The Ketogenic diet is yet another fast-growing trend among those in the fitness industry – but one that definitely sparks a ton of intrigue!
The idea behind it is to put your body into a state known as ‘ketosis’, where your body is essentially using only your fat stores for energy.
A Ketogenic diet is different to most other diets out there. Usually we are warned to keep our fat intake low, however the Ketogenic diet dictates otherwise.
It is advised when following it that your fat intake should make up 60 to 70 percent of your total daily calorie intake (but not the cookie-dough-laden, stuffed pizza type of fat!) These are the man-made fats belonging to the Trans fat family!
In regards to our well-loved protein, foods should remain at around 20 to 30 percent of your daily calorie intake.
This only leaves carbohydrates; it is recommended to keep your carbs below 50g per day. This is so your body can enter a state known as ketosis – you may have heard the words ‘ketosis diet’ flying around…
Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body has higher levels of ketones in your blood than normal. When in this state, lipid energy metabolism is intact. This means the body will begin to break down stored
body fat to use as fuel, rather than source it from carbohydrates which you have ingested. Sounds great, eh?
✓ Increased fat burning potential
When you are on a high carb diet, your ability to burn stored fat is minimal. During ketosis, when your body is almost entirely relying on fat stores for energy, you are optimising the amount of fat you can burn.
✔ Protein isn’t ‘wasted’
Whilst in ketosis, the body does not need to oxidise protein to generate glucose, since it doesn’t need to produce glucose, as it has a preferable form of energy in ketones. This means that your body can use the protein you intake more efficiently for building lean muscle.
✔ Appetite is suppressed
Ketones which are released during ketosis help to supress appetite. Similarly, the high protein, high fat foods you will be eating will also fill you up, unlike high carb foods which will leave you satiated for a short while, but then give you cravings later on.
✓ Low insulin levels
This reduces fat accumulation and promotes more fat burning, since insulin is a powerful hormone which signals fat storage. By lowering your insulin levels, you are increasing your fat burning potential further.
✗ It is hard to get used to at first
Initially, the body has to undergo a metabolic shift. This means that you could experience fatigue and dehydration due to increased water loss (as a result of a low carb intake). Since you are cutting your carbs drastically, your body will have to rapidly adapt to the new diet.
✗ Blood lipid content could rise
Since you are eating vast quantities of fats, the levels of unhealthy saturated fats in your diet will be higher. To prevent this, you can ensure you are getting fats from healthy sources, such as nuts, avocados etc.
✗ Micro-nutrient deficiencies can occur
Due to lack of thiamine, calcium, folate, potassium, iron, magnesium etc. This is because you are limiting the amount of carbs you eat to 50g per day. This can be easily overcome by taking multivitamins.
Seeking weight loss?
The Ketogenic diet is most appealing for those who are looking to lose weight, and burn stubborn body fat. The potential to burn fat on a Ketogenic diet is probably greater than that of any other diet, due to the extremely low carbohydrate intake, putting your body into ketosis, as mentioned above.
The fat burning potential of this diet could also be increased by following an intermittent fasting protocol.
Want to pack on muscle?
The Ketogenic diet is also a great way to put on muscle mass, whilst keeping fat accumulation to a minimum. Usually when on a low calorie diet, your body uses protein for energy; therefore you muscles don’t get the protein they require, so muscle breakdown can occur.
However, on a Ketogenic diet, your body has sufficient levels of ketones, so it does not need to break down protein into glucose for energy. This means you do not experience muscle loss, and can even build some serious muscle whilst following the Ketogenic diet!
The Ketogenic diet is a very powerful tool which can be utilised for extreme fat burning. There are many benefits which is can offer, however with all diets there are drawbacks. No diet is perfect.
It isn’t for everyone, but many who have tried it will never look back. If you are looking to get started with a new diet to lose some weight for summer, or just trying to drop those last few pounds, I would highly recommend that you give the Ketogenic diet a go.
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