There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different diets out there that you can take part in. Each one of them offers something different and focuses on different aspects of the human body to achieve the desired results.
Diets are very unique and each individual can achieve various results when following certain diets, meaning that some might see better results with a given diet while others might be interested in finding a more optimal diet which suits their body or lifestyle better.
The problem with certain diets is that they have become saturated with different variations of that same specific diet and it is becoming increasingly more difficult to decide which style of a particular diet you should partake in. Amongst these somewhat saturated and often misleading diets is the ketogenic dieting.
Because there are so many different types, styles, and names associated with ketogenic dieting, it can be very frustrating finding the right information needed to make this diet a part of your life and gain the most benefits from it.
The core ketogenic diet is capable of amazing results. We think it is applicable to a wide range of people who are interested in keeping fat off of their bodies while retaining muscle and improving their overall health and lifestyle. There is plenty of information out there regarding the ketogenic diet and the effects it has on the human body.
This diet has been studied by researchers for many years and recently new discoveries about the human body have introduced additional discoveries that make this diet even more interesting than before.
Before we go any further, you should know that the true ketogenic diet focuses on the following distribution of nutrients: 75% fat, 20% protein, and only 5% carbs. This means that you should not consume more than 50g of carbs daily in order for the diet to be effective. Let’s talk more about ketogenic dieting.
About the Ketogenic Diet
In plain English terminology, consuming a small amount of carbs and high amount of fat with a midrange amount of protein will force your liver to produce molecules called ketone bodies. When this happens, you go into what is known as ketosis.
This is a special metabolic state during which your body uses the above mentioned ketone bodies and fat as the source of energy to keep your body, brain, and muscles functioning properly.
Usually those who are following the traditional “Western” diet have blood ketone levels around 0.1 or 0.2 millimoles. Those who are following the true ketogenic diet usually have blood ketone levels between 0.5 and 5.0 millimoles.
There are a few different stages when a person is undergoing ketosis. Generally, you can see the blood ketone levels rise pretty quickly amongst those who are starting a ketogenic diet, usually within days. The problem is that for the first 2 weeks of dieting the body isn’t used to this new type of metabolism that you are forcing it into, so the result is often feeling sluggish, tired, and at times foggy.
After about two weeks, most dieters will experience what is called keto-adaptation, this is a period during which your body is used to using the new energy source and you are no longer feeling tired, sluggish, or foggy and generally are able to regain your focus without any issues. Sometimes this take a little bit longer to accomplish, but usually keto-adaptation occurs somewhere between the second week and sixth week of dieting.
Keto-adaptation isn’t a simple process. Your body undergoes some pretty major changes during this metabolic state. Think about it this way: up until this point, your body has been using carbohydrates as the primary fuel source.
Now, all of a sudden, you want it to switch gears and start using fat and ketones. That’s like forcing your car that was manufactured to run on gas and has been doing so for the past 10 years to all of a sudden switch to diesel. Needless to say, some “engine” modifications need to be done.
Luckily, unlike a car engine, our body is a lot better at adapting to new environments or fuel sources. After ketogenic dieting for a few weeks, your tissues become able to oxidize a lot better than before, all while quickly learning to use ketones for energy. Let us put this in perspective for you.
An average person burns about 30 grams of fat per hour while exercising, which is a pretty fantastic feat for someone who is using carbs as an energy source. However, a person who has been on the ketogenic diet for an appropriate amount of time is able to burn 90 grams of fat per hour because they have retrained their body to use fat and ketones as energy sources.
What Are The Biggest Mistakes People Make When Trying To Start A Ketogenic Diet?
The number one mistake is that most people assume that ketogenic dieting is simply low carbohydrate dieting. This is absolutely wrong. During a ketogenic diet, you are allowed only up to 50 grams of carbs per day, while most low carb diets allow between 50 and 150 carbohydrates per day. If you go above 50 carbohydrates per day and restrict your calorie intake, a huge amount of your weight loss will most likely be muscle mass.
However, if you keep your carb intake under 50 grams per day, you will most likely not lose any muscle mass at all. So please ensure that you are eating the right amount of carbs daily and don’t overdo it, otherwise you will be losing muscle alongside your weight.
Furthermore, very low carb intake will help you produce more ketones which are capable of preventing amino acids like leucine from becoming deconstructed by your body, which results in your muscles being omitted during weight loss.
The second mistake people often make is consuming too much protein. You have to understand that the majority of your energy will be coming from ketones and fat. Protein is there to help your muscles grow, and too much protein can increase the formation of glucose. Increased glucose makes it difficult to achieve ketosis.
So, if your protein consumption is far too high during ketogenic dieting, chances are the results will be detrimental not only to your overall fat loss but also your muscle growth and strength.
Lastly, many people don’t wait long enough for their body to adapt to the new metabolic state that they are inducing. While ketosis can be achieved quickly, keto-adaptation can take up to 6 weeks. We understand it can be quite difficult to function while you are tired and somewhat foggy at times, but honestly this is the way our body works.
When we change our body’s functionality, it is completely normal for it to feel sluggish for a little bit while we get used to the new environment. How long it will take to become completely adapted to your new metabolic state varies from person to person and is impossible to determine. All we can say is keep at it and eventually you will start to feel like a new person.
But Don’t High Fat Diets Cause More Problems In The Long Run?
There are plenty of articles and research out there that state that high fat dieting will inevitably lead to obesity, insulin resistance, cardiovascular issues, and high cholesterol. This is all true, but only if high fat dieting is accompanied with high carbohydrate dieting.
A traditional western diet is full of as many carbs as it is of fat. If your body is given a steady supply of both fat and carbohydrates, it will break down the carbs for energy and store the fat for later use, which never happens because we continue feeding it carbs. However, if you take carbs out of the equation and only introduce fat into the blood stream, your body will do what it is designed to do and break down the fat for energy.
So why does our body prefer to break down carbs rather than fat? Well, in order to break down fat our body needs an enzyme called CPT1 in order to successfully move the fat into the mitochondria. When we consume carbs, insulin is created, and high amounts of insulin inhibit the CPT1 transporter and result in lack of fat oxidation. That is exactly why ketogenic dieting requires you to consume very low amounts of carbs.
How Do You Find The Balance Between Fat And Protein?
It’s actually a lot easier than you think. Pretty much all you have to do is make sure that the protein you choose at your local grocery store isn’t low fat. We know this seems counterintuitive, but trust us. This is the best way to balance your protein and fat consumption.
Here are some great sources:
- Whole Eggs
- 80/20 Beef
- Salami and Peperoni
- Full Fat Cheese
- Heavy Cream
If you don’t have access to normal cuts of meat and lean cuts is all you have at your disposal, then we suggest adding fat to them while cooking. Use butter or healthy oils to add in the extra bat you will need in your diet.
I Love My Muffins. Can I Have A Cheat Day?
As you can possibly imagine, restricting your carb intake can be nearly impossible for some people. And it is exactly for this reason that yet another variation of the ketogenic diet popped up out of nowhere. Most call it the ketogenic cycling diet. It works exactly like the regular ketogenic diet except only for 5 days, and for 1 to 2 days you can eat carbs all you want, hopefully with some moderation.
One would think that this method of dieting works just as well as following a strict daily ketogenic diet without any cheat day, but unfortunately you would be wrong. This was tested by a recent study. Two groups of individuals were put on a 500 calorie restricted diet; one was a strict ketogenic group while the other one was allowed a normal carbohydrate diet on Saturdays and Sundays.
Both groups performed the same type of training in order to lose weight. The results were a loss of 6.5 pounds of body weight. But there was a huge problem between the types of mass that was lost between the two groups. The strict ketogenic diet group lost only fat in mass while the cycling ketogenic group lost 4.5 pounds of muscle mass.
This research tells us that extreme changes in carbohydrate intake will quickly negate any effects of the ketogenic diet. To be honest, scientifically this is exactly what was supposed to happen. Introduction of carbs into the system increased insulin production, which inhibited the CPT1 enzyme and less fat was being used as energy, resulting in muscle loss instead of fat loss.
Ketogenic Dieting FAQ Review Summary
Human beings are extremely unique. Every single one of us is different in our own way. However, there are some things that we are all affected by. The scientific research behind ketogenic dieting shows us that if followed precisely and without cheating, given enough time, your body will change and adapt to a different metabolic state.
Yes, some people will have a more difficult time adapting to these changes, and some will have a really hard time cutting out carbs, but sooner or later as long as you play by the rules you will see results.
With that said, there are certain people that should most likely stay away from a ketogenic diet. For example, if you are a diabetic and are insulin dependent we strongly suggest that you choose a different diet to follow because following a keto diet can cause great harm to your body and increase the risk of ketoacidosis.
No matter which diet you choose, always listen to your body. It is also suggested that you use ketone test strips to test your ketone levels and ensure that you are within a healthy range for someone on the diet. Keep in mind, high blood ketone levels can do major damage to your body and can be dangerous even for people who are not diabetic.