Intermittent fasting is a term all over keto-friendly forums and many keto-ers have questions about it. How long should I fast? How often? Should I even fast if I’ve just started the ketogenic way of eating? Like in my past blogs, this is yet something that there is no one answer for everyone and fasting depends completely on the person. With that being said, let’s get down to the basics and how they will affect both the keto-er and the fresh-off-the-carbohydrate-boat newbie. If a person fasts correctly, he/she will NOT be hungry and the outcome will be fat loss.
First off, let me answer the question of ‘IF’ someone should fast and my answer would be yes, IF you’ve been doing keto for a while. I wouldn’t recommend someone who’s new to keto or only have been doing it a few weeks. Your body MUST get glucose (if you’re not keto adapted) and it will break down whatever muscle you have (gluconeogenesis) to get it. Plus, you may end up quite hungry and falling off the proverbial sugar or carb wagon and it’s all gone to hades! As a newbie, allow your body to get use to using fat for energy, that way you won’t feel like you’re starving while fasting. And once you’re body has detoxed and quit using glucose for energy and is now using fat instead, then by all means, YES!
So, let’s get into it and talk about the most common fast for a keto-er, which is the 16/8 fast; 16 hour fast and 8 hours to consume nice, fatty foods. I am currently doing this type of fast today and I stopped eating at 6pm last night and will be eating a late breakfast at 10am. It’s currently 8:30am and when I awoke at 6:30am I didn’t feel hungry and 2 hours later after a few sips of coffee with 2tbsp of butter and 3 MCT oil capsules, I still have that satiated feeling and my energy is off the charts! This 16 hours of not eating doesn’t leave me feeling hungry and when I do eat, my fat-filled meals give me satiation rather quickly. The 16/8 fast is the easiest fast for me as I’m far too busy in life to be counting macros constantly and I have alarms on my phone set for 6pm & 10am. It’s pretty easy and again, not starving.
There are many other schedules of fasting, not the least of which is 18/6 (18 hour fast), 19/5 (19 hour fasts), and a plethora of others, however I’ve found the greatest benefits with the 16/8 (16 hour fasts). The best part for me about it is that I’m sleeping through quite a bit of time and so I’m not focused on eating! I’m getting at between 8- 9 hours of sleep and so that gobbles up 1/2 of my fast already. If a disciplined keto-er wants to try the longer fasts, go for it! However, if you’re new and not producing good ketones or have high glucose, I wouldn’t try it.
Whatever the reader is deciding to do, please consult with your doctor before you’re doing anything. Some folks (like myself) are doing keto for health reasons and our doctors, who may not be up to date with current studies in nutritional ketosis, still should be abreast of what you and I are up to. If for no other reason than to become educated by your own self-experimentations.
Check out keto coach Stephanie Person to get more info on intermittent fasting.