Intermittent Fasting (IF) and Keto: Should You Combine the Two?

The keto diet and intermittent fasting both are the popular current health trends.

Many health-conscious people use these methods to lose weight and control certain health conditions.

While both have solid research backing their claimed benefits, many people surprise if it’s safe and effective to combine the two.

This article explains IF and the keto diet and also explains whether combining the two is a nice idea.

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between calorie restriction — or fasting — and normal food intake during a certain period of time (1).

There are various types of intermittent fasting routines, such as the 5:2 method, the Warrior Diet and alternate-day fasting.

Perhaps the most popular form of intermittent fasting is the 16/8 method, which includes eating during an eight-hour time slot before fasting for 16 hour.

Intermittent fasting is primarily used ad a method of weight loss .

Though, many studies found that it may benefit health in many other ways.

For example, intermittent fasting has been shown to lower inflammation and improve brain function and controls blood sugar level(234).

What is the keto diet?

The ketogenic (keto) diet is a high-fat, very low-carb containing diet.

Carbs are usually reduced to 20 to 50 grams a day, which forces your body to depend on fats instead of glucose for its primary source of energy(5).

In the metabolic process known as ketosis, your body breaks down fats to into substances known as ketones that serve as an alternate  source of energy (6).

This diet is an effective way to loose sufficient weight, but it has lots of other benefits as well.

The keto diet has been used for almost a century to treat epilepsy and reveals promise for other neurological disorders (7).

For instance, the keto diet may improve mental issues in people with Alzheimer’s disease (8).

Moreover, it may decrease blood sugar, improve insulin resistance and reduce heart disease risk factors like triglyceride levels (910).

Potential benefits of practicing both

If you want to follow the ketogenic diet while doing intermittent fasting as well, it could provide the following benefits.

May smooth your path to ketosis

Intermittent fasting may help your body reach ketosis faster than the keto diet alone.

That’s because during fasting,your body maintains its energy balance by changing its energy source from carbs to fats — the exact assumption of the keto diet (11).

When you fast, insulin levels and glycogen stores reduces, leading your body to naturally start burning fat for energy (12).

For anyone who struggles to reach ketosis while on a keto diet, doing intermittent fasting may effectively fastens your process.

May lead to more fat loss

Combining the diet and the fast may help you loose more fat than the diet alone.

Because intermittent fasting improves metabolism by inhancing thermogenesis, or heat production, your body may start utilizing fixed fat stores (13).

Various studies reveal that intermittent fasting can powerfully and safely reduce excessive body fat.

In an eight-week study in 34 resistance-trained men, those who followed the 16/8 method of intermittent fasting lost around 14% more body fat than those following a normal eating pattern (14).

Similarly, a review of 28 studies noticed that people who practiced intermittent fasting lost an average of 7.3 pounds (3.3 kg) more fat mass than those taking very low-calorie diets (15).

Plus, intermittent fasting may retain muscle mass during weight loss and boost energy levels, which may be helpful for keto dieters looking to improve athletic performance and loose body fat (1617).

Moreover, studies underscore that intermittent fasting can reduce hunger and promote feelings of fullness, which may lead to weight loss (18).

Should you combine them?

Combining the ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting is probably safe for most of the people.

Though, pregnant or lactating women and those with a history of disordered eating should avoid intermittent fasting.

People with certain health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, should talk to their doctor before trying intermittent fasting on the keto diet.

Though some people may find merging the both is helpful, it’s necessary to note that it may not work for everyone.

Some people may find that fasting on the keto diet is too hard, or they may experience unwanted reactions, such as overeating on non-fasting days, irritability and fatigue (19).

Keep in mind that intermittent fasting is not essential to reach ketosis, even though it can be used as a tool to do so fastly.

Simply following a healthy, well-rounded keto diet is sufficient for anyone looking to boost health by cutting down on carbs.

Combining the keto diet with intermittent fasting may help you reach ketosis faster than a keto diet alone. It may also lead to more fat loss.

Though, while this method may work wonders for some people, it’s not required to mix both, and some people should avoid this combination.

You can do experiment and see whether a combination — or one practice on its own — works best for you. But as with any major lifestyle change, it’s suggested that to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider first.

What Is Intermittent Fasting? Explained in Human Terms

10 Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting