A Keto Diet with Intermittent Fasting
We have all heard the buzz words…. keto and intermittent fasting. But what do they really mean? Is it something you should give a try or is it just the latest fad? Dr. Iodice has been following a healthy ketogenic diet coupled with intermittent fasting for the past four years. He would say no it’s not a fad! He has lost weight and more importantly kept the weight off! Also, it has become a way of life for him, not just a temporary weight loss scheme.
What is a ketogenic diet (keto for short) and why should you follow one? A keto diet is low in carbohydrates and high in fat with a moderate amount of protein. The goal is to switch the fuel that your body runs on from glucose (sugar) to fat. Your body requires energy continuously to perform all its functions. Typically, your body gets energy from glucose that is in the carbohydrates you eat. When your body doesn’t have carbohydrates to use for energy, the body then starts breaking down fats. When your body breaks down fat it produces ketones which your body uses as a fuel source. This is known as ketosis and is where the name ketogenic or keto diet comes from.
Sounds like a good idea for your body to start breaking down fat, but how do we get to that point? First, by eating a very low carbohydrate diet and second, by fasting. What does eating “low carb” look like? Very simply, half of your plate should have vegetables on it, a quarter of the plate should be filled with healthy fats, and a quarter of the plate has protein on it.
On the keto diet 70% percent of your calories come from fat, 20-25% from protein and 5% from the low amount of carbohydrates found in vegetables, cheese, etc. But wait, you just said half of my plate is covered in vegetables? Yes, that is correct! However, vegetables are extremely low in calories and a small portion of fat is high in calories. Therefore, even though the majority of your calories come from a fat source you are still eating a large volume of vegetables every day. In fact, you should be eating 7-10 cups of vegetables a day.
Vegetables. Your mom was right, you need them! On the keto diet you should start your meal with vegetables. Salad, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, celery and kale are good choices. However, you want to avoid all starches such as potatoes, yams, corn, rice, bread, cereal and pasta. You also want to avoid all fruit except for a small amount of berries.
Protein. The second part of your meal is protein. This would include meat, seafood, eggs, full-fat cheese, nuts and nut butters. Be sure to buy nut butter with no added sugar and keep in mind that some nuts do contain a lot of carbs, such as cashews. You should eat 3-6 ounces of protein at each meal or a portion about the size of the palm of your hand. The protein you eat will also include some of the fat you need.
Fat. Finish off your meal with calories from fat. The fat will satisfy you and help keep you full until your next meal. Healthy sources of fat are butter (preferably grass-fed), coconut oil, olives, olive oil, pecans, macadamia nuts, avocado oil and avocados. Remember, you are also getting some of your fat from your protein like fatty fish and meat.
Dr. Iodice also recommends eating healthy keto. So instead of picking up the energy bar marked “keto friendly”, choose nutrient dense foods such as grass-fed beef, wild-caught seafood and big salads. Also, choose healthy oils like olive or coconut oil and avoid canola, corn and soybean oils.
Intermittent Fasting is the second part of this lifestyle. That means eating only during a certain time period each day. For example, having your first meal of the day at noon and your last meal at 6 pm and avoid snacking between meals. When you are fasting, your body uses all of its stored sugar and starts burning fat! As you can see, intermittent fasting and healthy keto complement each other and help your body reach ketosis.
Each time we eat something our body releases the hormone insulin. When the insulin in our body is high, we use sugar or glucose as our fuel. The goal of intermittent fasting is to avoid spikes in our insulin. Therefore, we want to eat less often and keep our insulin low. When our insulin is low, we burn fat as a fuel.
What does intermittent fasting look like? First, don’t eat unless you have the sensation of hunger. In the morning, skip breakfast unless you’re actually hungry. You can have black coffee or tea. Try to push through that initial mild hunger. Have your first ketogenic meal at lunch. The fat in the meal will help you feel full and satisfied until you eat dinner. The goal is to eat during a certain window of time. For example, eat during a 6-hour window and fast for 18 hours. As you start intermittent fasting you can put butter or MCT oil in your coffee to help you feel full and transition to a full 18 hours of fasting. This is often referred to as “bullet proof coffee.”
Burning fat and losing weight sounds great, but are there other reasons to follow a ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting? Absolutely! Increased insulin levels lead to pre-diabetes, hypertension, increased fat in our belly region, cravings and contribute to memory loss, anxiety, depression and fatigue. When we eat a keto diet combined with intermittent fasting our body burns fat as an energy source. During ketosis we have lower insulin, decreased fatty liver disease, increased cognitive skills, improved mood and more energy!
The information in this blog is for educational purposes only, but we hope it has sparked interest in making positive changes in your diet. Please reach out to Dr. Iodice or your medical doctor for individualized advice for your health program.
Source: Dr. Eric Berg DC