Two of the most popular diets at the moment are Keto and intermittent fasting. They both have amazing health benefits as well as being awesome for shedding pounds fast but can they both be combined to give you even more benefits?
So, here is your guide to combining keto and intermittent fasting effectively.
What is keto?
The keto diet is a very low carb, high fat and moderate protein diet which puts your body into a state of ketosis burning fat for fuel rather than glucose from carbs.
To get your body into ketosis you will eat less than 20-25g of carbs per day from natural whole foods such as vegetables.
The keto diet has been historically used to treat epilepsy but has recently gained popularity for its weight loss benefits.
The keto diet is being researched to see if it has any potential benefits for those suffering from diabetes, Alzheimer’s and even stroke patients.
When you enter a state of ketosis and become fat adapted most people start to lose their appetite and cravings for carbohydrates, they find that they are able to go much longer without needing food and this is where intermittent fasting comes in.
What is intermittent fasting?
Fasting has been used for thousands of years by many religions, as they believe that it offers both health and spiritual benefits. Recently however fasting has become more mainstream and there seem to be a few methods of how one can incorporate it into their daily lives.
There are a few approaches of how you can use Intermittent fasting (IF)
Time restricted eating- this is where you eat all your calories for the day in a certain time frame. This can vary it can be 8hrs, 6hrs and even 1hr.
Whole day fasting- this is where you fast for the whole day a few days a week
Alternate day fasting- this is where you restrict your calorie intake to 500 calories a day for a few non-consecutive days per week.
Intermittent fasting forces your body to use up all of its available energy; glycogen in your muscles and your liver and start to use stored body fat instead.
This research has shown that cycling between eating normal caloric intake and then no intake is, in fact, a better way of supporting long term weight loss rather than prolonged constant dieting.
Why combine the two?
Both Keto and intermittent fasting are amazing diets on their own when combined they can take your weight loss to another level. Here are some of the weight loss benefits of combining these diets;
*Increased ketone production
*Improved glucose regulation
*Increased leptin helping you stay satiated for longer
*Less carb cravings
*Improved ability to recognise hunger signs.
Weight loss may be the reason why keto and intermittent fasting have become famous recently.
Alongside the weight loss benefits, there are so many health benefits here are a few of them;
*Improvements in metabolic health
*Reduced inflammation markers
*Improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol
*Potential reduction in certain types of cancer
*Potential to reverse type 2 diabetes.
In addition, some recent animal studies have shown that calorie restriction has been shown to increase longevity and increase lifespan however this has yet to be researched in humans.
How to get started
The best way to start combining the two diets is to start one at a time. Both these diets will need you to implement certain changes to the way you eat and doing them both at the same time could be overwhelming and lead to failure.
I was already on keto which in my opinion requires more changes then IF. When I had reached a stage where I was fat adapted my body naturally lent itself to fasting in the evenings and having a late breakfast which was ideal for me.
I made sure that I was eating whole foods and healthy fats. The fact that I would be having fewer meals meant that the meals I am having had to be nutritious, have sufficient calories and enough fibre to stop me getting constipation.
The wonderful thing about IF is that your sleeping hours count towards your fasting hours.
I started with 12 hours and have gradually increased it to 18hrs. I stop eating at 5 pm and have brunch at about 12 pm the next day.
Don’t forget that coffee with cream or milk has calories so are not allowed in the fasting timeframe. You can, however, enjoy a herbal tea in the evening or have a black coffee first thing in the morning.
The most beneficial aspect of IF alongside Keto for me was the autophagy benefits.
I felt my skin tightening up around my stomach and after having 5 large babies my skin was super stretched and loose.
Related: 7 Benefits of Keto
A day on Keto and IF what it actually looks like:
You will need to have a decent keto dinner at night, something like a steak and salad or a grass-fed burger with roasted vegetables and avocado at 5-6pm.
This meal will keep you going until noon the next day, so try and make it high fat, moderate protein and low in carbs.
During your fasting period, you can have black tea, black coffee, water, and some herbal teas.
You will naturally find that you only eat between 1 and 2 meals when you are on Keto and IF, this is quite common as your appetite will decrease but your energy levels will go up!
If you find that you are still hungry you can add snacks in your eating windows such as boiled eggs or avocados.