So you’ve chosen to go keto for 2020 … good for you! Now you’re wondering how in the world you’ll stick to it. Well, adding intermittent fasting to your keto diet plan can actually be a huge help. In episode 4 of Us Weekly’s podcast “KETO-M-G,” neurologist David Perlmutter, M.D. explains the benefits of the practice, and why it’s actually healthy. Available to listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio and Stitcher.

Before diving in, UsJackie Miranne and Perlmutter define the common practice that celebrities including Chris Pratt, Brooke Burke and Kourtney Kardashian swear by — as best as they can, anyway. “We don’t really have a great definition for intermittent fasting,” the New York Times bestselling author says. “[But] it means not eating for a period of time.”

Typically, that time period can run anywhere from 12 to 16 hours — as in the common 16:8 method of fasting — but the window can be shorter or longer, says Dr. Perlmutter. What you’re looking for is the body to start making “shifts that are related to fasting,” he notes. And that can be accomplished, he says, when we simply eat breakfast (i.e., “break our fast” from dinner) at a later time than usual the next day.

Kourtney Kardashian and Chris Pratt

“I do believe it’s reasonable not to have your first meal of the day until at least noon, or 1, 2 o’clock in the afternoon,” says the neurologist. “Once you do that, you set into motion a low-grade ketosis. This is a great way of jumpstarting yourself into a ketogenic diet, which we know has incredible benefits for your health.”

As the podcast detailed on a previous episode, when the body is in ketosis — which is the point of the keto diet — it burns fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. This process leads to weight loss. And eating the good fats that can help your body get into the state of ketosis — which are found in foods such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, grass-fed beef and oily fish — can even help the health of your brain, asserts the creator of the series Alzheimer’s: The Science of Prevention. In good news, the body becomes more adept at staving off hunger the more you fast.

While you certainly don’t have to practice intermittent fasting in order to dedicate yourself to the keto lifestyle, it can help the body reach ketosis, especially at first. After that, “you’re less likely to need fasting because you’ve already accomplished getting into ketosis,” says Dr. Perlmutter. “You can come in and out of it.”

For more about how intermittent fasting can help you lose weight as part of the keto diet — and improve your health — tune into episode 4!

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