Last Updated on October 22, 2020 by Milo Martinovich
The keto diet is popular for a myriad of reasons. Intermittent fasting is more popular than ever. Keto and intermittent fasting combined can deliver great results to enhance your metabolic flexibility, allowing for better fuel utilization no matter the source and better overall health.
First, let’s talk about the Metabolic benefits that both of these protocols can offer. Then we can jump into using both of them together to boost results.
What is Keto?
Keto, short for ketogenic, is a dietary protocol that uses a low-to-no carbohydrate approach to put your body in a state of ketosis.
This makes your body release fatty acids from fat stores (and dietary fat intake) and convert them to ketones to use an efficient energy source. In the absence of carbs, the ketones are the main energy source.
Gluconeogenesis creates glucose from some molecules, and amino acids are also utilized for fuel, but the majority of your metabolic processes will be powered by ketones.
Sounds good, but what can it do for your health and metabolic flexibility?
What can Keto do for you?
In short, keto makes your body more efficient at burning fat stores for energy instead of carbohydrates, its typical energy source. The longer you stay in ketosis the more efficient your body will become.
Here are a few of the best benefits, in my opinion, that keto can offer you:
- Appetite regulation
- Improved insulin sensitivity
- More stable energy levels throughout the day
- Lower total inflammation levels
- Increased production of mitochondria
- May reduce the risk for major diseases, like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes
This sounds like the perfect dietary set up for someone looking to maximize health, but there isn’t such a thing as a perfect diet. Keto, just like every diet that’s existed, has some possible pitfalls:
- Low blood pressure
- Kidney stones
- Nutrient deficiencies if not planned properly
- Degradation of social life (just like any other restrictive diet)
These, along with the lack of strong evidence of keto being healthy for long term usage make it a better candidate for cycling on and off instead of a lifelong commitment.
Using it cyclically will allow you to reap the benefits of ketogenic efficiency while still having carbohydrate efficiency as well, making your body efficient under basically any dietary circumstance. This means more metabolic flexibility!
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting became one of the most popular dietary protocols in the last couple of years. Just like keto, there are some great benefits to be had by those looking for optimal health.
Intermittent fasting involves fasting for periods, whether they be strictly scheduled or at random times.
One popular protocol that has been tested is the LeanGains method, where you fast for about 16 hours every day and eat your intake caloric load for the day in an 8-hour window. With this method, the windows are strict and scheduled to create a rigid habit of fasting.
Another method that some people use is full day fasts one to two times a week. For example, you might start your fast at 5 PM on Friday and not eat again until 5 PM on Saturday. This creates a full 24-hour window without any calories.
Both methods deliver the same metabolic benefits, so finding a fasting method that works for you is more important than which method you’ve heard works better.
What can Intermittent Fasting do for you?
Intermittent Fasting can deliver many of the same benefits of Keto, along with others. Here are the ones that I think make it a worthwhile venture:
- Enhanced insulin sensitivity
- Increased autophagy
- Altered gene expression that may increase longevity
- Increased Growth Hormone production
- Lowered risk for diseases like heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s
As you can see, it can be just as useful for your health as Keto. But, as with anything in this world, it’s not perfect. Here are some of the drawbacks of fasting:
- Adherence can be difficult and lead to failure
- It can be difficult to eat all of your required calories if your eating window is very small
- Energy levels may dip through the fast (which being in ketosis can help)
- Not optimal for those looking to gain muscle
These drawbacks aren’t too serious, and can easily be taken away if you choose to use intermittent fasting cyclically, just like I recommend with Keto.
Keto and Intermittent Fasting together
Many of the benefits of Keto and Intermittent Fasting are because fasting is the quickest way to put your body into a ketogenic state. That is why they can work so well together.
They are both pretty restrictive, compared to the average person’s lifestyle. We all know that the average lifestyle is unhealthy, but doing the opposite can easily affect your social life. Health isn’t just about your body, it’s about your mental health as well. No diet is important enough to lower your quality of life.
That’s why I love to use keto and Intermittent Fasting together for small periods throughout the year. Adhering to these for years could be terrible, but doing it for a month or two sporadically will give you health benefits and keep your social life safe. This combo can be awesome for those of us biohacking on a budget!
Bouncing in and out of ketosis is hard when your body isn’t adapted. Luckily, using keto and Intermittent Fasting will increase the efficiency of the process and make the switch painless over time. This flexibility optimizes the health of your metabolism and makes your body more efficient.
Fewer cravings, no raging hunger, improved health, reduced risk for a major disease, and more efficient energy use whether fed or fasted. That is what you can experience when using keto and intermittent fasting sporadically to enhance your metabolic flexibility!
Ready to use Keto and Intermittent Fasting?
Now you know some of the great benefits that these two dietary protocols can deliver. Note that I never mentioned anything about losing weight. That’s because no diet is superior in terms of fat loss. The main driver of fat loss is compliance with a calorie deficit, no matter what kind of diet you follow.
But, Keto and Intermittent Fasting offer so much more than a chance to lose weight. You can do everything at once if you choose, but adherence to Keto and Intermittent Fasting can be a lot better when not trying to lose weight at the same time.
Have any tips for us about using keto and Intermittent Fasting? Let us hear it with a comment!