Ketogenic diet what? Here’s everything you need to know about the diet that almost every fit person is trying and how to do it right.
Full body transformations are quite popular now, and the fitness industry is booming and making larger profits than ever before.
These funds are being used to support research. One type of diet that has become one of the most researched and followed is the ketogenic diet.
But, there are still questions about it. Will the ketogenic diet truly help you increase lean muscle growth?
Is it just a fad diet that will leave us in the near future?
Let’s take a look at the facts surrounding the ketogenic diet.
What Is The Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet is a scientific term used to indicate a very low carb diet. You’ll need good knowledge of how your body reacts to certain changes. A shift in your metabolism for energy production is a pretty big deal. People are always looking up how to speed up your metabolism.
The ketogenic diet basically means you eat fewer carbs than normal. For most people, this causes a metabolic switch to naturally occur within one to seven days.
A metabolic switch is when you change the way your body uses nutrients to create energy. Energy for most people is gained through glycogen.
This is the stored form of glucose found throughout your liver, muscles and body fat. Glucose is sugar that comes from carbs received in the foods you eat. There are many ways how to measure body fat.
Since a ketogenic diet limits the amount of carbs being consumed, your body goes into a metabolic switch from using carbs for energy to fats instead. When fats are being used for energy production they are in the form of acids known as ketones.
This is the reason why it is referred to as the ketogenic diet.
This Is The Purpose Of The Ketogenic Diet
Why would put yourself through such a diet? The main reason this type of diet began being used was for obese patients. People who commonly suffer from obesity usually have an addiction to carbs. This addiction means a lot of sugar is being consumed. Your body uses carbs quickly for energy to do daily or training based activities. The issue with this is that your body only needs enough to stay active.
Excess carbs become stored as unhealthy body fat.
Limiting the amount of carbs causes these obese people to no longer store carbs. Instead, they begin to use their own body fat to provide energy. This drastically causes weight loss within the first two or three months. But, most of the weight being lost is water weight as carbs are water dense. True fat loss starts after this timeframe.
The main reason a lot of people do the ketogenic diet now is how to gain muscle mass but stay lean through the reduction of body fat. The common person following this diet is not obese, but does have some excess body fat.
A lot of bodybuilders love this diet for short-term use. It helps them to reduce body fat content quickly for competition purposes.
Following The Ketogenic Diet Usually Ends In Failure
In the right hands, this diet has many potential benefits. Sadly, the average person following a ketogenic diet will fail. The main reason is because society has grown to love carbs.
The largest portion for most meals is carbs instead of protein. And, the types of foods we often crave feature carbs. In the end, most people lose their willpower and give into their cravings for sugar to use as energy. This truly is an addiction.
Studies show that the short-term benefits of the ketogenic diet are in fact lean muscle growth and fat loss. That’s when you follow the diet alongside a proper training program.
But, the majority of the group researched reverted back to a high carb intake after six to eight months of very low carb dieting.
The only diet that has been proven effective beyond the six-month timeframe is the Mediterranean diet. The benefits of this diet include prevention against heart disease and other heart related conditions.
So What Does This Mean For You and The Ketogenic Diet?
You need plenty of willpower and the ability to diet with proper food sources to stay healthy. You also have to set short term goals that focus on around one to six months of ketogenic dieting.
Some people are true models for the ketogenic diet being used for longer periods.
They have no problems with it. Sadly, they make up a small percentage. Think of it like those who smoke and live healthy lives past the age of 90. It can be done.
But, most smokers will develop health issues long before they reach this age.
There Are Possible Negative Side Effects to The Ketogenic Diet…
All extreme diets have some possible side effects to be aware of. The ketogenic diet is no different. Other diets such as a low protein or low-fat calorie restriction take a bit longer to show their side effects.
If you’re on the ketogenic diet, any potential side effects will begin to show much quicker.
Some say the ketogenic diet side effects usually begin within a week. In fact, it could be sooner. Some notice it around the three or four-day mark.
What Are The Most Common Side Effects of a Very Low Carb Diet?
They include fatigue, energy loss, frequent headaches, dehydration, loss of mental focus and possible muscle loss.
How long can these side effects last?
It depends on the person following the diet. As mentioned, a small number of the people will be able to go through what is known as a keto-adaptation. This is when your body is capable of using ketones for energy production, and the side effects never happen.
There is a true display of willpower when it comes to fighting past these side effects.
This is why most only follow an extreme diet of this nature for short periods to reduce fat and allow lean muscle growth. Most do not want to adopt this type of dieting as a lifestyle choice.
Regarding how to get lean, the science isn’t clear. Some studies show the muscles will go through catabolism, which is when a molecule is converted into energy.
The lack of carbs to be used for energy causes your body to not only use ketones, but muscles as well.
Other studies state that lean muscle will be retained if the person consumes enough protein and dietary fats. Either way you are taking risks with your body when it comes to following a ketogenic diet for a long time.
This Is How To Properly Enable Ketosis
Still seeking to receive the best possible benefits from a ketogenic diet?
The process is not hard to complete as far as starting the metabolic switch. But, you do have to have a restrictive diet plan that focuses on nutrients with care. The way you consume nutrients may vary depending on how intense you want the ketosis effect to be.
Some people eat up to 200 calories of carbs each day to attempt to offset the fatigue and other side effects. Others completely strip their diet of all carbs. People argue that this could cause eventual death.
But the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine says otherwise. They stated that no carbs are needed to sustain life.
Keep in mind that carbs have never been recognized as being essential. In other words, no one has said you need carbs to live. Basically the claims are that a ketogenic diet is completely okay to follow as a lifestyle choice. There are no easy diets.
But, the issue most would have is that they will need to find more food sources that have the vitamins and minerals and fiber being lost by not consuming carbs.
Multi-vitamins are a good way to possibly prevent nutrient deficiencies. Protein rich foods usually have dietary fats as well. In other words, eating a lot of foods high in protein will keep most of your diet filled up.
You want ones that have no cholesterol or trans fat. Note also that fruits and veggies are carbs, so if you remove all carbs you are unable to eat these.
Your fridge should be packed with high protein foods such as chicken, turkey, fish, pork and beef. Tofu is a healthy choice as well. Research shows that saturated fats may not exactly be the culprit causing heart disease and high cholesterol on its own. The study showed that saturated fats only caused higher cholesterol levels when mixed with high levels of carbs.
But eaten on its own with no carbs it showed no changes. More research will come to see why this happens.
This Is The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet
This is a more advanced version because you are eating carbs for specific changes in your anabolic levels. You allow this to naturally occur by following what is known as cheat days. A cheat day means you can load your body up with carbs only on that specific day. You could do this once a week or once every other week.
Research shows that cheat days are effective for allowing more fat loss to occur and activating muscle-building hormones. The reason behind this theory is that your metabolism gets lazy when it never experiences changes. Adding some spikes in your insulin levels prevents this from happening. This is yet another study that needs to be taken to the next level of research.
The most common use of the cyclical ketogenic diet comes from the bodybuilding world.
Simple, because they want to know how to build muscle mass, allow muscle definition and strip their body of unwanted water weight prior to competition. The possible anabolic benefit from doing cheat days is highly noted from top bodybuilders and powerlifters. It’s hard to argue that this does not work. All you have to do is look at them to see that it is working.
The Choice Is Yours!
You may or may not experience lean muscle gains through the ketogenic diet. The good news is that weight loss is pretty much guaranteed by the second month. Note that this is weight loss and not fat loss due to the water weight being lost that was previously discussed. Fat loss may take a few more months before any major changes occur.
Protect your body by getting enough protein and fats throughout the day to ensure that your body has the energy to physically and mentally perform daily tasks. Carbs are not essential for life, but they do make dieting a lot easier if you choose to just not eat unhealthy ones.
Do you want to do a basic low carb diet instead?
This is what most dieticians and trainers advise since you still have carbs for energy and it allows significant fat loss to occur. In order to achieve this, you must take the amount of daily calories your body requires and divide it in half.
This ensures that you consume less carbs than you use. It prevents ketosis as well.
Drink plenty of water or other beverages without any added sugar. These will keep your body hydrated. Of course, you may want to consult with your doctor prior to making large changes to your diet or if you have had any prior health conditions.
The ketogenic diet is not for everybody. It can be very hard to follow. Worse yet, it will take a while for true fat loss to occur. But, it can work. If you plan to use it, consider including cheat days.
Of course, you’ll also want to get ample protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber throughout the week. It’s not easy, but nothing in life ever is!
– By Brian Pankau, CPT