Ketosis and intermittent fasting – which is right for you? These two dietary philosophies are similar in that both systems focus on insulin, fat, and ketone bodies to lose weight and stay healthy.
Ketosis happens when we eat foods that are low in carbohydrates and higher in fat. These are foods such as eggs, meat, high fat fish like salmon, and non animal products such as olives, avocados, and coconut oil. By keeping your dietary carb intake to about 25 to 35 grams of carbs a day, you will likely start burning stored fat as a primary source of energy. This is called Ketosis.
When you eat foods that are very low in carbohydrates, your body releases less insulin. Less insulin, means less fat storage. It also means less glucose that is available for immediate energy. So you’d better make sure that you’re eating enough healthy fats!
Intermittent Fasting (IF) limits the amount of time that you can eat food, during a given amount of time. It takes much of the benefits of ketosis, without having to follow a ketogenic dietary plan. Fasting does this because while you are not eating, you have less carbohydrate in your blood stream. Less carbs = less insulin.
Some people fast for 36 to 48 hours once a month. Some folks fast on a daily basis from anywhere between 16 to 23 hours. The most common and easily achievable way to start with IF is called 16/8 Intermittent fasting.
it’s reasonable to assume that you can fast for 16 hours. You’re asleep for approx 8 of those hours anyway. The tricky part for most people is when to begin eating. Author Tim Ferris has a version of IF that advocates eating breakfast 30 minutes after waking up. He also advocates for low glycemic load foods consisting of bean or lentils, a small piece of protein, and fiber from something like leafy greens such as mustard greens, or spinach. I love cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli , lentils and eggs is a great meal to break the fast from the night before.
An important point about Ferris’s example, is that we want to set ourselves up for success.If you’re used to eating breakfast and you can manage not eating later in the day then go for this version. I like doing my morning workout routine while I am still fasting. It’s fantastic! Exercise is much easier on an empty stomach, and I feel amazingly clear-headed when I am done. You can eat your protein and fiber afterwards, and have a better sense of how much your body appreciates delicious healthy foods.
Is it all just Hype?
In a word – no. It’s not all hype. To be clear, we lose weight by expending more calories than we consume. There’s no denying that fact. You can lose weight simply by counting calories. Many have done it before you, and you can successfully lose weight by doing the exact same thing. However, for everyone who has succeeded this way, thousands more have given up and failed. What I’m saying either, keto or IF is a superior way of meeting your dietary needs and still lose weight.
The calories in – calories out approach alone, is a miserable way to lose weight. You know what I mean. You’re always hungry, and thinking about food. Your energy levels are through the floor because you’re essentially starving yourself. Sometimes, people end up making themselves sick by dieting this way.
Both Keto and IF can give you enough calories, to get you through the day. Insulin makes you hungry. The lack of insulin in your system, keeps hunger at bay. The idea is to take in a few fewer calories a day than you expend. That is the way to sustainable long-term weight loss. Can you take in a few less calories a day with a more conventional diet. Sure. If and Keto just make it a whole lot easier, and you get to eat a lot more nutritionally dense foods too. Delicious!
Ketogenics limit glucose intake and increases fat intake. Consuming under 35 grams of carbohydrate is normally considered enough to put a person in ketosis. Intermittent fasting simply takes advantage of the amount of time that you are not eating to gain some of the benefits of ketosis without having to be obsessed with carb counts and weighing foods, etc. Both systems prevent the storage of fat, mobilize the fat that’s already stored in your body, and they both suppress your appetite quite a bit while you’re reaching for your healthy goals.
Ketosis has been shown to increase GABA in the brain. As you probably know, GABA helps us sleep and reduces anxiousness. Anything good for the brain is good for the nervous system too. Intermittent Fasting gives you increased GABA and other similar benefits, simply because you are not eating for 16 hours a day.
Which should You choose?
If you can manage to stay consistent with the ketogenic system, and you can do it perfectly, so as not to knock yourself out of ketosis, then this is the right call for you. It works well, and it works quickly. You can lose weight with little effort if you do this right.
Ketogenic diets are right for thousands of people who are looking to lose weight, and lower the inflammation in their joints. However keto is not the right call for me. Why you ask?
I choose to eat IF because, it is so much easier to do correctly than keto. With intermittent fasting, all you have to do is not eat for a minimum of 16 hours and you are taking many of the benefits from ketosis, for about 4 to 5 hours daily. That is even if you ate a little too much that day. It’s much easier to sustain than keto because of this reason alone.
Intermittent fasting gives you a greater variety of foods that you can eat. At the moment, I am eating around 100 grams of net carbs. That’s about 70 grams more than you’ll get on Keto. I don’t see the point of putting myself through such an unforgiving dietary system such as Keto, if I can have similar benefits and still be able to have a beer at a party once in a while.
The truth is, that it is far too easy to fall out of ketosis. A teaspoon of mustard can screw all of your efforts up, if it contains any sugar – which it probably does. an apple could knock you out of ketosis for a couple of days. If you are struggling with high blood pressure, you’d better make sure that you are very careful about the fats and carbs that you are consuming. This is no joke. It is not a quick fix diet to jump on and off from. You can seriously raise your blood pressure overnight if you do.
If you go the IF route, black beans, and garbanzo beans are delicious sources of fiber, and protein. Many fruits such as blackberries, strawberries, and an occasional apple are all on the menu. With keto you’re better off not eating the fruit at all to stay on the safe side.
Another good thing about IF is that it is much cheaper to get a good healthy meal than on keto. Most vegetables are pretty cheap in the markets, even the organic and locally raised produce is cheaper in comparison to lots of meat and fresh fish. It’s also nice to have a sweet potato with my salmon and greens.
So what eating system works best for you? Here are a few other links for you to help you on your journey: