Periodic fasting and the keto diet are two of the most current health trends today. The purpose of both methods is to lose weight and control certain health conditions.
There is much evidence to support the benefits and effects of periodic fasting and the keto diet. However, many questions arise when we decide to start following these two regimes.
In the following lines, we will look at what is periodic fasting and the keto diet and answer the question of whether it is effective and safe to combine the two methods.
Nature and types of periodic fasting
Periodic fasting (fasting, intermittent eating) is a method of eating that limits calorie intake by depriving oneself of food for a certain period of time.
Fasting can be conscious or unconscious:
- In conscious starvation, we know when and what we will eat by consciously imposing a food restriction for a certain period of time – from a few hours to a few days.
- In unconscious starvation, our body is deprived of food for reasons beyond its control. This is especially true for people with low financial means.
There are many different types of intermittent fasting regimes. Some of them are:
Types of periodic fasting:
- Skipping 1 or more meals a day.
- Method 5: 2 – fast 2 days a week, and the remaining 5 days you can eat.
- The warrior’s diet – fast for 20 hours and eat food for the remaining 4 hours of the day.
- He starves every other day.
- 16/8 – deprivation of food for 16 hours, and during the remaining 8 hours you can eat.
- Prolonged fasting period of 1-2 days.
Whether you choose to fast every day for a certain period of time, once a week or twice a week depends on your abilities and health.
Periodic fasting is mainly used as a method of weight loss. But it has many health benefits. Reduces inflammation, improves brain function and blood sugar control.
The essence of the keto diet
The keto diet (also known as the ketogenic diet) is a very low carb diet. The emphasis is mainly on the intake of useful fats and enough protein.
Carbohydrate intake in the keto diet usually drops to 20-50 g per day. This restriction causes our body to rely on fat instead of glucose as the main source of energy.
Ketosis is a metabolic process in which our body breaks down fats to form ketones. They serve as an alternative source of fuel.
Following a keto diet is an effective way to lose weight. In addition, diet has other benefits.
It has been used as a method of treating epilepsy for nearly a century. It also helps with other neurological disorders. Improves the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, it lowers blood sugar, improves insulin resistance and risk factors for heart disease such as triglyceride levels.
Can we combine periodic fasting and the keto diet?
Adherence to periodic fasting and keto diet has its proven health benefits. Combining them can help in the short term in the fight against excess weight.
The keto diet increases the level of ketones in the body. Ketones also increase during fasting. Periodic fasting is not necessary to achieve ketosis. It helps to enter this metabolic state faster.
For some people, fasting in combination with a keto diet can be very difficult to perform. Common side effects are overeating on non-starvation days, irritability and fatigue. Following a keto diet is suitable for anyone who wants to improve their health and lose weight.
Risk groups for which compliance is not appropriate:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women and those with a history of malnutrition should avoid following periodic fasting.
- People with health conditions (diabetes, heart disease, etc.) should consult a doctor before including periodic fasting during the keto diet.
- A poorly planned keto diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Adherence to periodic fasting in addition can reduce calorie intake drastically. This can lead to weight loss or lean muscle mass.
Benefits of following periodic fasting and keto diet
- Faster reaching of ketosis
Periodic fasting helps to reach a state of ketosis faster. This is because when we deprive our body of food, it maintains our energy balance by replacing the source of fuel from carbohydrates to fats.
Insulin and stored glycogen levels decrease during fasting. This signals our body to start burning stored fat as an alternative source of energy.
2. Greater fat loss
Periodic fasting helps boost metabolism by promoting thermogenesis (heat production). In this way, our body can begin to use fat stores by burning them for energy production.
In addition, it can maintain muscle mass during weight loss and increase energy. This is useful for athletes looking to improve their athletic performance and lower their body fat percentage by following a keto diet.
3. Improved blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity
Depriving the body of calories can help improve blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity in our cells. In combination with a keto diet that has been found to help with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, the two dietary strategies can work synergistically to improve blood sugar control.
4. Proper mental activity
Once our body adapts to the keto diet, our brain can efficiently use the ketones produced by the breakdown of fat in the liver for energy.
Our body can rely on fats (from the foods we eat) for the proper functioning of the brain and body functions.
5. Improved physical condition
It is believed that if we do not eat before and after training, we will lose muscle when we train. This is not necessarily true, especially when we are adapted to ketosis.
Conscious fasting (for a specific purpose) during exercise can lead to a number of long-term benefits. Some of them are:
- Higher metabolic adaptations – training on an empty stomach increases training efficiency in the long run.
- Improved muscle synthesis – training on an empty stomach and intake of essential nutrients increases muscle mass.
- Improved post-workout eating response – Rapid absorption of nutrients after a fasting workout can lead to better results.
How to properly start periodic fasting and keto diet?
Applying periodic fasting and a keto diet in addition will make a significant change, even stress, if you start following both regimens at the same time. For this reason, you can start with a keto diet first and after a few weeks to months include periodic fasting.
It is also important to choose the right time to start. It is best to start with a 12- to 16-hour periodic fast. For many of us, depriving ourselves of food for 12 hours a day (for example, from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am) is a natural habit and does not require skipping meals.
If you decide to try fasting, start by postponing breakfast or lunch for an hour. Then slowly extend the time for the body to gradually get used to the deprivation of food.
The recommended time to observe periodic fasting and keto diet is no more than 6 months. You can then switch back to a standard low-carb diet.
Sample menu for periodic fasting and keto diet
- 10:00 am – Breakfast: armored coffee, water.
- 13:00 – Lunch: lettuce flavored with olive oil, vinegar and 85 g of roasted salmon.
- 15:00 – Afternoon breakfast (optional): about 30-40 g of almonds.
- 18:00 – Dinner: 2 chicken legs in the oven with a garnish of roasted zucchini with olive oil and spices.
For some people taking medication, breakfast is a must. In such cases, a snack of scrambled eggs with a slice of avocado or other low-carb option may be included. If you follow only periodic fasting without a keto diet, you can also have breakfast.
- 10:00 am – Breakfast: keto masala tea or keto smoothie with berries, water.
- 13:00 – Lunch: 85 g grilled chicken breast with a garnish of broccoli and cauliflower and 1 avocado. Flavored with 1 tbsp olive oil.
- 15:00 – Afternoon breakfast (optional): unsweetened coconut chips.
- 18:00 – Dinner: 85 g of tuna, lettuce flavored with olive oil and sesame seeds.
- 10:00 am – Breakfast: armored coffee, water
- 13:00 – Lunch: Omelet with vegetable salad
- 14:00 – Afternoon breakfast (optional): olives
- 18:00 – Dinner: Vegetable salad with shrimp and olive oil