Intermittent Fasting and the Ketogenic Diet
Fasting. If the word conjures up images of suffering and starvation, read on. Whether you’ve been following a keto diet for a while or are just starting out, intermittent fasting can turboboost weight loss while increasing your energy levels.
Intermittent Fasting on Keto
Intermittent fasting is just what it sounds like: you restrict your food intake from time to time. If your weight loss has plateaued, intermittent fasting might be just the thing to restart the fat burn.
There are different approaches to fasting:
Skip a meal – Many people skip breakfast, but others skip lunch, or even dinner. It all depends on when you feel the least hungry.
Eating window – You condense the time you eat down to a 4 to 7 hour window during the day. For example, you eat only between the hours of noon and 6 p.m.
24-48 hour fast – A longer cleanse during which you fast for 1-2 days.
If you’re trying fasting for the first time, start by skipping a meal. Once you get used to eating on a schedule, you can go for a longer fast by trying out the window system. Only once you’ve built up some practice and seen how you do with fasting should you try a longer fast. And maybe a full-day fast will never be for you. That’s okay. Any time you go without eating for more than six hours, your body starts to burn fat rather than sugar.
It’s important to note, fasting is not required in order to be successful on a keto diet. A big part of good health is being happy, so if you’re having to force yourself to fast, the restriction is not worth it.
The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Mental Clarity – The brain is a big energy-guzzler. The conventional wisdom is that it needs glucose in order to function. The truth is that the brain runs perfectly fine on fat (ketones). Since fat burns much more efficiently, when you make the switch to a ketogenic diet, you will no longer be subject to the highs and lows of the sugar rollercoaster.
Also, when you eat, a lot of energy goes to digesting what you just ate, which means it’s being diverted away from other bodily functions, like thinking. Hence the “food coma” following a big meal that so many of us have experienced. By giving your digestive tract a break, your other organs get a chance to work at peak function.
Improved Ketosis – Throughout most of humans history, food scarcity was a regular occurrence. Our bodies are designed to withstand periods of not eating. Intermittent fasting will fire up those fat-burners, so if the numbers on the scale aren’t budging, this might be just the thing to get it back in gear. Think of it as a vacation for your digestive tract.
Autophagy – Autophagy doesn’t sound pretty, and its meaning – “cells that eat themselves” – sounds scary too, but this is a case where looks are deceiving. The concept is not only positive, it’s necessary to good health. Cells get damaged all the time. This is normal. Just as normal is the need to clean them out. You wouldn’t want a bunch of useless, broken junk piling up inside your house, and you certainly don’t want that happening inside your body. Autophagy gives your cells a clean sweep, slowing the aging process and preventing diseases like cancer. Restricting carbs, restricting protein and fasting all start different parts of autophagy. This is why the ketogenic diet is so healthy and why fasting is a great way to supplement your keto diet.
Insulin Balance – Other than exercise, fasting is the best way to normalize blood sugar. By not replenishing your stores of glucose, the body is forced to use what it has on hand.
Cellular Repair – Related to autophagy, taking a break from eating is essential for a healthy body and long life. Anti-aging and disease prevention processes occur when the body is at rest and can perform repair functions.
Tips for Intermittent Fasting on a Low Carb Diet
In order for your fasting to be successful, you must make sure it doesn’t feel like hard work. Done correctly, you will retrain your body and not even feel hungry during your fast. Tuning into your appetite and only eating when you’re truly hungry is the best diet anyone can have.
Get enough calories. Be sure to consume enough macronutrients during your eating window, but this isn’t a time to go crazy. Plan ahead so you don’t dive headfirst into the cookie jar.
Make sure your eating window fits your lifestyle. It may sound obvious, but don’t just make your window from 5-11 p.m. because that’s what your friend is doing or because you read it on the internet. Every body is different. Maybe you’re an early bird and you can’t do without breakfast. That’s okay. Test it out and do what’s right for your body. That said…
Don’t eat first thing in the morning, or right before bed. Wait until you’re actually hungry. After sleeping, what we need most is water. Rehydrate and delay eating for as long as possible in the morning. Then stop eating several hours before bedtime. You’ll get better rest, and as you practice this new schedule, you will discover that you are less hungry in the morning because you didn’t fill up with a bunch of carbs before you sacked out.
Intermittent Fasting and the Keto Diet: A Perfect Match
The keto diet and intermittent fasting have a lot in common. Both burn fat. Both involve clearing the bloodstream of sugar. Both promote healthy cell function, reverse cellular damage, and slow the aging process. Both cut through the mental fog. If you’re already in ketosis from following a keto diet, you’ll find fasting much easier because you won’t suffer from the sugar crash associated with a typical high-carb diet. If you’re looking to start or restart your keto diet, fasting can help jumpstart ketosis. Either way, intermittent fasting and keto diets make great partners.
Donuts are everywhere. We all need encouragement when it comes to eating a healthy diet. But if you’re serious about taking charge of your well-being, the keto diet can help you achieve your goals. Whether you’re looking for a quick way to get your keto diet started, need instant results in order to stick with it, or have stalled on your keto journey, intermittent fasting can be the answer.