Is It Smart to Combine Keto with Intermittent Fasting?

If diet trends were Top 40 songs, there would be two major hits burning up the charts right now. I’m, of course, referring to the Keto Diet and Intermittent Fasting. However, unlike many fad diets and yo-yo meal plans, people of all backgrounds, fitness levels, and ages have had lots of success with both of these approaches. Moreover, there is plenty of science to back up the effectiveness of these strategies as weight loss methods.

This raises a rather obvious question: is it smart, or safe, to combine the two?

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at both of these diets, analyzing how they work and what effects they have on the body. Once we have a clearer view of both Keto and Intermittent Fasting, we can make an informed decision on whether or not they can (and should) be combined.

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Intermittent Fasting: The Basics

Intermittent fasting is less of a diet per se, and more of an altered eating schedule that alternates between calorie restriction (fasting) and normal food consumption. Schedules vary quite widely depending on a number of factors, particularly how long the individual has been participating. The most popular intermittent fasting schedule is the 16/8 method. This is where a person fasts for 16 hours a day and eats their meals during the remaining eight.

It should be noted that Intermittent Fasting is used predominantly for weight loss, but does have other benefits. These include better blood sugar control, improved mental function, and reduced inflammation.

 

The Keto Diet: The Basics

The Ketogenic or “Keto” diet is built around consuming foods that are high in fat but very low in carbohydrates. In most cases, one’s daily carb intake is relegated to under 50 grams a day – sometimes as low as 11 (or one single slice of bread). This is done in order to “train” your body to rely on fats instead of glucose for its main source of energy.

This leads to a metabolic process known as ketosis (hence the name of the diet). This is where your body begins to break down fats in order to provide fuel in the form of ketones. Not only has this diet proved to be remarkably effective at helping people from all over the spectrum lose weight, but it has many other benefits. These include:

 

  • Can treat epilepsy and other neurological disorders
  • Improves symptoms of those with Alzheimer’s disease
  • Can drastically lower blood sugar
  • Improves insulin resistance
  • Can lower heart disease risk factors (particularly triglyceride levels)

 

Combining Intermittent Fasting and Keto

As far as science is concerned, there are many potential benefits to combining these two dietary disciplines. For instance:

  1. IF May Make Your Keto Transition Smoother

Studies seem to indicate that Intermittent Fasting might actually help your body achieve a state of ketosis much faster than the Keto Diet would by itself. This is because your body automatically shifts its fuel source from carbs to fast when fasting. This causes your insulin levels and glycogen stores to go down as the body begins to burn fat. In short, you’re providing backup to the process the Keto Diet is jumpstarting.

 

  1. You May Be Able to Maximize Fat Loss

As stated, the goal of both of these plans is quite simple: burn more fat. Though they have similar, but slightly different ways of making this happen, Keto and IF are both highly effective at accomplishing this goal. Studies show that, when combined, the subsequent boosting of your metabolism might promote a process called “thermogenesis.” This may cause your body to begin using up its fat stores (stubborn body fat that is often the toughest to lose).

 

  1. You May Be Able to Preserve Muscle Mass

One of the issues associated with both weight loss options is that they both can cause you to shed muscle mass along with your excess fat. However, the combination of Intermittent Fasting and the Keto Diet has actually allowed athletes to lose fat without lessening their athletic performance. This is great news for people who don’t want to rebuild their physique from scratch after dieting.

Is Combining Both Techniques Right for You?

Whenever a new diet or meal plan pops up, the first question on everyone’s mind should be: is it right for me? So, while there are clear benefits to combining Intermittent Fasting and the Keto Diet, this section focuses more on whether or not you should combine the two, not whether or not you can.

That said, combing the two is likely safe for most people. However, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should be careful to avoid Intermittent Fasting. At the same time, people who have diabetes, heart disease, or other specific health issues should definitely consult their doctor before attempting to start either diet.

Also, it’s important to note that merging these two strategies will not work for everyone. In fact, many people will find that fasting on the keto diet is too hard, and might find themselves overeating on non-fasting days or becoming irritable or fatigued.

 

The Last Word

The science is clear: combining the keto diet with Intermittent Fasting may help you reach ketosis faster than the keto diet alone. Moreover, you may see more significant fat loss. That said, there is no guarantee that you will see these effects. Everyone’s body chemistry is different – so much so that some people should actually avoid the combination.

In the end, if you have any doubts about your ability to proceed, it’s best to consult with your doctor. While weight loss is an important part of looking and feeling great, it should never come at a risk to your overall health.

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