Written on January 27, 2023 by Sendra Yang, PharmD, MBA. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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As the new year begins, many people make resolutions to lose weight. Lately, the keto diet and intermittent fasting are two of the most popular ways to trim down weight.
The keto or ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that aims to change how the body uses energy [1,2]. It is achieved by drastically reducing your intake of carbohydrates and increasing your intake of healthy fats. The keto diet calls for reducing foods rich in carbohydrates and increasing the consumption of healthy fats and proteins such as olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, fish, eggs, and dairy. This diet can help with weight loss, diabetes management, and other health conditions [1,2].
The ketogenic diet aims to induce a state of ketosis in the body . In ketosis, the body burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. In addition to eating foods rich in healthy fats and proteins, light exercise or physical activity is sometimes integrated into the daily routine. It’s important to note that the keto diet should not be followed for an extended time without close monitoring by a healthcare professional. A keto diet may not be suitable for everyone; people with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or kidney disease, should avoid the diet .
The benefits of the keto diet include [1-5]:
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of eating and fasting [6,7]. It’s important to note that intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a pattern of eating scheduled meals, and theoretically, it can integrate with any type of diet. The most popular method is the 16/8 routine, where you fast for 16 hours and have an 8-hour eating window. Another popular method is the 5:2 regimen, where you eat for five days and restrict calories for the other two days. During fasting, your food consumption is limited to only drinking water, tea, coffee, or other non-caloric beverages.
Intermittent fasting can lead to weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, and other health benefits . The idea behind intermittent fasting is that it increases insulin sensitivity, promotes fat burning, and may improve overall health markers such as blood sugar and cholesterol levels [6,7]. Intermittent fasting leads to a state of ketosis similar to calorie restriction. It’s also important to listen to your body and stop if you feel unwell or have negative symptoms. You should consult a healthcare professional before starting intermittent fasting, especially if you have any medical conditions or concerns.
The benefits of intermittent fasting include [5-7]:
Combining a keto diet with intermittent fasting can benefit weight loss, blood sugar control, and overall health [3,5,7-10]. A ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that causes the body to enter a state of ketosis. Restricting the eating window with intermittent fasting can lead to calorie reduction and weight loss. Using the two simultaneously may lead to an increased rate of fat-burning and weight loss. The scientific literature indicates an association between weight loss and other health benefits when practicing scheduled fasting and maintaining a keto diet [7-10].
However, it’s important to note that more research is needed to understand the long-term effects of this combination. If you have health conditions, the combination of restricting the type of foods you eat and fasting for weight loss may not be suitable for you. Limiting carbohydrate intake and instituting eating cycles can lead to nutritional deficiencies . Before starting a keto diet and fasting schedule, you should consult your healthcare professional or dietitian [6-10].
Healthy weight loss results from a lifestyle that includes nutritious eating patterns, regular exercise, and successful stress management . If you are thinking about losing weight with the keto diet and intermittent fasting, consult with a healthcare provider and consider setting nutrition goals, adequate planning, and eating mindfully to reach your goal weight.
Planning a keto diet will depend on your individual needs and preferences. You could start by setting a daily nutritional goal (fat, protein, and carbohydrates) based on your personal needs, weight loss goals, and budget. Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time, ensuring a good balance of healthy fats, protein, and low-carb vegetables . Most importantly, you should be consistent with the timing of your meals. Eating at the same time every day can help regulate your metabolism and keep you on track to your weight loss goal . You should be flexible with your schedule and adjust as needed. Use tools to record your food intake, like a food diary or a nutrition tracking app, to help you stay on track. It’s essential to listen to your body and make changes as needed.
Incorporating mindfulness into your intermittent fasting routine can help you be more successful in your weight loss and overall health goals . Start by setting clear and realistic fasting and eating plans. Eating mindfully is the practice of being fully present and aware while eating, paying attention to the sights, smells, flavors, and textures of your food, and noticing your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Listen to your body and eat when you are truly hungry, not just because it is mealtime. Avoid distractions, such as TV screens and smartphones, and focus on your food’s flavors, textures, and smells. By eating mindfully, you can tune into your body’s natural hunger and fullness signals to help you make healthier food choices and improve your overall relationship with food. Reflect on your progress and adjust your goals as needed.
Everlywell offers access to telehealth for weight management online, which can connect you with a qualified healthcare provider. You can discuss your weight loss goals based on your availability from the comfort of your home.