Keto and Intermittent Fasting: A Match Made in Weight Loss Heaven

Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll no doubt have heard about both the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting. But while these two dietary approaches seem different on the surface, they can actually work incredibly well together- I've personally combined these and managed to lose four stone after struggling to make any good progress with my weight for years.  In this article, I'll explain why keto and intermittent fasting go hand in hand. and how they can help you achieve your health and weight loss goals too.

What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet, or "keto" for short, is a high-fat, low-carb diet that's been around for nearly a century. It was originally developed as a treatment for epilepsy, but it has since gained popularity as a weight loss diet. Ketosis is a metabolic state in which the body burns its own stored fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. This process occurs when the body doesn't have enough carbohydrates, you can achieve this by drastically limiting the carbs you're consuming (most people enter ketosis once they eat less than 50g of carbs a day). During ketosis, the liver breaks down stored fat into molecules called ketones, which are then used as fuel for the body

What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating that alternates periods of fasting with periods of eating. It's not a diet in the traditional sense, but rather a pattern of eating that can be adapted to many different diets, including keto. The most popular form of intermittent fasting is the 16/8 method, where you fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8-hour window. For example, if you finish dinner at 7pm, you wouldn't eat again until 11am the next day.

Why Keto and Intermittent Fasting Work Well Together

They Both Promote Fat Loss
The ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting both promote fat loss. By limiting carbohydrates, the keto diet forces your body to burn fat for fuel, which can lead to significant weight loss. Intermittent fasting also promotes fat loss by creating a calorie deficit, as you're only eating during a limited window of time. When you combine the two, you get a double-whammy of fat loss, as your body burns fat for fuel during both ketosis and the fasting periods.

They Can Improve Insulin Sensitivity
Both keto and intermittent fasting can also improve insulin sensitivity, which is a measure of how well your body responds to insulin. Improved insulin sensitivity is important for overall health, as it can help prevent type 2 diabetes and other metabolic diseases. The high-fat, low-carb nature of the keto diet has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, and intermittent fasting can also improve insulin sensitivity by reducing the overall amount of insulin your body needs to produce.

They Work Together to Prevent Hunger and Cravings
One of the key benefits of combining keto and intermittent fasting is the ability to prevent hunger and cravings. When following a ketogenic diet, the body becomes more efficient at using stored fat for energy, rather than relying on glucose from carbohydrates. This can lead to fewer cravings and a reduced desire to snack between meals. Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, can help regulate hunger hormones like ghrelin, which is known to increase appetite. By reducing the frequency of meals, intermittent fasting can also help to prevent overeating and the associated weight gain. Together, keto and intermittent fasting can help create a metabolic environment that supports fat loss, improved insulin sensitivity, and reduced hunger and cravings.

Tips for Combining Keto and Intermittent Fasting
If you're interested in combining keto and intermittent fasting, here are some tips to get started:

Be Prepared: Entering into ketosis initially can bring on some unpleasant symptoms, nausea, headaches and fatigued (it's often referred to as 'keto flu.' This does pass, but be aware that it can take a few days so start the process of reducing your carbs when you don't have a busy few days ahead of you. It's worth waiting until you're in ketosis before you start the intermittent fasting side of things as you'll naturally be less hungry and find it easier to not eat during your fasting period. You can use Ketostix to check if your body has entered ketosis, these are simple urine strips that you can use at home. 

Listen to Your Body: It's important to listen to your body and make changes as needed. If you feel fatigued, sluggish, or irritable while combining keto and intermittent fasting, it may be a sign that it's not the right approach for you.

Stay Hydrated: While fasting, it's important to stay hydrated, especially during the summer months. Drink plenty of water and consider adding electrolyte-rich beverages like coconut water to your diet.

Focus on Whole Foods: While on the ketogenic diet, it's important to focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods like organic meat and fish, leafy greens and avocados, rather than processed foods that are high in unhealthy fats with lots of added salt.

Keto and intermittent fasting are two dietary approaches that can work incredibly well together. By limiting carbohydrates and creating a calorie deficit, they both promote fat loss, improve insulin sensitivity, and improve overall health. If you're interested in combining these two approaches, it's important to start slow, listen to your body, and consult with a healthcare professional to ensure it's safe for you. With a little patience and persistence, combining keto and intermittent fasting can be a powerful tool for achieving your health and weight loss goals.