You’ve probably heard the hype around fasting as well as dietitians and nutritionists trying to convince people that fats aren’t all bad. There are various ways of doing intermittent fasting and the keto diet.
The two can work together very harmoniously to create the perfect environment for your body to burn fat, rather than just carbohydrates, for energy.
The combination of fewer calories through intermittent fasting and ketosis is incredibly powerful for any weight loss journey.
Read on and learn how to apply intermittent fasting and keto to lose weight and feel a great deal better.
A quick rundown of what will be covered in this article:
- How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
- Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
- A Ketosis State of Mind
- The Ketogenic Diet
- Blending IF & Keto
- The How-to
Firstly, let’s explore how intermittent fasting works. We’ve been told since birth that breakfast is the most important meal of the day to kickstart the metabolism and get the brain functioning properly.
This came from flawed nutritional studies that believed that carbohydrates were the only source of energy for the brain and therefore a bowl of oatmeal in the morning was a crucial part of anyone’s diet.1
We now know that your body doesn’t need that many meals. In fact, our bodies today have plenty of stores that they can use for energy without requiring the traditional three meals a day.
Intermittent fasting (IF) works largely because you are simply eating fewer calories and many people find that skipping a morning meal is psychologically easier, rather than eating three tiny meals.
The jury is definitely still out on why intermittent fasting works. You’ll hear a lot of hypotheses on how low-caloric models are perfect for animal diets.
However, bear in mind that these studies have only recently been tested and generally only conclusively on animals for long periods of time.
Nevertheless, the extant literature is highly promising, suggesting that intermittent fasting has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system and may even reduce aging processes (particularly in the brain).2
Aside from the general calorie burn of eating less, intermittent fasting also has plenty of other health benefits:
Not much is known at this stage for cancer and Alzheimer’s disease but there do appear to be enough links with a positive correlation to make it worth exploring further.
Ketosis is the state in which your body produces ketone bodies. The body makes these when there’s not sufficient energy from carbohydrates in the diet, and it breaks down body fat instead to create fuel for the body to function.
Fatty acids don’t efficiently cross the blood-brain barrier, but ketone bodies do.5 They’re the fuel of choice when your body has nothing else to choose from and this is what creates the fat burn and cognitive benefits of ketosis.
Your carbohydrate levels need to be very low so that your body produces ketones (from the breakdown of fats in the liver). This is why simply sticking to a high-protein, low-carb diet is not as efficient at breaking down and burning body fat.
It’s not a starvation diet in terms of calories, it’s simply starving your body of carbohydrates and filling it up with healthy fats.
There are a few parallels that you may have noticed already. Depleting your body of carbohydrates and intermittently fasting is an excellent way to restore balanced blood sugar levels to your body.
A modern Western diet, with its high-carb, processed foods, creates a state of insulin resistance, which, in turn, causes fat storage. By ensuring that your glucose levels stay low, your body will achieve a state of equilibrium.
Your body gets used to low levels of glucose on both diets, which makes them both as easy as each other to stick to.
Intermittent fasting requires a period of time with no food.
The most common ways of doing this fall into a few categories:
– It can either be a 12-hour window each day, for instance where you would only eat between 12 pm and 8 pm.
– It can also involve a four to seven-hour window of eating, which is a slightly more extreme version of the 12-hour fasting window.
– Or, you can significantly reduce your calories two days a week. It really comes down to personal preference, particularly what will mentally help you stay on this program.
Our body is believed to be in more of a fat-burning state in the morning so skip breakfast and then eat a mix of high-fat, low-moderate protein, and zero carbohydrate meals over the rest of the day.
A popular way to combine IF with the keto diet is to use IF as a ketogenic boost.
This requires a three-day fast where you eat a keto dinner on the first night, fast for the next two days, except for several intakes of MCT Oil each day, and then eat a ketogenic meal on the final night. It’s not for the faint-hearted but it is an excellent way of quickly and efficiently achieving a state of ketosis.6
When combining two new ways of eating, it’s essential that you listen to your body in order to achieve your goals.
It can be tempting to go full steam ahead to get results, but easing your way into a state of intermittent fasting and ketosis is the best way to go about balancing your body’s blood sugar levels and producing ketone bodies.
Once there, you should see the physical results, greater fat loss, quite possibly in the areas that you traditionally find troublesome to get rid of excess weight.
But you’ll also find an increase in mental alacrity – greater mental energy, clarity and less general fatigue are all reported as benefits of both diets.
Experiment with different ways of fasting, see how your body responds and find something that works for you.
- 1. Rogers, P. J. (1997). How important is breakfast?. British Journal of Nutrition, 78(2), 197-198.
- 2. Mattson, M. P., & Wan, R. (2005). Beneficial effects of intermittent fasting and caloric restriction on the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 16(3), 129-137.
- 3. Tinsley, G. M., & Horne, B. D. (2018). Intermittent fasting and cardiovascular disease: current evidence and unresolved questions. Future Cardiology, 14(1), 47-54.
- 4. Zhang, J., Zhan, Z., Li, X., Xing, A., Jiang, C., Chen, Y., … & An, L. (2017). Intermittent fasting protects against Alzheimer’s disease possible through restoring aquaporin-4 polarity. Frontiers in molecular neuroscience, 10, 395.
- 5. Hamilton, J. A., & Brunaldi, K. (2007). A model for fatty acid transport into the brain. Journal of Molecular Neuroscience, 33(1), 12-17.
- 6. AZAR, G. J., & BLOOM, W. L. (1963). Similarities of Carbohydrate Deficiency and Fasting: II. Ketones, Nonesterified Fatty Acids, and Nitrogen Excretion. Archives of internal medicine, 112(3), 338-343.