All of us want to be physically fit and healthy to live for a long time. Several millions of people in the world devote themselves to exercise, regimens, training, and programs to make sure that their wellness is optimized. But many people seem to forget the role of a proper and effective diet for a slimmer and stronger body.
Exercise is crucial, but without the right nutrition and digestion, all those hours spent in the gym will be all for nothing. Yes, you can sweat and jog and bend your way to fitness, but the calories, fats, and junk that you cannot resist will bog you down.
A proper diet seems straightforward. You may be well familiar with the steps to do it. You can enjoy food but eat less, keep food portions small, keep away from unhealthy foods, and minimize sodium intake.
But what if we can fundamentally change the way we eat and think about food? Recent dietary research shows that intermittent fasting and a ketogenic diet (also known as the keto diet) has so many benefits and potential. Consequently, these two have become so popular, changing the lives of millions who tried them.
In your lifetime, you might have eaten your breakfast in the morning, lunch at noon, and dinner in the middle of the night, with snacks peppered across the hours in between.
Intermittent fasting challenges this eating schedule. There is a collection of fitness jargon for these patterns. According to the online magazine Healthline, those who follow the Leangains protocol or 16/8 method skip breakfast, restrict their eating time to eight hours, and fast in the next 16 hours.
Other committed people who observe intermittent fasting even fast for 24 hours once or twice every week. This method is also called eat-stop-eat. Meanwhile, those who do the 5:2 diet only consume 500-600 calories for two days a week, but they eat normally in the following days.
The Harvard Medical School blog proves that intermittent fasting makes sense. It can improve and optimize cell growth, healing, and brain function, as stated by the research of the New England Journal of Medicine. Healthline also listed down in a related article the manifold benefits of fasting. Eating fewer meals means lesser calorie intake, improving the endocrine system, and hormone balance in the body.
Intermittent fasting can increase the release of noradrenaline, which burns fat and facilitates metabolism. Research published on Elsevier further shows that it can help lessen belly fat, waist circumference, and harmful fat deposits in the body.
Earlier, we brought up another popular and effective nourishment plan: the keto diet. This means eating avoiding carbohydrates while consuming a high-fat diet.
This way, your body will undergo ketosis. Since there is a low amount of glucose in the bloodstream, your body will burn fats instead of energy. In turn, your liver will produce more ketones, one of the energy supplies of the brain, and drastically reduce insulin. Like intermittent fasting, the keto diet has many versions.
This includes the standard ketogenic diet (75% fat, 20% protein, and only 5% carbs) and the high-protein ketogenic diet (60% fat, 35%protein, and 5% carbs). While these two are the subject of many pieces of research and studies, athletes observe other forms of the keto diet, like the cyclical ketogenic diet and target ketogenic diet. The former includes five ketogenic days and two high-carb days, while the latter only allows additional carbs during exercise sessions and workouts.
Sports nutritionist Rudy Mawer listed down the myriad of health benefits that the keto diet brings as proven by research through the years. It can help people with type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and metabolic syndrome, as stated by studies in the National Library of Medicine.
This is because it can improve blood sugar concentration, insulin function, and body weight which are all conditions related to diabetes. Some studies even show how the keto diet eventually helped some patients to stop their dependency on diabetes medications. Moreover, it can help treat cholesterol, high blood pressure, and polycystic ovary syndrome. Rudy Mawer further enumerates that this diet may slow down tumor growth and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and cancer, although more conclusive research is underway.
Those who want to try the keto diet should strictly adhere to the plan that suits his or her health, goals, and capabilities. If you want to see it for yourself, you should avoid alcohol, processed diet food, saturated fats, diet products, beans, fruits, grains, and sugary junk foods. Instead, you should consume healthy oils, meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, and cheese.
Now that we have established the incredible advantages of intermittent fasting and keto, how beneficial would it be to do both of them?
Can you do intermittent fasting and keto at the same time? Does intermittent fasting increase ketosis?
The short and simple answer is yes unless you are among those who are discouraged from the keto diet and fasting (more on this later). According to Jillian Kubala, a registered dietitian writing for Healthline, it is safe, and the combination will bring more benefits for your health and wellness. The keto diet is centered on burning fats instead of carbs, leading to weight loss, hormonal balance, and all of its advantages. Conducting intermittent fasting will aid you to reach this state of ketosis quicker and more effectively. It will also decrease your insulin and glycogen levels.
Doing the keto diet and intermittent fasting together targets and burns more excess and stubborn body fats as well. This can be achieved through thermogenesis or heat production that is triggered by the two. Small studies show the same results. For example, in 2016, researchers from various universities in the United States saw that those who committed themselves to the 16/8 intermittent fasting in eight weeks lost at least 14% more body fat than those with regular eating patterns. Imagine how healthier and slimmer you would be with intermittent fasting and ketosis… effectively and safely!
Athletes and bodybuilders decline to fully commit to the keto diet because it affects muscle growth. But there is good news! According to studies recorded on the National Institutes of Health, calorie restriction regimes like intermittent fasting can improve athletes’ performances and body composition. Therefore, people who want to improve their athletic skills while burning body fats can try both intermittent fasting and keto diet at the same time!
BeingBrigid founder and medicine dietitian Brigid Titgemeier said that intermittent fasting can be partnered with any kind of diet. After all, it’s not about what to eat; it is based on when to eat. Because of this, you can follow the schedule of intermittent fasting while adhering to the ketogenic diet in eating.
How long should you do intermittent fasting on keto?
If you are already convinced to start the combination of the keto diet and fasting, the next question is how to do it. Aja Gyimah, a nutritionist based in Toronto, Canada, gave this advice: It is easier to start with an easier fasting window that lasts from 12 to 14 hours. After you start getting used to it, you can work your way to a longer fasting schedule to maximize its benefits. This will also help you adjust to your new eating lifestyle. But if you want to do it slowly, you can try performing both intermittent fasting and the keto diet for up to three days, three times a year with 16 to 20 hours of fasting window.
However, you should still be watchful and keen about how your body reacts to the combination. Some who do this without proper preparation and practice fall into fatigue, overeating, and irritability as reported by research. Moreover, Ruled.me, a keto-oriented website peer-reviewed by doctors, teaches about the side effects of aggressively doing fasting and strict diet schemes. Malnourishment can cause health complications that can disrupt your body systems to dangerous and fatal levels. These include the refeeding syndrome, which happens when your body loses electrolytes and essential minerals. But then again, this will not happen as long as you do not exceed five days and perform fasting wisely.
Is fasting good for ketosis?
As quoted by Women’s Health magazine, registered dietitian Danielle Schaub declared that the keto diet can help you reach ketosis quicker, and with both the keto diet and intermittent fasting, you will achieve similar health goals and benefits.
But, in this strict regimen, experts say that you need great self-discipline to succeed. Although meat and keto diet can help you get filled easier and quicker, it might still be difficult for you. You might need to balance your social life, work schedule, and eating for the sake of your health. But it all takes focus, determination, and hard work. In the end, your health will gain so much.
Also, be careful. Yes, intermittent fasting has many benefits, but you need to consult a doctor first. If you have medications, chronic illnesses, or serious conditions, you need a physician’s advice. Moreover, never fast if you are under the age of 18, underweight, pregnant, or breastfeeding. Do not fast as well if you have anorexia and other eating disorders. The same goes for the keto diet, which is not advisable for those who want to gain muscle or weight (but they can try the other versions of the keto diet that suits their needs).
At first, you might experience the so-called “keto flu” in a few days after trying the diet. This includes hunger, digestive discomfort, poor energy and mental function, and decreased physical performance. To lessen the effects of adjustment, you can transition from a regular diet with low carbs in the first few weeks so that your body can prepare. You should also take mineral supplements, especially potassium and magnesium. Healthline also recommends coconut oil, caffeine, creatine, and whey protein to aid you towards keto fitness.
And now, delicious recipe time!
With all the benefits, precautions, and instructions in mind, let us dive into the wonderful world of keto-intermittent fasting recipes. In this diet, you will enjoy savory meals rich with meat, proteins, and fat that are good for you!
You can prepare and eat buffalo chicken crust pizza, a perfect pleasure food after a long fast. You need a pound of boneless chicken thighs, one cup of shredded mozzarella, one stalk of green onion, one tablespoon of sour cream, two tablespoons of butter, one-fourth teaspoon of salt, one-fourth teaspoon of black pepper, one large egg, three tablespoons of tomato sauce, and one stalk of celery.
Preheat your oven to 204.44°C (or 399°F) and grind the chicken meat. In a large bowl, mix the chicken meat, shredded mozzarella, pepper, salt, and egg. Then, make a dough with this mixture. Lay parchment paper on the pizza pan and spread the chicken on the pan until it is about one-fourth inch thick. Bake it for 25 minutes, until the crust is cooked already.
While the pizza is getting baked, melt the butter in a frying pan, dice the celery, and cook it with the butter. In a separate bowl, mix the sour cream with three tablespoons of tomato sauce. Remove the crust once it is done, and spread the sauce mixture on it. Add the remaining cheese and celery there. Cook it for ten minutes and put green onion slices on top. Enjoy!
If you love meatballs, you can charge it up for your keto diet. Bacon and cheddar barbeque meatballs are delicious and healthy for your diet! Prepare 680 grams of ground beef, 90 grams of chorizo sausages, one cup tomato sauce, two large eggs, one-third cup of crushed pork rinds, one cup of cheddar cheese, one teaspoon of cumin, one teaspoon of chili powder, and one teaspoon of salt.
Preheat your oven to 176°C (or 350°F) and crush the pork rinds in a food processor completely. Break the chorizo sausage apart and place it in a mixing bowl. In order, add the ground beef, crushed pork rinds, cheddar cheese, chili powder, eggs, cumin, and salt. Mix them with your hands, roll it into balls, and rest them in a foiled baking tray. Place them evenly and spread out, cook them in the oven for 35 minutes. Serve them with tomato sauce. Have fun with your meatballs!