Intermittent fasting involves skipping breakfast and delaying your first meal of the day for several hours to utilize your natural overnight fast. However, there are many other ways to achieve this.
Once you’ve gone 12 hours without drinking anything, you’re in a state of fasting, and you begin relying on your stored body fat for energy.
You are likely to experience more profound fat adaptation the longer you stay fast. Keeping an intermittent fast for 20 to 24 hours can increase lipolysis (fat being broken down into free fatty acids, which can be burned in the cells) and fat oxidation (fat being burned by the mitochondria).
Initially, intermittent fasting can leave you feeling hungry and low on energy. It is best to start slowly by pushing breakfast back an hour or two, then gradually increasing the fasting interval. Fasting becomes easier as you become more “fat adapted”.
It is precisely like exercise for sedentary people: at first, it is painful and challenging, but once you adapt, it becomes easy and even enjoyable. Can time restricted eating lead to weight loss?
It has been shown that time-restricted eating leads to weight loss, improved heart health, and reduced blood sugar levels. There is, however, disagreement among studies, so more research is needed.
It’s easy to restrict your eating time. To eat all your calories in one day, you choose a period. Usually, this period lasts between 6 and 10 hours.
Do you know about or have you tried intermittent fasting with low carb? Since low carb IF is not as popular as another intermittent fasting (IF) ways, you may not have heard of it. To accelerate weight loss, this eating pattern alternates fasting periods (calorie restriction) with eating low-carb meals at a particular time.
When people fast, they refrain from eating for various reasons, such as spiritual or health enhancement, instead of starving, leading to serious health complications or even death.
However, fasting is not recommended for everyone. It suggests that underweight, elderly, pregnant or breastfeeding women, diabetics, and those with chronic illnesses refrain from trying any intermittent fasting diet since they need enough calories for proper development each day.
People with eating disorders are not recommended to fast.
Understanding Low-Carb Intermittent Fasting
Low-carb intermittent fasting: what is it? Intermittent fasting and a low carb meal plan like the keto diet are part of a low carb intermittent fasting diet. Both are enhanced by one another.
Low carb intermittent fasting reduces blood sugar and burns fat by lowering carbs (calories) and causing ketosis. Many health-conscious people combine a keto diet with intermittent fasting to drop weight and manage other health conditions.
low carb intermittent Fasting Vs Low-Carb Diets
How did we come up with 2 if we always chant 1+1=2? Understanding the building blocks, e.g., what 1 is, is your first step. Using the same analogy, it is essential to understand the importance of individual meal plans when it comes to an understanding of the low carb intermittent fasting meal plan.
Intermittent Fasting (IF)
Instead of focusing on what you eat, intermittent fasting emphasizes when you eat. Intermittent fasting takes several forms, such as the 16/8 fast and the 5:2 approach.
Regardless of the method used, intermittent fasting requires you to eat only within a specific time window. Consider eating during the day and fasting, regularly eating five days a week and having one 500–600 calorie meal on the other two days, or eating for eight hours and fasting for 16.
Sleep is also essential in the IF program since it prevents you from eating when you shouldn’t, and the New York Times reports that it is considered a fasting period.
Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
It is possible to lose weight and prevent diabetes by following the fasting and eating periods as described on the plan. Among its benefits are:
Even though weight loss usually means consuming fewer calories, intermittent fasting does not require you to pay too much attention to your calorie intake. Using insulin, excess carbs are stored in fat cells if they are not used for energy by the cells.
You can use stored sugar to fuel your body when you do not snack during the fasting phase because insulin levels decrease. During the fasting phase, your body utilizes fat reserves as energy. As a result, weight loss occurs in IF when insulin levels are low enough and long enough to burn off fat.
Reduces Insulin Resistance
Based on a literature review published in Clinical Diabetes and Endocrinology, IF reduces insulin resistance. Therefore, fasting and eating regularly may help you prevent type 2 diabetes, a condition caused by insulin resistance, primarily in adipose tissue, skeletal muscle, and the liver.
IF has also been shown to decrease weight, leptin levels, fasting glucose levels, fasting insulin levels, and increase adiponectin levels. Patients with diabetes should only do intermittent fasting under medical supervision to burn liver fat and reverse insulin resistance.
The body’s immune system uses inflammation to protect itself from outside invaders. There are times when this process malfunctions, causing inflammation when no invaders are present. This may affect many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, asthma, cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Several studies have suggested that intermittent fasting reduces inflammation markers and cardiovascular risk factors such as homocysteine, CRP, and TC/HDL ratio 6,9. Fasting causes monocytes, including pro inflammatory cells, to enter a sleep state and become less inflammatory than after feeding.
One study from the Journal of Alzheimer’s Association published in 2020 indicates that IF reduces neuroinflammation, thus possibly protecting the brain from disease and ageing. The results of a 3-year progressive study showed that older adults who participated in IF regularly reverted to higher cognitive function groups (successful ageing and normal ageing).
Thus, long-term intermittent fasting may benefit one’s memory, overall cognition, and executive functions. Further research is needed to confirm this.
Fasting intermittently may benefit the heart IF may improve cardiovascular health by minimizing diabetes, hypertension, obesity, dyslipidemia, and other risk factors. Studies have also shown that this eating pattern can improve outcomes after a cardiac event.
Side Effects Of IF
IF may cause the following symptoms, according to Harvard Health:
Depending on how long you fast, you will experience headaches, irritability, lethargy, and constipation.
When fasting, your hunger center and appetite hormones go into overdrive, making you overeat.
It results in older adults losing too much weight.
You should consult your doctor before trying this if you take certain medications.
How To Stop Mindless Eating?
Consuming low carbohydrate, high-fat foods is part of a low carbohydrate weight loss plan. It is essential to limit simple natural carbs, simple, refined carbs, complex natural carbs, and complex, refined carbs, such as grains, bread, sweets, fruits, legumes, pasta, starchy vegetables, nuts, seeds etc.
Nevertheless, some diet plans allow some whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. The average person should consume between 45% and 65% of their daily calorie intake from carbohydrates (900 to 1,300 calories if they consume 2,000 calories).
Still, they might drink as little as 0.7 to 2 ounces (20 to 57 grams) of carbohydrates on a low-carb diet, which provides 80 to 240 calories daily.
Ketogenic diets are excellent examples of low carb, high-fat diets because they reduce carbohydrate intake to about 20-50 grams per day, causing a deficiency that signals the body to begin a ketosis metabolic process. By breaking down fat into ketones, your body is forced to rely on fat as its primary energy source instead of glucose.
Benefits Of Low-Carb & High-Fat Diet
Low-carb diets emphasize healthy fats, few carbs, and large amounts of protein, stimulating the body to burn alternative fuel sources (especially fat). These benefits include:
Losing weight is easiest when you cut out carbs. Due to consuming fewer calories on a low-carb diet, people might lose weight faster than on a low-fat diet. Thanks to a low-carb diet, the body also adapts to a lower appetite, which minimizes appetite and calorie intake.
Researchers found that satiety (fullness) on a low carbohydrate diet is better maintained than a low-fat diet in a randomized controlled trial. A restricted carbohydrate diet lowers insulin and ghrelin, two appetite stimulating hormones that may help lower metabolic syndrome risks.
Reduced Blood Sugar And Insulin Levels
Diabetes patients and those with insulin resistance benefit from low carb and keto diets. You may be able to reduce spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels after meals by lowering carb intake, improving diabetes management, minimizing hypoglycemia risks, and preventing diabetes complications.
Such a meal plan can also improve the clarity of thought, improve skin complexion, and reduce fatigue throughout the day.
Improves heart health and lowers blood pressure
According to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, low carb diets decrease high blood pressure, one of the cardiovascular risks that people with type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance face.
Low carbohydrate diets provide healthy food options, including healthy fats that control cholesterol, resulting in significant cardiovascular benefits. Additionally, the keto diet may lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels (bad cholesterol) and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels (good cholesterol).
Temporary side effects of sudden and drastic carb reductions include constipation, muscle cramps, bad breath, fatigue, headache, etc.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can result from long-term carbohydrate restriction.
You may be at greater risk for heart disease and certain types of cancer if you consume large amounts of fat and protein from animal sources. Because of this, it is essential to pay attention to your fats and proteins while following this diet and avoid foods containing saturated and trans fats (such as high-fat dairy products and meat).
How To Do The Intermittent Fasting Low-Carb Diet?
Intermittent fasting with low carb diets comes in different forms, but the bottom line is that you should regularly fast and eat meals low in carbs when you eat. If, for example, you follow the 14:10 diet and your cut-off time is 7 p.m., you will fast overnight until 9 a.m., then eat all your meals between 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
By following the 16:8 approach and cutting off your calories at 6 p.m., you will fast overnight, eat after 16 hours, i.e., 10 a.m., then eat every meal between 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. As a result, you’ll always eat regularly during the period of intermittent low-carb fasting. Fasting occurs most of the time at night while you are sleeping, so you will be able to avoid late-night snacking on hidden carbs.
Getting started with keto low carb intermittent fasting requires baby steps. When you begin a ketogenic diet, you should begin with low-carb foods before moving on to the ones that are extremely low in carbs.
After all, a ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb way of eating. Keto diets can be challenging for those struggling to reach ketosis, but intermittent fasting can help kickstart the process. If you follow keto low carb intermittent fasting during non-fasting days, you may experience side effects such as fatigue, irritability, and overeating.
What is considered low carb?
A low-carb diet restricts the number of calories from carbs to approximately 80-240 per day, which means you don’t eat more than 20-57 grams per day. This means your daily carb intake is limited to 0.7-2 ounces (20-57 grams). Here are some carb levels:
Deficient carb diet (less than 10%) or less than 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day
A low-carb diet (less than 26%) or a diet with less than 130 grams of carbohydrate per day
A moderately high carbohydrate diet (26%-44% per day)
A high carbohydrate diet of 45% per day
In low-carb diets, glycemic load is prioritized over carb count, with carbohydrates restricted to protein and fats. Following are some foods that are essential to a low-carb diet:
- Lean meat
- Healthy fats
- Dairy products
- Whole grains
What is the daily recommended amount of carbs?
American Dietary Guidelines indicate that carbohydrates should account for 45%-65% of an individual’s daily calorie intake. The average person with average height and weight consume about 2,000 calories daily, which means carbohydrates account for about 900-1,300 calories.
A low-carb diet has several significant health benefits but may not be the best choice for everyone. Diabetes patients or those with hormonal disorders may have dangerously low blood sugar levels if they aren’t getting enough carbohydrates.
Thus, before you begin a low-carb diet, you should consult your physician. Dietitians sometimes prescribe a patterned diet in which low carbs are restricted almost entirely during the initial dieting stage before gradually increasing carbs over time.
4 types of low-carb diets
- Keto diet: A keto diet is likely the most restrictive for carbs because its goal is to force your body into ketosis and burn fat for fuel instead of carbs. Most people in ketosis cannot consume more than 15 grams of carbohydrates per day.
- Atkins diet: In the Atkins diet, you can restrict your carbohydrate intake to 20 grams, 40 grams, or 100 grams a day, depending on your diet goals.
- Whole30 diet: The Whole30 diet may not appear to be a low-carb diet, but eventually, you consume fewer carbs than you would in general. You should avoid sugar, dairy, legumes, alcohol, and grains, which are all high in carbohydrates, for 30 days.
- Paleo diet: Paleo diets do not include processed foods, legumes, and grains, to consume fewer carbs. Other low-carb diets do not allow fruits or sweeteners in their natural form, but the Keto diet allows them.
Which carbs are suitable for a low-carb diet?
Fibre, protein, vitamins, and minerals are all good sources of carbohydrates:
- Basmati, brown, and wild rice
- Flour, pasta, and whole-wheat bread
- Fibre, potassium, magnesium, and selenium are abundant in oats, barley, and quinoa.
- Green leafy vegetables (high in micronutrients)
The following starchy vegetables (rich in micronutrients):
- sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, and pumpkin
- Peas and beans (high in fibre, iron, folate, and potassium)
- Almonds, walnuts, cashews, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts are full of omega-3 fatty acids.
These foods are low carb:
The meat choices are beef, pork, lamb, game, and poultry.
- A variety of fish and seafood, including mackerel, salmon, sardines, herring, and others.
- The egg.
- Fats, high-fat dairy products, nuts, coconut fat, and olive oil – butter, high-fat cheese cream, Greek/Turkish yoghurt.
- Those vegetables that grow above ground, like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, eggplant, spinach, leafy greens, cucumber, asparagus, peppers, zucchini, olives, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce.
- Avocados and berries are fruits.
- Beverages without milk or sugar, such as water, tea, and coffee
- Avoid foods high in carbs when following a low carb intermittent fasting meal plan for weight loss, including:
- There are a variety of sugars in soft drinks, juices, candy, chocolate (you can eat dark chocolate occasionally), pastries, ice cream, and breakfast cereals.
- Flour, wheat, maize, potatoes, beans, and lentils contain starch.
- The high-sugar fruits and beer.
Benefits of Low-Carb Diet Plus Intermittent Fasting
Is it a good idea to combine a low carb diet with intermittent fasting? Yes, if you consult your doctor and nutritionist. It is similar to intermittent fasting and low carb diets in terms of their ultimate goals, such as lowering blood sugar and insulin levels and inducing ketosis to burn fat.
After fasting for a specific period, high-fat meals with low carbs enhance and accentuate both benefits. As a result:
- Weight loss: Getting rid of excess weight is easy with low-carb diets and intermittent fasting. You can expect excellent results if you choose one of them and take advantage of it.
- Lowering blood sugar: In one study, diabetic patients who fasted reduced their glucose levels by 49% and reduced their glucose levels by 35% with low carb diets. An effective way to lower blood sugar may be to combine the two diets.
- Controlling insulin resistance and diabetes: As mentioned earlier, the combo may cause the body’s sugar and insulin levels, affecting the amount of fat stored because insulin works as a fat-storage hormone.
- Reduces the time it takes you to reach ketosis: Intermittent fasting and a low-carb diet may help you get ketosis more quickly, so it could be the perfect solution if you are struggling to reach ketosis while on a keto diet.
What you eat and when you eat are the two most important factors determining the success of the low carb intermittent fasting diet. Decide on a timeframe that works best for you, and aim for a meal plan containing fewer than 20g net carbs per day.