Ketosis and intermittent fasting are topics that often fall into the same types of conversations. That being said, they do have differences that can lead you to wonder if one’s better than the other or how both can fit into your life. We can help you there!
We’ll be comparing ketosis vs. intermittent fasting — starting with a summary of each, then seeing what they have in common and how they differ.
What is Ketosis?
In short, ketosis is the process where the body burns ketone bodies for energy. With a regular type, the body’s primary source of energy is glucose, which comes from eating carbohydrates like bread, sugars, grains, fruit, or beans and legumes.
The carbohydrates from these foods are either used as glucose by the body immediately or stored as glycogen to be used later. However, if the body has a low supply of glucose, it must turn to something else for fuel. In the case of ketosis, that’s fat.
A ketogenic diet, which is high-fat, moderate-protein, and very-low-carb, will cause the body to break down fat instead of carbs for energy. When this happens, the follow ketone bodies are formed:
- Acetoacetate: Created first and then either converted into beta-hydroxybutyrate or turned into acetone.
- Acetone: Created spontaneously from the breakdown of acetoacetate. It’s the most volatile ketone and is often detectable on the breath when someone first goes into ketosis.
- Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB): The ketone most often measured in blood tests and found in exogenous ketones like Perfect Keto.
There are many benefits of putting the body into a state of ketosis, the most popular being weight loss, which we’ll examine first.
Ketosis Weight Loss Benefits
Ketosis helps weight/fat loss for the following reasons:
Other health benefits of ketosis include:
- Studies show ketosis can help regulate hormones  that affect weight gain, such as cholecystokinin (or CCK), which can reduce appetite by stimulating the digestion of fat and protein and reducing emptying of the stomach. Ketosis can help raise levels of CCK when you lose weight too, at a time when CCK levels can be lower.
- A reduction in risk factors for heart disease and improved triglycerides and cholesterol .
- Elimination of diseases like type II diabetes  that are related to blood sugar.
- Prevention of seizures in those with epilepsy, especially children.
- Less inflammation  of the skin.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting involves only eating within a certain window of time, usually between 6-8 hours each day. You’re still eating like you would during any day, but only in between that set time span. Intermittent fasting itself doesn’t involve any specific diet, but rather a dieting pattern.
For most people, this means skipping breakfast and beginning eating later in the day, for example, between 12pm and 8pm.
We’re used to being told to always eat breakfast and to eat smaller meals all throughout the day if you want to be healthy and at a healthy weight. However, we’re not learning this might not be that case and that intermittent fasting actually has many benefits.
Fasting is nothing new when it comes to the body and being human. Our ancestors didn’t have easy and immediate access to food like we do today, so their bodies went through regular periods of fasting until they could find their next source of food.
Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss Benefits
Like with a ketogenic diet, fasting depletes your body of readily available glucose and stored glycogen, causing it to turn to your fat stores for energy.
Plus, only eating within a certain period of time, even if you’re still trying to eat the same amount of food, is bound to decrease the overall caloric intake for most people. This makes it a handy tool for weight loss while also giving your body a break from digesting constantly.
Other Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Another benefit of intermittent fasting is that it can just simplify things. You’re spending less time preparing and stressing about meals, for one. You also have more opportunities to be efficient at work because you’re only having to stop 2-3 times at most to eat.
Intermittent fasting might even have protective properties against diseases like Alzheimer’s , improve short- and long-term memory , and increases the protein known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which protects the brain against damage and death of cells.
You can read more about details about the benefits of fasting here.
Ketosis Vs Intermittent Fasting
Now, let’s cover some of the main reasons ketosis and intermittent fasting are the same and also how they differ from one another:
Ketosis vs Intermittent Fasting: Similarities
Basically, ketosis is a result of intermittent fasting. When you fast, it shifts your body into a metabolic state of nutritional ketosis — which could be why ketosis and intermittent fasting have many of the same benefits.
Just like with the ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting involves periods of “starving” the body of something, whether it be all food or just carbs. Also, getting into ketosis generally happens much quicker when fasting.
Ketosis vs Intermittent Fasting: Differences
One involves eating food and the other doesn’t (at least, not for certain periods of time). You can be eat throughout the day and still stay in ketosis on the ketogenic diet, while intermittent fasting involves refraining from food completely for certain periods of time
Also, ketosis is the goal of the ketogenic diet, while intermittent fasting itself is not a diet — and just because you practice it doesn’t mean your goal is necessarily to get into ketosis. Some people simply do intermittent fasting to eat less calories over the course of a day or avoid eating late at night. On the flip side of that, someone might do the ketogenic diet for more than just the weight loss benefits.
Take Home Message
When you look at ketosis vs intermittent fasting, you’ll see that that one can be a great complement to the other. Both also have tremendous benefits for health and weight loss, and that likely has a lot to do with the fasting that results in ketosis.
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- Wolfe, Devin M. et al. “Autophagy Failure in Alzheimer’s Disease and the Role of Defective Lysosomal Acidification.” The European journal of neuroscience 37.12 (2013): 1949–1961. PMC. Web. 30 Jan. 2017
- Brandhorst, Sebastian et al. “A Periodic Diet That Mimics Fasting Promotes Multi-System Regeneration, Enhanced Cognitive Performance and Healthspan.” Cell metabolism 22.1 (2015): 86–99. PMC. Web. 25 Jan. 2017.