You want to lose weight, and you’re considering getting on the keto diet since so many people seem to have great results with it. But you also read that IF (intermittent fasting) does a great job, and people seem to get great results on it as well.
So which is better? Which do you do? Keto? IF? Maybe booth? So many questions…!
Keto and IF have been around for quite some time (keto for nearly 40 years, and IF for even longer), but social media has brought more attention to them this past year.
You see people getting great results, losing fat, looking leaner, healthier and reporting and overall better quality of life, so it makes sense that you’re considering doing one, or the other, or even both.
Let me show you how these diets work AND reveal TRUTH on how they really work.
The Calorie Game
First, you have to understand that any diet (way of eating) that has you in a caloric deficit (eating less than your body needs) WILL RESULT IN WEIGHT LOSS.
Read that one more time, any diet that has you eating less food than what your body needs will result in weight loss.
This goes for Keto, IF, vegetarian, Zone, Whole 30, etc… as long as your in a caloric deficit, you will lose weight.
Side note: for those reading this that are saying they have x, y, or z hormones going on, OR they are eating 1200 calories a day, or that calories don’t matter, I’ll touch on that in a later blog.
As long as you’re eating fewer calories than your body needs, you’ll see results.
The keto diet is where the body consumes the bulk of its calories from fat, then a small amount of protein and finally a trace number of carbs
It looks something like this:
- 75% fat
- 20% protein
- 5% carbs
When you take a person and limit them to virtually zero carbs, this DRASTICALLY reduces their food options. This means no more sugar, no more sweats, no more processed carbs, bread, oats, nothing.
Now for a person who is not counting calories when they go from the majority of their calories from carbs (50-60% of their calories from carbs) to virtually nothing, weight loss does happen. Because most people are cutting out ALL the processed food and by default, cutting their calories.
There is a lot more than goes to this, but this is just skimming the surface.
We worked with a person that when we had them track their food, they averaged about 2100 calories a day to maintain their weight.
Then he decided to do a keto diet, he lost about 10lbs, and after a period of time, we had him track his food AGAIN and discovered that he was now averaging about 1750 calories a day.
NOW… was it being on a Keto diet that caused him to lose weight, or was it because he was eating fewer calories?
Intermittent Fasting (IF)
We’ve written about IF multiple times on this site, but let me give you a rundown of how it works.
IF is where you go a longer period of time without eating (usually about 18 hours) and thus you have a smaller window of time to eat. So, out of 24 hours, if you didn’t’ eat for 18 hours, you would only get 6 hours to eat.
To show you how it works, let’s say that you stopped eating at 8 pm Monday if you were to not eat for 18 hours, then this means you wouldn’t eat until 2 pm the next day.
When people start this, they notice a reasonably quick weight drop. They report the same feelings of less bloating, feeling lighter, healthier, less mental fog, etc.
NOW… why did they lose weight?
Below is another example.
We had a person track their food for a period of time and noticed that she needed about 1700 cals to maintain her weight. This person decided they wanted to try IF, after about 4 weeks, we had them average their calories again and found that her average daily calorie intake when from 1700 to 1300.
Did she drop weight because of IF, or was it because she was eating fewer calories? Again you know the answer.
Side note: Yes, there are other benefits to skipping a few meals that IF followers love to promote, but that, again, is for another blog post.
The part that seems to get many people is that when someone starts a keto or IF way of eating and they don’t lose weight OR even gain weight.
That’s like a punch to the gut.
The sad thing is, this happens often.
What ends up happening is that, usually after the first few weeks of starting the new way of eating, a person will begin to gradually eat more.
On a keto way of eating, they will end up eating many more calories in the form of fat, and the scale stops moving, or the scale starts going back up!
With IF a common mistake is during a person’s feeding window, they will end up eating more calories in the form of junk because they “haven’t eaten all day.” when the majority of their calories should come from healthy whole foods.
It’s still very easy to not lose any weight on either of these popular diets, or any diet, if the calories are still higher than what a body needs.
Which is better?
First, I will openly admit that I’m not a keto fan, I see it work for SOME people, but I don’t believe that it’s the cure-all that many claim it to be, but I don’t think it’s evil either.
But which is better all depends on YOU, your body, your schedule, your genetics, everything. It’s purely individualist.
Neither is magic; both can work because, in the end, each diet had you eating less food than what your body needed.
The fewer calories came either from removing all processed carbs (or carbs in general) or by reducing the amount of time that you could eat, but as we just noted in the previous section, it’s just as easy to not lose any weight if you’re still pounding the calories down.
It’s a calorie game.
Now, both of these have an around about ways of having you eat fewer calories, and if that’s what you need to get started, then pick one (or none of the ones I just listed) that would be easy for you to start. Build some momentum, and you can modify or change as you learn more about your body.
Neither is magic. Not one diet is better for everyone; in the end, find a way of eating that involves fewer calories and is simple for you to stick with.
In Health and Awesomeness,
Travis Merritt, BS, CPT, is the Owner of Rowlett Transformation Center in Rowlett, TX.
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