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- Experts say that pairing the keto diet and intermittent fasting together might have some positive benefits.
- It’s best, however, to approach both plans with caution, as you will first need to become keto-adapted before you give intermittent fasting a try.
- Experts recommend fasting for 12 hours, trying the 16:8 method of fasting, or doing a long fast if you’re also doing the keto diet.
- There isn’t enough research to conclusively support the benefits of doing both plans at the same time.
Intermittent fasting and the keto diet are arguably two of the biggest health trends of the moment, and if you are curious about what would happen if you combined the two together, expert Dr. Carrie Burrows, Ph.D., said that they can pair up nicely and may treat your body to numerous health benefits.
“Intermittent fasting and keto are actually very complimentary,” Dr. Burrows told INSIDER. “When paired together, you can expect to crave less junk food, experience fat loss, and experience an energy boost.”
You won’t, however, want to fast and observe this high-fat eating plan at the same time without taking some precautions.
To successfully add these two plans into your routine, we spoke to Dr. Burrows and other experts about all the drawbacks and benefits of trying intermittent fasting and the keto diet at the same time.
It’s best to start by tackling one before beginning the other
It’s important to give yourself plenty of time to begin the keto diet and overcome any initial “keto flu” symptoms before incorporating intermittent fasting into your routine.
If you’re wondering how long you should wait, Healthline reported that those with the keto flu will typically experience symptoms for about a week, although some experience it for even longer.
If you’re doing both diets at the same time, experts recommend fasting for 12 hours, trying the 16:8 method of fasting, or doing a long fast
“Start with a shorter fasting window (12 hours) and build upon it once you get into more of a routine,” Dr. Burrows advised. She also recommended making sure you are getting the right percentage of healthy fat you need in a day.
“A popular combination would be to use a ketogenic diet as a base, and to add a 16:8 fasting schedule to your routine,” said Dr. Jason Fung, MD. This means fasting for 16 hours of the day and eating a keto diet during an eight-hour eating window, he suggested.
Dr. Fung explained that you can also try eating one meal a day (a 24-hour fast) and using the keto diet as a guide. “This might be done two or three times per week,” he said.
Doing both diets at the same time calls for more planning
“The keto diet is focused on getting the right level of macros in each day and intermittent fasting is all about reducing the amount of time you consume food each day,” said registered dietitian Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN. Therefore, if you want to incorporate both plans into your everyday life, she recommended planning your meals and snacks a little bit more.
You will also want to eat enough healthy fats
“It’s important to have a high ratio of healthy fat from foods like avocado, nuts, seeds, and olive oil,” Gulbin added. You’ll also want to incorporate a source of protein and some low carbohydrate veggies for fiber into your diet as well, she suggested.
Keep in mind that restrictive eating patterns won’t necessarily lead to weight loss
“It’s usually not necessary to follow a restrictive eating pattern in order to lose weight,” registered dietitian Jillian Kubala, MS, RD told INSIDER. If you want to improve your health, she recommended cutting out processed foods, reducing your calorie intake, cutting added sugars and simple carbohydrates (think pasta, bread, and baked goods), and increasing physical activity before resorting to other measures.
Intermittent fasting and doing the keto diet at the same time isn’t recommended for everyone
“While practicing intermittent fasting while following a ketogenic diet is safe for most people, it’s not appropriate for everyone,” Kubala added. Pregnant or breastfeeding people, anyone with a history of disordered eating, and those with serious health conditions should always check with their doctor before beginning a new dietary protocol, she said.
There isn’t enough research to support the benefits of both plans
With all that said, more research is needed to confirm the benefits of doing the keto diet and intermittent fasting at the same time.
“There is not much human research regarding ketogenic diets combined with intermittent fasting, so I would not recommend this,” said registered dietitian Summer Yule, MS, RDN.
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