Without a doubt, the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting (or IF), are two of the hottest dietary crazes circulating right now. You may have tried one or the other, but the lingering question people are wondering is whether or not these dietary plans can work together?
In this article, we’ll go over the ketogenic food list of what you can and cannot eat on keto, and also discuss the pros and cons of combining keto and IF – therefore following an intermittent fasting keto schedule.
Are you curious about what it takes to find keto and intermittent fasting success, and if it’s right for you? Read on to find out!
Keto 101 (and Ketogenic Food List)
Before we dive into the combo of the keto diet and intermittent fasting, let’s look at each dietary plan by itself first. Starting with keto 101, (also known as the keto diet or the ketogenic diet), the goal of this eating plan is to switch your body from a state of burning carbs for fuel, to a fat-burning state.
In order to make this transformation happen, you need to greatly reduce the amount of carbs that you eat, to about 5-10% of your daily calories. In addition, you need to increase the amount of healthy fats that you eat, (to 70-75% of daily calories), and also eat a moderate amount of protein (20-25% of calories).
Doing this for a certain period of time, (anywhere from a few days to a few weeks), causes your body to use up all your glucose (or carb) stores, and start burning stored fat. In addition, it helps increase your metabolism, and allows you to stay in a well-balanced, satisfied state; This is also because you won’t have the sugar crashes that can happen when you eat sugary foods and refined carbs.
Ketogenic Food List:
Some of the foods on the keto food list include…
- Healthy oils (coconut, MCT, olive, avocado)
- Grass-fed butter
- Grass-fed, organic meats and poultry
- Avocado and olives
- Low-carb fruits (mostly berries)
- Low-carb veggies (spinach, kale, leafy greens and more)
- Full-fat, non-sweetened dairy products (cheese and yogurt)
- Nuts, seeds and their butters
Keeping that in mind, you also want to eliminate sugary foods, desserts and refined carbs, and also minimize your intake of high-carb foods (even healthy ones). This includes starchy vegetables, high-carb fruits, rice, beans, legumes and grains.
To get the exact macronutrients to meet your individual needs and goals, check out this free Keto Calculator. In addition, to learn more about the keto diet and how it could work for you, check out this Keto Beginners Guide.
Next: Intermittent Fasting 101
Now that you’re more informed about keto, (or were given a refresher), let’s talk about intermittent fasting or IF, and how an intermittent fasting keto schedule could work.
The important thing to realize about intermittent fasting is that it offers many of the same benefits that keto does – one of the reasons that keto/IF fans are finding such success when combining them. We’ll go over this a little more in the pros and cons section, but first, let’s go over what IF entails…
When you think about any type of restricted eating schedule with the word “fasting” in it, it may immediately make you cringe. But in reality, adding some periods of eating followed by not eating is much more normal than you think.
Basically, the idea behind IF is that you only eat within a certain time window – and then you refrain from eating. There are many different schedules and ways to do it based on your preferences.
Even if you may be turned off by the idea of fasting, keep in mind that you already fast at night while you’re sleeping! And some of the most popular IF schedules include a simple extension of the hours before or after you go to sleep – with much of the fasting time happening when you wouldn’t be consuming food anyway. For instance, here are some popular intermittent fasting schedules…
Intermittent Fasting Schedule Options
Before you can have keto and intermittent fasting success, you need to know what IF schedule would work best for you. Here are some of the most popular options for men and women. Keep in mind that the schedules for men are a bit more aggressive, because women have different body’s and hormones that could get out of balance if fasting isn’t approached gradually.
16/8 Method (or Crescendo)
- For men following this fasting schedule, they would only eat within an 8 hour window (for instance from 12pm to 8pm), and then fast the rest of the time. For women, the Crescendo method is recommended, which is to fast for 12-16 hour periods, two to three (non-consecutive) days per week.
24 Hour Fast
- In this IF fasting schedule, you don’t eat for 24 hours (once or twice a week), and you eat normally the rest of the time. For women, it’s recommended to start with a 14-16 hour fast and work your way up.
- Finally, this IF schedule involves restricting your daily calories to 25% of your normal intake, which is about 500-600 calories (one to two days per week). Women following this plan can start at a higher calorie count until their body adjusts.
- To learn more about intermittent fasting and the various health benefits and additional eating/fasting schedules, check out this Guide to Intermittent Fasting. For everyone else, let’s go ahead and move onto what an intermittent fasting keto schedule could look like…
Fat-Blasting Combo: Keto And Intermittent Fasting Success
If you’re seriously considering a combination of keto and intermittent fasting, there are some important pros and cons you should keep in mind, which we’ll go over next….
- Helps you reach ketosis faster – As mentioned, the goal of the keto diet is to get yourself into a state where your body burns fat for fuel instead of carbs, and intermittent fasting can greatly assist with this.
It just so happens that when you fast, your body also naturally switches its fat source from carbs to fat! Therefore, if you’re having a hard time reaching ketosis while on the keto diet, trying a schedule of intermittent fasting could get you there.
- Increased weight loss results: Because you can get into ketosis faster, an intermittent fasting keto schedule can also help you burn more fat, contributing to a lower number on the scale. This is because IF, (like keto), boosts your metabolism, allowing your body to start utilizing stubborn fat stores.
In addition, people who are adapted to IF also report feeling less hungry and more satisfied overall, something that people on keto also report – making the dietary plans a super-duo for weight loss.
- Increased health benefits: Both of these dietary plans have also been shown to help reduce inflammation in the body – the root cause of sickness and disease. Due to this, studies show that they may greatly support enhanced health, namely good brain health and a reduced risk of diabetes.
- Too difficult or restrictive for some: Looking at the cons next, following an intermittent fasting keto schedule isn’t for everyone, since some may experience negative results when combining the too. For instance, some may end up over-eating on non-fasting days, which could make maintaining a healthy weight trickier. In addition, there may be unwanted side effects such as fatigue or irritability.
Also something to keep in mind, anyone with a previous health condition should consult with their doctor before trying keto/IF. In addition, it’s not safe or recommended for pregnant or nursing women.
- May be difficult to maintain: Even if you find keto and intermittent fasting success for a short time period, the problem may be that it’s difficult to maintain for the long-term. For instance, it could become an issue during social gatherings or dining out, especially if your normal fasting schedule is in the evening.
If you’d like to try an intermittent fasting keto schedule, simply pick an IF schedule that works for you, and then only eat keto-approved foods within that time period. Keep in mind that when you’re fasting, you can drink water, coffee or herbal teas without it affecting your fast. For more articles on successfully following a keto lifestyle, check out the 310 Blog here!