Are you well underway on your keto diet or considering making the switch to one? Are you getting all the results that you hoped for?
You probably know that keto is a great way to supercharge your weight loss efforts. However, did you know that keto diet fasting can take your keto lifestyle to the next level?
Let’s get into what you need to know!
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a hot, trending term these days, and it’s for a good reason. When done well, this form of keto diet fasting can produce some seriously amazing results that improve your overall health and help you achieve your nutrition and fitness goals.
The concept of intermittent fasting is simple. You allocate a certain window of time to eat, and you fast outside of that window.
Let’s break it down.
There are 24 hours in a day. Let’s say you go with a 16:8 keto diet fasting approach. This means that you eat within the 8-hour window (let’s say 12pm-8pm), and you don’t eat anything outside of those hours.
16:8 is one of the more popular approaches. That’s because it’s a fairly manageable commitment. Once you get used to the structure, you’ll probably find that it’s pretty easy to stay within this window.
However, some people choose to take a more rigorous keto diet fasting approach. Some might choose to eat within a six-hour window (18/6) or a 4-hour window (20/4).
Finally, there are a few other keto diet fasting alternatives. One popular choice is taking a 24-36 hour “fasting period,” where you don’t consume anything within those days.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
When you engage in intermittent fasting, you increase the volume and amount of food you eat at a specific time.
In general, our bodies can only handle a certain amount of food at a single time. As a result, we’re creating a “limit” on our total caloric intake.
For people who struggle with compulsive eating or binge eating, this can be a great option. You have the chance to eat a “large amount of food” without falling prey to grazing throughout the day.
As you commit to intermittent fasting, your body “rewires and readjusts itself.” You simply won’t be as hungry.
While you’re in the midst of keto diet fasting, your body can break down extra fat.
What Are The Benefits of Keto Diet Fasting?
More and more research continues to emphasize the numerous benefits that come with fasting.
Increased Mental Clarity
Did you know that fat is one of the most energy-efficient fuels your body can run on?
Your body can always rely on your surplus of fats to stay focused and clear. What does that mean for you? You’ll have less mental fogginess, grogginess, and more energy overall.
Increased Insulin Sensitivity and Decreased Blood Sugar
When you engage in keto diet fasting, your body naturally produces less insulin. That’s because you’re not constantly pumping your body with carbs or excess food.
Lower insulin levels are associated with decreased risk for major health diseases, like diabetes. With the CDC now indicating that nearly 10% of Americans have diabetes, we appear to be more at risk for this chronic condition than ever before.
Many doctors working with diabetic patients recommend ketosis and fasting for reducing insulin dysfunction.
Many unhealthy foods are chock-full of ingredients that promote inflammation. Constantly eating causes metabolic reactions. This generates free radicals that can cause food-related inflammation.
The beauty of keto diet fasting is that you’re consuming fewer foods that promote inflammation. You’re eating less frequently, which can stop inflammation before it even starts!
What Are The Risks of Keto Diet Fasting?
As mentioned, there are many positive benefits people experience with intermittent fasting. With that said, it’s always important to consider the risks and downsides before leaping into a new change.
Induce or Exacerbate Eating Disorders
Anytime you commit to new food rules or guidelines, you increase the risk of creating a disordered relationship with food.
For example, the fasting state can mimic that of “restricting,” which is a common issue in most eating disorders.
On the other hand, the feeding state can mimic that of “bingeing,” especially if you take on the “anything goes” mentality when eating.
Even if you don’t develop disordered eating, you do risk developing an unhealthy obsession with food. As you probably know, much of our “social entertainment” centers on food.
If you’re skipping lunch with your friends only to mentally obsess on what you’re going to eat at your next meal, you may start feeling depressed or resentful.
Overindulging and Overeating
Have you ever been so famished that you just, well, ate everything in sight? We’ve all been there, and that’s why keto diet fasting does present with some risk.
You may experience intensified cravings, a preoccupation with food, and “rebellious or rebound” binge eating.
Plenty of studies show that we tend to overeat after a long period of restriction. If you’re finding that you’re unable to put the fork down after a period of fasting, this diet may not be best for you.
If you’re not used to it, keto diet fasting may impact you having a good night’s rest. As we all know, poor sleep is associated with several risks, including weight gain, depleted energy, and negative mood.
When we run on too little sleep, we tend to have higher cravings for sugary or carb-heavy foods. This may make it harder for you to stick to your keto plan.
With that said, sleep varies person by person, and some people taking on fasting will find that their sleep schedule improves!
How To Do Fasting Safely
If you decide that keto diet fasting is right for you, it’s important to do your research and go slowly before diving in.
Talk to a Good Doctor
Before making any dietary change, it’s always smart to get medical clearance from your doctor. After all, you want to make sure that you’re safe to go without food for more than half a day.
People with certain conditions, like diabetes or pregnancy, may have complications, so it’s important to discuss your concerns.
If you have co-morbid psychiatric issues like depression or anxiety, clear fasting with any mental health professionals you meet with. Fasting may influence your mental health, and they will need to know these changes.
Stick to Keto
Not all fasting plans are created equally. However, you’re going to yield ultimate fasting results if you are able to stick to your keto lifestyle.
Make sure that you stick with plenty of healthy fats (avocados, nuts, MCT oil) and proteins (meat, cheese). And, for the love of all things dieting, don’t neglect your vegetables! You should be eating salad like it’s going out style.
Many veggies are low-calorie, low-carb, and full of fiber. You want to make sure that you’re staying satiated- and filling yourself up with good nutrients.
Don’t forget to plan for emergency cravings with convenience keto snacks and treats!
Drink Plenty of Liquids (balanced with Electrolytes)
Many people drink tea and coffee when they’re engaging in keto diet fasting. Don’t forget the power of water! After all, anything caffeinated acts as a diuretic. That means it dehydrates you!
You should be guzzling down adequete amounts of H20 every single day. Not only is water good for your health, but it can actually make you feel fuller. Furthermore, it can reduce bloat and improve your metabolism.
Take a look at this post to learn more on what electrolytes (supplements) will be needed.
Talk about a win-win!
Be Kind and Patient With Yourself
You may fall off the wagon. You may decide on a 16:8 eating window but the cupcakes in the breakroom call your name, and you give into the temptation.
You may stop fasting for a week or a month or, yes, several months.
Stay the course. People often fail at diets because they become overly strict and rigid with themselves. You’re allowed to mess up from time to time. You’re a human, and you’re figuring out what works best for you.
And, remember this: having a bad day doesn’t mean you’re doing a bad job! It just means you may need to try something different.
Final Thoughts on Keto Diet Fasting
Combining ketosis with intermittent fasting is a great way to supercharge your metabolism and streamline your time. You’re also likely to yield great mental and physical benefits.