You started the keto diet a few months ago and you’ve lost some weight, but you really thought that cutting the carbs would cause more pounds to come off. You’re thinking of adding intermittent fasting to your keto diet to accelerate your weight loss. How much weight should you expect to lose?
By intermittent fasting on keto, you could lose 4 pounds a week, which is 16 pounds per month. Your weight loss potential when combining intermittent fasting with keto will depend on how often you’re fasting, how many carbs and calories you ingest per day, and your metabolism.
In this article, we’ll provide plenty of information on intermittent fasting on keto and how much weight you can lose. We’ll talk about the factors that can affect weight loss as well as provide a sample diet so you can get started fasting on keto!
Keto and Intermittent Fasting – How Much Weight Can You Lose?
We want to stress that losing weight on keto and intermittent fasting is going to be a different experience for everyone. To give you a more reliable idea of how much weight you should expect to lose, we combed through scientific and medical studies.
How Much Weight You Might Lose on Keto
First, let’s delve into your weight loss potential on keto. The journal Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy in a 2014 publication reported that of 349 participants, the average amount of weight loss for keto dieters was 26.2 pounds in two years.
The participants all had type 2 diabetes, which can make it more difficult to lose weight. Thus, a keto dieter who’s not a diabetic might lose weight at a greater rate in the same amount of time. After all, within the first week of keto, some dieters report shedding as much as 10 pounds. This is all water weight though and the weight loss doesn’t continue at such a rate further into the diet.
In 2013, the British Journal of Nutrition studied the effects of keto dieting on weight loss. One group of participants in their study consumed no more than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. The other group was on a low-fat diet. The weight loss potential was greater for keto dieters by 2 pounds.
That’s about as much weight as you should lose on the keto diet per week. Some dieters might drop a pound a week on keto as well, which is normal.
How Much Weight You Might Lose Through Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting, in which you consume calories only during specific eating windows, ramps up the weight loss potential as well. A 2014 report from the journal Translational Research states that the average intermittent faster might drop between 0.55 and 1.65 pounds a week.
Besides losing weight, you can also reduce belly fat through intermittent fasting, says that same study. The rate of belly fat loss can be anywhere from 3 to 8 percent in up to 24 weeks.
Combining the Numbers
Okay, so the amount of weight you can lose on keto is 2 pounds per week on average, and it’s the same amount for intermittent fasting. If you do both diets at the same time, this tells us that you could lose around 4 pounds per week.
A woman named Cindy Escobar talked to Women’s Health Mag about her experience on keto while intermittent fasting. She had weighed more than 200 pounds and decided to change her life by going a diet.
By eating 20 grams of net carbs per day, within a month, Cindy had lost 16 pounds. That meant that she would have shed about 4 pounds per week. In a year, she’s dropped 72 pounds, which is some significant weight loss!
The Factors That Influence Your Weight Loss Potential on Keto and Intermittent Fasting
Your weight loss results on keto and intermittent fasting could be like Cindy’s or you could have a different experience. Maybe you lose even more weight or it’s slower going for you.
If you’re wondering why the pounds aren’t coming off quite so quickly now that you’re intermittent fasting on keto, here are the factors that come into play.
Whether You Have Preexisting Medical Conditions
When you go to the doctor, do you get a clean bill of health? If so, then your body won’t impede your weight loss efforts provided you’re trying to slim down healthily. Should you have any preexisting medical conditions though, they can affect how easy it is for you to lose weight.
We mentioned before that those with type 2 diabetes might lose weight more slowly than non-diabetics. If you have polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS, keeping the weight off can be difficult. That’s also true of those with Cushing’s syndrome and hypothyroidism.
Living with chronic stress floods your body with cortisol that can cause you to retain abdominal fat. Your blood pressure can also go up and your immune system might be less effective.
Some medical conditions make you lose more weight than intended, such as endocarditis, depression, and rheumatoid arthritis. That said, this weight loss is often not healthy, so you should speak to your doctor before you start keto or intermittent fasting.
How Many Hours/Days Per Week You Fast
Losing weight is all about eating fewer calories than what your body uses. When you’re fasting, you’re avoiding food and caloric beverages. Some fasts allow you to eat, but usually, this is a meager amount. Take, for example, the 5:2 diet. During your two fasting days a week, you can consume no more than 600 calories.
On an alternate-day fast, you ingest no calories for the 24 hours in which you fast. Depending on how you arrange your calendar, you might fast for three or four days per week, foregoing calories for 72 to 96 hours.
If you follow intermittent fasts like these, you’re more likely to see weight loss results than if you only fast for a couple of hours per day.
The Number of Total Carbs You Eat
The goal of going on the keto diet is to enter the fat-burning state known as ketosis. This requires you to consume no more than 50 total grams of carbs per day. At that rate, you’re still eating a decent amount of carbs, so your diet might not be conducive to the fast weight loss you’re looking for.
What you might try instead is reducing your daily carb load to 40 grams of total carbs per day or even 30 grams. As you’ll recall from Cindy Escobar’s weight loss story, she ingested no more than 20 grams of net carbs per day. That’s something you might do too.
The Number of Calories You Eat
All intermittent fasts have eating windows, which is the period in which you can finally sit down to a meal. What you choose to eat during these windows can undo all the healthy progress you’ve achieved through intermittent fasting.
Sure, you’re still sticking to keto rules on your diet, but keto is more about reducing carbs than it is calories. If you’re not careful, you can overload on calories, which would be disastrous. When you eat more calories than what your body burns, you gain weight.
How Much You Exercise
Some people lose weight through diet alone, but a combination of healthy eating and exercise can lead to more weight loss. We’d recommend exercising during your non-fasting periods, at least at first. Then you might try fasted cardio or other fasted exercise.
The jury is still out on whether your body burns more fat when you exercise on an empty stomach, but some experts believe that you do. The Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism in a 2016 report writes about a group of participants that fasted for 8 to 12 hours (by sleeping) and then exercised. The study suggests that you could burn fat at a high rate of 20 percent.
Even if you don’t burn more fat, you do torch calories by exercising, and that will help in your weight loss efforts.
Two people with different metabolisms could follow the same diet and exercise regimen but not have identical weight loss results. Metabolism is the rate at which your body converts food into usable energy. If your metabolism is slower, then weight loss will be more of an uphill battle while someone with a fast metabolism might have a hard time putting on weight.
Is It Safe to Intermittent Fast on Keto?
The keto diet is about carb restriction while intermittent fasting cuts down the calories. Both carbs and calories are energy that your body needs to sustain life. You worry that depleting too much of that energy could harm your health.
That’s always a possibility, so if you have concerns or questions about combining intermittent fasting and keto, we recommend seeing your doctor. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not fast while on keto, nor should those with heart disease or diabetes.
If you’re not in one of the above categories, then it’s perfectly safe to combine keto and intermittent fasting. If you’re new to both keto and intermittent fasting, then we would suggest doing a few months of keto, then you can begin fasting.
When you first start intermittent fasting, it’s normal to have side effects. You might find it hard to sleep because you’re so hungry. Your mood could change and your energy levels will sag. As your body adjusts to your dietary change, these side effects will subside.
A Sample Keto + Fasting Diet
If you’re ready to proceed with intermittent fasting while on keto, what should your diet even look like? Here’s what keto/faster success story Cindy Escobar ate on an average day. Feel free to modify this diet to your own tastes while still sticking within your carb and calorie limits.
Cindy would begin her intermittent fasting period at 7 p.m. and then not eat until the next morning at 11 a.m. at the earliest. Due to that schedule, she would skip a traditional breakfast and sip on water, tea, or black coffee. She’d infuse her water with electrolytes, which is a smart choice!
For her first meal of the day, Cindy eats a varied lunch that includes nuts, cheese, tuna, and hardboiled eggs. You could combine those ingredients into a Cobb egg salad or try a kale broccoli salad, keto burger fat bombs, or Caprese zoodles.
Cindy usually reaches for pork rinds, cucumbers, or Greek yogurt for her midday keto-friendly snack. If you have the time, you can roll up some Collard green sandwich wraps or keto sushi rolls or even make a salmon salad celery boat. These snacks are certainly Instagram-worthy!
When dinner rolls around, Cindy likes to keep it simple, so she’d combine keto vegetables with a source of protein. Some examples include taco stuffed avocados, buffalo shrimp lettuce wraps, keto taco cups, or Asian chicken lettuce wraps.
If the keto diet alone hasn’t produced the weight loss you’re looking for, why not combine it with intermittent fasting? This is usually safe, and you could lose around 4 pounds per week. If you keep up the diet over the long term, you could drop a lot of weight in a year. Best of luck!