Intermittent Fasting and Keto: The Ultimate Fat Burning Combo

This article is part 7 in our Keto Diet Series. If you missed part 6, 3 Tips to Quickly Get into Ketosis and Burn Fat, check it out here. 

As the keto diet rises in popularity, the concept of fasting is rising along with it. There are scientific reasons these two fat-loss strategies go hand-in-hand. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of this fat-blasting, brain-building duo and how to figure out if the two are right for you.

In this article, you will learn:

How the Keto Diet Burns Fat

The keto diet replaces most carbohydrates with fat plus a moderate amount of protein to help your body burn fat as fuel instead of glucose from carbs. It works so efficiently to burn fat and boost your energy because ketones are actually a much more efficient fuel source for your body than glucose.

Your body creates ketones as a fuel source only when it runs out of stored glucose. There are a couple of ways to get to this point quickly. The first is to increase your fat intake with healthy fats like MCT oil, avocados, grass-fed butter, and coconut oil.

The second way is fasting or intermittent fasting, which a lot of keto enthusiasts use in conjunction with a high-fat diet to get into ketosis faster.

If you’re just getting started with the keto diet or want to learn more about it, check out this article!

How Fasting Burns Fat

Fasting is abstaining from all food and drink except plain water. When your body stops getting energy in the form of calories, you’ll burn through your carbohydrate stores and tap into your fat stores much faster.

This is how fat starts burning like crazy. And when you’re burning fat stores, you’re in ketosis. This is why fasting and ketosis go together so well. 

Why Fasting on Keto is the Ultimate Fat-Burning Strategy

Fasting is one of the best and most efficient ways to get into ketosis quickly. And there are many different options when it comes to the timing and frequency of your fasting windows.

If you’re interested in pairing fasting with a ketogenic diet, you can start right away. In fact, skipping meals for a 24-hour period will help you transition into keto a lot faster because you’ll burn through glycogen stores faster.

Once you’re in ketosis, there are a couple of different ways you can experiment with fasting:

Intermittent Fasting

Commonly referred to as “IF,” Intermittent fasting is when you time your eating and fasting windows. You’ll often see these referred to by their numbers; i.e. 16/8, meaning 16 hours of fasting to 8 hours eating. IF is much easier for a lot of people than prolonged fasts. And you’ll still get many of the benefits of caloric restriction, like helping you burning through glycogen stores. IF pairs really well with the ketogenic diet for fat burning and a boost in brain function.

Longer Fasts

Prolonged fasts are anywhere from 24-72 hours, although any fast longer than three days should be overseen by a qualified health practitioner. As you can imagine, longer fasts are more challenging. But they come with some incredible benefits.

How to choose? 24-hour fasts offer some impressive benefits, from autophagy to huge boosts in your immune system, but you will get some fat burning and neurological benefits from as little as 10-16 hours of fasting per day. 

Is Fasting for Everyone?

Definitely not. If any of the following resonate with you, get the opinion of a qualified health practitioner before you play around with fasting.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • Those with an HPA Axis Dysregulation (or so-called “Adrenal Fatigue”) or a high-stress lifestyle
  • Those with eating disorders or a history of eating disorders
  • Those with hypothyroidism
  • Those with hypoglycemia
  • Under 18 years old
Fasting also isn’t necessary on heavy workout days or if you’re a hardcore athlete.

How To Get Started

To get started on a keto diet, check out this article on keto diet basics.

Fasting is never easy – even for hardcore veterans. Some people find a full 24-hour fast every week or every month is easier than IF. Some will start with 10-16 hour fasting windows and work their way up to as much as 18-20 hour windows with no food.

When it comes to experimentation with fasting, the most important component is compliance. If you can’t stick to it, you won’t get any of the benefits. So, try different fasting and eating windows and go for a longer fast if you can. But, ultimately, do what’s right for your body and choose something you can stick to!

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