Written by: Suzie Walker



Time to read 16 min

We are big fans of Intermittent fasting at The Keto Collective. You might be one of those people considering taking on this approach to eating. Or, you might be one of the people thinking… 

‘What is Intermittent Fasting?’

In this article, we will talk all things IF. What is it? Is it safe? And is it right for you?

Lets find out…

The Basics of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that alternates between periods of fasting and eating. This method does not dictate which foods you should consume but, rather when to eat them.

Research shows that IF can manage weight and prevent, or even reverse, some forms of health issues including diabetes and adult obesity.

Intermittent fasting has become increasingly popular for a reason. This approach to weight management, overall health improvement, and disease prevention is easy to follow, works well with Keto, and melts fat off the body!

It is so popular in fact, that it is one of the most popular ways of losing weight for the American Population!

The simplicity and flexibility of this practice have contributed to its widespread adoption, making it a more feasible option for those looking to incorporate a sustainable change into their lifestyle.

There are several methods of intermittent fasting, which we will discuss soon. All with variations in the duration and frequency of fasting periods.

As with any new lifestyle change, the key to success in this eating pattern is finding an approach that works best for your body, lifestyle, and individual preferences. You need to find which version of I.F. fits YOUR lifestyle.

Let's continue on and we will familiarise you with its potential benefits, different approaches, and practical tips for implementing this eating pattern.

What are Eating Windows and Fasting Periods?

This is simple: The eating window refers to the time frame during which you consume food. For example, if you follow a time-restricted eating pattern, your eating window might be from noon to 8 PM, during which you have all your meals.

The fasting period is the time during which you abstain from eating. In the time-restricted eating example, your fasting period would be from 8 PM to noon the following day. The duration and timing of the eating window and fasting period can differ based on the type of intermittent fasting you choose.

In intermittent fasting, it is essential to maintain a proper balance between your eating window and fasting period. Ensure that your fasting periods are not too long or too short and that you are consuming enough nutrients during your eating window. But don't overdo it!

There's no point in fasting for 24 hours just to follow it up with a 14-inch Pizza and a litre of ice-cream!

intermittent fasting period

Potential Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

So now that you know what Intermittent Fasting is, you are surely interested in what benefits this way of eating gives.

After all, this is the reason people do intermittent fasting. For the Benefits!

Let's have a look at what I.F can offer!

Weight Loss and Fat Loss

Obviously, the main reason many people start fasting is for its weight loss potential.

Intermittent fasting can be a super effective method for managing your body weight and promoting fat loss.

By limiting your eating window, you may naturally consume fewer calories, which can lead to weight loss.

Additionally, intermittent fasting may increase your metabolic rate and promote the breakdown of fat stores in your body, helping you lose fat mass.

And if you throw The Keto Diet into this equation, you can expect even faster results!

weight loss on IF

Metabolic Health Improvement

Intermittent fasting may improve your metabolic health, as it can positively impact various markers such as insulin sensitivity, blood sugar, and insulin resistance. 

By allowing time for your insulin levels to decrease, your body may become more insulin sensitive, thus reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Additionally, intermittent fasting can help regulate blood sugar levels, leading to better metabolic health overall.

Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases

By improving your metabolic health, intermittent fasting can help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke. 

This eating pattern has been shown to improve cardiovascular health, possibly due to its effects on inflammation. Intermittent fasting may also support a healthy circadian rhythm, which can influence a variety of bodily functions and reduce the risk of several chronic diseases.

Unleash the Amazing Powers of Autophagy

Autophagy, a cellular process with profound implications for health and longevity, has been closely linked to the practice of fasting. 

As our bodies adapt to periods of food restriction, autophagy is triggered, kickstarting a powerful self-cleansing mechanism within our cells.

In response to this scarcity, cells begin to recycle damaged proteins and organelles, effectively purging accumulated waste and debris. 

This natural detoxification process not only supports cellular rejuvenation but also aids in combating inflammation and oxidative stress, crucial factors in the development of various diseases.

Autophagy is one of the biggest benefits of fasting, and could be your path to better health and longevity!

what is intermittent fasting

How Intermittent Fasting Works

So now you know I.F. is, and you know the benefits that you can achieve by following a fasting plan, let us tell you how exactly this eating plan works.

Calorie Intake and Calorie Deficit

Intermittent fasting works by altering your eating patterns, cycling between periods of fasting and eating. During the fasting periods, you consume fewer calories, creating a calorie deficit.

This helps you manage your weight more effectively compared to traditional diets, where you might monitor the number of calories in each meal.

You heard that right, no more calorie counting!

When you consume fewer calories, your body has to use stored energy, which can result in weight loss.

And realistically, after a fasting period, it's very hard to overeat. Your stomach is smaller, and you fill up uber quickly in comparison to normal.

Influence on Hunger Hormones and Insulin

Intermittent fasting can impact your hunger hormones and insulin levels. By fasting for brief periods, you can help regulate your hunger hormones like ghrelin, which signals when your body is hungry.

Hunger pangs go by the wayside once you get into the rhythm of I.F. You would think you stay hungry at all times, but that's just not the case. It can even be a struggle to force food down to break a fast! Crazy, I know!

Fasting leads to lower insulin levels, allowing your body to shift from burning carbohydrates for energy to burning stored fats, contributing to fat loss.

And if you pair it with Keto, be prepared for even quicker weight loss!

Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Fat Cells

During intermittent fasting, your body experiences changes in hormone levels that help break down stored fat cells and use them for energy. 

This process is known as lipolysis, in which your body's metabolism breaks down fats into their constituent parts (glycerol and fatty acids) for energy. 

As your body moves towards burning fat for fuel, you may notice improvements in body composition, weight loss, and overall health.


Different Types of Intermittent Fasting

Now this is where it can get confusing to new adopters of Intermittent Fasting.

There are a few different varieties of fasting to choose from, and that will depend completely on your own lifestyle, goals, and eating opportunities. Some types of I.F. will work much better for you than others. You just need to work it out for yourself!

Time-Restricted Eating Patterns

Time-restricted feeding is a popular approach to intermittent fasting where you limit your eating window during the day. For example, you might choose a 12-hour fasting window and only eat during the remaining 12 hours. 

This approach is very versatile and allows your body to focus on digestion and nutrient absorption during eating hours, while fasting hours give your body time to detoxify and repair itself.

Is this really fasting? Not really.

It is very similar to a normal way of eating, and wouldn't take much effort to follow along. But you also won't get the benefits from longer fasts.

At the Keto Collective, we would recommend looking at 16/8 as a MINIMUM LENGTH fasting period. We will talk about that soon…

5/2 Intermittent Fasting

The 5/2 intermittent fasting plan involves eating a healthy diet for five days of the week and then restricting your calorie intake for the remaining two days. 

On fasting days, you consume around 500 calories, which is significantly less than your regular intake. This can lead to weight loss, improved metabolism, and other potential health benefits.

A lot of people get success from this type of fasting. It allows you to choose busy days for your low-calorie days, so you can keep your mind occupied, then you can enjoy your non-fasting days when you have more leisure time.

16/8 Intermittent Fasting

The 16/8 method is another popular intermittent fasting plan, where you fast for 16 hours each day and eat during an 8-hour window.

This can be as simple as finishing your last meal in the evening and not eating again until lunchtime the following day.

The 16/8 plan is an easy way to introduce yourself to intermittent fasting, as you still have a decently sized eating window and can maintain a regular sleeping pattern.

This eating window is maybe a little too large to see all the benefits of fasting, such as autophagy, but is a good way to start yourself or a loved one on Intermittent fasting.

OMAD Intermittent Fasting

OMAD (One Meal A Day) is a more extreme form of intermittent fasting where you consume just one meal per day. 

This meal usually consists of all your daily required calories and nutrients, making it crucial to plan your meals carefully to ensure you don't miss out on vital nutrients.

While OMAD can lead to faster weight loss and increased mental clarity, it is not recommended for everyone and can be tougher to stick to for more casual users.

However, if you want quick results, combining OMAD and Keto is a powerful combination!

24-Hour+ Intermittent Fasting

Some intermittent fasting plans extend beyond a single day.

A 24-hour fasting period involves not eating for a full day, either by fasting from breakfast to breakfast, lunch to lunch, or dinner to dinner. 

This method can be done once or twice a week, but it should be approached with caution, as extended fasting can lead to nutrient deficiencies and eating disorders if not done correctly.

48 Hour+ Intermittent Fasting

Fasting for 48 hours or longer is a more extreme form of intermittent fasting and should only be attempted by those with experience in shorter fasts.

Please don't jump into fasting head first and go without food for days without being prepared!

These long fasting periods can help to reset the body's immune system and encourage cellular repair. However, they also carry increased risks and should not be undertaken without proper planning and guidance from a healthcare professional.

You will get the full effects of Autophagy with these longer fast, but they're not for the faint of heart.

These long fast would maybe be good for once or twice a year to ‘clean’ your system. But we wouldn't recommend doing this regular!

fasting and keto

Intermittent Fasting and Keto

I.F. and Keto go together like butter and toast. But without the carbs!

While Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of eating and periods of fasting, It doesn't dictate what you should eat but focuses on when you eat instead. 

Keto, on the other hand, is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that aims to push your body into a state of ketosis, where it utilises fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.

Some benefits you might experience when combining intermittent fasting and keto include:

  • Accelerated weight loss: Fasting while following a keto diet can lead to quicker fat burning as your body is already using fat for fuel.
  • Better appetite control: When you're in ketosis, you tend to feel less hungry due to the satiating effect of fats and stable blood sugar levels.
  • Increased mental clarity: Studies show that intermittent fasting and ketosis can improve brain function and mental clarity, giving you better focus throughout the day.

The beautiful thing about combining Keto and I.F. is the state of ketosis comes so much quicker after a fast!

You can actually get into ketosis during the fasting period, then only eat Keto Foods during your feeding window. This will give you all the health benefits of both Keto and fasting.

And trust us, it's a very powerful combination. You can transform your body in no time with this approach!

Maintaining ketosis is much easier when enjoying periods of fasting in comparison to eating around the clock.

Be aware though, whatever approach you choose, it's essential to maintain your electrolyte intake and stay hydrated. Consider taking supplements like magnesium, potassium, and sodium to avoid those horrible muscle cramps and draining fatigue.

intermittent fasting and weight loss

Implementing Intermittent Fasting

So, you now know ‘what is intermittent fasting’, you know how I.F. works, you know the benefits, and you know the different approaches.


But before you get started, you might need a few pointers to get you going in the right direction from the very start…

Creating an Eating Schedule

If you are going to try intermittent fasting, you should first establish an eating schedule. This involves defining periods of fasting and eating.

Common approaches include the 16/8 method (fast for 16 hours, eat during an 8-hour window) and the 5:2 method (eat normally for 5 days a week, restrict calories on 2 non-consecutive days).

Choose the best plan for you, and tailor your eating pattern to fit your lifestyle and needs.

Some people work great on 5/2, while others prefer alternate-day fasting.

You really just need to work out what works best for you.

We recommend starting with 16/8, then working from there.

Choosing Nutritious Foods

When planning your meals during eating windows, focus on consuming nutritious foods that fuel your body. 

Prioritise whole foods, lean proteins, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. 

A well-balanced meal plan is essential to ensure you receive all necessary nutrients and maintain a healthy lifestyle during intermittent fasting.

  • Whole Foods: Opt for REAL FOOD. No over-processed nonsense! Your body will be craving proper nutrition after a fast, not a boatload of E-numbers!
  • Lean proteins: Choose lean meats like chicken or turkey, fish, eggs, and plant-based options such as beans and lentils. This is especially important if you are exercising regularly.
  • Fruits and vegetables: Fill half your plate with a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables to maximise nutrient intake. Think from your body's point of view, not your own cravings! We promise after a few bites of high-quality food, you will forget about that dirty Maccy-Ds!

If you are interested in following the Keto Diet while fasting, we would recommend you read through our Beginners Guide to Keto before starting. It will help you get an idea on exactly what you can and can't eat while living the Keto lifestyle.

Managing Side Effects

Intermittent fasting can come with some side effects, especially in the beginning. You may experience fatigue, headaches, irritability, or dizziness. To mitigate these effects:

  1. Stay Hydrated: Ensure you drink plenty of water during periods of fasting and eating.
  2. Ease into it: Start by gradually increasing the length of your fasting window, giving your body time to adjust.
  3. Monitor your progress: Keep track of your eating habits, energy levels, and overall well-being to make informed adjustments as needed.
hydration while fasting

Precautions and Considerations Of Intermittent Fasting

Remember that intermittent fasting may not be suitable for everyone. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or concerns, consult with a healthcare professional before starting an intermittent fasting plan. Plan accordingly!

Health Conditions and Contraindications

Before starting intermittent fasting, consider your personal health conditions. 

Certain health issues, such as diabetes, hypoglycaemia, and eating disorders, may make intermittent fasting unsafe for you. 

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, consult your GP or a registered dietitian before beginning this eating pattern. They will be able to advise you on if it is a suitable lifestyle for yourself.

Short-Term and Long-Term Effects

Intermittent fasting offers some potential health benefits, but it can also cause several short-term side effects. These may include hunger, fatigue, insomnia, nausea, and headaches.

These side effects could be temporary, but it's important to monitor your body's response while fasting.

Regarding long-term effects, intermittent fasting doesn't really have any. 

Not unless you consider weight loss, insulin control, and better eating habits a side effect!

Consulting with a Health Care Provider

Yes, we keep saying this, but it's very important…

Before making any major changes to your eating habits, please consult with a healthcare professional.

They can help assess whether intermittent fasting is suitable for you and help create an eating plan tailored to your health goals. Remember, your long-term health is the priority, so it's wise to seek professional guidance before embarking on any new dietary strategy.

You may have an underlying health condition you were unaware of that makes you unsuitable for any type of fasting protocol. So please get more information if you have any fears or concerns.

what is fasting

Finally On... What is Intermittent Fasting?

As a dietary approach, intermittent fasting is one of the most rewarding. 

Not only can you see quick, and effective fat loss. You will also feel sharper in thought, and better in the body!

Intermittent fasting involves alternating between fasting and eating periods, offering flexibility and simplicity for weight management and health improvement.

Several intermittent fasting methods exist, making it essential to choose one that suits your individual preferences and lifestyle. These include alternate-day fasting, 5:2 fasting (fasting two days each week), and daily time-restricted feeding (such as eating only during a six-hour window).

When considering intermittent fasting, understanding the potential benefits, various approaches, and safety precautions is crucial for success in adopting this eating pattern.

The bottom line is that we love intermittent fasting at The Keto Collective. It can offer numerous benefits for those willing to give it a try. 

And if you combine I.F. with The Keto Diet, prepare for a new body, and a whole new outlook on life!

Suzie Walker - Keto Collective

Suzie Walker

Suzie Walker is a qualified Nutritional Therapist from the College of Naturopathic Nutrition London and co-founded The Keto Collective, a company that aims to make it easier for those following the keto way of eating to find whole food, great tasting, keto alternatives to their everyday favorites.

Suzie is a passionate believer in the power of the ketogenic diet and has researched the many health benefits of low-carb living.

Her goal is to bring keto to the masses and take it mainstream. 

How long does it take for 16/8 intermittent fasting to show results?

It typically takes about two to four weeks for people to see noticeable results with the 16/8 intermittent fasting method. However, individual results may vary based on factors such as your diet, workout routine, and overall health. Consistency is key as well as patience, as your body adjusts to this new eating pattern.

Which fasting window is optimal for losing belly fat?

Although there is no definitive answer to which fasting window is optimal for losing belly fat, the 16/8 intermittent fasting method is a popular choice, as it's generally seen as easier to maintain. In this method, you fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8-hour window. Some people find other fasting schedules, such as the 5:2 fasting method, more effective for them. Ultimately, it's essential to find a fasting schedule that works best for you and your lifestyle.

What are the benefits of the 16/8 intermittent fasting method?

The 16/8 intermittent fasting method has been associated with various health benefits, including weight loss, improved insulin resistance, and potentially better heart health. Some studies also suggest that this fasting method may lead to increased mental clarity and enhanced cellular repair processes in the body. However, more research is needed to understand the long-term effects of intermittent fasting fully.

Are there specific intermittent fasting schedules for women?

Yes, there are specific intermittent fasting schedules that can be better suited for women. Some experts recommend that women start with a more moderate approach, such as a 14/10 fasting schedule (fasting for 14 hours and eating for 10 hours). This might be due to hormonal shifts that occur in women during their menstrual cycles. It's essential for women to monitor their bodies' reactions to fasting and adjust their schedules accordingly.

What are some recommended intermittent fasting apps?

There are several intermittent fasting apps that can help you track your fasting and eating windows, as well as provide helpful information and support. A few popular intermittent fasting apps include Zero, FastHabit, and BodyFast. Each app offers unique features, so it's worth exploring them to find the one that best suits your needs.

Which intermittent fasting method is best for weight loss?

There is no definitive answer to the best intermittent fasting method for weight loss, as individual experiences and results may vary. The 16/8 method, 5:2 fasting, alternate-day fasting, and others have shown promising results in weight loss for different people. It's essential to find the fasting method that resonates with you and is sustainable over time, as weight loss requires consistency and commitment.

Can you drink Coffee while Fasting?

It depends who you listen to! Some people say true fasting is consuming nothing but water until your eating window opens. Others say that Black Coffee and Tea is allowed at any time. Us at The Keto Collective agrees with the latter. Just remember to keep it plain! No cream, no sugar. It must be black!