Guys! It has been a while. Things have been pretty hectic for myself here lately, between moving, family visiting, training Madi (our newest trainer), and trying not to crash off energy drinks I have in my mind slacked! Life has finally slowed down a bit and thanks to my son and fiancé have a desk to do my work at, needless to say I will certainly stay up to par with my blogs and tutorials in the future. I’m sorry, but I am going to be selfish this week and blog about a topic that I have been dying to learn more about; The Ketogenic Diet, more specifically what it is exactly and if it works. I know I preach about performing good eating habits and not doing so much of a “specific diet” but I had too. You see my favorite scientists swear by this so I deemed it worth looking over.
First thing first, the breakdown of the ketogenic diet. In a nut shell, it’s a diet (more like a lifestyle change) that consists of consuming 5-10% of your calories from Carbohydrates, 15-30% of your calories from proteins, and lastly 60-80% of your calories from fats. To make it easier, if you are on a daily caloric intake of 2000 calories and you eat 10% as carbohydrates it would be 200 calories worth of carbs. 30% as protein would be 600 calories, leaving 60% of your calories as fats; a whopping 1200 calories from fat! It is very similar if not identical to the “counting your macros method,” (macronutrients).
I know what you are thinking because I was thinking the same thing, this sounds crazy right? Well let’s go over the reasoning for this caloric breakdown. The goal of this “diet “is for the body to become “keto-adapted.”
Keto Adapted simply means the body has altered its metabolic system (the way energy is produced in the body). In normal human function carbohydrates are the bodies primary source of energy, when becoming Keto adapted the bodies predominant energy source becomes fat. The body then shifts from storing fat normally to fat oxidation. Fat oxidation is basically the body breaking down giant stored lipids (fat) into smaller pieces (Triglycerides for example), this becomes our source of energy to run on throughout the day. Without the fat oxidation, the fat molecules would stay in the bigger stored form as they cannot be used as an energy source if not broken down.
I know this sounds like the cure to loosing fat but it is a lot harder than it sounds, the biochemical changes that are necessary to change the body from reliance on glucose for energy (glucocentric metabolism) to a reliance on fats for energy ( adipocentric metabolism) are tough to say the least. It requires the restriction of carbohydrates (thus the 5-10%) for several weeks and depending on the person, even several months or a long period of fasting (In other words starvation). First thing first, the breakdown of the ketogenic diet. In a nut shell, it’s a diet (more like a lifestyle change) that consists of consuming 5-10% of your calories from Carbohydrates, 15-30% of your calories from proteins, and lastly 60-80% of your calories from fats. To make it easier, if you are on a daily caloric intake of 2000 calories and you eat 10% as carbohydrates it would be 200 calories worth of carbs. 30% as protein would be 600 calories, leaving 60% of your calories as fats; a whopping 1200 calories from fat! It is very similar if not identical to the “counting your macros method,” (macronutrients).
First of all, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE STARVE YOURSELF! I cannot make it any more clear, there are so many reasons why but it comes down to this, it is literally the worst thing you can do to your body, well besides tattooing a sports team on your body that ISNT the Dallas Cowboys. That leaves us with restricting carbs for several weeks/months.
Have you ever gone a full week without any carbs? Like seriously exercised, worked, and did everything normal just no carbs? If you haven’t, let me tell you IT IS HARD! I would do it to make weight for competitions and I about lost my family after 2 hours. Seriously though, it is difficult to run on little to no carbs, it’s like having a low gas tank and trying to make it last 100 miles, crankiness, irritability, and tiredness are just some of the side effects of a no/low carb diet.
After reading TONS of research science shows the claims of the ketogenic diet to be accurate, when followed properly (strict with very minimal ”slip ups”) keto-adapted can be reached and the use of fats as an energy source can be achieved. Now my biggest concern was the loss of muscle mass due to gluconeogenesis and the lack of carbohydrates tearing into our proteins (muscles) as fuel. After reading the research science shows the ketones (broken down fatty acids) preserve and prevent muscle catabolism, furthermore muscle anabolism (muscle mass increase) may occur after one has become “keto-adapted.”
Before I give my final thoughts on the Ketogenic diet, I must state that it is very common to experience rapid weight loss-due to water secretion from the lack of carbohydrates- headaches, muscle cramps, fatigue, nausea, lethargy, lack of energy/strength, and something known as the Keto-flu which is every symptom at once.
It sounds terrible but once the “infant stage of the ketogenic diet is complete and you become keto-adapted you will be burning your stored fat throughout the day. It is also important to note an increase in energy, appetite con troll, cognitive enhancement, and body composition will all increase as well once “keto-adapted.”
My final thoughts are this; using stored fats as fuel is more efficient in the weight/fat loss journey than carbohydrates as fuel. If you have the discipline-remember this can take months of strict discipline before any benefits occur- than it is a great lifestyle change. I personally would love to experiment with this and hope to do so in the near future, that means get ready Kristy because this family is about to make a lifestyle change!
I hope somebody out there is disciplined enough to try this with me, please do not hesitate to share your results and progress with me.
Below is a list of recommended foods and a pie chart of how your calories should be distributed when following the ketogenic diet;
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