The ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting have more in common than you may believe. When combining the two practices, they may be able to synergistically work together toward common goals of fat loss and improved metabolic health.
Despite the differences in the diets, they have two big similarities: both increase ketone production and can also burn the body’s fat stores. In tandem they may help to expedite your weight loss goals.
But where do they fit in together? Practicers of intermittent fasting are using the technique to improve weight loss, insulin sensitivity and other health biomarkers.1 The keto diet targets many of the same goals, like helping to reshape metabolism and improve body composition.
If you’re trying to decide between one or the other, why not try both at the same time? Let’s look at some of the benefits of each, and how they can work together to encourage a healthy lifestyle.
The ketogenic diet has been around for several decades, but has gained increasing popularity over the last several years.2 While some diets encourage consumption of fewer calories, the ketogenic diet is based on low carbohydrate intake rather than focusing on calorie intake. Keto can be described as a low-carb, high-fat diet which induces production of ketones from fat, leading to a state of ketosis: the presence of ketones in the blood at greater than 0.5mM. This is much different than the traditional western high-carb diet.
Our bodies are biologically programed to run on a mix of carbohydrate and fat depending on what’s available.
Dietary carbohydrate gets taken up and used as energy via blood glucose (blood sugar), or it is stored as a molecule called glycogen in the liver. Glycogen is slowly released between meals to keep blood glucose energy levels stable. Once carbs are removed from the equation, the body eventually learns to use alternative fuel sources for energy as glycogen stores are depleted.
There are two ways to induce ketosis. The first, called endogenous ketosis, is when ketosis is triggered through diet or fasting. In this case, the body is making its own ketones, meaning the body is ketogenic. It can take days of fasting or weeks of dieting to achieve endogenous ketosis.
The ketogenic diet is often misconstrued by the masses as a high-fat diet that features bacon, butter, and oil as its main components. While you may choose to indulge in these particular types of foods, the main attribute of keto is that it requires dieters to consume little to no net carbs. If you’re on keto, you should aim for a carb intake around 50g per day—a really low amount.
The second was to induce ketosis is called exogenous ketosis. This means that ketones are introduced to the body from an external source, from ketone supplements like HVMN Ketone. This body is still in ketosis (because its blood ketone levels are elevated) but it’s not ketogenic (because the body isn’t producing its own ketones).
Increasing Ketone Levels
Several supplements exist on the market to raise blood ketones through exogenous means. The goal with these types of products is to spur a faster, deeper ketosis without the need to diet or fast.
There are medium chain triglycerides, or MCT oils, which are a special type of fat found naturally in coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and butterfat. They do not contain ketones, instead possessing a fat that’s readily converted to ketones. While there are many MCTs on the market, it’s best to find one without artificial ingredients, and one that’s low-carb (to help you maintain ketosis). HVMN MCT Oil Powder is pure C8—the world’s most ketogenic fat. It’s 100% natural with no additives, no artificial ingredients, and zero net-carbs.
Then there are ketone salts. Ketone levels rise marginally after using salts, from about 0.6mM – 1mm.3,4 And often, a high mineral intake is necessary to raise ketone levels, leading to GI issues and concern around the safety of long term high salt intake.
Finally, there are exogenous ketone esters. HVMN Ketone is the world’s first exogenous ketone ester drink, and can raise blood ketone levels up to 3mM – 6mM.3,5,6,7 It’s used by professional athletes, the US military and was even used to break a cycling world record.
The choice between relying on exogenous or endogenous ketosis depends on your health and performance goals.
Improved mental focus10
Ability to control diabetes12
Better cholesterol readings13