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Intermittent Fasting and the Ketogenic Diet

Intermittent fasting and keto are like Brad and Angelina, they’re so synonymous with one another that we should practically call them Intermeto Fastosis. All kidding aside, the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting have the same goal in mind, which is to burn stored fat instead of constantly burning glucose supplied through food. They do this in different ways as entering a state of ketosis takes strict dietary protocols involving very low levels of carbs, starches and sugar and intermittent fasting employing the approach of putting the body in a fat burning state for a few hours a day.

But what if you combine these two approaches? Massive fat burning potential, explosive energy and focus, brain power to the extreme, these are all possibilities. What you need to keep in mind is that when you’re not in the fasted state you’re giving your body all the macronutrients it needs to thrive. This is easier when you’re on a less limiting diet, but keto is highly specific so it’s more important to address when you’re combining the two. Here’s a nifty calculator to help you track your macros.

First Off, What the Heck is Keto?

Keto is the cute little pet name for the ketogenic diet, which enables the body to enter into a state of ketosis. When the body is in ketosis it releases ketones produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver. It’s much more stable and efficient for balancing everything from insulin levels to focus and energy in general.

To enter ketosis one must first eliminate sugar and anything that turns into sugar. Keto is like paleo only 10 times more intense and much more effective for weight loss. Keto is also popular among entrepreneurial circles because it does amazing things for your brain. The brain is made of fat, so it makes sense that a diet rich in healthy fats will be profoundly nourishing for your thinking cap.

How and Why to Combine Keto and Intermittent Fasting

It’s important to note that the only thing which will pull you out of a state of ketosis is carbs or sugar. Pure fat won’t eliminate the benefits of a fasted state either, which is why it’s cool to enjoy a bulletproof coffee in the morning while practicing IF. In fact, when practicing keto and intermittent fasting this is something I would recommend. Especially if you’re someone who needs to maintain a high-level of performance like running a business or working out a lot.

There’s no different protocol and aside from these foundational principles IF is business as usual. Pairing the two practices amplifies the effects of both from my experience. If I’m fasting and then break my fast with a bunch of carbs and sugars, I feel like absolute shit. It doesn’t matter if I felt great during the actual fast, I’ll still feel terrible for my eating window instead of continuing with the high performance effects that my fasted state gave me. However, when I stick to keto guidelines after breaking the fast I feel great, I coast along the high-vibe experience that IF gives me. I can keep plowing through my work, refuel my muscles fully after a hard workout, and keep my energy levels high instead of crashing and burning after indulging in a bunch of pizza.

The ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting are both popular because they’re relatively painless ways to lose fat in a short amount of time. Together they can help you cut fat like nothing else. Both practices are also useful for increasing brain power. But the bare bones of how ketosis can increase brain power are while the brain can’t power itself on fat alone, it can fuel itself with ketones.

A Brain Boosting Symphonic Duo

Keto eliminates brain fog and has other nourishing benefits for brain health. It’s even been shown to improve Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases including Alzheimer’s. Ketogenic diets actually increase the number of mitochondria in the brain cells. Talk about increasing brain power. Older obese rats fed a ketogenic diet also show improved brain function.

Keto and IF come together to relieve stress, which, as you know from previous articles, intermittent fasting creates a mild form of stress in the body, which is part of the reason it’s so energizing. But ketosis has interesting effects for reducing stress, something all entrepreneurs have too much of. Because general lack of focus can be caused by too much glutamate in the brain and not enough of the neurotransmitter GABA. Research has shown ketones allow extra glutamate to be processed into GABA. Increased GABA production helps decrease the excess firing of neurons, which promotes enhanced focus while also reducing stress and anxiety. Cool right?

As you know from previous articles on intermittent fasting, it’s got some neuroprotective benefits of its own like improving cognitive function and brain plasticity and increasing autophagy, the cellular cleansing process inherent to optimal function on all levels. The best part of ketosis and IF together is you really don’t get hungry. When the body gets used to the fasted state the hunger hormone ghrelin is regulated and when the body is in ketosis, well let’s just say hunger isn’t what it used to be, in fact it’s barely noticeable, a major boon for the busy creative entrepreneur.

Neither intermittent fasting nor the ketogenic diet are centered around calories, which is pretty darn liberating when you’re trying to lose weight. And I find when you focus on the nourishing foods inherent in the ketogenic diet, the process of eating well becomes simplified. You eat real food, high in nutrients that help optimize and enhance your temple. The principles are simple, the execution is straightforward, and the two practices are basically a match made in heaven.

Let’s face it, learning the ins and outs of keto and intermittent fasting is totally possible, but it’s not always easy. To make it as easy as possible for you to try out these methods I’ve put together a bundle with my favorite books on the topic. If you’re interested in mapping out a solid game plan to get you from zapped to zooming then check out this book bundle at a special discount from me to you.

Got questions? Tried keto and IF separately and wanting to take either to the next level? Let us know in the comments.

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Originally published at on August 29, 2016.

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