Ketogenic diets consist of high amounts of fat, moderate protein and very low carbohydrates. The macro ration would look like this 75:20:5. The purpose of ketogenic diets is to reduce our body fat by consuming very little carbs. As we know, the consumption of carbs spikes insulin which shuttles glucose into our cells for energy. Too much carbs and insulin allows for the uptake into fat cells. With out insulin, glucose is not up taken and the metabolism of fat can begin. The protein content is kept reasonably low as protein can be converted into glucose, keeping us out of the ketosis zone.
The key to ketogenic diets is switching our metabolism. Our body will naturally switch to a fat metabolism causing an increase in lipolysis (breakdown of fat). This switch tends to happen at 60g of carbs per day but can differ depending on the person. When this switch occurs, fat is metabolised in the liver and ketones are produced, which circulate in our bodies for energy. No need to worry about our brain k.o. on us during an important presentation as these ketones can also be used by the brain and can used as a source of fuel.
☑ketogenic diets can take as little as 3 days for our bodies to start producing the ketones but it can take a month for us become ketone adapted. Ketone adapted means creating the correct enzymes to use the ketones as energy.
Another down side is the withdrawal symptoms. Switching from high carbs to high fats can leave us experiencing withdrawal, flu like symptoms, as we know carbs is our drug! To counter the flu like symptoms ensure electrolytes levels are kept up.
A great aspects of this diet is that it’s not just a weight loss method, there is research being conducted to hopefully establish whether the ketogenic diet can help with medical conditions such as cancer, alzheimer’s, parkinson’s disease, diabetes, seizures and those on medication which causes great weight gain.
For those of us considering the ketogenic diet, what might completely persuade you towards starting it is that diets high in fat lead to a high concentration in testosterone (anabolic hormone). Where as high insulin leads to low levels of growth hormones and vice versa.
For those of us sitting on the fence because we love carbs way to much to give up there is also a cyclic ketogenic diet (CKD). This branch of ketogenic diets includes periods of high fat with low carbs, cycled with smaller intervals of high carbs low fat. There are a variety of cycles however the standard looks something like this:
5-6 day high fat low carb
1-2 days high carbs low fat
Because of the long period without carbs, those who train regularly may find they struggle with their performance towards the end of the cycle. In this case, another high carb day could slot in mid week.
Unfortunately, people have misunderstood the concept of ketogenic diets and have taken this to the extreme of eating any type of fatty foods. There are good fats and bad fats and although you may not see the fat on the outside, a high diet in bad fats can leave your inside covered in fat resulting in artherosclerosis (build up of fat inside our arteries).
This is a extreme diet and i would only recommend it to those who are disciplined with foods already and have a lot of training experience. It is a very difficult diet to maintain and i wouldn’t recommend it long term because i feel its unsustainable long term.