From fasting to cleansing to calorie or carb-counting, people wanting to lose weight are literally overwhelmed for choice when it comes to strategies they can follow. Among the most popular and scientifically researched diets nowadays are intermittent fasting (IF) and the ketogenic diet, or keto. Both of these eating plans have garnered explosively positive reviews and inspiring results separately, so just imagine how they’d do together.
With intermittent fasting as the base, let’s look at how this super duo can work together to get you the results you want more efficiently.
The Truth About Intermittent Fasting
The term “intermittent fasting” is a bit of a misnomer, at least the kind that everyone refers to when they talk about IF. There are actually several ways to do intermittent fasting, but we’ll focus on the most common Leangains Protocol or 16/8 in this article.
Time-restricted Eating vs. Fasting
Fasts that last for 24 hours or less are more accurately called time-restricted feeding because the focus is on consuming all meals within a certain time window. Some people loosely refer to this style as the “feast and fast,” with the term “feast” suggesting a no-holds-barred approach to what’s consumed, as long as it’s within a certain time frame.
Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, involves more consciousness about the food consumed, although this largely involves time-restricted eating as well. People doing IF ideally should also consider the nutritional value of their meals, which is why they often follow a certain diet style like paleo or keto.
The most common description of the 16/8 or Leangains diet that people use would categorize it under time-restriction eating since they refer to it as “eating whatever you want for 8 hours and then sticking to no-calorie beverages during the 16 hours”. But if you want to realize the optimum effects of such a diet, here are some guidelines you can follow.
How To Do Intermittent Fasting The Right Way
Like all diet plans, there are risks involved in following them. To help keep you informed, here are guidelines derived from Dr. Valter Longo, a professor in USC’s Longevity Institute, from his discussion on little-known facts about intermittent fasting.
Focus On What You Eat More Than When You Eat
One of the reasons why the 16/8 intermittent fasting style is popular is because it’s the easiest to adapt to people’s existing lifestyles. However, if you become careless about what you eat, you might end up not losing at all.
This is because when you’re in the “fasting” state, especially if you’re not exercising at all, your body relies on your basal metabolic rate (BMR) to burn fat. The more muscles you have, the more fat you burn. Being careless about food choices can lead you to consume more carbs or sugar and not enough protein or fat, which could lead to muscle loss and result to less capacity to burn body fat.
Intermittent fasting dictates “eating to satiety” or eating until you’re full, but make sure you’re not simply stuffing your body with empty calories or unhealthy fat that will do more harm than good.
Consider Eating Breakfast
If you’ve read articles about intermittent fasting, breakfast is the meal people forgo the most. So many claims that skipping breakfast doesn’t matter because you’ll get your needed nutrients later anyway.
Although you could fulfill your daily recommended nutrition no matter which meals you eat, what people do not know is that constantly fasting overnight for more than 12 hours while skipping breakfast can lead to developing gallstones. This especially holds true for women, which is why Dr. Longo recommends doing a 12/12 instead of a 16/8. There are also studies that show that the peak beneficial fasting period for women is 12-14 hours only, so really, there’s room for at least brunch.
KETO TIP: This choice like all choices on the keto diet will be different for everyone, and it’s up to you to experiment and decide what works best for you and your body. Eat breakfast, don’t eat breakfast, 16/8, 12/12,18/6 it’s up to you.
Plan For The Long Haul
What causes most diets to fail are exorbitant expectations and a harsh reality check. New followers of intermittent fasting usually join in for the promises of “fast and easy weight loss.” But if you treat this as something temporary, a small snag can easily derail you.
Committing to better health involves a lifestyle and mindset change. Once you’ve set your mind to do this for the rest of your life, intermittent fasting will become simply one of your habits and not a chore you have to adhere to. Set your sights for the long haul and you’ll have better chances of reaching your health and weight loss goals.
How Keto Can Supercharge Your IF Efforts
While intermittent gives a sturdy structure that maximizes your body’s fat-burning time, applying the keto principles during your eating window can help you fast-track your way to a leaner body. With the number of other diets out there, why should you go for the ketogenic diet? Here are the top 3 reasons:
Stabilizes Your Energy Level
The reason why you get lethargic after meals are the dip in your blood glucose level. Here’s a harsh truth: sugar is addictive. When you eat sugary food, your blood sugar level spikes as if you’re on a high.
Since most people’s default diet is composed of large carbs, and given that carbohydrates are metabolized into glucose, which is the form of blood sugar our body uses for energy, we get an energy boost after eating sweet or starchy things. But our bodies can only convert a limited amount of sugar into glucose. The remaining ones get stored as fat instead. When this happens, the sugar high is followed by a huge crash, leaving us sluggish, our brains foggy, and with more unwanted fats.
The keto diet, on the other hand, is designed to switch our bodies from burning sugar to burning fat for energy. Fat is a cleaner fuel source, and if you have an excess of that, then you’ll hit two birds with one stone – decrease your fat stores and have a steady supply of energy!
Keeps You Full For Longer
Unlike carbohydrates, protein and fat are macronutrients that keep you sated for longer. The ideal ketogenic meal is composed of 70-75% healthy fat, 20-25% protein, and only 5-10% carbohydrates. Although the general rule states that you “eat until full” without mentioning calorie requirements, ideally, you shouldn’t go below 1,000 calories per day. Any less than that and your body will go into starvation mode, which will make it hold on to fat more.
Major Fat Burn
As we mentioned, the ketogenic diet makes you burn fat for energy instead of glucose. In a normal carb-heavy diet, during the fasting time in IF, your body would simply be burning off the carbs that you ate within the window, leaving your excess stored fats largely untouched especially if you don’t exercise. But if you consume keto meals during your feast time, your body will be left with nothing but fats to burn during fasting hours, resulting in more efficient fat burning.
How To Begin This Super Duo Journey
The most important thing you need at the beginning is motivation, determination, and your eyes on the prize. There are a lot of IF and keto guides out there, but we recommend you read our Keto Getting Started Guide first.
Some also consider a cleanse prior to starting. Every day, we’re all surrounded by toxins. From the air we breathe to the things we eat, harmful toxins enter our body, clogging our cells and making us more susceptible to inflammation that causes chronic illnesses. By going on a detox cleanse like George DiGianni’s organic 21-Day full body cleanse, you can prep your body to be more receptive of good nutrients by flushing out toxins and resetting your taste buds to not crave for unhealthy food.