The Ketogenic Diet and Intermittent Fasting: a Good Combination?

The science of human nutrition is exploring some very interesting and previously unimagined territory right now. Medical experts are discovering how the body actually reacts to not just the food we eat, but when and how we eat it. Which begs the question: if you're trying to lose weight, should you change your diet, or your eating patterns?

There are many passionate people out there who will argue one way or the other. There is also a small group of people who would answer: both! The most popular combination of the two is incorporating intermittent fasting (IF) with The Ketogenic Diet. Such a diet can have amazing health and weight loss benefits; at the same time, however, it can be a difficult adjustment. We'll give you some reasons why you might want to consider combining IF with The Ketogenic Diet, and some tips on how to do it the easy way!

What Is The Ketogenic Diet?

The simplest way to describe The Ketogenic Diet is: getting most of your calories from fat, a moderate chunk of your calories from protein, and very few calories from sugar/carbohydrates. The two main competing fuel sources which give your body the energy it needs to survive are carbohydrates, and fats. In a way, it's kind of like the difference between a donut and a salad; your body sees carbs as quick and tasty in the short-term, but they're actually bad for you in the long term. The opposite is true of ketones - your body may not prefer them in the short-term, but long-term priority and metabolization of ketones is very good for you.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent Fasting

In order to fatten up livestock, ranchers allow them to eat as much as they want, whenever they want, at all hours of the day. But humans are not livestock; we're people! So why do we eat like the animals that we fatten up on purpose? Sure, that type of eating pattern may make food companies a lot of money, but it makes us just as fat and lazy as a cow. No offense to all the sweet, adorable cows out there, of course - we love you! We just don't want to be you.

Another thing to think about is this: thousands of years ago, when the first humans were struggling to survive, do you think they ate 4-6 meals a day? Of course not! If they needed to eat that much in that often in order to stay alive, the human race would have died out long ago. People who sing the praises of intermittent fasting argue that the human body didn't evolve to handle eating as much and as often as we do today. They think it's what's making us sick and causing diseases like metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes. They argue that restricting the consumption of calories to a specific window of opportunity during our waking hours can help us lose weight and stave off diseases associated with being overweight or obese.

What Happens When You Combine the Two of Them?

Contrary to what old-school dietitians believe, IF is actually much better for helping you preserve lean mass while attempting to lose weight than calorie restriction alone. The Ketogenic Diet helps train your body to get its energy from a healthier, more efficient fuel which gives you long-term brain and body benefits. When you put the two of them together, they double down on improving your insulin response and your metabolism in ways that prevent - and in some circumstances, can even reverse - diseases like metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes, heart disease, and brain aging. There is even some evidence which suggests that the loose skin many people get after losing a substantial amount of weight can be tightened up by the autophagic benefits most people experience from fasting.

Intermittent Fasting

Unfortunately, the cornucopia of benefits from combining IF with The Ketogenic Diet will be a massive shock to your system. Think about it: you're transitioning from burning a fuel which is painfully abundant to burning one which doctors have insisted 4 years is unhealthy, essentially making its scarce in society. On top of that, your social life (most likely) revolves around food, and your hormones are accustomed to eating whatever you want, whenever you want - and will throw a tantrum the likes of which even the most unruly toddler has never thrown if you try and change your feeding patterns. The IF + ketogenic diet is not for the faint of heart. But under no circumstances does that mean you shouldn't try! If you're worried about being able to adjust to it, we have a couple of suggestions:

  1. Use the "put your pants on" approach: one leg at a time. Figure out which diet is easiest for you to start, and adjust to that one first. Once you have that one down, slowly and gently incorporate the other diet into your daily life.
  2. If you're too impatient for that - and believe us, we can definitely relate to such a feeling - you should look for dietary supplements which help your body adapt to ketosis faster. That way, at the absolute worst, you'll only have to worry about adjusting to an intermittent fasting schedule; the rest will be a breeze!

The first few weeks of a ketogenic diet can be pretty rough, especially for those who have been addicted to carbs and sugar for most of their life. Likewise, intermittent fasting can be quite a challenge for people who are used to "grazing" on food throughout the day and eating whenever they want. Switching to a ketogenic + IF diet (especially if you do both at the same time) can seem nearly impossible for some people!

But it doesn't have to be. You can help yourself adapt to your new diet and exercise lifestyle with an exogenous ketone supplement. Supplementing with ketone bodies will help you adjust to new eating patterns and new foods by giving your body the fuel it needs to be happy and healthy. You'll get into ketosis faster, you'll have tons of energy, and you won't deal with the fatigue, hunger cravings, or brain fog that you normally would while trying to adjust to your new diet. And don't worry - we know some really great supplements that can help get you started. Learn more.