Benefits of Fasting
Weight loss is possible whether you choose to eat meals daily, without time restriction or implement the practice of intermittent fasting, otherwise known as IF.
Our team at Konscious Keto use various methods of IF, depending on their goals.
The other health benefits associated with cyclical fasting are extraordinary and warrant at least considering the eating protocol, to enhance the benefits of metabolic ketosis.
Beyond lowering caloric intake at times during the week and possibly reducing the number on the scale as a result, fasting is known to decrease inflammation and reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes.
Also, some experience a level of stress-relief as a result of fasting since they no longer have to think about when to eat, with feeding times set and consistent each day.
IF’s ability to provide momentum to boost weight loss, improve metabolic health and reduce the risk of degenerative disorders, like coronary heart disease and Alzheimer's are incredibly powerful health benefits to consider, as they could save or prolong your life!
In addition to the long-term benefits of IF, the starving of cells that occurs in periods of fasting triggers the physiological process of autophagy.
This is where cells turnover and recycle themselves for reuse, leading to less fatigue, smoother skin, and possibly even a reduced risk of certain cancers.
Intermittent Fasting on a Keto Diet
Intermittent fasting and a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet are a formidable duo. Both metabolic ketosis and fasting help the body produce increased levels of ketone bodies, which can enhance all the health benefits of nutritional ketosis.
Whether you're new to keto and looking to avoid or reduce the symptoms of the keto flu, or are a low-carb veteran facing a frustrating fat-loss plateau, intermittent fasting may be just the metabolic jolt your body needs to get things moving in the right direction.
There are different styles of fasting, mainly differentiated by the designated feeding and fasting window lengths. With a little trial and error, you'll determine the feeding schedule that works best for you.
The flexibility of intermittent fasting makes it easy to implement based on your schedule and lifestyle demands. You may want to start with a feeding window of eight hours and fasting for 16 hours, adjusting as you go to suit your needs.
Also, it's important to note that while women have fasted for centuries, extending fasts beyond a certain point may pose a risk to hormonal health, something we definitely want to avoid.
If fasting and a woman, stick to shorter fasting windows, 10-12 hours as opposed to 16 hours in order to reap the benefits of fasting, without compromising hormonal well-being and function.
The following are some other common fasting protocols to consider if pondering the best way to implement IF into your keto journey:
- The 5:2 Diet: Eat as you usually would each weekday with no restrictions but limit energy intake to only about 500-600 calories per day on the weekend.
- Eat Stop Eat: Consume your typical meal plan for five or six days a week, then fast for a full day or two.
- The Warrior Diet: This is also referred to as the OMAD or One Meal a Day diet. In this style of fasting, you abstain from food for a full 20 hours each day, then eat one large meal in the evening.
- Alternate-Day Fasting: The name here kind of gives it away. With this style of fasting, you do a full fast (or restrict your calories to about 500 calories) every other day. Eating is unrestricted on alternate days but still aligned with keto-friendly macros.
How to Incorporate Intermittent Fasting Into Your Lifestyle
Intermittent fasting can boost the already powerful benefits of a ketogenic diet. From increasing ketones to keeping pesky cravings at bay, IF is an excellent means to maximize the benefits of ketosis.
Again, there’s no single way to intermittent fast, and you can tinker with the variable options until you find the approach that’s best for you.
As opposed to seeing fasting windows as a form of restriction, many find having established feeding windows quite liberating.
Enjoy the newly-found structure provided by feeding windows and take time to think about something other than when you eat your next meal.
Also, stay hydrated while fasting to make sure you're feeling your best, and be sure to break each fasting period with meals filled with healthy fats, protein, and low-glycemic veggies.
What About Muscle Loss?
We can see how the idea of fasting, essentially conducting a controlled period of starvation, could cause concern related to muscle loss in the absence of food for fuel, but there's no need to fear.
The cell-regenerating and cleansing process of autophagy triggered during fasting compels cells to thrive rather than deteriorate, pretty neat!
What About Refeeding Syndrome?
Depleting glycogen stores as is the case with one on a ketogenic diet or engaging in a fast will naturally cause the release of fluid, vitamins, minerals, and other essential electrolytes from the body, at an increased rate.
Refeeding syndrome is something that can occur as a result of a fast of five days or more, or in those who are malnourished due to circumstance.
Take extra care to break your fast with nutrient-dense foods like dark leafy greens or omega-3-rich salmon to ease the body back into a state of feeding, as not to promote adverse side effects.
Also, intermittent fasting is usually done in short cycles, nothing long enough to trigger states like refeeding syndrome, but we figured we'd touch on the topic as it is one of common concern.
Tim Ferriss’ 3-Day Ketosis Boost
You may be mildly curious about integrating fasting into your keto protocol or ready to turn your plate down now to test the waters right away.
Wherever you are in your journey, the 3-day fasting protocol advised by entrepreneur and lifestyle guru, Tim Ferriss, is a helpful template method into IF.
Ferriss advises a 3-day fast, three times a year (though he does the practice once a month). We outline his approach to jumpstart your journey to fasted life in a recently detailed article, here.
As we've mentioned, IF provides a lot of health benefits and the following are a few worth highlighting again:
- Mental Clarity: Once over the idea of needing to eat every three hours, about a week into IF, you may start to notice a heightened mental sharpness as you go about your everyday life. Mental clarity is one of the most common and desired side effects of fasting.
- Body Composition: Mental focus is a fantastic benefit of fasting, but the dietary practice also plays an influential role in boosting the metabolism to facilitate higher levels of weight loss, especially when coupled with a ketogenic diet.
You can experience the full spectrum of benefits of eating a ketogenic diet whether you choose to intermittent fast within a low-carb, high-fat dietary protocol or opt to eat without timing restrictions.
However, including intermittent fasting to a ketogenic lifestyle is a fantastic way to enhance the already healthful benefits of ketosis.
While fasting can offer some incredible health benefits, it's important to remember the limited fasting windows recommended for women to ensure you enjoy the benefits of ketosis, without the possible hormonal damage that can occur when we fast for very extended periods, as noted above.
Keep the few pointers that we've shared in mind if you are a female looking to enjoy the perks of fasting on keto.
With a little consideration, you can have the best of both worlds—enjoying the benefits of both ketosis and intermittent fasting.