The ketogenic diet has been all the rage as of late. It seems like everyone you meet who has recently lost weight, did so while following the ketogenic diet.
What is The ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet consist of eating higher fats and very little carbohydrates and high fat. The idea behind it is to allow the body to use your fats as fuel, rather than crabs, thereby forcing the body to burn fat.
To get specific, according to Jim White RD, a certified registered dietician, states that:
“The standard ketogenic diet comprises very little carbs (5% of your daily calories), a moderate level of protein (20%), and high amounts of fat (75%) of your daily diet…”.
The fact of the matter is that so many people have seen such great results doing it which makes one wonder if there is something magical and profound about “going keto.”?
The short answer is no. Going into ketosis is not the only way to reach your weight loss goals, but it is one way.
Trainer tip: in order to see weight loss, put yourself into a caloric deficit.
Where that deficit is coming from doesn't matter. It can be cutting out carbs, eliminating bread, cutting out sugar, giving up desserts, WHATEVER. As long as there is a caloric deficit, you will see fat loss.
If ketogenic works for you, great! If it doesn’t, don’t worry. I personally can’t function on low-carb diets. This makes sense given our brains use glucose as fuel aka: carbs. When we go low carbs, we often start experiencing a lot of brain farts. This along with the fact that forgetfulness and cloudiness of the memory are all prominent, the reality is going lower carbs may do you more harm than good.
If you’re someone interested in trying out the ketogenic diet, check out this article for helpful tips to get started and other food recommendations to try when “on keto”.
If you are someone who works out a ton and you happen to want to get stronger and/or build muscle, following a ketogenic diet may be not be the best option for you.
Simply put, it’s because carbs act to maintain and grow muscle by filling them with glycogen. Carbs are what give you that extra height during your long jump, that last press on your bench, and that last hinge during your squat.
Carbs also allows you to lift more and operate at a higher intensity, both of which are key to building muscle. You’re not necessarily going to lose muscle on the keto diet, but you won’t be priming your body to reach its mass-building potential all the time by eating carbs.
If you were to think of analogy, a good one would be to think of your car being mostly on empty and trying to make it up a nasty uphill. It can move forward, but it will most likely be running slow af and you’ll need to give it more time to get there.
If you are concerned about putting on weight while switching from keto back to carbs, I totally understand. You may find that the scale has indeed gone up, especially in the first few days.
It’s very important to keep this idea in the forefront of your mind: For every gram of carbs, there are three grams of water.
So when you start dropping your carbs or adding them back into your diet, you will most likely see the scale jump up especially in the first week.
Also, keep in mind that the quality of your workouts may decline with the lack of glucose and you won’t be able to lift as heavy, thus making it more difficult to progress yourself week to week.