If you’re wondering what Pythagoras, Jesus, Einstein, Halle Berry, Kim Kardashian, and Joe Rogan all have in common; we’ll tell you - its fasting and ketosis!
The goals of fasting and ketosis are similar, with both resulting in fat loss and many of the same well-rounded lifestyle and general wellness benefits.
From improved insulin sensitivity to managing chronic illnesses and depression, these can be life-changing techniques.
How you go about each approach is very different.
One of these can be used as a short-term fat loss shred, to help you get red carpet ready. The other is a great way to fight the signs of aging and stay youthful.
One of these methods is impressive for healing the body, and the other one can power it back up and make you feel energized and refreshed.
Both of these methods are something that can make you live longer.
When used together, fasting and ketosis create an incredibly powerful regimen, which many A-list celebrities swear by as the ultimate fat loss tool. More than fat loss, keto is a whole body and spiritual way to take care of yourself.
Imagine those days when you wake up, and everything goes right. When you do fasting and ketosis together; every day can feel like your best day.
This is because you will align all of your spiritual and physical dots to create a harmonious environment within your body and brain.
Many people talk about fasting and ketosis interchangeably, and there’s no shame in asking what they are and if you should do one, or both.
In this article, we’ll look at what each is, what the benefits are, and who should do one, both or none of these methods.
If you're curious as to how all those celebs stay in their best shape, keep on reading.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic response to lowering your carbohydrate intake. When you cut carbs, your body is forced to burn fat for fuel.
This is very appealing to people who want to lose weight, as your body has to metabolize stubborn fat, but there are many lifestyle benefits to ketosis.
The lighter benefits of being in ketosis include better sleep, stable blood sugar, reduced inflammation, improved blood pressure and cholesterol, clearer memory and cognitive function, better recovery from exercise, and even clearer skin.
On the far end of the spectrum, scientists are now evaluating the ketogenic diet as a way to manage severe health conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and even many kinds of cancer (1).
The keto diet started as a way to reduce seizures and is still an accessible and natural way to manage epilepsy and other chronic conditions (1).
More people than ever are turning to ketosis as a way to make themselves feel superhuman; in a state of ketosis, your body is producing ketones, which are a byproduct of metabolizing fat.
In these ketones is pure energy. Of which, our brains are uniquely wired to take these ketones and turn them into powerful and expendable energy.
People in ketosis naturally feel more energized and awakened.
They have faster, clearer and more profound thoughts and more sustainable energy, throughout the day.
So even if weight loss isn’t your goal, we think ketosis is still an excellent place to be, physically and mentally.
You will hear many celebrities and great thinkers discussing why they live a keto lifestyle, passionately.
However, a word of caution. The ketogenic diet can be a transition for some people.
When they hear they cannot eat grains, sugar, and processed foods, they often wonder what’s left.
But if you have an open mind, we think there are dozens of delicious, fatty foods you can eat that will transform how you look and feel (about food!).
To prove our point, we’re giving away a free eBook in our Facebook Group.
All you have to do is join our group to get this instant download.
In it are fifteen delicious, sweet keto treats that will make you think “Diet! What diet?”
What is Fasting?
Many people engage in fasting as a way to feel more connected to their body and to help get more lean muscle and less body fat.
Fasting has been used for millennia, and it was reported that Pythagoras set off something of a trend in Ancient Greece.
Fasting can produce similar symptoms as ketosis.
However, rather than cutting carbs, people on a fast will choose to cut out food altogether or eat during a specific window.
Many people who do prolonged fasts report feelings of euphoria, energy, and optimized health despite the absurdity of the claims to no eating.
This is because fasting can accelerate ketosis and put your body in a fat-burning state.
If you’re looking at fasting from a no food vantage point, you’re missing out on the bigger picture; fasting enables the body to feed on the fat that is stored in the body.
And for that reason alone, fasting is an incredibly potent weight loss tool, when used correctly.
Fasting isn’t just a fad. Like ketosis, many people turn to fasting as a way to stabilize their blood sugar levels, reduce their insulin resistance, reduce inflammation and allow their body a chance to heal.
It promotes a complete sense of wellness, uniting the body, brain, and spirit.
In Ancient Greece, fasting was called the “physician within” because of its ability to resolve all kinds of ailments in the body.
In primitive cultures, a fast was often demanded before going to war, or as part of a coming-of-age ritual.
It was used to assuage an angry deity in some cultures, and by native North Americans, as a rite to avoid catastrophes such as famine.
Today, with the revival of famous fasts like the 5:2 diet (5 days off 2 days fasting), we’re seeing a second coming and more people starting to fast.
In Germany, fasting is part of the "naturheilkunde" – natural health practice.
It has remained popular because it became integrated into medical practice, so many patients are now recommended to fast by their doctors.
Today more people are self-prescribing fasts as a way to get on top of their health in ways that American doctors have been failing to address.
Benefits of Fasting Include:
- Cellular repair: During fasting, your cells initiate cellular repair processes. This includes autophagy, where cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells (2)
- Gene expression: There are changes in the function of genes related to longevity and protection against disease (3)
- Insulin resistance: building your insulin sensitivity can help you to prevent drastic drops and increases of insulin that can cause long-term and irreparable damage (4)
So now we understand the similarities, it’s time to look at what makes fasting and ketosis slightly different.
What is the Difference Between Fasting and Ketosis?
Now that you understand what fasting and ketosis are, it’s time to look at the differences.
For the most part, the significant difference is when you eat.
During ketosis, you can eat at any time, but when fasting, you only eat during windows of time, or not at all.
Ketosis is often a by-product of fasting, but you can get into ketosis in many different ways.
Of all the methods, however, fasting is probably the quickest.
This is why you hear so many people talking about fasting and ketosis together - they’re very symbiotic.
One of the advantages of the ketogenic diet is that it reduces hunger cravings.
This supports the fasted state, which can take some time to get accustomed to, so ketosis and fasting together is a great way to achieve the goals of both of these practices.
The main differences include:
- When you eat: fasting promotes abstinence
- What you eat: ketosis advocates a low-carb high-fat diet
- Why you eat: fasting is often for health benefits and ketosis for fat loss
Put simply; many people engage in ketosis because they want fat loss.
They become hooked on the energy and reduced brain fog, and many choose to stay in ketosis.
Once people get to their weight goals, they may add in more carbs on some days (carb-cycling), or they may choose to do Paleo, which allows them a few more carbs per day.
People who choose to fast usually do so for the metabolic stability; fasting promotes stable blood sugar levels and reduces insulin resistance.
It can also be done for spiritual and religious reasons. Almost all religions promote fasting as a way to honor thy body.
You can also do a fast to lose weight, although, without a ketogenic diet and training your body to depend on stored fat for fuel, this can be a gruesome experience.
People who run into fasting without preparing their body using a ketogenic diet usually experience hunger pains, cramping, and even hallucinations.
How Does Fat Loss Work?
One of the most significant differences between fasting and ketosis is how fat loss occurs.
In a fast, you are losing weight through a calorie deficit.
In ketosis, you burn fat by withholding carbs.
As carbs are a natural fuel source, your body has to go in search of something else when this runs out. Enter your stored fat.
Both of these methods can be effective means of fat loss, but neither is perfect on its own, by any means.
In ketosis, you have to give up grains and sugar, which can be hard for many people to adjust to.
When fasting, you have to give up food altogether, which you obviously can't do in the long-term.
Instead, when you combine them, you can get the accelerated fat loss results you want, but you also prepare your body in such a way to make fat loss comfortable.
Ketosis enables you to get into a fat burning state, and fasting acts like a turbo-charge button that allows you to get more fat loss while still eating ketogenic foods.
Because of these changes in hormones, short-term fasting may increase your metabolic rate by 3.6–14% (5).
This is the additional health benefits you stand to gain:
- Weight loss: As mentioned above, intermittent fasting can help you lose weight and belly fat, without having to restrict calories consciously.
- Inflammation: Some studies show reductions in markers of inflammation, a key driver of many chronic diseases (6)
- Heart health: Intermittent fasting may reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers, blood sugar and insulin resistance — all risk factors for heart disease.
Reducing your body fat is an essential step in addressing your overall health.
Excess body fat has been linked to many diseases, many of which respond favorably by merely losing fat.
People are starting to understand more, that fasting can expand our lives.
If you want to live longer and feel better doing it, fasting is a great way to heal and restore your vitality.
For this reason, intermittent fasting is very popular among the life-hacking crowd, as it improves your health while simplifying your life at the same time.
What Kinds of Keto Fasts Can I Do?
Just as there are three types of ketogenic diets (more on that here), there are different types of fasting regimens.
While no one recommends you can all Jesus crossing the desert 40 days and 40 nights, there is research to support longer fasted states.
Many people start by increasing the fasting window by a few hours at a time, building to a few days.
In the more advanced end of the spectrum, you can do a seven day wet fast. This is where you do not eat for seven days.
During this wet fast, you can only drink water. Controversy abounds at what else you can drink.
Purists will say you cannot drink anything that causes a metabolic reaction and that can even include smoking or vitamins or black tea and coffee, as these all contain ingredients that make changes in our body.
We believe you can drink some simple drinks during a fast. This is especially true if those drinks support your fast.
For example, a grass-fed bone broth is hugely beneficial to a fast and can boost your level of ketosis.
It contains a critical mineral called collagen, an essential nutrient, and sodium, which will stop you from becoming dehydrated.
Drinking exogenous ketones are also a great way to boost ketone production and give you more energy during a fast.
Just be sure to mix with water and drink as needed to alleviate any keto flu symptoms.
Another powerhouse we recommend during fasting is an apple cider vinegar concoction with warm water, lemon, and pink Himalayan sea salt or Celtic sea salt.
Both of these salts are rich in essential minerals, support hunger suppression and stabilize blood sugar levels.
Its a small price to pay to drink some nutrient-dense mineralized waters during a fast, and we think its well worth it!
Are Fasting and Ketosis Right for Me?
To decide if ketosis and fasting are right for you, it’s best to ask what your goals are and how they can support you.
Consider the ketogenic diet if you want:
- To get into ketosis at a moderate speed
- Are looking for a sustainable way to lose weight
- Need a long-term nutritional plan
Consider fasting if you want:
- To try a short-term weight loss program
- To drastically lower blood sugar levels
- To eat carbs intermittently
Try fasting and ketosis together if you want:
- Faster fat loss
- To get into ketosis faster
- The perks of both methods
Overall, the benefits of fasting and fat loss go hand in hand.
If you think one might be right for you, then we recommend trying out both and seeing what works best for you.
Many people see excellent results when they use fasting in combination with the ketogenic diet.
A simple way to do both is to use fasting to get into ketosis.
You can do this by prolonging the time you go without eating, and aim to consume your calories in a smaller daily window.
For people not seeking fat loss, you can do a 5:2 rule where you eat some carbs five days a week and none on two days.
This will give you the insulin balancing and general wellness of fasting without losing weight.
To get into ketosis faster, only do one 2 or 3 days fast (depending on your doctors go ahead), and reduce your carbs to less than 20 net grams per day.
This all but guarantees your body will go into a fat-burning state of nutritional ketosis. For longer-term results, do the keto diet 5 or 6 days a week and add in 1 or 2 days of fasting.
We're confident that by listening to your body and changing up your routine, you can find the right balance for your specific situation and make fasting and ketosis a long-term way for you to live your best life.
Intermittent Fasting - A Ketogenic Approach
While it’s true there are many kinds of fasting; today we want to chat about one of the most popular by far, on a keto diet.
If you have been on any of the keto Facebook Groups, you are sure to have found people raving about Intermittent Fasting or IF.
This is very popular on the keto diet and involves fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8. This is also known as the Leangains method.
It consists of skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 1–9 p.m. Then you fast for 16 hours in between.
When you break this fast, its common for people on a ketogenic diet to drink bone broth or a keto coffee to replenish the body and slowly wake up the metabolism.
You should never eat a large meal after a fast; this is not a binge and gorge fad diet, it’s about working with your body and comfort levels.
Some people may also do an Eat-Stop-Eat fast. This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week. For example, not eating starting at dinner one day, and then continuing the fast until lunch the next day.
And as noted above, the 5:2, where you can eat five days a week and fast for two.
On your fasting days for the 5:2 diet, you can consume some calories (500 for women and 600 for men), but these should be quality keto foods with a high-fat profile to sustain your energy levels.
Many people find this a moderately easy way to increase your fasting routine.
By reducing your calorie intake, all of these methods should cause weight loss, as long as you don't compensate by eating much more during the eating periods.
However, most people find that IF is the most comfortable and most enjoyable way to start experiencing the benefits of fasting.
It’s easy and gets fast results - what’s not to love?
Who Shouldn’t Do a Fast?
While we openly disclose we’re not doctors and don’t pretend to be, there are some people we would never recommend fasting too.
Generally speaking, men tend to respond more favorably to IF than woman do.
Some women may stop having regular periods, and women who are nursing or pregnant should not engage in calorie restriction.
Women’s hormones are sensitive to the changes that fasting can produce, so it's best to be aware.
If at any time during a fast you feel weak, dizzy, unlike yourself, or insatiably hungry, you should stop the fast and have something to eat.
You can always resume again on another day. It takes many people a long time to build up tolerance to fasting, comfortably.
Similarly, women who are looking to conceive should not consider fasting as this can change their bodies natural rhythm and fertility.
Children should also not fast. They are going through a significant period of growth and should never be withheld food or water.
And, as always, talk to your doctor before making any significant dietary or lifestyle choices; doctors started the ketogenic diet and can help you implement your nutritional goals.
Can Intermittent Fasting and Keto Work Together?
Dr. Gustin says, "Intermittent fasting and ketosis work wonderfully together. Intermittent fasting helps raise levels of ketones by keeping insulin low, and being in ketosis while intermittent fasting allows you to burn fat for fuel and decrease appetite." (7)
Dr. Axe agrees, saying, "It is ideal to do intermittent fasting in tandem with the ketogenic diet. When it comes to fasting, an advantage of the keto diet is that it can help to decrease hunger and cravings, making it easier to go for more extended periods without eating comfortably."
So, if you want to go all in, it looks like IF and keto work well together when done at the same time.
Whether you try fasting as a boost or as part of your ongoing daily regimen, we think this is something everyone should consider.
There are too many benefits, and your body will thank you for it!