Can you do low carb and intermittent fasting at the same time?

Posted by Wen Dan Jiang on

Can you do low carb and intermittent fasting at the same time?

Can you combine both-a low-diet and intermittent fasting? Yes, you can combine the two, as long as you do not have any medical issues. It is safe to do so for healthy individuals.

The present era is all about the growing trend of eating junk, processed foods, and having high-sugar beverages. But what’s popular doesn’t have to be beneficial too. Thus, the important thing is to be aware of what you’re consuming and how it affects your health. Whether you go out for dinner, or order food at home, be selective of the food choices you make.

Fortunately, many people are getting inclined towards natural foods and healthier lifestyles. There are various diet plans out there, focusing either on hunger-control, caloric restriction, or even low carbs intake to maintain healthy body weight. One such diet is a low-carb diet. The following article revolves around the low-carb diet, intermittent fasting, and other related information.

But, let’s come to the main question, first!

Can you combine both-a low-diet and intermittent fasting?

After the positive outcomes, more people are inclined to follow both as a regimen. On the contrary, it might not show the same effects for everyone or even no results for some people. It could be due to the difference in their body’s chemistry or any medical history. They might try with a few changes in dietary plans after talking to a dietician.

Additionally, some people find it challenging to stick to the plan, or they leave in between due to adverse effects-although, less severe. A study was conducted to observe the after-effects of intermittent dieting for over a period of four weeks. It concluded that the participants experienced fluctuations in mood, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue.  

Other than that, a few exceptions are there; the people suffering from gut disorders or some medical conditions like diabetes or cardiac problems should avoid following both on their own. For them, it is recommended to consult a physician first to ensure safety.

Another question arises, is the low-carb diet safe for pregnant women or nursing mothers?

It is better for expecting women or breastfeeding mothers to have a liberal low-carb diet. Such women and their babies need a healthy, balanced diet to avoid any complications. Secondly, there isn’t much scientific data collected to support the intake of a low-carb diet during pregnancy or breastfeeding. In rare cases, it is shown to cause a ketoacidosis-a severe condition in which uncontrolled levels of ketones build up in the body.

Hence, such women should follow a strict diet plan only when advised by the doctor for any specific reason and not otherwise.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Fasting, if done right, is an effective way to shed some excess fats off your body. And it is gaining popularity among the individuals seeking healthier ways to get rid of their body fats.

Intermittent fasting, as the name indicates, means a cycle of fasting and eating-fasting for a specific period and then eating with some diet restrictions. It is proving to be a wise approach to a healthier lifestyle. According to an expert on intermittent fasting, Brad Pilon, the trend of intermittent fasting, has become extremely popular.

How should it be followed?

Following intermittent fasting, one has to be sensible in diet consumption for the rest of the time or days of the week. It includes avoiding overeating on non-fasting days and only occasionally having cheat days. Another thing of greater concern is the restricted calorie intake, even when you aren’t fasting as you wouldn’t want to create a caloric surplus, throwing all your efforts in vain.

Dr. Stephen Freedland (associate professor of urology and pathology at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina) and his team conducted a study on mice to observe the effects of intermittent fasting on prostate cancer in mice. The mice followed intermittent fasting; however, they were allowed to overeat for the rest of the week. The results showed that overeating prevented any loss in mice’s weight, and they didn’t get any benefits from the fasting, either.

What does your body get by Intermittent fasting?

Other than losing weight, it provides a number of benefits to the body, such as:

  • It improves insulin sensitivity. It also decreases 11 to 57 percent of fasting insulin after a short period of following intermittent fasting. In prediabetes patients, the fasting glucose levels may reduce by 3 to 6 percent.
  • It provides body resistance against oxidative stress and also helps reduce inflammation.
  • Intermittent fasting improves health biomarkers and helps to lessen the risk of many diseases. It induces various processes in the body that are involved in the body’s cell repair.
  • It elevates the levels of growth hormone. And also, preserve cognitive functions in the body, such as memory, learning, thinking, etc.
  • It might help prevent some severe conditions like nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer.
  • There is evidence from various human and animal studies that intermittent fasting prevents cancer and the side effects of chemotherapy.
  • Intermittent fasting might help you live longer. In one of the animal studies, it showed to increase its lifespan.  

Why is a low-carb diet taken?

A low-carb diet is the one that includes restricted intake of dietary carbohydrates present in sugary foods, beverages, cereals, pasta, grains, starchy vegetables, etc. It replaces carbs with proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, etc., and is healthy and nutritious.

The primary aim of consuming a low-carb diet is to lose weight; however, you may follow it to improve your daily diet or benefit your medical condition.

In 2003, research was conducted to compare the effects of a low-fat and a low-carb diet. After six months, the participants following the low-carb diet shed more pounds than those taking a low-fat diet.
However, more clinical trials are needed to support the low carb diet's efficacy and safety.

What are the benefits of a low-carb diet?

  • It helps to lose excess body weight and provide hunger control in a healthier and better way.
  • It removes high carbohydrate-containing processed foods from your diet.
  • It provides symptomatic relief of metabolic syndrome.
  • It raises the levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol-also termed as good cholesterol. The reason is that a low-carb diet contains a higher proportion of fats that tends to increase the HDL levels in our body,
  • It improves heart health and lowers the risk of heart diseases. A study included 82,802 women to see the link between a low-carb diet (with proteins and healthy fats) and cardiac disorders. The results concluded that the risk of heart diseases in such women decreased by 30 percent.
  • It might help lower the chances of type 2 diabetes. A prospective study showed that the people who consumed a low-carb diet with healthy fats source had 20 percent lesser risks of type 2 diabetes.  
  • The lower carbohydrate diet also lowers the blood pressure and the LDL (lower-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels. It also helps to maintain moderate levels of blood lipids.

What are the popular low-carb foods?

A typical low-carb diet usually limits carbohydrates intake to not more than 40 to 60 grams per day. On the other hand, you can increase or decrease the intake according to the goal you have set. For instance, restrict the intake to less than 50 grams for quick results. For moderate weight loss, you can take between 50 to 100 grams. And for weight maintenance or exercise, consume freely up to 150 grams.

The foods that contain low to no carb are essential to add in your low-carb diet. Among many other popular foods that contain low carbohydrates, some of them are as follows:

Eggs; Very low carbs yet high in protein and other nutrients.

Meat (Chicken, beef, lamb); Full of protein, iron, and vitamins. And no carbs.

Fish (Salmon, trout, tuna) and seafood; Many nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids with no carbs.

Non-starchy and leafy green vegetables; they contain a lesser percentage of carbohydrates.

Smaller portions of fruits; Olives, avocados, strawberries, etc.

Oils such as olive oil, canola oil, coconut oil; These oils contain zero carbs per tbsp.

Some Tips to help you stay with the plan

- Before you decide to follow the carb restrictions and fasting, make sure you are very well aware of the whole thing.

- Consider knowing all the Dos and Don'ts-the latter is rather important.

- Know the difference between the foods that can be eaten moderately, and those allowed only on cheat days.

- Do not indulge in overeating on non-fasting days.

- Design a proper meal chart and keep track of every day.

- In addition to the carbs percentage, know the proportion and serving size too.

- Keep low-carb snacks with you to eat during traveling or even at home to avoid junk foods.

- If you are badly craving an unhealthy or processed snack, substitute the ingredients with healthier alternatives.

Bottom line

From the facts and information given above, it is clear that intermittent fasting and a low carb diet is highly beneficial for the body. As long as taking them both simultaneously is concerned, your present health status must be considered. In case, if any issue or medical history is present, consider visiting your physician or dietician.

In addition to that, the mothers-to-be and nursing moms need to be cautious if they plan to start any diet or fasting routine. The mother and baby’s health should be the priority; weight loss can be achieved later at any phase of life.

Healthy persons should make sure that it suits their bodies, eating habits, and health goals.

In case of any food allergy, gut discomfort, or any other unusual symptoms, discontinue the plan and talk to your doctor first.  


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