The Ketogenic Diet and Intermittent Fasting are hot topics in the health and wellness world. And when you combine the two, you can take your health to a whole new level.
By pairing KD with IF, you could become a fat (and disease) burning machine. Combining Keto and IF is amazing for people looking to lose weight, stabilise energy and produce growth hormones.
In this article we’ll take a brief look at the history of Intermittent Fasting and the Ketogenic Diet. We’ll explore who can benefit from the diet, similarities between IF and KD, how energy is created when following KD and IF, cravings, mood swings and who shouldn’t follow IF and the KD.
Let’s dive in…
Ketogenic Diet – A Brief History
In 1921 Dr Wilder discovered that diets low in carbohydrates and high in fat offered the same benefits as fasting but could be maintained for a much longer period of time. The diet was used successfully for two decades to treat epilepsy and is being investigated as a treatment for other neurological and chronic health conditions.
Dr Wilder of the Mayo Clinic invented the name the “Ketogenic Diet” (KD). Later Dr. Phinney coined the term “Nutritional Ketosis” which is the aim of the Ketogenic Diet – the body now burns fat for fuel instead of glucose from carbohydrates.
IF and KD have similar outcomes – amplifying the health benefits if both protocols are used together.
PRO TIP: Some people struggle to reach ketosis with the ketogenic diet alone. For these people, adding IF into the mix might be the answer. When we are fasting our bodies turn to fat for fuel automatically; IF can therefore speed up the process of training your body to burn fat for fuel instead of glucose.
Intermittent Fasting – A Brief History
Intermittent Fasting rose to fame in 2012 after the hit BBC2 Horizon documentary “Eat, Fast and Live Longer”. However, fasting is not a new concept.
Influential thinkers such as Pythagoras, Aristotle, Buddha, Muhammad and Jesus Christ promoted fasting, for both physical and spiritual wellbeing.
The godfather of medicine, Hippocrates, prescribed fasting to reverse illness as far back as 360 BC, in ancient Greece, and famously stated:
“To eat when you are sick, is to feed your illness.”
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a protocol that involves extending the natural fasting period. There are a few different approaches to IF, however if you are looking to sustain IF on an ongoing basis, a daily feast-famine routine should be set up. For example, 16 hours fasting and 8 hours feasting. Which could look like eating between 10am and 6pm, or whatever suits your schedule.
There are five types of intermittent fasting, as follows:
- Time-Restricted Eating – Eat within a specific daily timeframe.
- Alternate-Day Fasting – Eat only on non-fasting days, alternating daily.
- Periodic Fasting – Occasional fasting (e.g. 1 day per month).
- The 5:2 Diet – Eat normally 5 days per week and fast 2 days per week.
- Religious Fasting – Many religions observe a fast such as Ramadan or Buddhist fasting.
Who Can Benefit From Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a great performance-boosting tool that is completely free and always available.
IF is used by athletes, as a treatment for diabetes and also for weight loss. IF fits nicely into
modern 21st century lifestyles, which is a bonus.
IF is not concerned with what you eat. Rather, it’s the process of optimising the switch between our feast (eating) and famine (fasting) state.
Of course if you eat a nutritious diet, the benefits of IF are likely to be greater. And the Keto diet is certainly nutritious.
One study showed that intermittent fasting helped the participants lose 14% more fat, compared to the control group. Furthermore IF has shown to be more effective than low-calorie diets in helping people lose fat.
The Similarities Between Keto and IF
There are many similarities between the Ketogenic Diet and Intermittent Fasting.
IF promotes the use of ketones as a fuel source, much like the KD, and the Ketogenic Diet mimics the metabolism of fasting. Fasting has been used as a therapy for all forms of illnesses since biblical times.
It is easy to see that both protocols work hand in hand to expedite weight loss and promote stable energy, chiefly by getting your body off the treadmill of carbohydrate dependence and eliminating the problem of blood sugar spikes.
Normal Energy Creation vs KD Energy Creation
Normal Energy Creation
Energy is normally created from blood sugar and glycogen (stored glucose in our muscles and liver). These glycogen stores are replenished when we eat. Fat remains untouched as we continually replenish our glycogen stores, and it takes up to 8 hours for our glycogen stores to fully metabolise. Once glycogen is depleted, the body will turn to burning fat for fuel. The human body will only metabolise fat stores as a last resort, after approximately 8 hours of fasting.
KD Energy Creation
If we follow a Ketogenic Diet, then we are already burning fat for fuel. As a result, we can quickly access the many healing benefits of intermittent fasting which include: Increased brain function (BDNF), reduced blood pressure and increased Life expectancy. Awesome, right?
While the Ketogenic Diet and Intermittent Fasting used individually are great for improving overall health, combined they are a powerhouse.
IF alone will encourage your body to burn fat for fuel and help you lose weight, gain lean muscle, improve skin quality, increase longevity and improve cognitive function.
Using Keto Alongside Intermittent Fasting
IF is not concerned with the diet. So you can eat what you want and still follow the IF protocol. However, if you eat a carbohydrate-rich diet then that will destabilise your blood sugar, as carbohydrates are turned to glucose in the blood.
Eating lots of carbs during your “feast” state will in turn spike blood sugar and lead to decreased energy later on in the day, as well as cravings and mood swings, which is not optimal.
If you follow IF alongside your KD, then all of the health benefits are amplified. You won’t get cravings because using fat for fuel will not spike your blood sugar, which will make fasting easier.
One great thing about the KD is that your hunger hormones will be regulated. Ketones are known to suppress ghrelin, which is the body’s main hunger hormone. Fasting becomes a hundred times easier on the Ketogenic Diet as you won’t go hungry.
PLEASE NOTE: Some people are sceptical about following both IF and KD protocols at the same time. Although the benefits are well-documented, IF and KD might not work for everyone. There are a few exceptions that should not follow IF and KD, such as pregnant or breastfeeding mothers or those with a history of disordered eating.
IF and Keto are great tools for losing weight and optimising health. Fasting has been used since the beginning of time as a healing modality, and Intermittent Fasting offers a contemporary approach to fasting for modern lifestyles.
IF can speed up the body’s ability to be able to burn ketones for fuel, optimising the KD. Burning ketones or fat for fuel has innumerable benefits for the body and mind.
Hopefully this article has resonated with you. We have read so many success stories from people who have combined the Keto diet with Intermittent Fasting. Why not give it a go?
Oh, and if you need some nutritional support, our keto supplements could help.
Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification and personal development.
When you combine the Ketogenic Diet (KD) and Intermittent Fasting (IF), you can take your health to a whole new level.