You may be following keto to improve your health or simply to lose weight, but its more than likely you have also come across references to intermittent fasting.
Before you panic and think this means starving just wait a while and let me explain a bit more, remember you don’t have to do anything you aren’t comfortable with, but if the idea intrigues you keep reading.
Fasting isn’t a new concept but if you combine it with a ketogenic diet it opens up a whole new avenue to help you in meeting your weight loss and health goals.
This post may contain affiliate links which means I earn a commission if you use those links. If you want to know more you can check out our full disclosure policy here.
Principles of Intermittent Fasting
Basically, intermittent fasting (which is often abbreviated to IF) means going without eating for an extended period of time.
Instead of watching your macros or having to count calories, you just have a very small window of time in which you are allowed to eat.
Is there a Difference between Intermittent Fast and Fasting?
There is a slight difference in that both methods of fasting require you not to eat for a set period of time.
For example, you are often required to do a one off fast prior to having a blood test or prior to having surgery, this often means eating nothing for at least 12–16 hrs proper to the scheduled event.
With intermittent fasting however it is a continual cycle between period of abstaining from food and a short window during which you eat.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Fit with my Keto Diet?
We will assume at this point that you think intermittent fasting might work for you and want to give it a try. But first you need to work out which is the right cycle for you as like so many other diets and methods of eating there are a range of different cycles that you can take try.
There are a number of different ways that you can combine keto and intermittent fasting, but one of the most popular is the 16:8 ratio.
Which is quite simply what it implies you fast for 16 hours and then eat during the other 8. There are several options you can fit into this cycle, so have a look and see which is most suited to your lifestyle.
OPTION 1 – Cut Out Breakfast
This is quite a popular option especially for those who have a busy start to their morning. Instead of eating they settle for a black coffee, tea or just water in the morning.
The first meal of the day is a light Keto lunch followed by a Keto dinner within the 8 hours of your eating window.
So, for example if you had lunch at 12 noon then your eating window would finish at 8:00 pm
Note: For those of you who enjoy a “Bulletproof Coffee” in the morning technically this is not fasting, as butter counts as food.
Even though you might argue it is not raising your blood sugar levels and is satiating your hunger.
OPTION 2 – Cut Out Dinner
What you choose will depend a lot of your lifestyle and what suits you best. We all have our own preferences as to what works best for us.
For example, you could have your eating window between 6:00 am -2:00 pm if you are an early riser.
Is Intermittent Fasting Required on Keto?
No, its an option that you might want to consider if you are looking for a faster weight loss and want the extra boost from IF.
Intermittent fasting helps with depleting glycogen stores faster which in turn means you reach ketosis faster and more importantly stay there.
Intermittent fasting can help with your health in a number of different ways and we will be looking at 7 of them shortly. But first let’s look at that really important question hovering in your mind.
Is Intermittent Fasting Safe?
Unfortunately, there’s not an answer to this that’s 100% accurate.
But wait don’t panic what I am trying to say, like everything in life what’s good for one person is not necessarily so for another.
I am not saying however that it is dangerous, just that you need to look at all the options, your own health and possible side effects before just jumping in regardless because you want to lose weight.
Generally intermittent fasting is safe for most people. I approached this very carefully given my own poor health history and my “rather” advanced age but didn’t encounter a single problem. Intermittent fasting is something that really suited my lifestyle and I enjoyed.
However, I will add the caveat that I did include a bulletproof coffee on some mornings and occasionally substituted that with a cup of bone broth. Which is not strictly intermittent fasting but we each adjust according to our own needs.
Before moving on to the next section if you have any concerns at all, don’t rush in check with your own doctor and get a proper medical opinion, as to whether this is right for you.
7 Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Let’s look now at 7 of the positive benefits you might get from intermittent fasting and changing your eating habits.
1) Weight Loss
I was tempted to lead off with a different benefit but there is no denying weight loss is the most popular reason for taking up a keto diet and then maybe enhancing or speeding up that process by including periods of IF if not consistent intermittent fasting.
2) Cardiac Benefits
There have been a number of studies conducted on fasting with positive results such as:
- Lowers total cholesterol.
- Lower LDL cholesterol.
- Increase LDL size, which is good.
- Increased HDL which is vital to cardiac health.
- Lower triglycerides.
Simply what this means that for anyone at risk of chronic heart failure incorporating intermittent fasting could be beneficial towards helping them
Read what the Mayo Clinic has to say here.
3) Helps Reduce Inflammation
It is well known in the medical community that inflammation in someone that is overweight can lead to insulin resistance and eventually type 2 diabetes.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to help with reducing inflammation. Read here what Medicare have to say.
I don’t have diabetes but can share my own experience on this topic. I ‘HAD’ osteo-arthritis in my fingers, arm and neck, but all of that has now totally disappeared.
4) Slows Aging Brain
As we get older, our brain begins to slow down (I can attest to this) but fortunately we can now get some help in slowing the process down.
The official term is oxidative stress, which apparently is linked to impairment of your memory and ability to learn when you get older.
But there’s hope for us oldies yet it seems that intermittent fasting can help reduce the damage that oxidate stress has caused. In other words, it is helping to slow this aging brain process.
5) Improved Sleeping
We all know that a good nights sleep is essential to keep us running in peak performance but most of us can only dream (I know I have a warped sense of humour) of a solid 8 hours.
Unfortunately good nights sleep or not we still have to get through each day but running on a sleep deprived basis daily starts to set off any number of health problems.
It has been shown that intermittent fasting can help with the regulation of your body’s sleep pattern resulting in a better sleeping cycle for you to benefit from.
6) Eternal Youth
Well maybe not quite eternal youth but it sounds so much more impressive than slows down aging doesn’t it?
I think we would all like to slow the aging process down. Now I am going to touch briefly on an internal system called autophagy.
I won’t be covering in detail as it is way beyond the scope of this article, other than to say it clears old and damaged cells from our bodies. Autophagy plays a vital role in helping to prevent diabetes, cancer and other auto immune diseases.
Studies on this topic are limited but it has been deduced that it slows down as we get older so contributes to the aging process
One of the benefits of intermittent fasting is that it encourages autophagy thereby reducing the age detrimental effects mentioned earlier.
To date there aren’t a lot of human studies on this topic but it will be interesting to see how it develops and whether it can indeed to shown to help increase lifespan.
7) Disease Prevention
There is no denying that cancer is a deadly pervasive disease, and for me having a disease like this and not seeing any visible signs until nearly too late was one of the most frightening things about being ill.
According to Healthline intermittent fasting is showing some good results in reducing some of the bad metabolic processes in the body. In addition to moderating some of the side effects of chemotherapy.
There are also a number of studies looking at possible benefits of intermittent fasting on Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases.
Different Types of Intermittent Fasting
All intermittent fasting has the same objective in that you are required to abstain from eating during a set number of hours each day.
However, there are a number of different ways that you can do this, and I will highlight the most popular, so you can see which method is best suited to your lifestyle.
- Segmented Day– There is no denying that fasting for one part of the day and eating during a limited window is the most popular form of IF. You can choose the period that most suits you with 16:8 being a favourite or 20:4 or even 14:10 you have to decide what is best for you. Remember you are generally asleep for 8 hours so factor that in to your schedule.
- One-Day Fast:I think this one is fairly obvious you just pick one day to fast and don’t eat for the whole of that day. You can choose your own times for example you might choose to start after lunch one day and then not eat again until lunch the next day. It is completely up to you.
- The 5:2 This diet has been in the media a lot in recent years and was developed by Michael Mosley. The concept is that you eat normally for 5 days then fast for the other two. It’s a simple method and seems to be fairly popular.
Well you have now read all the different methods of fasting, hopefully you have also been sensible enough to check with your Doctor to verify that fasting wont do you any harm and lastly I hope you have a good relationship with food and how to manage it.
Do Not Make These Mistakes when Fasting
- Eat Sensibly!
Just because you are fasting doesn’t mean you can go crazy when you do get to your eating window. If you go over your macros and eat the wrong food you will have totally wasted all the effort you are putting into keto and intermittent fasting.
- Drink Lots of Water!
Its important to stay hydrated you MUST drink lots of water. Apart from being necessary for your health generally it will help you to feel full whilst you are fasting. The other benefit to drinking lots of water is that it helps your body detox and flush out all the waste.
- Don’t watch the clock!
I know this one can be hard, and you think you are on a count down. Find something to do, keep yourself occupied – don’t just focus on feed. You will be pleasantly surprised how quickly you will adjust it’s only the first few days that are difficult.
You are a KETO & IF Champion
Its not easy making all these changes first adjusting to following a Keto diet and now introducing Intermittent Fasting but once you start to see those positive results you will feel it has all been so worth it.
Whittling away ones waistline is so rewarding.