I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not sure I would have achieved my results on keto if I hadn’t been intermittent fasting as well.
Intermittent fasting on keto is common in this community. Many people who start the keto diet quickly stumble upon fasting as a way to speed up their results.
Intermittent fasting (IF) has many benefits on it’s own but it fits seamlessly into a ketogenic lifestyle for a number of reasons. Before I get into those reasons, let’s take a look at what IF is and how you can incorporate it into your lifestyle.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is simply fasting for a period of time, ever so often. When you’re fasting, you do not consume any calories at all but you remain hydrated by continuing to drink water.
Why on earth would anyone want to fast? Well, fasting, it turns out, has lots of benefits. When you fast, your body is allowed to rest and heal itself since it isn’t busy breaking down the food you’re eating.
One of the processes that happens when you’re in a fasted state is cell clean up. Your body gets the chance to kind of sweep out internally all the cells that have gone awry and regenerate new, healthy cells.
I’m over simplifying the process. Take a listen here at what Dr. Berg says about fasting.
In the video, he takes you through the process of both starting the keto diet and intermittent fasting and at the
Let me break down some of those benefits for you.
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The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Who knew there’d be so many benefits to NOT eating? We always thought that if we skipped breakfast, our bodies would go into starvation mode so we were taught to always eat breakfast and have healthy snacks in between. This would help us to keep our metabolism high.
Turns out, this only overworks our system and doesn’t give it time to rest beyond the few hours you’re sleeping. You need to keep feeding your body sugar when sugar is the main source of fuel. However, if you switch to using fat as your fuel source, you simply do not get as hungry s you used to since your body already has
When you do eat fat, it also keeps you fuller for so much longer because healthy fats are a slow burn and are very satiating. So that’s one benefit already, the ability to go for long periods without having to think about food and without the never-ending hunger pangs.
As a work-from-home mom, I appreciate so much the hours I have reclaimed that I used to spend preparing food every morning. I also have so much more clarity and focus when I am fasting.
Cognitive Function Benefit When Intermittent Fasting
There have been animal studies on intermittent fasting and how it can have a positive effect on your cognitive health, which helps to promote brain and memory health. You can actually reduce your risk for brain-related illnesses like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease when intermittent fasting is mixed with a clean and healthy diet.
In my own experience, my focus is through the roof these days. When I write my to-do list in the mornings, I am completely in my zone and will work straight through til it’s time to eat, knocking off my tasks with efficiency and at a high quality.
Usually, I would be distracted easily and would have to stop somewhere in the middle to prepare lunch. Now I fast till 2pm most days then break my fast with a light meal of eggs or tuna with zucchini crackers. This is one of my favourite benefits of keto and intermittent fasting.
Intermittent Fasting Helps Control Your Blood Sugar
Another fabulous benefit of IF is its ability to help control your blood sugar levels. When you eat less, you body releases less and less insulin and if you watched the video above you would have seen just how much havoc too much insulin in our bodies causes.
With less insulin being released into your body causing you to store fat, your blood sugar levels remain healthy and stable. When your blood sugar levels are healthy and stable, you decrease your risk for developing diabetes or begin to reverse it if you were already diagnosed.
Sugar is the main culprit in many other lifestyle diseases and it’s what feeds cancer cells so this is a huge benefit to fasting on keto.
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You Eat Less Naturally
When you’re fasting, you eat less naturally because you’re skipping whole meals and snacks.
As your eating window gets smaller and smaller, it becomes natural for you to consume fewer calories as you get used to fasting and your body becomes fat-adapted.
At first, you may try to eat more food during your eating window because you may feel like you’re starving, you may feel like you have to catch up or you may use it as an excuse to pig out.
However, the longer you fast, the more you get used to going for longer hours without eating and the more you realise that there’s no need to pig out.
In fact, IF may prompt you to eat even healthier since you’re eating less. You want to make sure that you’re still feeding your body proper nutrients especially since now you’re eating less calories than normal.
There have definitely been days when I’ve only consumed 1000 calories for the day but I feel completely satisfied because of the keto meals I’ve eaten.
That’s why coupling IF with a high-fat diet is the perfect marriage because fat is so satiating that you won’t even feel hungry during your fasted hours.
Not hungry like you used to anyway. If you do get hungry to the point of headaches and stomach pains, it’s time to eat. Listen to your body.
IF is an Easy Way to Lose Weight
Even if you’re not following a keto diet, simply fasting for periods at a time will help you to lose weight as your body will enter into the state of ketosis for those few hours after you’ve burned the last meal you’ve eaten.
I’ve read that the benefits of fasting generally starts at around 16 hours into fasting, that’s why one of the most common fasting types is the 16:8 fast where you fast for 16 hours and then eat in an 8 hour window.
This is the very beginner stage of fasting as the benefits have just kicked in since your body would have just entered ketosis and has started to burn fat for energy. That’s why it’s so important to push past 16 hours when you feel comfortable if you’re not on the keto diet as well. This will ensure you get the benefits of ketosis for those few extra hours that you stay in a fasted state.
If you’re on the keto diet, you will remain in ketosis even when you break your fast since it’s carbs that kicks you out of ketosis, not calories. Calories will kick you out of a fasted state. Ketosis continues and you continue to burn fat for fuel once you’re following the ketogenic diet and staying below 20g of carbs per day.
Types of Intermittent Fasting
I mentioned the 16:8 IF window above where you fast for 16 hours and then eat in an 8 hour window. This should include your 8 hours of sleep as well so it would men you either skip breakfast and or skip dinner. This would see you eating between either 12-8pm or 7-3pm.
If this is too drastic for your lifestyle you could also spread your 8 hours 10am-6pm which should replicate your normal eating window a bit more. Start with whatever your lifestyle will accomodate.
After this, you can stretch to 18-6 where your eating window is 6 hours per day then you can push even more to the 20-4 fasting diet where you eat within a 4 hour window.
OMAD Fasting Diet
OMAD stands for one meal a day. This is another popular type of intermittent fasting that sees you only consuming one big meal for the day and then going at least 23 hours before your next big meal.
This is similar to fasting for 24 hours then eating. The closest I have been to attempting this one is eating one huge meal
Those extra fat bombs come in really handy during such small fasting windows and are the perfect use for them. Stay away from them on the regular though as they can stall your weight loss.
Another way to get your fasting on is to do either OMAD or a full 24 hour fast for 2 days each week. You eat normal hours for the remaining 5 days.
I try to practice OMAD on Mondays especially, since this is the day after the weekend where I’ve probably made a slip-up or indulged in some alcohol.
Thursday would then be a good day to also do another OMAD fast to prepare for the weekend.
How to Start Intermittent Fasting
Firstly, you’ll want to plan ahead. Take a look at the types of intermittent fasting above and determine which one will work best for your lifestyle.
Then try to do a bit of meal planning so you’ll know what you’re eating when you break your fast. You want to break your fast with something light and healthy instead of going from a fasted and rested state to an overload of calories.
You also should consider starting the keto diet or at least eating a clean and healthy diet so that once your eating window opens, you’re eating nutrient-dense foods that will aid you in your health goals and help you to lose weight quicker.
Being in ketosis already will help you to transition to IF so much smoother since you won’t have the intense hunger pangs you normally would on a regular diet.
Either way, just start! Try a 16-8 fast first which should be pretty easy to slip into. Most of us are used to skipping breakfast so it should be an easy transition. Then as you get used to fasting, stretch your fasting period for as long as you can until you get down to a type you’re comfortable with.
What to Eat or Drink When Fasting
One of the most common questions people ask when intermittent fasting, is whether or not they can drink coffee (or other drinks) during a fasted state. The short answer is yes, but it is a little more complex than that.
First, let’s talk about what you can drink and/or eat during a fasted state. You can have anything with zero calories or extremely low calories.
While fasting, you really should not have any calories, so the basics are drinking water, unsweetened tea, and black coffee. Of course, there are some different variations on this depending on your preferences and comfort levels. I have my tea in the mornings sweetened with one of these zero-carb, zero-calorie sugar substitutes.
Many people will rely on drinking coffee during their fast for several reasons. For one thing, if you are fasting for several hours in the morning, not having food or drinks can be hard on your body if breakfast is something you’re used to.
When you’re new to IF, it may be difficult to get enough energy for work or exercising in the morning without that caffeine in your body. So, you can definitely have coffee while fasting, but drinking it black is preferred. You can also drink tea if you want something flavored.
Adding Cream or Sugar to Your Coffee or Tea When Fasting
This is often where people make some common mistakes with intermittent fasting and drinking coffee.
The point is to be at zero calories or as low as you can be during the fasting state. For a true fast, you are advised not to have sweetener, creamer, or even natural additions like fruit to your coffee.
However, some people believe it doesn’t make much of a difference with just a splash of creamer in their coffee. If you think you can stick to intermittent fasting by just having a tablespoon or so of creamer, by all
Bulletproof Coffee and Intermittent Fasting on Keto
This is when things change a little bit. If you decide to have Bulletproof or keto coffee during your fast, then you are not actually doing intermittent fasting. What you are doing is often referred to as Bulletproof Fasting.
This is when you go a prolonged period with no food, but you still have the fat and calories from your Bulletproof coffee. Generally, you won’t still be fasting if you are adding butter and coconut oil to your coffee.
I mostly fast 18 hours per day during weekdays. Every now and then I will push it to 20 hours but I am most comfortable on a 18-6 fast so I work with that.
Like I said, with how often I slipped off plan on my 90-day keto challenge, I truly think it was sticking to IF that helped me to move the needle as much as I did.