If you want to know what the ketogenic diet + intermittent fasting lifestyle is, and how it can enhance weight loss and body composition, you want to read this article.
Summer is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to end the bulking season and enter full on fat loss mode. It’s a task that’s not always easy or all that enjoyable, but the results are certainly worth it come beach season.
There’s a ton of information out there on how to get shredded, but none quite like what we’ve developed here.
Previously we’ve covered one of the newest and most effective eating protocols for fat loss and weight management in Intermittent Fasting (IF). And, while intermittent fasting is great for shedding unwanted body fat, when it’s combined with a ketogenic diet, the two will get you shredded like never before.
Ahead, we've a primer on how to combine intermittent fasting with a ketogenic diet for a 1-2 punch that blasts fat and helps you get the body you've always wanted faster.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet, a.k.a. “keto”, is an extremely low carb diet that places a premium on fat intake (as much as 75-90%!) along with a moderate protein intake. There have been a number of keto diets circulating around the fitness industry in recent years as all things "keto" have surged in popularity. However, the “standard” or typical ketogenic diet consists of the following macronutrient breakdown:
- 75% Fat
- 20% Protein
- 5% Carbohydrate
No doubt you see that this macronutrient breakdown is virtually the opposite of most diet recommendations you'll see. And while you think you might need 50-60% of your calories from carbohydrates to survive, the benefit of substantially reducing carbohydrate intake forces your body to enter ketosis.
Ketosis is a metabolic process stimulated when carbohydrates are severely restricted. As a result, your body “shifts” from a glucose-fueled machine, to a fat-fueled one that generates and runs on ketones.
What are Ketones?
Ketones are byproducts formed when the body breaks down fat for energy. Ketone body generation occurs when carbohydrate intake is low, as is the case when following a ketogenic lifestyle.
Here’s a quick explanation of how the body generates ketones:
- Glucose is the body's main source of fuel, but when glucose is readily available (and glycogen stores are depleted) insulin and blood sugar levels are lowered.
- When this happens, the body looks for another source of fuel, which in this case, is your stored body fat.
- Through a process called beta-oxidation, the body begins breaking down fats for energy and ketones are formed to fuel the body and brain. This is known as ketosis.
- People following a ketogenic diet specifically reduce their carbohydrate intake to create ketones.
The process of ketone synthesis typically occurs when following a ketogenic or zero-carb diet, but it can also occur after prolonged exercise, during periods of starvation, or when a person is fasting, such as in the case of intermittent fasting.
And it's here that we start to see the synergism of combining ketogenic diets with intermittent fasting for weight loss, but we'll go more in-depth about that in a second.
Some may worry that such a drastic reduction in carbs may be hazardous as not all tissues of the body can run on ketones, but don’t worry, a metabolic process called gluconeogenesis can synthesize the necessary carbs needed to fuel these tissues, such as your brain, red blood cells, and testicles, from non-carbohydrate compounds including glycerol, lactate, and glucogenic amino acids such as Isoleucine, Tryptophan, and Phenylalanine (all of which can be found in Primeval Labs EAA Max!).[1,2]
Gluconeogensis is often regarded as the "boogeyman" of the ketogenic community but it's not something to be feared as it's essential to keep your brain working as well as maintain stable blood sugar levels and build glycogen, which is needed for optimal athletic performance.
Benefits of Ketogenic Diets
We know what you’re thinking already...why in the world would any person in their right mind willing give up carbs when that essentially means no more pizza, cookies, or candy?!
Well, it just might be worth it, when you consider the bevy of benefits ditching carbs for good offers:
- Enhanced weight loss
- Increased fat oxidation
- Improved insulin sensitivity
- Decreased blood sugar
- Helps lower A1c (a crucial metric of Type 2 Diabetes management)
- Improved HDL (“good”) cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Increased satiety
- Improved Body Mass Index (BMI)
As you can see, going keto has a wide range of benefits to offer, but how does combining keto and intermittent fasting (IF) enhance fat loss?
How does Keto + Intermittent Fasting Help Weight Loss?
Dubbed “Keto Intermittent Fasting”, the combination of a ketogenic diet + the intermittent fasting eating protocol is ideal for those already living the keto life, but what to ramp up weight loss even further.
Maximal Fat Burning
In ketosis, the body is already using fat as its preferred fuel source -- both the fat you eat, and the one stored around your midsection. But when combined with intermittent fasting, the efficiency with which your body burns fat is increased. So basically, the longer you’re in a fasted state, the greater amount of fat you’d burn than if not in ketosis!
Lower liver stores of Carbs
Since you’re drastically reducing carbs, glucose levels will be significantly less for keto dieters than non-keto dieters. This means your body will essentially enter a fasted state sooner and thus burning stored fat for ketones and glucose longer!
There comes a point in fat loss, not matter what diet you’re following, when everyone hits a plateau. Suppose you’ve been following a ketogenic diet for several months and been experience great results, but then you hit a fat loss wall, and your weight remains the same for a couple weeks. One of the benefits of intermittent fasting, particularly for weight loss, is that it increases fat oxidation and metabolic rate, which would enable your to kickstart fat loss without having to further reduce calories!
Improved Brain Health
Both IF and keto have solid research showing that they support enhanced brain function and overall brain health.[7,8] So, not only are you losing weight and shedding fat, and as a result improving body composition, you’re also helping out your noggin!
Heightened Insulin Sensitivity
Much like the previous bullet point, both intermittent fasting and ketogenic diets enhance insulin sensitivity and glucose response -- both crucial factors in effective weight loss! In fact, with lower insulin levels, fat burning becomes much easier for the body. Additionally, with more stable blood sugar levels, you're less susceptible to experiencing cravings as you're not constantly riding the rollercoaster that is rising and falling blood glucose levels.
Additional Benefits of Fasting Beyond Weight Loss
Increased Growth Hormone
Studies have noted that when following intermittent fasting, levels of growth hormone increase, which has benefits for fat loss and muscle gain.[15,16,17,18]
When fasting, your cells ignite various cellular repair processes, including autophagy, which involves the digestion and removal of old/dysfunctional proteins in the cell that accumulate over time.[13,14]
Fasting causes a number of changes in the function of your genes which promote longevity and protection from disease.[11,12]
More Muscle Retention
Another study investigating the effects of intermittent fasting for weight loss noted that using IF resulted in less muscle loss than standard methods of dieting that involve continuous calorie restriction. As you know, retaining muscle is paramount during periods of dieting. The more muscle you hold onto, the higher your metabolic rate will be, which means you're able to diet on a higher amount of calories, and at the same time, avoid the dreaded "skinny fat" look that can happen when you lose muscle and fat during cuts.
A Day in the Life of Keto + Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss Plan
So, how does one successfully combine a Ketogenic diet and Intermittent fasting for next-level fat burning and body recomposition?
Here is an example of how you can structure your typical day when utilizing intermittent fasting (IF):
Wake Up = 7AM
Fast = 7AM - 2PM
Eat = 2PM - 10PM
Sleep = 11PM
Following this layout, your feeding window lasts only 8 hours (2PM-10PM) while your fasting window lasts 16 hours. This 16/8 split if very common with intermittent fasters, and after a couple of days following this approach to meal timing, you'll quickly notice that the cravings and hunger pangs you used to feel when eating every 2-3 hours quickly go away. This extra free time that you have during your fast (which would otherwise be spent prepping food, cooking it, cleaning dishes, eating meals) can now be put towards productivity.
Quite frequently, followers of intermittent fasting remark about how much more productive they are -- getting more work done while at the same time not wasting mental energy on deciding what to eat or if they "should" eat something.
With intermittent fasting, you know that if you're in your fasting period, you don't have to worry about food at all. You can focus 100% of your mental and physical energies into getting things done, or just relaxing and enjoying some quality downtime with family and friends.
Now, to combine intermittent fasting with the ketogenic diet, all you need to do is eat all of your calories in your eating window while following the principles of the ketogenic diet -- high fat, low-to-moderate protein, little-to-no carbohydrate (i.e. ~5 grams of net carbohydrates). So, on a ketogenic diet, you want to enter your feeding window each day thinking:
"Where am I going to get my fat?"
Best Ketogenic Diet Foods for Keto + Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss Plan
Ideal foods on the ketogenic diet include, but are not limited to:
- Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Coconut Butter
- Walnut Oil
- Sesame Oil
- MCT Oil
- Macadamia nuts
- Full-fat cheese
- Heavy Cream
- Organ meats (i.e. liver)
- Green Leafy Vegetables
Foods to Avoid on the Ketogenic + Intermittent Fasting Diet Weight Loss Plan
As you know, the key to structuring a successful ketogenic diet is to avoid carbohydrate-dense foods, including:
- Beans / legumes
- Fruit - except small portions of berries
- 99% of "standard" desserts, meaning you can skip those cookies, cakes, doughnuts, candy or other crap in the breakroom.
Example Meal Plan for Ketogenic Diet + Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss Plan
An example of some of the meals you could eat during your feasting period include:
Meal #1: Eggs, bacon, avocado, and tomatoes
Meal #2: Steak, butter, asparagus
Meal #3: Salmon, side salad, olive oil and feta cheese
Cutting carbs and calories along with following Intermittent Fasting can result is some serious hunger cravings and lethargy at the outset. If those cravings happen to get too unruly, you risk binging on carbs and not only kicking your body out of ketosis, but also completely ruining your diet. To help regulate hunger and limit cravings, Primeval Labs has developed a line of premium quality fat loss agents and appetite suppressants to support your keto + intermittent fasting lifestyle.
Not everyone is a big stimulant user, or can handle them, yet still want a supplement to further enhance their fat loss. Primeval Labs Pyretic is the solution.
Pyretic provides several unique compounds, including cyanidin-3-glucoside and GS15-4™, that help suppress appetite, boost energy, and enhance focus -- eliminating the “brain fog” that can set in when dropping carbs to virtually zero.
The best-tasing amino acid supplement on the market, EAA Max provides a low carb, low calorie option to support protein synthesis and muscle building during your feeding window without kicking your body out of ketosis. EAA Max is ideal for the keto athlete that needs an intra workout supplement yet doesn’t want to load up on gobs of sugar or tons of carbs to support their performance.
Ketogenic Diets and Intermittent Fasting are two excellent options for boosting fat loss, insulin sensitivity, and overall health. When combined, the two work hand-in-hand to accelerate fat loss and enhance body composition. Next time cutting season comes around and you want the fastest results possible, there’s only one way to go -- Keto +Intermittent Fasting!
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