What is intermittent fasting and can you do it while on keto? Not surprisingly, it can actually increase fat loss and help you lose even more weight.
Are you starting keto for the first time? Or are you far into your plan and looking for a way to boost your weight loss?
No matter where you are on your keto journey, you’ve probably run across the term intermittent fasting and wondered if it was safe. I’m happy to tell you that it can be safe and even give you a weight loss boost!
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Before we go into talking about how this fits in with the ketogenic diet, it’s important to understand what intermittent fasting is.
According to Nerd Fitness, intermittent fasting is basically where you follow a specific protocol or pattern and skip certain meals on purpose.
There are two popular intermittent fasting protocols that people follow:
- 16/8 Protocol – Fasting for 16 hours and only eating in an 8-hour window. Basically, you eat from Noon-8 p.m. skipping breakfast. Or, you can eat from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. and skip dinner.
- 24 Hour Protocol – You go an entire 24 hours without eating, once a week. So you might eat at 8 p.m. one night and then not eat again until 8 p.m. the next night.
There are a variety of other ways people choose to fast. Some people only eat in a 4-hour window, others in a 6-hour window. It’s up to you and your body.
Fasting to Induce Ketosis
Fasting is a great way to start your ketogenic diet because it can induce the ketosis state where your body burns fat cells for energy.
In fact, early studies suggest that by severely limiting your calorie intake and eating a low carb high fat diet, your body will burn more fat.
This is also a really great tool to utilize if you happen to go out of ketosis and need to go back into it.
How does intermittent fasting effect ketosis?
The answer to this question involves a lot of science. I’ll try to keep it simple. Basically, when you fast your body maintains energy by using stored fat as fuel. This is the exact same thing as ketosis, so they work hand in hand. There are even studies to prove the effects of fasting on fat burning.
Another thing that happens is a change to insulin and glycogen levels. Studies show that when you fast, insulin levels and glycogen stores decrease. This causes your body to burn fat for fuel and keep the weight loss going.
So to sum it up, intermittent fasting effects ketosis by keeping your body in that state.
Is Intermittent Fasting Safe?
Yes, intermittent fasting can be safe. Just keep an eye on your energy levels. And make sure you are eating a diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates – how you would on keto anyways.
However, intermittent fasting can also be risky for certain people. Those who have low blood pressure, low blood sugar, or other potentially risky health problems should consult their doctor first.
People who are taking insulin or other medications that affect the blood sugar may struggle with IF because they need to eat more regularly to prevent blood sugar drops.
Anyone who has an eating disorder or a history of eating disorders should avoid intermittent fasting. It may too closely resemble the cycle of bingeing and purging and trigger a relapse.
If you are in good health, you should be good to go!
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
There are three main benefits of Intermittent Fasting (IF) while on keto.
1. Fat Burning
Since IF puts your body into ketosis, it will definitely use your stored body fat as fuel. If you pair it with a ketogenic diet, you will burn even more fat and lose more weight.
2. Increase Muscle
Another side effect of IF is the possibility of gaining more muscle mass. Studies have shown that one 24-hour fast can increase the human growth hormone. This is the hormone that is responsible for building lean muscle.
3. Quicker Recovery From Workouts
Finally, IF has been linked to faster recovery after workouts. Since it increases protein synthesis (which is going to build muscle) it will speed up repairs to sore muscles.
So yes, you can work out while on keto and IF. Just watch your body and if you need more energy feed it more fat or protein.
How to Start Intermittent Fasting on the Ketogenic Diet
Now that you know what it is and how it works with ketosis, let’s look at how to begin.
To start IF, just follow these steps.
1. Pick a Protocol
The first step is to decide the length of time you want to fast. Will you be skipping one meal? An entire day?
If you decide to skip one meal, which meal will it be?
Deciding this will effect every other plan you make, such as meal planning.
Try to make this something that will fit naturally into your life. If you disrupt it too much you might not stick with it. If you pick a meal that you normally eat light anyway (like breakfast) it will be easier to succeed.
2. Plan Your Meals
Next, you’ll have to plan your meals. Be smart. Eat high fat and low carb so you can maintain energy during your fast.
If you have a meal plan, you’ll know what to eat in between your fasting. This will curb snacking or cheating during the fast.
3. Start Small At First
Next, set small goals and then increase it if you want. So maybe only fast for 12 hours and then slowly increase it to 16.
Eventually you could work up to fasting for an entire day once a week.
4. Watch Your Body
Finally, keep an eye on your body. It will give you warnings if the IF isn’t working. Go back to eating normally if you notice any of the following symptoms (and always talk to your doctor):
- Low blood sugar
- Low blood pressure
The Beauty of Intermittent Fasting on Keto
Are you ready to give IF a try? Keep eating high fat low carb and you are well on your way.
This is a really fantastic way to boost your keto weight loss and help to build more muscle at the same time.
Keto Success Tips
Ready to lose weight on keto? Start here! We have some tips and tricks that will keep you on the right track.
- How to Meal Plan on Ketogenic Diet
- Low Carb and Keto When Eating Out
- 5 Simple Steps to Starting Ketogenic Diet
- Keto Pre-Workout: What to Eat Before You Exercise