The Keto Diet Vs Intermittent Fasting: Which Is Better For Weight Loss?

The Keto Diet Vs Intermittent Fasting: Which Is Better For Weight Loss? January 16, 2019Leave a comment

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It’s hard to deny the popularity of both the keto diet and intermittent fasting for weight loss. Both are seemingly effective approaches known for their ability to shift the body into super fat-burning mode. But the way they both get there is drastically different.

The goal of any weight loss program is to lose weight in the form of body fat. But the human body is such an amazing machine, there are many ways to achieve the metabolic changes needed for fat loss. Despite this, to successfully lose weight, you need an approach that can easily be adopted as a healthy lifestyle, not a short-term solution.

With the benefits of the keto diet and intermittent fasting being essentially the same, it can be hard to sort out the pros and cons of each. Let’s take a closer look at how each approach works to determine if either one is right for you.

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Keto Diet vs Intermittent Fasting: How do they work?

Keto Diet

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The main objective of the keto (short for “ketogenic”) diet is to shift your body to burning fat, in the form of ketones, as the primary energy source.

In a normal state, carbs provide the primary source of energy that fuels muscle contraction and other bodily functions. After we eat them, our bodies break carbs down into smaller sugars (glucose) that our cells use for energy. Glucose in excess of our immediate energy requirements is stored in the form of glycogen. Unfortunately, our bodies don’t have an unlimited capacity for storing glycogen. Once glycogen stores fill up, our bodies convert extra glucose to fat that is stored in adipose tissue (fat cells). Over time, this can lead to weight gain.

Ketones are an alternative fuel that our bodies produce and use when blood sugar (glucose) is in short supply. The liver produces ketones from fat (yes, fat!) when our diets are very low in carbs. When our bodies produce ketones, we are considered to be in a state of “ketosis”. When in ketosis, our bodies shift from using carbs (glucose) as the primary fuel source to using fat (ketones). This transition makes it easier for our bodies to access fat stores and burn them off, resulting in weight loss.

Another benefit of eating low-carb is a reduction in circulating levels of insulin, a fat storage hormone. Eating carbs causes insulin levels to rise because the presence of insulin allows glucose to enter cells to be used as energy.

However, insulin also serves as a signal to your body to retain stored fat. This essentially helps your body prioritize which fuel source to use (the carbs you just ate vs the body fat you have stored). Simply put, this means that when insulin is present, your body will burn available glucose first and will not burn stored body fat. This reduces your ability to burn fat and lose weight.

Intermittent Fasting

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Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that boosts your metabolism by incorporating periods of fasting (not eating) into your eating schedule. During the feeding periods of intermittent fasting, you can eat what you want and in the quantities that you want. However, food must be eaten during scheduled periods of time each day (generally during a 6- to 12-hour period).

By eating within a narrow period of time, intermittent fasting can lead to a natural reduction in daily calorie consumption. This can obviously reduce weight.

However, experts believe that the main reason that intermittent fasting results in weight loss is twofold:

  1. It reduces insulin levels. And since emerging evidence suggests that elevated insulin levels are a driver of weight gain, reduced insulin is a good thing!
  2. It increases fat-burning hormones, including norepinephrine. This particular hormone not only aids in the mobilization of stored body fat (lipolysis), but also boosts fat-burning (fat oxidation) to fuel bodily and physical activities. As a bonus, norepinephrine also helps reduce belly fat.

One of the not-so-obvious benefits of intermittent fasting is that the fasting periods shift our bodies to using stored energy (glycogen and fat), leading to ketosis. Our bodies actually go into “mild” ketosis during the natural fast that we all experience while sleeping overnight. The additional hours spent in fasting mode during intermittent fasting yield even greater ketone production (i.e. more fat-burning power). Check out this post on intermittent fasting and other effective ways of getting into ketosis.

Keto Diet vs Intermittent Fasting: What dietary changes are required?

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Keto Diet

The keto diet is essentially an extremely low-carb eating plan. The missing calories are replaced by high amounts of fat and moderate amounts of protein.

In a “standard” 2000-calorie diet, the recommended daily allowance of carbs is 45 to 65% of total daily calories. So, between 900 and 1,300 calories will be from carbs, which translates to between 225 and 325 grams of carbs a day.

On the keto diet, only a small fraction of the typical carb amount is allowable – 20 grams of carbs. Although variations of the keto diet allow higher daily carb amounts (40-50 grams), studies suggest that staying under 20 grams offers the best results.

The amount of food in 20 grams of carbs varies depending on whether we’re talking good carbs or bad. This could be anything from a half a bagel or a few bites of cake to full plates of high-fiber, low-carb vegetables like spinach, avocado, and asparagus.

Intermittent Fasting

There are many ways to structure the fasting and feeding intervals of an intermittent fasting program. Some methods consist of fasting for a portion of each day (also called time-restricted eating). Others include fasting a full 24 hours one or more days per week.

16/8 Method (Leangains protocol by Martin Berkhan)

The 16/8 Method consists of daily cycles of 16-hour fasting and 8-hour feeding intervals.

Across a week it looks like this:

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Although there is flexibility in the timing of the 8-hour feeding interval, a common feeding schedule is 12:00 PM through 8:00 PM. During the fasting interval, water, unsweetened coffee or tea, and other beverages with no calories are permitted.

24-Hour Method (Eat-Stop-Eat protocol by Brad Pilon)

The 24-Hour Method consists of one or two 24-hour fasting intervals per week, which could look like this:

The Keto Diet vs Intermittent Fasting: Which is better for weight loss? | 16/8 intermittent fasting | keto diet | ketogenic diet | intermittent fasting for weight loss | intermittent fasting schedule | intermittent fasting and ketones |16/8 intermittent fasting | 5:2 intermittent fasting | intermittent fasting for weight loss | intermittent fasting schedule | #intermittentfasting #ketodiet #weightlossjourney #loseweightfast

A common schedule for the 24-hour fasting interval is 5:00 PM one evening through 5:00 PM the next evening. However, just as with 16/8, the timing of the 24-hr fasting interval is flexible, and non-calorie beverages are permitted while fasting. Within a given week, a second day of fasting is permitted, but not on back-to-back days.

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Keto Diet vs Intermittent Fasting: Which approach is the best for you?

The Keto Diet vs Intermittent Fasting: Which is better for weight loss? | 16/8 intermittent fasting | keto diet | ketogenic diet | intermittent fasting for weight loss | intermittent fasting schedule | intermittent fasting and ketones |16/8 intermittent fasting | 5:2 intermittent fasting | intermittent fasting for weight loss | intermittent fasting schedule | #intermittentfasting #ketodiet #weightlossjourney #loseweightfast

Well, that depends, as there are pros and cons to both approaches. But if you’re looking for long-lasting weight loss, the best option is the one you can adopt as a lifestyle change vs a short-term solution.

Click here to take the Keto Diet vs Intermittent Fasting Quiz to find out which is better to help you lose weight!

Both the keto diet and intermittent fasting can be very effective weight loss tools depending on your own personal needs and habits. I personally am a fan of the flexibility and sustainability offered by intermittent fasting, and so I have written various posts to help you learn how to lose weight with intermittent fasting, including:

Oh yeah, and don’t forget to consult your physician before implementing changes in your eating patterns (like the ones discussed in this post).

Author’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2018 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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ARM YOURSELF with the knowledge of the best weight loss approach for YOU! Take the keto diet vs intermittent fasting weight loss quiz today! | 16/8 intermittent fasting | keto diet ketogenic diet | ketones for weight loss | intermittent fasting for weight loss | weight loss for women | weight loss for beginners | which is better | personality quiz | lose weight fast | #intermittentfasting #fasting #ketodiet #ketogenicdiet #burnfat #loseweightfast

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Be ARMED with the knowledge of the best weight loss approach for YOU! Take the keto diet vs intermittent fasting weight loss quiz today! | 16/8 intermittent fasting | keto diet ketogenic diet | ketones for weight loss | intermittent fasting for weight loss | weight loss for women | weight loss for beginners | which is better | personality quiz | lose weight fast | #intermittentfasting #fasting #ketodiet #ketogenicdiet #burnfat #loseweightfast

Be ARMED with the knowledge of the best weight loss approach for YOU! Take the keto diet vs intermittent fasting weight loss quiz today! | 16/8 intermittent fasting | keto diet ketogenic diet | ketones for weight loss | intermittent fasting for weight loss | weight loss for women | weight loss for beginners | which is better | personality quiz | lose weight fast | #intermittentfasting #fasting #ketodiet #ketogenicdiet #burnfat #loseweightfast

Be ARMED with the knowledge of the best weight loss approach for YOU! Take the keto diet vs intermittent fasting weight loss quiz today! | 16/8 intermittent fasting | keto diet ketogenic diet | ketones for weight loss | intermittent fasting for weight loss | weight loss for women | weight loss for beginners | which is better | personality quiz | lose weight fast | #intermittentfasting #fasting #ketodiet #ketogenicdiet #burnfat #loseweightfast

Be ARMED with the knowledge of the best weight loss approach for YOU! Take the keto diet vs intermittent fasting weight loss quiz today! | 16/8 intermittent fasting | keto diet ketogenic diet | ketones for weight loss | intermittent fasting for weight loss | weight loss for women | weight loss for beginners | which is better | personality quiz | lose weight fast | #intermittentfasting #fasting #ketodiet #ketogenicdiet #burnfat #loseweightfast

Be ARMED with the knowledge of the best weight loss approach for YOU! Take the keto diet vs intermittent fasting weight loss quiz today! | 16/8 intermittent fasting | keto diet ketogenic diet | ketones for weight loss | intermittent fasting for weight loss | weight loss for women | weight loss for beginners | which is better | personality quiz | lose weight fast | #intermittentfasting #fasting #ketodiet #ketogenicdiet #burnfat #loseweightfast

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