In this article, we will talk about two popular types of nutrition, keto and intermittent fasting. You will learn more about the two, but also how you can combine them in order to boost your fat loss further. Lastly, we will give you some hints that will help you stay on track and avoid some common mistakes that follow these two approaches. Let's go!
What Is Keto?
Keto dieting is a type of nutrition that is primarily based around eating fats, which make about 70-80% of all calories consumed. Besides fats, protein is also allowed, and you can eat 15-25% of your calories as proteins. What's missing? Carbs. The ketogenic diet is an extreme form of low-carb dieting, and carbs will cover only 5-10% of your daily calories. For most people, that is somewhere between 20 and 50 grams.
Why Cut Carbs So Drastically?
The main reason why you would consider such a radical diet shift is fat burning. Carbs are our body's primary energy source, and when you cut them out, the body has to adjust, and it starts using fat for fuel. This triggers rapid fat loss, and the ketogenic diet is one of the best ways to lower down your body fat percentage.
However, not all bodily functions can operate on fats alone. Therefore, when carbs are low, our body starts making ketones, which are a type of acid some of our organs, such as the brain, can use for energy. In fact, our brains do great on ketones, which is why many people report increases in productivity and concentration when they switch to the keto diet. Even athletes on keto report performance spikes. The state of elevated blood ketones is called ketosis, and the keto diet owes its name to these processes.
Also, the fact that you cut carbs out almost completely leads to a caloric deficit in most cases. When you burn more calories than you eat, you will start losing weight. This, combined with the fact that the keto diet makes you burn fat and use it as fuel, is what makes this way of eating so effective for fat loss.
Issues With Keto
Eating mostly fats and protein is only a good option if you are in a caloric deficit. However, if you start overeating on keto, you are in trouble, as it can lead to opposite effects, creating health issues.
Also, one major problem with ketosis is that it takes time for your body to adjust. This is a big one, as the keto-adaptation period is very uncomfortable, often partnered with keto flu.
While this is not the real flu, the symptoms are very similar: headaches, nausea, overall weakness all across the body. BHB salts and other keto supplements can help you transition to keto faster, but until that happens, you are likely to feel quite miserable. This is where most people quit, even before fat burning started, so make sure you are ready to withstand this temporary crisis.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a straightforward but incredibly effective way to limit your food intake. In short, you are only allowed to eat in a limited time window every day, and the rest is fasting.
One of the most popular intermittent fasting schedules is: 8 hours of eating, 16 hours of fasting, or 16-8. So, for example, you will fit all of your meals between 10 AM and 6 PM. That's it, as simple as that. You are allowed to eat anything you want, but only in that limited "feeding window."
Why Would You Limit Your Feeding Windows?
Although this doesn't sound like much, for most people, intermittent fasting is very effective when it comes to weight loss. That is because it is very easy to follow—as long as you eat only during that limited feeding window, you can eat anything you want. That means you get to eat your favorite food every day, which makes intermittent fasting an excellent option for people who have issues sticking to strict diet plans that limit whole food groups.
The fact that you are only allowed to eat during a 6-12 hour period (depending on the type of IF you follow) means you are likely to consume fewer calories than you usually would. Although you can eat anything you want during your meals, because they are closer together, you are likely to eat less, which wouldn't be the case if your meals are spread apart.
Issues With Intermittent Fasting
One major drawback intermittent fasting diets have is that many people tend to overeat when the fasting window finishes. This nullifies the caloric deficit created during the fast. Other people take the fasting excuse, which means they choose to eat only caloric bombs during their eating windows.
Guys, if you eat three meals of junk food, you will still get fat, even if you are following 16-8, or any other diet schedule.Remember, the point of fasting is to get you to a caloric deficit without overthinking your food choices. But, that doesn't mean that you should eat as much as you want during the feeding window; it only means you don't have to dwell on your food choices and fine print, but it should still be a normal, healthy diet.
Can You Partner Intermittent Fasting With The Keto Diet?
Yes, you can! In fact, combining intermittent fasting and ket has several benefits:
Tackling Weight Loss Plateaus
If you are the type of person that has a hard time to lose fat when on keto or you overeat during your "feeding windows" while on IF, combining the two diet methods is likely to get you back on track.That is because you will have a combination of low carb diet and time-restricted eating, working for you. That will make it almost impossible not to lose fat—if that is the case, you are not doing something write, or you are just not honest with yourself.
IF Can Speed Up Keto Adaptation
If you are struggling with keto flu or your ketosis is slow to fully set in, trying intermittent fasting will speed up the process. During the fasting windows, your body will use up all of the remaining carbs and naturally switch to using fats as a fuel source. That way, not only that you will lose more fat, but also transition to ketosis faster, which will reduce your discomfort.
Issues With IF+Keto Combination
Although more significant fat loss and faster keto-adaptation sounds great in theory, combining the ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting might not be the best idea for everyone.
The first issue is a caloric deficit that is too drastic. While you need to burn more calories than you consume if you want to lose weight, cutting calories too much can lead to some unwanted effects.
The first one is muscle loss, which is something you want to avoid. Sure, when you lose weight, you are not only losing fat, muscles get reduced too. But, cutting calories too drastically puts your body in starvation mode, which will make it burn muscles much faster than when you are in a slight deficit. Strength training and eating protein do help when you are in a deficit, but you still need to intake an optimal amount of calories. Try to burn 0.5-1 pounds per week, no more than that.
Combining IF with keto also has the potential to ignore micronutrient intake. Cutting carbs is drastic enough, but if you are time limiting your food intake too, you might be tempted to skip the good foods, and only go for caloric ones.
Remember, although keto restricts carbs, you are allowed to eat low-carb veggies and even fruits, which are all great sources of fiber and vitamins. Make sure to fill up your daily carb limit with quality carb sources that will take care of the needed macronutrients too.
Conclusion: Effective, But Not For Everyone
The ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting are popular for a good reason—they work. Many people across the globe are having success with these dieting methods, and if you are looking to lose some fat, both are good choices.
However, it is best to stick to only one. The keto diet on its own is a real fat furnace, and if you do it right, you will lose fat, guaranteed. IF, on the other hand, is much less radical, and it is very easy to try as you only need a clock to implement it. But, stick to one, or the other, and only opt for combining them if you struggle to lose weight. For most people, the combination is too extreme, and can lead to loss of motivation in the long run, and returning to old, unhealthy habits. Use it wisely!
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