It’s hard to ignore just how popular the keto diet has become over the past couple of years. So many people are jumping on the keto bandwagon, and different variations of this extreme low-carb diet are popping up left and right. One of the ways keto-dieters are starting to tweak their way of eating in hopes of supercharging their health and getting their body to stay in ketosis is adding intermittent fasting to the mix.
Say what? Low-carb eating and fasting? Yup, while it may sound a bit extreme, it’s actually not nearly as hard as you may think, and the benefits may far outweigh the initial challenges.
So, if you follow a keto diet or are interested in giving intermittent fasting a try read on to learn how this may be a total game changer for your health.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Before we talk about the benefits of practicing intermittent fasting when following a keto diet, let’s talk about what intermittent fasting is (aka IF.) Intermittent fasting is obviously a form of fasting, right? But, it’s very strategic. Intermittent fasting is all about restricting calorie intake during certain periods of time and then going back to your normal food intake during other periods of the day. The thing about this way of eating is that the focus isn’t on what you are eating, but more about when you are eating
Another thing to keep in mind with intermittent fasting it that there are different methods, making it easier to find one that may work best for your lifestyle.
The most popular, and easiest method to implement (especially if you are new to intermittent fasting.) This involves fasting for 16 hours each day, and then eating within an eight hour window of time. Many people find it easy to eat a fairly early dinner and then skip breakfast to prolong their fasted state from not eating overnight. Keep in mind that this method can be tweaked a bit for what feels best for you. Some people feel best only fasting 14 hours per day vs 16 and then eating between an 8-10 hour window of time.
The 5:2 diet is when you eat how you normally would five days out of the week, and then keeping your daily calorie intake to 500-600 calories per day two day per week.
This method is a bit more extreme where you will fast for an entire 24-hours one to two times per week. You will fast from dinner to dinner the next day, breakfast to breakfast, or lunch to lunch. It really doesn’t matter when you start it, it just matters that you fast for the full 24-hours. It’s important to keep your hydration up since you will be fasting for an entire day.
The Warrior Diet
This form of fasting involves eating things like raw fruits or veggies throughout the day and then a very large meal at night. But, keep in mind that you will want to be enjoying wholesome and nutrient-dense foods. It’s not an all you can eat feast, and most people who practice this form of fasting will stick to a more paleo way of eating when it comes to their dinner time meal.
Spontaneous Meal Skipping
Not into the idea of committing to a specific method of intermittent fasting? You can still totally get some of the same benefits by skipping a meal here and there whenever you don’t necessarily feel hungry.
Note: During the fasting period, it’s super important to stay hydrated! Water, black coffee, or tea are all allowed during the fasting hours.
Why Combine Intermittent Fasting with Keto
So, why is intermittent fasting and keto the perfect pair? The two work so well together for a couple of reasons. For one, it’s combining a diet that is very specific about what you can eat (keto) with intermittent fasting which focus is on when you can eat. The combination of a diet specifically focused on restricting your carbs with a form of fasting that tells you when to restrict your calories may be beneficial for many reasons.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of doing both the keto diet combined with intermittent fasting.
- Practicing both may help you get into ketosis faster as intermittent fasting may help your body use fat for fuel vs carbs.
- Adding intermittent fasting to your keto diet may be a great way to naturally keep your carbohydrate intake down.
- Intermittent fasting may help you burn more fat by helping your body burn more fat stores due to thermogenesis (aka heat production in the body.)
- May help reduce cravings and surprisingly may even help you feel full for longer periods of time which can help prevent overeating.
- Intermittent fasting, when combined with the keto diet may help support energy levels.
May improve athletic performance-a great way to supercharge your morning FitOn workout followed with your morning cup of joe for added energy support.
The Bottom Line
So, what’s the takeaway here, should you combine the two? The answer is going to depend on what kind of result you are looking for. If you are currently following a keto diet and are having a hard time reaching ketosis, adding intermittent fasting to the mix may be the golden ticket to kick your body into a ketogenic state.
But, what if you have been following a keto diet for a while and are already in ketosis-are there still benefits? Yes, in fact, intermittent fasting combined with the keto diet may be what you need to help boost energy levels, boost athletic performance, and burn fat.
But, here’s the thing. It is definitely not necessary to combine both, and it may be a bit too extreme for some. So, if you are new to both keto and intermittent fasting, then it may be best to start with one and see how your body responds. Work your way into both before you jump in and try both.
And, if you want to test the waters to see how intermittent fasting can work for you, give spontaneous meal skipping a try on a day where you may be too full or busy to eat lunch. You may be surprised at what intermittent fasting can do for your keto or healthy eating lifestyle.