Intermittent fasting (IF) is gaining widespread popularity, providing an efficient way for dieters of all ages, body types, and exercise levels to reach their health and fitness goals. For those living the low-carb lifestyle, it's also an excellent way to kickstart ketosis. If the word "fasting" makes you cringe, you might be surprised just how simple, healthy, and effective 16/8 intermittent fasting truly is. Here's your go-to guide on what it is, how it works, and how you can use this growing health trend to kickstart ketosis.
What is 16/8 Intermittent Fasting?
There are many types of fasts. While some involve skipping one meal each day, others require skipping 24 hours worth of meals, making it difficult for dieters to stick with the practice. 16/8 intermittent fasting works much differently, however, which is why it's gaining such rapid popularity. Rather than skipping specific meals, you eat within an eight hour window each day, fasting outside of that window for a 16 hour period, including your sleeping hours (yes, sleep counts!) You decide your own fasting window, so select the 8 hour timeframe that works best. A common choice is 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm, but if you go to bed much later or wake up earlier, these hours might not be ideal. Select the window that works best with your schedule, needs, and preferences.
Something to note: While those following a regular, high-carb diet eat more often to keep blood sugar in check, when you're following a low-carb diet, your blood sugar automatically balances out, and you'll feel more full throughout the day. Satiety is a big benefit of the keto diet; you won't experience hunger pangs in the middle of the night or get that sudden blood sugar drop that requires an early morning snack. When sugar and carbs are no longer a part of your diet, you'll experience hunger less often, making fasting much easier, and a go-to practice for those wanting to kickstart ketosis.
How Are 16/8 Intermittent Fasting and Ketosis Linked?
If you're already living the low-carb lifestyle, it's easy to understand how a ketogenic diet and IF are linked. As long as you follow the basics of high-fat, moderate protein, and low carb consumption using your individual macros, your body breaks down fat for energy in place of glucose. Essentially, the keto diet "starves" the body of glucose, and so does fasting. Since both IF and the keto diet make this their focus, the two complement each other perfectly.
While IF will starve your body of glucose regardless of diet, what you eat within that 8-hour window makes a world of difference. If you're consuming a high number of carbs, it's unlikely that your body will enter ketosis even while fasting, and with the natural blood sugar imbalances described above, any fast will be difficult to follow. As a low-carb dieter, fasting isn't just easier, but it kickstarts ketosis by boosting the glucose starvation and fat-burning abilities your body is already utilizing, helping burn fat even while you sleep.
How to Achieve Ketosis Through 16/8 Intermittent Fasting
Since IF depletes the body's glucose stores, combined with a keto diet, it's likely to kickstart ketosis quicker than usual. This is excellent news for beginners, as well as experienced dieters who might have slipped out of ketosis due to a cheat day. In order to enter ketosis, the body must either be in a fasting state or in an extremely low-carb state. When the two are combined, ketosis isn't just kickstarted, but well-maintained. Since you're already living the low-carb lifestyle, you can kickstart ketosis even faster with a few simple tricks.
First, consider a more intense fast before jumping into IF. While 16/8 intermittent fasting can be a simple routine to maintain, you'll pump up the process by going on a full-day fast first. Taking an exogenous ketones supplements is another way to do so, and if you're just starting out, this will help reduce side effects, such as keto flu. Once you adjust to the 16/8 method of IF, you'll be more likely to stick with it, maintaining optimal ketosis. As long as you follow your macros, this go-to method of IF not only kickstarts ketosis, but is highly effective at maintaining it.