The ketogenic diet (keto diet) is an amazing low carb eating plan that will give you great results with your weight loss and health goals. However, even with all these amazing benefits, there are some among you that will want even faster results and Intermittent fasting with keto is going to answer all your prayers.
The keto diet alone is a quick and effective way of losing weight, with well documented success stories all over the internet.
This low carb eating plan is gaining in popularity all the time, and I can see why. If you’re new to keto check out what is the keto diet about and keto diet and lifestyle to get up to speed with your knowledge.
Many people are more than happy with the fast and efficient way in which they are losing weight, and the keto diet is working very well for them.
However, some people will always want to go that extra mile, and squeeze out every last benefit from this great diet. Whether that is increasing the rate of their weight loss or maximizing their health, these people will be looking for some additional hacks that can super boost the keto diet.
Luckily for them, there is such a hack, although it is hardly new. It’s actually been around since the beginning of time, and our ancestors would have practiced it regularly.
It’s true to say that they didn’t have too much say in the matter but it would have kept them as healthy as they could be even though they wouldn’t have appreciated this at the time.
So what is this amazing health hack that can boost your keto diet?
We’re not talking here about long fasts that end up with you being weak, skinny and maybe even dead.
We’re talking about short, controlled fasting which is used in conjunction with your keto diet to rev up both your weight loss and the many health benefits that the keto diet is already famous for.
Isn’t Fasting bad for you?
I’m not too sure where this idea came from, and nor is anyone else. The myth abounds and there are many nutritionists and doctors who will tell you that fasting is bad for you, and bad for your health.
Yet where does this “fact” come from?
We are repeatedly told that missing breakfast is bad for us. What, missing one meal? Really?!
I definitely don’t think we are going to die, or even get sick if we miss out on one meal. Especially a meal that very often is a carb packed junk meal. Think sugar crusted cereals and toast covered in thick Jam. Don’t even get me started on pancakes and syrup.
Yet there are people who will seriously have us believe that to miss this meal is to mess with our health.
So it’s not really surprising that these same people look upon the whole idea of a fast with horror. They cannot believe that going several hours or, heavens forbid, a whole day without food can do us any good.
Somehow the fact has been overlooked that we as a species evolved when the supply of food was intermittent, and therefor our consumption of food was intermittent too.
We evolved at a time when we needed a bodily system that was going to help us to survive for the hours, and often days that we would be spending without as much as a mouthful of food.
We wouldn’t still be here at all if we all died after just a day or two with no food.
Nature, as always, came up trumps and designed within us complex systems of storage and renewal that would not only see us through periods of enforced fasting, but would actually use those times to clean out our bodies, and enhance our health.
Far from fasting being unhealthy or just generally “bad” for us there is now overwhelming scientific evidence that the occasional short fast (intermittent fasting) is one of the most health giving things that we can do for ourselves.
Not only is it incredibly healthy, but it’s also free. Going without food costs us nothing and gains us extra time that we would otherwise be using in the gathering, preparation and eating of food.
So what is it about intermittent fasting that’s so good for us?
There are two main reasons why intermittent fasting is able to super charge your keto diet.
Autophagy and the boost to your metabolic rate.
This is an amazing and natural process that takes place within our bodies once we register that there is zero food coming in.
There are several ways to induce Autophagy such as exercise and heat or cold stress. You can read in depth about this here how to induce autophagy
Autophagy is the body´s natural deep cleansing and healing system that developed alongside us as we evolved.
As soon as we no longer have any food ( we are fasting) we begin to use up our stores of glycogen. Once these are depleted the process of autophagy sets in.
This process is involved in the eradication or engulfment of damaged cells or proteins, engulfment of cytoplasmic material, eradication of pathogens and dealing with misfolded proteins.
That is a huge list of super health giving events and to learn more about them read the amazing benefits of autophagy and fasting.
It puts those ideas about fasting as being unhealthy straight into the trash bin.
As we age, the process of autophagy naturally decreases, so it becomes even more important to make sure that we are triggering autophagy enough to stay healthy as we get older.
The health benefits are also described here seven benefits of autophagy and fasting where you can read about the most important health gains.
One of the main complaints from most people who have ever dieted is that they have reached the dreaded “plateau”.
This is when, despite them sticking to every single rule of their weight loss diet, the weight suddenly refuses to go any lower.
This is caused by a drop in the body´s metabolic rate and is especially a problem for people following a low calorie diet, or even accidentally eating too little on the keto diet for healthy weight loss.
Once the body senses a reduction in nutrients it seeks to preserve itself for as long as it can, and the main way to do this is to lower the metabolic rate so that what little food is being eaten can last as long as possible.
By and large, people using the keto diet to lose weight avoid this drop in metabolic rate as the body never senses a lack of nutrition.
On the keto diet, once in ketosis you are using your own body fat for fuel and as there is enough of this to meet your needs, your body will not see a need to lower your metabolism.
However, because the keto diet is high fat, some people inadvertently begin to eat too little as the increased fat intake will reduce the appetite.
Others will simply seek to eat as little as possible to “help” the diet, although this is not necessary on the keto diet at all. The keto diet expects that you eat until you feel full.
Keto works by reducing carbs and triggering ketosis, not by reducing calories. See: what is the keto diet about.
However, when studying the effects of short term fasting on the metabolic rate, scientists discovered that fasting did not lower the rate in the same way as calorie restriction did.
This was a surprising result, but it makes sense in terms of our evolutionary past. In times of hunger, we would have needed to remain at the top of our game in order to seek and find new sources of food. We would not have done well if our metabolic rate was slowed at this time.
In fact, numerous studies have since shown that a short term fast actually increases our metabolic rate by as much as 10%.
This study showed a clear metabolic increase and they state that “Starvation led to considerable alterations in basal metabolism including a significant (mean 3.6%) increase in resting metabolic rate”
Obviously, if weight loss is one of your goals then you will be wanting your metabolism to be burning along at the best speed it can.
There are several ways of intermittent fasting.
One of the most popular ways is the 16/8 method. This method requires that you fast for 16 hours and eat within an 8 hour window.
For example, if you finish your evening meal at 8pm, miss breakfast and then have lunch at any time after 12 noon the following day, you will have achieved a fast of 16 hours.
There is some evidence that a slightly longer fast of 18-36 hours could achieve more gains for you, and it is possible that the effects of fasting and Autophagy peak at about the 36 hour mark.
This is an area of ongoing research, and there are a lot of different opinions on how best to fast.
In my opinion, a daily regime of 16/8 fasting and a slightly longer fast of about 36 hours once a week will give amazing benefits in terms of both weight loss and health.
To achieve the 36-hour fast the easiest way is to finish with your evening meal at about 8pm, eat nothing the following day, and then eat breakfast or lunch on the day after, depending on the exact length of time you want to fast.
For more details of intermittent fasting see intermittent fasting guidelines
You’ll need to listen to your body, and always stop a fast if necessary. You can always try again a few days later.
If weight loss is not one of your goals but you still want extra health benefits, then make sure you’re eating sufficient foods during your eating window, and include extra fats where possible.
The keto diet makes intermittent fasting much easier than normal because you will already be in full fat burning mode, so there is less chance that you’ll be derailed by feelings of hunger.
So how does intermittent fasting super charge the keto diet?
As you know, the keto diet will put you into full fat burning mode and turn you into a fat burning machine that will make light work of shifting the extra weight you don’t want.
It will keep you feeling full, less likely to cheat than other diets and offer many health benefits too. Due to the fact that you are burning fat, you will not suffer a reduction in your metabolic rate.
You can take advantage of your reduced appetite by going on a short term fast. This will be much easier when you are already on the keto diet and will enhance your weight loss and boost the health benefits at the same time.
As a seasoned keto dieter you will have the metabolic flexibility to deal with a fast with minimal discomfort. Many keto dieters add intermittent fasting to their lifestyle once they feel the extra benefits that a fast can bring.
Your metabolic rate will increase, and you will be having a cellular spring clean at the same time.
You can adjust your programme of fasting to suit yourself and your lifestyle. It can be an individual thing, so do what feels right for you.
As a cautionary note, don’t overdo autophagy. You should not be looking to move from fasting to starving. These are two different things, and while the first is super healthy, starving is not.
If you begin to lose weight too fast, increase your fat intake until your weight loss slows to an acceptable rate.
Always listen to your body, and go by how alert and energized your diet is making you feel.