Keto and Intermittent Fasting
You know that the keto diet will help you to lose weight fast. You’ve also heard that intermittent fasting is also a fat shredder. So, what would happen if you combined the two methods? let’s dig deeper and find out what that combination can do for weight loss.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting (IF) is essentially water fasting [as a break between eating. But, it’s not your typical water fast, where you deprive yourselves of calories for days or weeks on end. With intermittent fasting, you break up periods of water fasting with feeding windows. To get the most out of this process you need to fast for a minimum of 16 hours.
Intermittent fasting is also referred to as the Warrior Diet and the Hunter / Gatherer Diet. Intermittent fasting is not a calorie reducing diet. To receive the fat burning benefits of IF, you do not have to eat less food. The only restriction is that you have to consume those calories within your feeding window.
There are different variations to the diet, based on the number of hours of eating and non-eating. These range from the standard 16 hour fast with an 8-hour eating window, to a straight 24 hour fast one or two times a week.
An example of a 24 hour-fast could be from 6 pm one day until 6 pm the next day. That means that you’d still be eating on both days – prior to 6 pm before you start on the first day, and after 6 pm the next day.
During the period of fasting, it is really important that you stay hydrated. That doesn’t mean you drink gallons of water. Just don’t forget to drink, it’s important to have the correct viscosity in your cardiovascular system to keep things flowing as they should. Regardless of all the nonsense floating around about certain amounts of water per day (8 glasses…blah, blah, blah). Unless you have medical conditions affecting your natural triggers for thirst, or you’ve been binge drinking the night before, then “Thirst” is a true indicator of your need for hydration. Drink the amount of water your thirst says you need….no more!
Fasting is actually something that you’ve been doing your whole life. Technically speaking, whenever you’re not eating you are fasting. For most us those periods are randomly spaced throughout the day. But there’s a period of fasting that is constant. That, of course, is when we’re sleeping. So, most people are fasting for 7 -8 hours out of every 24 as a matter of course. That’s why the first meal of the day is called breakfast – you’re breaking your nightly fast.
An intermittent fasting weight loss plan will generally involve eating low carb foods during your feeding window in order to deplete glycogen levels in the liver. An intermittent fasting meal plan for women will involve the same foods but fewer calories than one for men.
What’s the Pay Off?
If you’re feeling a little skeptical about the benefits of intermittent fasting, you’re not alone. Fasting, after all, does seem pretty drastic. It goes against the grain of everything we’ve been taught – don’t skip meals, it will make you fat or – even worse – eat away at your muscle tissue.
It’s fair to say that every single person who is now a raving fan of the Intermittent Fasting lifestyle started out as a skeptic. What has won them over?
They are hard to argue with.
Here’s what they’ve discovered . . .
It Burns Fat
It’s pretty hard to eat a meal without taking sugar into your body. And when you eat sugar, it goes straight to your liver to be converted to glycogen. Before long, however, your liver will be filled with glycogen. The excess is stored as fat. A normal meal will provide you with energy to power you through the next seven or eight hours. Then, once the glycogen is used up, the body is going to rely on your stored body fat as its preferred form of energy. That will remove fat cells from your body.
When you use intermittent fasting, you cause your lover to dry up its stores of glycogen. Then, your body will have no choice but to utilize stored body fat as its energy source.
It Controls Blood Sugar
Insulin signals your body to store energy so it can be used later. Every time we eat we release insulin. When you practice intermittent fasting, however, you receive an insulin spike after eating. But then, because you have a large gap before your next meal, there is no insulin activity going on in the body at all. This encourages the body to burn fat, while also maintaining the body’s natural sensitivity to insulin.
Ramping Up Fat Loss
Imagine that your last meal was at 7:00 pm. You get up at 9:00 the following morning. After a glass of water, you head for the gym. You’ve been fasting for 11 hours, so your body is beginning to deplete its glycogen stores that have been stored in your liver and muscles as a result of last night’s dinner.
When you begin working out, your body’s need for energy sky rockets. Very quickly, you deplete the stored glycogen. Now your body is going to go directly to its backup fuel source – your stored body fat. That fat-burning state will exist right through until your next meal. People who work out in a non-fasted state, however, seldom exhaust their glycogen stores sufficiently to make any inroads into their fat reserves. As a result, they will struggle, despite working just as hard, to lose fat.
Intermittent Fasting and Belly Fat
Belly fat is both unsightly and unhealthy. In order to get rid of it, we need to free the fatty acids from our fat cells in a process known as lipolysis. It can then be transported through the bloodstream to our cells to be burned as energy.
Four to five hours after eating, our levels of the hormone glucagon increase. Glucagon cleans up all of the carbohydrate and protein that you’ve eaten. It also triggers the release of hormone-sensitive lipase. Lipase, in turn, triggers the release of fat from our fat cells. This allows for the switch over to fat as the primary fuel for providing energy to our muscle cells.
As we continue the fast, stored belly fat is being turned into energy simply in order to maintain our daily functions. When we exercise, the rate of belly fat burn is ramped up.
When we are constantly eating, however, there is no need for our body to release any glucagon. That’s because the very act of eating causes the pancreas to pump out insulin. Insulin does not promote the use of fat to provide energy. In addition, any glucose that comes into our system and that is not used as energy, can be converted into fat.
The bottom line is that fasting is a superior way to promote loss of belly fat because it triggers your body to switch from using glucose to fat as it primary source of energy.
Combining IF with Keto
Intermittent Fasting can get you into ketosis more quickly. In order to get into a state of ketosis, you have to burn up the glycogen that is stored in your liver. Normally, we eat every three hours. That’s because the glycogen levels in the liver deplete every three hours. That means that we’re out of sugar, which many of us have become addicted to. As a result, the brain signals that we need more sugar and tells us to eat something.
When you’re on a keto diet, your glycogen levels won’t go up when you eat every three hours, because you’re eating mainly fat and protein. But, the very act of eating increases your insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone that tells the body to store energy. Yet, what happens if, after three hours, we refuse to eat anything at all?
In that case, the body is forced to tap into whatever other energy stores it has at its disposal – stored body fat. It makes sense that, if eating fewer carbs will get us into ketosis, then eating nothing at all will get us into ketosis even quicker.
Does Intermittent Fasting Put You in Ketosis?
Yes, intermittent fasting will get you into ketosis because, when you’re not eating, you’re not having carbs. Of course, if you pig out on carbs during your feeding window on IF, you will never get into ketosis.
That’s why a ketogenic diet combined with intermittent fasting is the smart way to go.
What is the Best Intermittent Fasting Program?
The best IF plan is the one that best suits your lifestyle and ability to maintain it. Here are the most popular variations . . .
16 / 8 Lifestyle Fast
On a 16/8 plan, you will typically miss out on breakfast. Your first meal of the day will, in fact, be your lunch, which you will eat at noon. Over the next eight hours, you consume all of your food for the day.
It’s important to realize that, because you are skipping a meal every day, your portions should be slightly bigger than they would normally be.
The 24 Hour Fast
A 24-hour fast can run between any times of the day. Many people like the 2 pm to 2 pm fast. It means that they can have a good lunch at 1:30 pm, and then let the night-time carry them through until just after lunch time the next day. That way, no day feels totally deprived of food.
24-hour plans should be adjusted to fit your individual circumstances.
5 / 2 Lifestyle Plan
On this pattern, you eat your normal 3 meals per day for five days of each week, and then, for the following two days, you limit your daily calorie intake to 500. It is a good idea to leave a 20-hour gap between your last meal on Day-2 of your fast days and your first meal of the next day. If, for example, your dinner on Day-7 is at 6 pm, then wait until 1 pm on the next day to have your next meal.
So, what is the best intermittent fasting program? It’s the one that you are best able to stick with. That may mean trying them all out to see which is the best fit for you? It’s well worth taking the time to experiment.
What about a Bullet Diet?
This is a diet created by a guy named Dave Asprey. The bullet proof part refers to a list of foods that he refers to as being bullet proof, or ideal forms of nutrition for wellness and fat loss. A key part of the diet is bulletproof coffee, which features a special ‘upgraded’ form of coffee bean, grass fed butter, coconut and medium chain triglycerides (MCTs).
In essence, the bullet proof diet is the keto diet, with an extra push to sell coffee beans.
So, How Fast Can You Lose Weight?
How much weight can I lose with intermittent fasting, you ask? Well, combining IF with a keto diet is, without a doubt, one of the quickest ways to lose body fat that we know of. On this diet, you can lose up to one pound per day. That’s not one pound of weight – it’s one pound of pure body fat. So, in a week you can lose 7 pounds of unsightly fat. Imagine 7 pounds of butter stuck to your body – then imagine it gone!
Combining intermittent fasting with the keto diet makes a lot of sense. Jumping straight into the two of them at once, however, is a big ask. Our advice would be to start with a keto diet for the first month. It is up to your discretion as to whether you should have a carb re-feed day on the weekend. Get used to getting your body into a state of ketosis and build up your arsenal of carb free foods.
Then on the second month, start easing into an IF, keto combination by having a cut off time for your last meal of the day and then slowly extending out the time that you have your first meal of the next day. Over the period of a couple of weeks, you should be able to fast until mid day. Then you’ll start to see the real fat loss magic take place.