If you’ve been following the ketogenic diet for some time then you may have come across the term ‘intermittent fasting’ (or IF for short).
Now, fasting in and of itself is a way of eating that’s practised by many people – and has become popular in recent years with the rise of diets such as the ‘5:2’ fasting diet. But many people don’t know that you can actually combine intermittent fasting with the ketogenic diet. This combination has been reported to have added health benefits, while also helping to overcome stalled weight loss in some cases.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
IF is not really a diet, but rather a ‘pattern’ of eating. Very basically, it involves going without food for an extended period of time, but for the purposes of this article, we’re not going to be recommending any cycle of intermittent fasting that goes on for longer than 24 hours. So, in the case of the aforementioned ‘5:2’ diet, intermittent fasting is based around eating normally for five days of the week, and consuming a very limited number of calories for the other two days.
In reality, there is no one true answer to what IF actually is, because there are a number of different approaches to the diet protocol. So to put things in very simple terms, IF is when an individual will alternate between periods of fasting, and of feeding.
You may not realise it, but you actually perform a type of IF every single night when you go to bed. From the time that you eat your last meal at night before going to sleep, to the time that you wake up and eat breakfast (i.e. when you ‘break’ the fast), you technically have followed a form of IF. Some common and popular approaches to IF include:
Those that allow themselves feeding windows will basically aim to consume their entire day’s worth of macros into one feeding window, which can be anything from 4 hours, up to 7 hours. Outside of feeding windows, they will fast and will consume no whole foods. So people may only consume food from the hours of, say, 4pm – 11pm, or perhaps less than that, I.E 5pm – 9pm. You can fit your feeding windows around your own timetable.
This approach has to be planned carefully, as you can’t skip a meal whenever you like. Most people will choose to skip breakfast or lunch, which basically extends the time that their bodies have been in a fasted state.
One (or Two) Day Cleanse
This approach is a little on the extreme side, but it does work. Basically, a person will fast for 24 – 48 hours, consuming no whole foods in that time. Plenty of water (and in some cases herbal tea) are advised though. We highlight this point just for informative purposes, but as a disclaimer, we do not recommend going a full 48 hours without food.
What Are the Benefits of Fasting Whilst on Keto?
There are many purported benefits associated with fasting whilst on a ketogenic diet. In fact, a new study actually found that a low-carb diet and intermittent fasting could be beneficial to diabetics! But this is by no means the limit of the benefits associated with intermittent fasting whilst on keto. Other benefits can include:
Enhanced Protein Synthesis
Studies have proven that IF combined with a ketogenic diet can help enhance protein synthesis rates in the body, which means you will find it easier to build muscle and to recover from strenuous workouts.
Improved Nutrient Absorption Rates
Another key benefit here is that you will actually respond more favourably to meals as your body will absorb more of the nutrients from the foods you consume, meaning less goes to waste.
Enhanced Metabolic Syndrome Markers
Fasting on a keto diet has been proven to enhance cardiovascular markers, blood lipid profiles, insulin sensitivity, and it will lower blood pressure and reduce rates of inflammation in the process.
So, now that you know some of the benefits of intermittent fasting – are you thinking about giving it a try? Let us know about it in the comments section below!