The keto diet is not a foreign concept to those trying to lose weight or trying to live a healthier life through their dietary choices. The benefits of the ketogenic diet have hit headlines with influencers, dietitians, and the haves and have-nots enjoying weight loss breakthroughs, clearer skin, and better brain function.
Intermittent fasting is also another method of weight loss people are incorporating into their diet to lose weight. However, losing weight any significant weight on IF is almost impossible, and will take a very long time to notice any changes. This is why this relatively new method of dieting is coming into play.
Imagine if the keto diet and intermittent fasting got married and had a diet baby, do you get the gist? You may have already experienced tremendous weight loss on the keto diet, but have been plateauing for a while. Including intermittent fasting in your ketogenic diet may give you the breakthrough you need to accelerate and maintain your weight loss. This hybrid baby of intermittent fasting on a ketogenic diet is referred to as speed keto or fast keto.
In this article we will refresh our minds on the keto diet and intermittent fasting, what are the benefits of intermittent fasting on a ketogenic diet, and how to speed up keto, triggering weight loss. Let’s go!
Understanding the Ketogenic Diet
A ketogenic diet is a low-carb diet, high in dietary fat, and allows for moderate proteins. The low-carb ketogenic diet restricts carbohydrate intake to force the body to get into ketosis. Ketogenic diets are very restrictive and you need to pay attention to what you are and are not allowed to eat to achieve ketosis.
On a ketogenic diet, fat makes up 70% to 80% of your diet, carbs are 5% to 10% and 10% to 20% are proteins. Carbohydrate intake is limited to 20g to 50g depending on the type of ketogenic diet you are on. Although most of the ketogenic diet focuses on animal products as a source of dietary fats, there’s a moderate protein restriction so that you do not stop ketosis.
What Can You Eat On a Keto Diet
Lower your carb intake by eating low-starch vegetables like broccoli, lettuce asparagus, and kale on a keto diet. Only healthy fats are allowed like coconut oil, olive oil, and seed oils. Consume oils that are rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) that can help your body reach ketosis and promote heart health. Avoid junk foods and processed foods that are high in Trans fats and can lead to heart disease.
Animal proteins that contain healthy fats and other essential nutrients include fatty fish like salmon, poultry, eggs, and meats. When it comes to fruits, most of them are limited because they are high in carbs and will stop ketosis. Berries, watermelon, cantaloupe, and avocados are low in net carbs so they are allowed on a keto diet.
Ketosis and Ketone Production
In the absence of glucose, insulin levels, and blood glucose levels drop. Glycogen stores are depleted because of their conversion to glucose for energy. Further, proteins in the liver are broken down to produce glucose through a process known as gluconeogenesis. Once these are depleted, the body is forced to find an alternative source of fuel, which is fat.
The low carb intake and depletion of the body’s glycogen stores are what induce ketosis. Ketosis refers to the breakdown of fat in fat stores that lead to ketone production. Ketone bodies are the brain’s preferred source of fuel to glucose. The health benefits of the breakdown of body fat are to promote weight loss, increase insulin sensitivity and improve cognitive and brain function.
Other benefits of ketosis include increased energy levels, reduced risks of chronic illnesses, preventive treatment of neurological disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, and epilepsy, lowers blood pressure, and improves heart health. Ketosis burns fat mass and not lean mass which helps to maintain muscle mass. Certain targeted blood ketone levels maintain nutritional ketosis promotes mitochondrial efficiency and capacity promoting mitochondrial metabolic health.
There are side effects to the keto diet like the keto flu experienced during the first few weeks of going keto. The keto flu is caused by dehydration and electrolyte imbalance which is due to the reduction of salt and water consumption by the kidney caused by increased ketone levels. The keto flu lasts for a few days to two weeks and can be managed by increased water and electrolyte intake like potassium intake, drinking bone broth, easing into the keto diet, keep consuming a high-fat diet, and adding salt to your food. Exogenous ketones can also help reduce the symptoms by maintaining ketosis.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
Intermittent fasting refers to alternating between a fasting period and an eating window. There are different types of intermittent fasting that all work through calorie restriction. Intermittent fasting over long periods could help your body enter mild ketosis because it is a low-calorie diet and can lead to low blood sugar levels.
Intermittent fasting restricts calorie intake during the fasting window, but weight loss is hard to achieve because some people consume too many calories during the eating window reversing the effects of the fasting process when you eat fewer calories.
Your body doesn’t enter a fasting state immediately after you stop eating. Blood sugar levels are high after eating and glucose is broken down to provide energy. Excess glucose is stored in glycogen stores. Insulin levels are also high which inhibits nutritional ketosis. After 16 to 24 hours of not eating, glucose and glycogen levels have been depleted and your body is now breaking down proteins to make glucose.
The breakdown of proteins is not from lean mass but through autophagy. Your body breaks down old and damaged proteins and reuses them to make new proteins that are used during gluconeogenesis. When cells undergo autophagy toxic compounds and invasive microorganisms and damaged proteins are recycled.
Intermittent fasting for prolonged periods helps maintain muscle mass. People with too much weight have a lot of protein in their bodies and this accumulation can lead to cancer. Intermittent fasting help with the breakdown of these excess proteins through autophagy helping them in losing weight.
You will achieve ketosis while fasting when glycogen and protein stores have been depleted. In the fasting state, the body begins to break down stored fat into fatty acids and glycerol through lipolysis. Fatty acids are used in the production of blood ketones in the liver. The longer you fast, the higher the amounts of fats broken down and the higher the ketone levels.
It is not advised to fast on consecutive days, yet when fasting it takes 2 to 4 days for your body to get into ketosis. For this reason, calorie restriction alone will not work, carbohydrate restriction is necessary to hasten your body to get into ketosis.
What Is Fast Keto?
Speed keto, fast keto, or fat fast refers to a combination of the keto diet and intermittent fasting. This means a combination of reduced calorie consumption and carb restriction. During your fasting window, you are allowed to eat low-carb keto foods. Normally during the eating window of intermittent fasting, you are allowed to eat carbs, which are converted to sugar stopping ketosis.
Eating a keto meal will technically break your fast while still maintaining ketosis. The keto meal plan for speed keto focuses on a dieter’s calorie intake for one meal. The carb restriction helps the body get into ketosis, while intermittent fasting promotes autophagy which helps maintain muscle mass. Regulation of body weight here starts with the loss of water weight and then proceeds to fat mass loss.
Can Speed Keto Promote Weight Loss?
Yes, you can lose weight on a speed keto diet. Calorie restriction creates a calorie deficit which triggers weight loss. During your eating window, consumption of healthy fats like MCT oil, low-carb vegetables, keto-friendly lean proteins, and keto-approved fruits will keep you in ketosis for longer breaking down more fat. Another trick for promoting weight loss while keto fasting is reducing the number of hours you eat when breaking your fast.
The 23:1 Intermittent Fast Keto Diet
Also referred to as the one-meal-a-day diet, the 23:1 diet entails consuming little to no calorie drinks or foods throughout the day and a short window for eating. You fast for 23 hours a day and only eat for an hour. Some people only eat dinner while others eat breakfast to help control blood sugars throughout the day. The time of day you eat, in my opinion, depends on your convenience and lifestyle. Weight loss is more dependent on the quality of food you eat and quantity than the time of day you eat your food.
Fasting for 23 hours a day will lead to the depletion of glycogen and protein stores. If you eat high-carb foods in that one hour, your glucose levels will rise and the excess glucose will be converted to glycogen and stored. When next you fast, your body will utilize what is in storage instead of looking for an alternative fuel source. Breaking your fast on a high-carb diet creates a never-ending cycle of depleting and replenishing glycogen stores without causing fat breakdown, hence no weight loss is experienced.
Fasting leads to glycogen stores and proteins being used up and depleted. Once this is achieved and you, restrict carbs, there’s not enough blood glucose from the diet or non-carbohydrate substrate to produce glucose. Your body is forced to use an alternative fuel source, stored fats for energy. This way fat metabolism occurs, ketone levels increase and metabolic health is improved.
What Are One-Meal-A-Day Keto Results?
This fast keto diet promotes weight loss by switching your body’s metabolism from using glucose to ketone bodies for energy. When intermittent fasting on keto you can lose 10 pounds (4.54kgs) within the first few weeks. Then once your body is adapted to using ketones for energy, you could lose one or two pounds in a week.
Keep in mind that this is not a one-shoe-fits-all kind of situation and people could lose weight differently. Other than diet, other factors like genetics, physical activity, certain conditions, some medication, and stress can affect how much weight you can lose on fast keto. So if Jane at work has lost more than you on speed keto, that doesn’t mean something is wrong.
Is There Speed Keto Reviews From Research?
Research has been carried out to review the effects of the ketogenic diet on healthy individuals and patients suffering from specific conditions. Here are some of the conclusions from the studies on the fast keto dite:
Speed Keto on Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
A study has shown that consumption of a low-carb, low-calorie diet improved liver fibrosis and reduced hepatic steatosis. These results are attributed to the fact that restricting carbohydrates leads to ketone production which increases satiety reducing energy intake. Moreover, ketosis inhibited obesity-related inflammation and oxidative stress which contributed to NAFLD pathophysiology.
Another study on five patients with NAFDL on a very low-calorie diet showed an intrahepatic fat content reduction. It was assumed that the reduction of the degree of hepatic steatosis was due to weight loss experienced on a fast ketogenic diet.
A ketogenic diet reduces hepatic fat content by reducing the number of carbs that can be converted to fats while in excess causing fat deposits in the liver. Another controlled trial has confirmed the efficacy of a fast ketogenic diet on 5:2 intermittent fasting in reducing liver steatosis.
Fast Ketogenic Diet on Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes
A keto diet increases insulin sensitivity by reducing carbohydrate intake and promoting weight loss. Obesity is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes because of the increase in cytokines, hormones, and glycerol that are involved in the development of insulin resistance.
Calorie restriction through fasting and carb restriction will help in regulating blood sugar levels. People with a metabolic syndrome like Type 2 diabetes already struggle with managing and absorbing glucose. Switching the body’s metabolism to using ketones will go a great deal in helping with blood glucose regulation.
Speed Keto and Cancer
A study on patients with glioma placed on a 5:2 diet, 5 days of eating a low-carb diet (net carbs of less than 20g per day), and 2 fasting days showed that the diet was feasible and sustainable and there were significant cerebral and systemic changes in the patients.
Another pilot clinical trial on two glioma patients on an energy-restrictive ketogenic diet concluded that a low-calorie ketogenic diet was safe and could be efficient in treating some gliomas. This is hypothesized to be because cancer cells do not use ketones as efficiently as normal brain cells compared to how they use glucose.
How To Do Speed Keto Correctly
There are ways you can do your fast ketogenic diet correctly to trigger ketosis and increase ketone levels for energy. Here are a few tips:
- Reduce your carb intake. The only way to get into ketosis and maintain fat breakdown is to have a glucose deficit. Break your fast by eating only low-starch foods, healthy fats, and keto-approved proteins.
- Use MCT oil while cooking or for salad dressings. Coconut oil is a saturated fat that is rich in MCTs which promote fat burning and increases satiety. Coconut oil is good for cooking and is keto-friendly. When eating your low-starch veggie salad, dress it with olive oil to pack it with healthy fats to maintain ketosis. Extra virgin olive oil is the best to use when eating keto because it is rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids.
- Start with keto dieting then follow intermittent fasting. Combine intermittent fasting with your ketogenic diet once your body is fully adapted to using ketones as fuel. How will you know you have adapted to using fats? Once the symptoms of the flu have subsided. You introduce IF after because autophagy will provide proteins to be broken down hence maintaining muscle mass.
- Stay hydrated and drink electrolytes. Fasting and ketosis can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Drink plenty of water and fluids to rehydrate.
- Start slow then progress to more restrictive forms of intermittent fasting. I would not advise starting directly on the 23:1 intermittent fasting keto diet. You can start on the 14:10 IF method plus keto dieting until your body is adapted to metabolizing fats for energy. Your body may break down muscle mass if it goes for long periods without food and it is not used to using fats for energy. Go easy on yourself when starting and add on your fasting hours gradually.
- Consider exogenous ketones. They increase blood ketone levels keeping you in ketosis for longer. MCT oil supplements are also ketones you can ingest that can help control seizures and Alzheimer’s disease and increase insulin sensitivity and beta cell function.
How Long Is It Safe To Fast On A Keto Diet?
I wouldn’t recommend starting on a 24-48 hours intermittent fasting at the beginning of your fast. Start with the 14:10 diet where you fast for 14 hours and eat for 10 or the 16:8 diet where you fast for 16 hours and eat for 8 hours. These methods of IF are less time restrictive and will build endurance and strength.
Later, when you want to switch to the alternate day IF or the 5:2 diet, ensure you speak to a dietitian before you progress to these methods of intermittent fasting. Shorter periods of fasting will trigger mild ketosis while longer periods increase insulin sensitivity and promote autophagy. To reap the full benefits of more restrictive types of IF do it under the supervision of a dietitian.
What Are The Best Ketone Levels For Weight Loss?
We have already seen that we can achieve weight loss while on a carbohydrate-restricted, high-fat diet. But there are certain targeted amounts of blood ketone levels that lead to weight loss. If these levels are not achieved then you will not experience significant weight loss. a ketone level of 0.5-3 mmol/L is the optimal range for losing weight on nutritional ketosis.
Take note a higher level of ketones does not mean you will lose more weight, it means you have enough fuel for your body to run effectively and efficiently. Too high levels of ketones (above 3 mmol) elevate insulin levels inhibiting the production of fatty acids. This is what is known as starvation ketosis.
If you are diabetic, and your ketone levels are three to five times higher than the optimal range, seek medical intervention. This could be ketoacidosis, a condition where your body produces high levels of ketones due to low insulin production or insulin resistance.
What Is Lazy Dirty Keto?
The keto diet is not what it used to be, with different modifications coming up to fit people’s lifestyles, health goals, and needs. You have heard the terms speed keto, which we have discussed today, but other popular words in keto dieting may be confusing to you.
When I was a newbie to keto dieting, lazy dirty, and clean keto felt like Greek to me. You may feel the same way and I am here to help! Lazy dirty and clean keto are modified forms of the keto diet. Clean keto refers to the traditional keto dieting we are used to, restricting high-carb foods and eating whole and low-carbohydrate foods.
Dirty keto, also known as lazy keto is a less restrictive and more flexible form of the carb-restricted, high-fat diet. In lazy dirty keto, you can eat whatever you want as long as you are meeting your macronutrient ratios. Unlike clean keto dieting, you are allowed to eat processed foods and factory-farmed meats while on a lazy dirty ketogenic diet.
Although you can lose some little body weight on a lazy dirty diet, you are at risk of inflammation and heart disease due to the consumption of unhealthy trans fats in junk and baked products. I recommend going clean to lazy dirty keto dieting.
Combining less restrictive forms of intermittent fasting and a carb-restrictive diet could allow you to reap the benefits of both worlds. Keto dieting can do with the benefit of autophagy brought by IF, while IF can be more efficient with the increased ketosis benefit of a carb-restricted diet. Whatever decision you make on your keto meal plan, is up to you. I would strongly advise speaking to a registered dietitian about the Keto-IF combo before going ahead with it.
If you have tried the fast keto method, please let us know, which type of intermittent fasting did you follow while keto dieting? What was your experience? Based on your experience, would you recommend a more restrictive or less restrictive type of IF? If you haven’t tried IF while on keto dieting, would you try it after reading this article? You can drop your answers and any questions on speed keto (or keto in general) down in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
Until next time, stay healthy, and stay keto!