There are several other diets you can do while fasting. The best part is that those diets boost and compliment your intermittent fasting results. Read the full article to find out which diet you can combine with fasting.
Intermittent fasting is a great tool to get in shape and improve your health.
Intermittent fasting provides significant health benefits to the body, and the main reason is increased insulin sensitivity and stable blood sugar levels (1).
The human body exists in two biochemical states related to food: fat-storage state and fat-burning state (7).
The first state occurs when we eat, especially when our diet is full of carbohydrates.
Carbs stimulate the production of insulin more than other macronutrients. Insulin is in charge of dropping down glucose levels (blood sugar) which rise after a meal (5).
Insulin is known as the fat-storage hormone. It works as the key that allows nutrients into the cells of our body. Insulin tells, particularly fat cells, when to take in the glucose, and when to convert it to fat.
The more often we eat, the more insulin is released, the more fat we store. It makes the cells insulin resistant- a failure of the body to respond as it should when insulin is released, which forces the pancreas to produce more and more insulin, which leads to stronger resistance. In time, the fat-storage state leads to a steady increase in weight and a converse decline in health and wellbeing. We get trapped in a vicious cycle (3).
We burn fat for energy in the fat-burning state, to do so we need to switch from the fat-storage state. How can we do this? The answer is simple, by not eating (by extending the periods between meals). That’s where intermittent fasting shows its efficacy (2).
When we don’t eat, our body limits the amount of insulin in the system, this allows the body to convert stored energy from fat cells. This is made possible by the release of insulin-antagonist glucagon which raises (balances) blood sugar, activates fat release, and inhibits fat storage. That’s why it’s called the fat-burning hormone. So what we want is to have low levels of insulin and a high level of glucagon (6).
In conjunction with dietary change, intermittent fasting certainly helps with weight loss and health management more effectively than fasting alone.
How does it work? Begin by implementing a regimen of eating less frequently. Second, restrict carbohydrate intake and switch your body’s metabolism from being primarily carb-fuelled to being primarily fat-fuelled. This leads to a stable level of blood sugar that means no high levels of insulin and as a result no insulin resistance and a prolonged fat-burning state benefits.
What are those diets?
Let’s have a look at each of them.
Keto is a diet where the main point is getting into ketosis by restricting carbs intake and switching from glucose to ketone bodies as a main source of fuel. On the ketogenic diet, you need to calculate total daily calories from macronutrients into grams, 70-80 % should come from healthy fats, 10-20 % from protein, and only 5-10 % from carbohydrates and it’s advised to be from plant sources (vegetables and legumes). So it is quite a complicated diet to follow due to the counting calories source point of view (10).
This can be quite a restrictive type of diet, where you can have only animal foods: meat, fish, eggs, and some dairy. On this diet, you are not allowed to have vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains- all food sources that contain mostly carbohydrates. Not everyone is ready to change their eating habits so significantly, that is why it can be quite challenging (8).
Low carbohydrate high-fat diet (or LCHF for short) are low in carbohydrates, high in fats, and moderate in protein (about 2 grams of protein for one kilo or 4 grams for one pound of desirable weight).
This diet doesn’t mean itself being in a ketosis state, but it also restricts carbohydrate intake on average of up to 100 grams a day, this number varies from person to person. The main idea of this diet is eating whole, natural foods: meat, fish, eggs, dairy, fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
LCHF is very adaptable for each individual and their special needs and is quite diverse in food choices. That’s why it might be a perfect option for you to stick to (11).
When we talk about fasting, we consider supporting it with a proper diet.
What is the right diet you might ask? There is no perfect diet for everyone, because we all are different and have access to various food options. The better answer is to eat real, whole food, moderate protein intake and be mindful of sources and amount of carbohydrates.
The dietary changes you make should be a lifestyle, not a short-term strategy. The best diet for you is a diet you can stick to for a long period of time.
There are many different fasting methods and finding one that works best for you will allow you to reap the most benefits.
There are a lot of informations distributed in numerous books about intermittent fasting. We've preselected some of them to help you out.