Intermittent fasting and keto diet, can they work well together?
The ketogenic diet centers on consuming food that is high in fat and low in carbohydrates. Doing so gets your body to look for and use alternative sources of fuel aside from glucose. A low intake of carbohydrates puts your body into the state of ketosis, which relies on fat as an energy source. Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, is not a diet but an eating schedule. Going on the ketogenic diet while doing intermittent fasting can be beneficial to your health if you are up for big changes in your diet and lifestyle.
Diets vs. Eating Schedules
A diet generally refers to the certain kinds of food a person eats. The ketogenic diet is a diet because for it to be successful, you would need to eat a lot of fat and not a lot of carbohydrates to get into ketosis. Intermittent fasting on the other hand is not a diet because it is an eating schedule where your food choices and intake are not restricted.
Your body easily uses carbohydrates and processes them into glucose molecules for energy. However, when your carbohydrate intake is low the body looks for alternative sources of energy. Restricting your carbohydrate intake to 20 to 50 grams a day usually gets your body into ketosis. Since different bodies have different requirements, this limit is more of a general guideline than a hard rule. When the body runs on carbohydrates, other sources of stored energy such as fat are not used. Getting your body in ketosis makes your body run on fatty acids. The liver produces ketone bodies, which are used for energy.
Intermittent fasting is not a diet, but an eating schedule. When you do intermittent fasting, your time can be classified as time spent eating, and time spent fasting. This eating schedule is intermittent because eating does not occur in meals spread throughout the whole day, but in blocks of time. However big the block of time spent eating and not eating can be arbitrary. People that fast for 16 hours and eat for 8 hours have a 16:8 eating schedule. Choosing an eating schedule will depend on your comfort and safety.
When you eat in blocks, your body burns off energy more efficiently in blocks. Once we finish eating anything, the body takes 3 to 5 hours to digest food. When the body is not busy digesting food, its insulin levels go down and the body gets a signal to get energy from other sources, such as from stored fat. In other words, if we are not storing food energy we are using it. Intermittent fasting increases the time we spend fasting, or the time we spend burning stored energy.
The Benefits of Doing Both Intermittent Fasting and Keto Diet
Both the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting have lots of health benefits. The ketogenic diet has been used in treating epilepsy, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. It protects against cancer and neurological disorders. It also helps those trying to lose weight.
Intermittent fasting has been used to lower one’s risk for cancer and type 2 diabetes, and it can lower insulin resistance. It can induce the body’s cellular repair processes. Intermittent fasting benefits your brain and heart health and helps those trying to lose weight.
Doing doing intermittent fasting and keto diet can bring many benefits as well. Intermittent fasting and keto have lots of things in common. One of those things is ketosis, which is the body’s state of burning fat for fuel instead of relying on carbohydrate sources for energy. Doing both will increase fat burning and bring blood sugar levels down. After a few days on the keto diet with intermittent fasting, the body gets used to burning fat for energy. Going on a ketogenic diet can help the hunger you may experience while getting used to intermittent fasting. Those on the ketogenic diet may experience reduced hunger from their satiating diet high in fat. If you combine intermittent fasting and the keto diet, it is highly likely that you would burn fat more efficiently without feeling so hungry.
How Can You Do Both Intermittent Fasting and the Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting have a lot of benefits. However, getting into the swing of things can be difficult. Starting may be easy but getting used to the adjustment can be difficult for some people.
While intermittent fasting you may experience the following:
- low energy
- muscle cramps
While doing the ketogenic diet you may experience the following:
- bad breath which may taste fruity
- digestive issues, such as constipation and diarrhea
- dry mouth
- increased energy
- increased thirst
- increased urination
- insomnia or waking up at night
- reduced hunger
- short-term decreases in physical performance
- short-term fatigue
- weight loss
Considering This Diet
Intermittent fasting is not for everyone. What may be helpful for someone may hurt someone else. To be on the safe side, consult your doctor or healthcare provider before considering intermittent fasting.
If you are any of the following, you must consult your doctor or healthcare provider before going on an intermittent fast:
- you have a history of disordered eating
- you have diabetes
- you have gout or high uric acid
- you take prescription medication
If you are any of the following, do not go on an intermittent fast:
- you are breastfeeding
- you are underweight with a BMI of less than 18.5
- you are pregnant
- you are under 18 and have not stopped growing yet
The ketogenic diet is not for everyone. What may be helpful for someone may hurt someone else. To be on the safe side, consult your doctor or healthcare provider before considering the ketogenic diet.
To be on the safe side, do not go on the ketogenic diet unsupervised. Consult a doctor or healthcare provider before going on the ketogenic diet if you are any of the following:
- you are pregnant
- you are breastfeeding
- you take medication for high blood pressure
- you take medication for diabetes