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There’s a lot of hype surrounding “ketosis fasting:” Combining the ketogenic diet with Intermittent Fasting.
Depending on who you ask, you might hear it’s unpractical and restrictive. And hard to stick to.
Others will tell you the two go together like peanut butter & jelly. And it’s one of the best-kept secrets to burn body fat as fast as possible. And live a healthy lifestyle.
So, who is right? Does 1 + 1 really equal 2? And how do you even combine the two? I’ll get into that.
But first, here’s a short explanation of each diet.
The Ketogenic Diet + Intermittent Fasting explained
The ketogenic diet: The goal of the ketogenic diet is to drastically decrease the amount of carbs you eat.
You only consume 5 percent of carbs a day of your total daily calorie intake. And replace (most) of the calories you normally get from carbs with (healthy) fats.
This puts your body into “ketosis.” A state where your body starts using fat as its primary fuel source, instead of carbs.
Your insulin levels massively drop. You deplete the glycogen stores in your muscles and liver.
In this state, ketones are formed by the breakdown of fatty acids.
Unlike keto, Intermittent Fasting is not a diet.
But an eating pattern, it has one main goal: To deprive yourself of food for a certain amount of time.
How long depends on what type of intermittent fasting you follow.
Fasting massively reduces your insulin level.
The graph below is from a paper by Volek et al. You can see a small decrease in insulin, within the normal range provides a large increase in lipolysis (the breakdown of fat).
If you intermittent fast for long enough the body depletes your liver of glycogen stores.
This helps you burn fat more effectively as shown in the above diagram.
Does it make sense to combine the two?
While these are two different approaches to losing weight the goal of both protocols is to deplete glycogen stores in your liver and muscles to effectively switch the body’s energy source to fat cells.
Intermittent Fasting is an eating pattern and that’s why you can theoretically easily combine the two but doesn’t mean it’s a happy marriage for everyone.
You should know there is science behind combining the two and the key differences are explained by Dr Anthony Gustin in the video below.
As mentioned, the goal of the ketogenic diet is to reach a state of ketosis. This is when your body breaks down fatty acids called ketones which begin to build up in the blood and exit the body through urination.
But reaching ketosis takes time and eating the right diet is key.
Your body will become accustomed to using ketone bodies as the primary fuel source which allows the body to be keto-adapted.
There’s a high chance you will experience symptoms that have been notoriously coined the keto flu, but your body will adjust over time and less frequent symptoms will occur.
Common symptoms are nausea, headaches, fatigue, and sugar cravings caused by making the transition.
Because Intermittent Fasting also depletes the glycogen stores in your liver you will have a greater chance of reaching ketosis faster than with fasting.
Intermittent Fasting has been proven to keep your metabolism high during short fasts. A study of 11 men over 3 days showed an increase of 14% in resting energy expenditure during a fast.
The possible benefits of combining keto + IF
So, to sum it up, combining the ketogenic diet with Intermittent Fasting has many potential benefits:
- The perfect combo to reach ketosis in less time.
- You can shorten the duration of the symptoms of keto flu, like fatigue, headaches, and dizziness.
- May help you experience fewer hunger pains.
- Possibly allow you to get used to eating low carbs in less time.
- Could help you have an easier time sticking to the diet.
- Will maximize the amount of time you’re in ketosis.
- It can help you burn even more body fat.
The possible downsides
But there are also some downsides you have to take into consideration.
- You are more restricted than following just one of the two.
- It can be unsafe if you have a specific medical condition.
How to Combine IF + Keto
If you haven’t done either before, don’t try to do both at the same time as the chances are the adjustment will be too much to handle.
As mention before, I believe you should adjust your body into a keto-adapted state before moving onto ketosis fasting.
Here’s my step by step process to Ketosis fasting the easy way.
- Step 1: Cut carbs until you’re only eating about 30 grams per day (this may be higher if you’re an athlete).
- Step 2: Replace the carbs you were eating with healthy fats like olives, avocados, fatty nuts & olive oil.
- Step 3: Eat enough protein during a ketogenic diet. Virta Health says eating around 1.5 and 1.75 grams of protein per normal lean body mass not your total bodyweight.
- Step 4: Start exercising more to deplete glycogen stores in your liver and muscles faster. Consider exercising first thing in the morning.
- Step 5: Drink more water.
- Step 6: Add coconut oil to your diet to reach ketosis faster.
- Step 7: Once you’re keto adopted. Add Intermittent Fasting to the mix. Start with 16:8 Intermittent Fasting, in which you eat all your meals within an 8-hour timeframe. This can be achieved by skipping breakfast.
- Optional: Step 8: Try one of the harder types of IF, like 20:4 or alternate-day fasting. An easier option is Eat Stop Eat. This will maximize the time you’re in ketosis. And help you burn even more fat. Use intermittent fasting apps to notify you of your fasting schedule.
It might feel like combining Intermittent Fasting & The Ketogenic Diet doesn’t make much sense. Fasting can help you maximize the benefits of the Ketogenic diet.
It can make it easier to stick to it. And it has its own set of unique health benefits.
However, if you haven’t done either before it can initially be hard to learn how to do both at the same.
I recommend helping your body into a keto adopted state and then adding Intermittent Fasting to the mix is usually a better option for you.