a keto diet safe?

Combining intermittent fasting and keto is safe for most of the healthy adults. But unless you want to accelerate your weight loss or break plateau it doesn’t make sense to combine them.

  • If you don’t have any previous experience with fasting or ketogenic diet you should not combine them, as it may cause harm to your health.
  • If you taking any medication or have a medical condition you should consult with your doctor.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women, couples who try to conceive, malnourished adults, kids should avoid both keto and intermittent fasting.
  • Some people find it difficult to follow both at the same time which will result in fatigue and headache.

 

How to Get Started?

Before combining keto and intermittent fasting make sure you have experienced in both separately. Both on their own are difficult to follow for beginners.

  • Once you get used to both, identify free days in a week on which you can follow intermittent fasting and follow a high-fat diet on remaining days.
  • You can follow the combined routine as long as your target weight achieved.
  • Keto diet can work with any of the fasting routines like 16/8 or 24-hour fasting.
  • Make sure you are eating enough calories on normal days with adequate nutrition.
  • Although combining both of them should be for short period no longer than 6 months.

Intermittent fasting and keto diet schedule

Below is a sample schedule “16/8 IF fasting” combined with a ketogenic diet.

  • Day 1,3,5,7 follow ketogenic diet 4 Days per week
  • Day 2, 4, 6 do Fasting 3 alternate days of the week

Follow this schedule until your target weight is achieved.

Intermittent fasting and keto meal plan

Fasting means no eating, so you don’t need to eat anything during fasting.

  • During fast person can have coffee, tea, bone broth, water, salt, a small amount of fat Avoid anything which will raise your blood sugar.
  • Strictly avoid sugar and snacks. Avoid zero-calorie sweeteners.

On a ketogenic diet day, prepare meal form below keto-friendly foods

Eggs, Fish, meat, cheese, butter, ghee, nuts, and nut butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, other healthy oils, green leafy vegetables, non-starchy foods, avocados

All starchy foods, sugary foods or drinks must be avoided

Sample keto Meals

keto snacks

  • Boiled/fried eggs with salads
  • Bell pepper stuffed with cheese and eggs.
  • Chicken breast cooked/fried olive oil and salad
  • Turkey, avocado and blue cheese
  • Steak bowl with cauliflower rice, cheese, herbs, avocado and salsa
  • Pork chops with green beans with coconut oil
  • Roast chicken with cream sauce and broccoli
  • Steak with cheesy broccoli

 

keto snacks

Any food high in fat and low in carb can be used as a keto snack.

keto snacks

Almonds, avocados, nuts, nut butter, string cheese, butter, tomato, olives, sardines, chicken breasts, beefsteak, macadamia nuts, bacon, boiled eggs, fat bomb, tea /coffee without sugar

Make sure you are not having carbs more than 50 gms per day. Mix and match ingredients according to your taste and convenience.

 

Sample 16/8 fasting Day meal plan

  • Breakfast: Black coffee
  • Lunch (around noon): Meal higher in fat and low in carbs
  • Dinner (around 5 or 6 in the evening): Meal higher in fat and low in carbs

Sample Ketogenic diet Day meal plan

keto and intermittent fastin

  • Breakfast: breakfast high in fat and low in carbs
  • Lunch (around noon): Meal higher in fat and low in carbs
  • Dinner (around 5 or 6 in the evening): Meal higher in fat and low in carbs

Is there any supplement one should take?

Supplements are not necessary but will help you to stick to your routine and avoid some health risks like nutrition deficiency.

Below are some keto supplement

Magnesium: boosts energy, regulates blood sugar levels and supports your immune system

MCT Oil: Medium-chain triglycerides, MCTs are broken down by your liver and quickly enter your bloodstream where they can be used as a fuel source for your brain and muscles. Example coconut oil.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids  fish or krill oil: are rich in the omega-3 fatty acids have been found to reduce inflammation, lower heart disease risk

Vitamin D: Vitamin D is important for many bodily functions, including facilitating the absorption of calcium

Digestive Enzymes to help in digest heavy load of fat.

Exogenous Ketones: these are external ketones used for energy by the body.these are commonly used by those following a ketogenic diet to increase blood ketone levels.

Electrolyte and mineral supplements, Creatine Monohydrate, Caffeine, Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).

 

Summary

Ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting both are great techniques to lose weight and get other health benefits. Combining them will be good in some cases like when you want to break  plateau or you need swift weight loss.

Doing keto and intermittnet fasting for long duration than 6 monht may cause harm to your health.

 

 

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