You know about the keto diet, and you’ve heard about intermittent fasting, but what about combining keto and intermittent fasting?
Individually, these two lifestyle choices have been found to have a number of amazing health benefits. It’s time to forget the idea that dieting and fasting equals hunger and irritability. Together, these two are a powerhouse for weight loss and increased energy.
In this article, we’re breaking down exactly what intermittent fasting is, what the keto diet is, and how they complement each other so well.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is pretty self-explanatory. Rather than focusing on what you eat, this lifestyle focuses on when you eat. In short, you choose a specified time period during the day to not eat (fast) and a time to eat. Likely you are already doing this when you go to sleep at night; however, the window of fasting is likely too short to garner the benefits of intermittent fasting.
Contrary to popular belief, intermittent fasting is not about self-starvation. Consider the fact that for thousands of years, humans depended upon hunting and gathering in order to stay alive. It was normal for our bodies to consume large amounts of calories from hunted game meat on certain days and to sustain ourselves on calorie-light fruits in between hunts.
According to research, our bodies are actually well-prepared to go without food for intermittent periods, and a fasting diet will not cause ravenous hunger or health issues, as we may imagine.  Instead, our bodies will focus on burning the fat reserves we have already developed, rather than energy from the food we are eating.
One of the core benefits of intermittent fasting is that it can be an incredibly effective method of burning fat, especially around your abdomen. It is also important to note that intermittent fasting will likely lead to lower daily calorie consumption, without making the meals that you do eat small and unsatisfying. 
There is no one right or wrong way to fast, and it is important to find an option that works best for you. Many people choose to fast for sixteen hours out of the day and restrict their meals to a single eight-hour window. This is often called a 16/8 fast. For many people, this is as easy as skipping breakfast and having lunch, dinner, and snacks from 12pm-8pm at night.
Another popular fasting method is to choose two non-consecutive days per week to fast for a full 24 hours. During the other five days, you can eat throughout the day as normal.
Of course, you will still need to be wary of what you eat when you are not fasting, as you will still gain weight if your calorie intake is higher than the amount that you burn.
If you’re not considering trying out intermittent fasting for its weight loss benefits, there are a number of other research-backed perks to intermittent fasting, including:
- Reduced inflammation 
- Potential improvements in heart health 
- Cellular repair 
- Brain health 
What Is the Keto Diet?
A ketogenic diet (or keto diet for short) is about so much more than just changing what you eat, although that is part of it. It is actually about shifting your metabolic state to burn existing fat reserves on your body. This is achieved by drastically cutting carbohydrates from your body and replacing them with healthy fats and protein, which your body starts to rely on as its primary energy source.
Within days of starting a keto diet, you will probably begin to develop "withdrawal symptoms" as your body searches for carbs (the primary way a human body will burn energy). The severity of symptoms you experience will vary depending on how many carbs you were previously consuming and various other factors. This period can be unpleasant — some refer to it as a “keto flu” — but afterward, your body will enter a metabolic state called ketosis.
In this state, your body will produce organic compounds called ketones and begin burning fat for energy. For an average keto diet, you can expect less than ten percent of your daily calorie intake to come from carbs. Instead, most calories consumed will be derived from dietary fat, and a minority will come from lean protein sources.
Many people have used the keto diet to drop excess weight — but also to feel more energized throughout the day and greatly reduce irritation that often comes with carb-heavy diets.
If you are considering the keto diet and are unsure of what you can and cannot eat, here is a handy keto shopping list to get you started.
How Do Keto and Intermittent Fasting Work Together?
Keto and intermittent fasting have a very symbiotic relationship. These two “dieting” techniques work well together because they both push the body to enter that fat-burning state. They just go about it in different ways. While intermittent fasting can potentially help you reach ketosis quicker, the keto diet may help your fasting periods go by more painlessly as your body is already adapted to a ketogenic state.
By choosing the optimal fuel for your body, it can really make the fasting periods pass quickly, and keep you from feeling tired or hungry or both. 
When our bodies depend on carbs, we tend to experience strong cravings and feel unsatisfied after meals, even if we eat too much. Cravings and hunger often disappear after entering ketosis due to more balanced blood sugar levels and lower levels of our main hunger hormone, ghrelin. [8, 9, 10] This makes it easier to practice intermittent fasting than if we were battling strong carb cravings and hunger during periods of fasting on a carb-heavy diet.
So, when combined, they can lead to major weight loss, increased energy and more.
It’s important to note that while intermittent fasting has been very helpful to people from most health backgrounds, it is best to avoid fasting if you suffer or have suffered from anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or diabetes, or if you are currently pregnant or breastfeeding.
Let’s recap. Intermittent fasting and the keto diet can go hand in hand, working symbiotically to help your body achieve ketosis and optimize your potential for weight loss and other benefits of a fat-burning state (such as increase energy).
However, you may have to experiment to find out what type of intermittent fasting works best for your keto diet. You may want to start by trying to eat within an eight-hour window each day or fasting for two whole non-consecutive days throughout the week, for example Tuesday and Thursday. Regardless, there are a number of options to fit keto and intermittent fasting into your lifestyle.