Intermittent Fasting and Keto
You’ve probably heard of the keto diet and intermittent fasting if you’re wanting to shed weight and improve your health. Both of these diets have been proven to be quite successful in losing weight and improving one’s health. But what if you want to try both of them? Is it feasible to combine keto with intermittent fasting?
First and foremost, let’s define both diets. For good reason, the ketogenic diet is one of the trendiest diet fads right now. This low-carb, high-fat diet has been demonstrated to aid in rapid and successful weight loss. It may seem paradoxical, but it may help lower ‘bad’ cholesterol while raising ‘good’ cholesterol. It may decrease blood sugar levels, lower triglycerides (fat globules in the blood), and improve insulin resistance. This lowers the chance of developing diabetes. The keto diet is also anti-cancer since it successfully deprives malignant cells of their favorite “meal,” glucose (1).
But what exactly is the ketogenic diet, and how does it work? Simply put, the keto diet is a manner of eating that promotes ketosis in your body. In ketosis, your body uses ketones instead of carbs for energy. Ketones are energy units produced from fat (1). This mechanism not only aids in weight loss but is also responsible for the diet’s other advantages. There are a few things you should know before jumping on the keto bandwagon.
The keto diet necessitates eating extremely little carbs – often fewer than 50 grams per day. This may be difficult for some individuals since carbs can be found in a variety of healthful meals, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. That being said, we need these meals for their vitamin and mineral content, as well as to maintain our immune and many other bodily processes. As a result, it is preferable to avoid more harmful carbs. Sugary foods such as sweets, cakes, cookies, and desserts; processed meals such as morning cereals and crisps/chips; potatoes and potato products such as fries; and white foods such as bread, rice, and pasta are examples of these.
The keto diet is heavy in fat, accounting for around 55% of your daily calorie intake (2). This may seem to be harmful, but keep in mind that not all fats are created equal. Healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, almonds, olives, and olive oil, are essential components of the keto diet.
The keto diet is not for everyone.
Side symptoms such as headaches, tiredness, and irritability may occur in some persons (3). As a result, the keto diet may be difficult to follow, but there are lots of tools and ideas to help make the transition simpler.
Unlike the keto diet, intermittent fasting restricts when you eat rather than what you consume. So, instead of three large meals plus snacks every day, you consume two or three smaller meals over a shorter period of time. Intermittent fasting is basically an eating habit that alternates between eating and not eating intervals (fasting). There are several approaches to intermittent fasting, but the most frequent is not to eat for 16 hours and then fast for 8 hours. Some individuals do it every day, while others do it just a few times a week.
Intermittent fasting, like keto, offers several health advantages. For starters, it aids in the regulation of blood sugar levels (4) and the prevention of insulin surges. It may also assist your body enter ketosis, much like keto. If you’re on a diet, you obviously want to burn fat since that’s what leads to weight reduction.
While intermittent fasting may aid in ketosis, this is not always the case. There are a few things you should know if you want to achieve ketosis with intermittent fasting. To begin, keep in mind that not all kinds of intermittent fasting will induce ketosis in your body. The 16:8 technique, for example, is exceedingly unlikely to result in ketosis unless combined with a very low-carb diet. Longer fasts (such as 24-hour fasts) are more likely to put your body into ketosis (5). Because there is no energy flowing in from meals, the body begins to utilize glycogen reserves in the liver and muscles. Before fat can be burned as energy, glycogen reserves must be depleted entirely. This is why a lengthier fast is required to allow your body to resort to your love handles and belly fat for energy.
Following an intermittent fasting schedule, maybe starting with a twenty-four-hour fast, and then eating the keto diet is an effective strategy to lose weight. Although, as we will see later, it is not simple. The keto diet educates your body to burn fat for energy, and the body will continue to do so as long as there are few carbs consumed. This is why the keto diet and intermittent fasting may complement each other so effectively. However, after the body has begun to use fat for energy, eating a carbohydrate-containing meal will cause the body to switch to utilizing glucose for energy.
One of the drawbacks of intermittent fasting is hunger.
However, there is just another reason why the keto diet complements intermittent fasting so effectively. Eating a diet strong in fat and protein causes the body to absorb them far more slowly than processed carbs (6). As a result, you feel fuller for a longer period of time, and hunger cravings are kept at bay. Furthermore, the keto diet raises levels of the hormone leptin (7). This is beneficial since leptin acts as an appetite suppressor (8).
Another disadvantage of intermittent fasting is fatigue. Another way that the keto diet may aid is that it has been demonstrated to improve mitochondrial function. Mitochondria are little batteries found in our cells. They generate energy from glucose or ketones that enter the cell (9).
Regrettably, intermittent fasting may result in constipation (10).
Similarly, the keto diet might produce constipation owing to a lack of fiber, which is generally found in vegetables (11). As a result, it is essential not to limit vegetables just because they contain carbs. A diet rich in green, fibrous vegetables will supply you with enough fiber to keep you regular. Broccoli, spinach, cabbage, and cauliflower are all excellent choices. Because heating breaks down the fiber, eating these veggies raw or very gently cooked is best for your digestive system (12).
Fibrous veggies also help to maintain the health of your friendly gut flora. This is significant because ketones from a high-fat diet might decrease the number of beneficial bacteria in the stomach (13). Our gut flora is critical for both our physical and mental well-being (14) (15). As a result, it is critical to incorporate fiber vegetables, avoid excessive fat, and avoid following a keto diet for an extended period of time. It is pointless to be thin if you have a low immune system and bad mental health. It all comes down to balance.
A significant side effect of the keto diet is called keto flu.
This is a catch-all word for a variety of ailments. These symptoms include headaches, weariness, irritability and snappiness, nausea, and the previously mentioned constipation. Regardless of weariness, it might induce sleep disorders (3). Unfortunately, intermittent fasting may lead to irritability, fatigue (16), and sleep issues. To be clear, intermittent fasting does not create sleep problems in and of itself.
However, since most individuals miss breakfast during intermittent fasting, the biggest meal of the day is usually served in the evening. They are more inclined to overeat or eat too close to night if they are very hungry after fasting all day. Both of which may induce indigestion and disrupted sleep (17). Because the digestive system slows down at night, it’s critical to allow at least three hours between your evening meal and going to bed (18). This is particularly crucial if you are also on the keto diet since fat and protein take longer to absorb (6).
Whether or not you are on a weight reduction regimen, you should drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is critical for all of your body systems. Drinking enough fresh water helps to keep your digestive tract working and prevents constipation. It also sends a signal to your brain that your stomach is full, which helps keep hungry gremlins at bay. You will also most likely eat less (19).
Despite the advantages of combining a keto diet with intermittent fasting, it is important to start cautiously to minimize the impact of the negative effects. You may do this by beginning with the keto diet and gradually integrating intermittent fasting, or vice versa. Alternatively, eliminate carbs gradually and initially fast for just twelve hours. Just remember to pay attention to your body and take it slowly.
- The Potential Health Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet: A Narrative Review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8153354/
- Ketogenic Diet https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/
- What is keto flu? https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/what-is-keto-flu-2018101815052
- Intermittent fasting: is there a role in the treatment of diabetes? A review of the literature and guide for primary care physicians https://clindiabetesendo.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40842-020-00116-1
- Fasting, Circadian Rhythms, and Time-Restricted Feeding in Healthy Lifespan https://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/fulltext/S1550-4131(16)30250-9
- How Long Does a Fatty Meal Take to Digest? https://www.livestrong.com/article/498950-how-long-does-a-fatty-meal-take-to-digest/
- Hypothalamic Hormones and Metabolism https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3244537
- Leptin signaling, adiposity, and energy balance https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12079865/
- Ketogenic diet – a connection between mitochondria and diet https://www.drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/Ketogenic_diet_-_a_connection_between_mitochondria_and_diet
- Health Effects of Alternate-Day Fasting in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7732631/
- Definition & Facts for Constipation https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/constipation/definition-facts
- Dietary fiber content of commonly fresh and cooked vegetables consumed in India https://bit.ly/3AUTqUN
- Ketogenic Diets Alter the Gut Microbiome Resulting in Decreased Intestinal Th17 Cells https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(20)30490-6
- A healthy microbiome builds a strong immune system that could help defeat COVID-19 https://www.umassmed.edu/news/news-archives/2021/01/a-healthy-microbiome-builds-a-strong-immune-system-that-could-help-defeat-covid-19/
- Gut microbiota’s effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5641835/
- Potential Benefits and Harms of Intermittent Energy Restriction and Intermittent Fasting Amongst Obese, Overweight and Normal Weight Subjects—A Narrative Review of Human and Animal Evidence https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5371748/
- Does the Proximity of Meals to Bedtime Influence the Sleep of Young Adults? A Cross-Sectional Survey of University Students https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7215804/
- Aspects of sleep effects on the digestive tract https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12184167/
- Seven health Benefits of Water Backed by Scientific Research https://www.everydayhealth.com/water-health/water-body-health.aspx