The keto diet and intermittent fasting are two of the hottest current health sensations. Health-conscious people use these methods to lose weight and control certain health conditions. Some people still questioned if it’s safe and effective to combine the two although both have solid research backing their purported benefits.
This article defines intermittent fasting and the keto diet and we’ll find out whether combining the two is a good idea.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting, also known as intermittent energy restriction, is an umbrella term for various meal timing schedules that cycle between voluntary fasting (or reduced calorie intake) and non-fasting over a given period - mainly used as a weight loss technique.
There are three methods of intermittent fasting: Alternate-day fasting, periodic fasting or the 5:2 diet, and daily time-restricted feeding or the 16:8 diet.
The Daily time-restricted feeding or the 16:8 diet method is probably the most popular kind of intermittent fasting because it involves eating during an eight-hour timeframe before fasting for 16.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), Intermittent fasting may produce weight loss, reduce insulin resistance, and lower the risk of cardio metabolic diseases, although its long-term sustainability is unknown. A 2019 review concluded that intermittent fasting may help with obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and inflammation.
Moreover, Fasting exists in various religious practices such as: Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, and Buddhism.
According to research, intermittent fasting was a common fad diet of 2019, which attracts celebrity endorsements and public interest.
What Is Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet—also known as keto—is a high-fat, very low carbohydrate diet. The aim is to get the body to ketosis, where the body starts burning fat instead of carbs for energy, according to the Mayo Clinic.
For everyday dieters, it might be for the more anecdotal side effects, such as a clearer head. But it can be risky for certain folks, like those with kidney issues, according to experts at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
Carbs are typically reduced to under 50 grams per day, which forces your body to rely on fats instead of glucose for its main energy source. This diet is an effective way to shed pounds, but it has several other benefits as well.
The keto diet has been used for nearly a century to treat epilepsy and also demonstrates promise for other neurological disorders, may improve mental symptoms in people with Alzheimer’s disease and it may reduce blood sugar, improve insulin resistance and lower heart disease risk factors like triglyceride levels.
Potential Benefits of Practicing Both
If you commit to the ketogenic diet while doing intermittent fasting as well, it could offer the following benefits:
Reach ketosis quicker
Intermittent fasting may help your body reach ketosis quicker than the keto diet alone.
That’s because your body, when fasting, maintains its energy balance by shifting its fuel source from carbs to fats — the exact premise of the keto diet
During the process, insulin levels and glycogen stores decrease, leading your body to naturally start burning fat for fuel.
For anyone who struggles to reach ketosis while on a keto diet, adding intermittent fasting may effectively jumpstart your process.
Burn More Fats
Combining the two, diet and the fast may help you burn more fat than the diet alone. Because intermittent fasting boosts metabolism by promoting thermogenesis, or heat production, your body may start utilizing stubborn fat stores.
Several studies reveal that intermittent fasting can powerfully and safely drop excess body fat. In an eight-week study in 34 resistance-trained men, those who practiced the 16/8 method of intermittent fasting lost nearly 14% more body fat than those following a normal eating pattern.
Similarly, a review of 28 studies noted that people who used intermittent fasting lost an average of 7.3 pounds (3.3 kg) more fat mass than those following very low-calorie diets.
Plus, intermittent fasting may preserve muscle mass during weight loss and improve energy levels, which may be helpful for keto dieters looking to improve athletic performance and drop body fat.
Additionally, studies underscore that intermittent fasting can reduce hunger and promote feelings of fullness, which may aid weight loss.
Should You Combine Them?
Combining the ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting is likely safe for most people.
However, pregnant or breastfeeding women and those with a history of disordered eating should avoid intermittent fasting.
Though some people may find merging the practices helpful, it’s important to note that it may not work for everyone. Some people may find that fasting on the keto diet is too difficult, or they may experience adverse reactions, such as overeating on non-fasting days, irritability and fatigue.
Keep in mind that intermittent fasting is not necessary to reach ketosis, even though it can be used as a tool to do so quickly. Simply following a healthy, well-rounded keto diet is enough for anyone looking to improve health by cutting down on carbs.
People with certain health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, should consult with a doctor before trying intermittent fasting on the keto diet.
Combining the keto diet with intermittent fasting may help you reach ketosis faster than a keto diet alone. It may also result in greater fat loss. However, while this method may work wonders for some, it’s not necessary to mix both, and some people should avoid this combination.
You’re welcome to experiment and see whether a combination — or one practice on its own — works best for you. But as with any major lifestyle change, it’s advisable to speak to your healthcare provider first.