top of page

Intermittent Fasting and Low-Carb Diets






When you start researching intermittent fasting, you might notice that it is often

mentioned or recommended to people who are on low-carb diets like Keto or Atkins.

While intermittent fasting can definitely be done for anyone, regardless of your way of

eating, it is very popular in low-carb communities. Here is more information about the

link between intermittent fasting and being on a low-carb diet.



Why Low-Carbers Like Intermittent Fasting


There are many reasons people on a low-carb diet will go for intermittent fasting, but a

lot of this depends on the type of diet you are doing. With a low-carb diet, you are

consuming less carbohydrates, and either moderate or high protein. If you are on keto,

you have moderate protein, high fat, and low carbohydrates. Atkins prefers higher

protein and slightly more carbohydrates than the ketogenic diet.


For someone on a low-carb diet, you are often adjusting to your varying sugar levels,

attempting to stay full in between meals. With intermittent fasting added in, you learn to

stabilize those sugar levels, so you aren’t craving sugar and carbs, which you can’t

have on the low-carb diet.



Intermittent Fasting and Keto


If you are on the ketogenic diet, or keto, you have probably come across intermittent

fasting. It is particularly popular for keto followers due to the unique benefits it provides

you. With keto, you enter a state of ketosis. This is when your body begins burning fat

for fuel, instead of carbohydrates. You can really increase the fat burning potential if you

are also doing intermittent fasting, burning nearly twice as much fat as you normally

would. Plus, intermittent fasting allows you to more easily control the amount of carbs

you consume.



Try Low-Carb First


It is really important that you not start intermittent fasting on the same day that you start

your low-carb diet. These should be spread apart so that you adjust to one thing before

the next. It is ideal that you start your low-carb diet first, then remain on it for at least 2-3

weeks. Once your body has adjusted and adapted to the lower amount of carbs, you

can then start transitioning into your preferred method of intermittent fasting. This gives

you enough time to adjust to one big change before making another big change. It is

also good to try it after you have become fat adapted on a keto diet, which takes a few

weeks.


Any diet program is going to have its fans and its detractors. Also, many diet plans may have good points and bad points, and the low carbohydrate diet is no exception.




WHAT IS A LOW CARBOHYDRATE DIET?


First of all, you are going to hear a lot of things called "low carbohydrate", the most famous of which is the Atkins diet. Other programs which do not claim to be low carb, such as the Nutrisystem weight loss program, and the South Beach diet may find themselves dumped into the "low carb" category because their eating plans either control carb intake or concentrate on "good" carbs...that is, carbohydrates that in essence not only fuel the body, thus providing energy, but which also are less likely to wind up as fat deposits in the body.


As a rule, and as their name implies, low carbohydrate diets generally recommend a higher consumption of protein and fat, with decreases in consumption of carbohydrates. Again, as a rule, these eating plans are going to recommend as much as 70% of daily calorie intake coming from fat, with only 5% to 10% coming from carbohydrates. Additionally, most will recommend eating until you are full, as long as you avoid the high carb foods.




The Body Needs Carbohydrates


The major purpose of carbohydrates is to fuel the body. They provide the energy needed to make it through the day. For athletes, they are the fuel to make it through marathons, bicycle races, basketball games, and every other sort of athletic endeavor. Carbohydrates are also necessary for the proper function of some organs. However, there are "good" carbs and "bad" carbs.




Two Types of Carbohydrates:


While no carb is inherently evil, or "bad", there are many which are not "good" for most of us.


When we talk of bad carbs, we are generally referring to things like high sugar, refined flour foods that are quickly digested and which can be quickly transferred into fat. This is because the glut of carbohydrates signals the body to increase the supply of insulin which in turn tells the body to store the carbs as fat. Sadly, your breakfast bagel and the bag of chips you had with your greasy burger are included in the "bad" carb category.


Good carbs, on the other hand tend to be more "nutrient dense", and demand more digestion and processing by the body. Sweet potatoes, brown rice, grapefruit, fat-free milk, apples, and other fruits, vegetables, and whole grains cause the blood sugar levels to rise more slow