There is always a lot of hype around different diets, routines and equipment in the fitness industry. Each new fad always claiming to be better than the last, until the former becomes popular again. What is rarely talked about is how all of the diets, routines and equipment WORK. Some may be better suited for your body type, schedule, or motivation requirements. At the end of the day they will all work if followed properly.
The “Keto” diet is one that seems to be ever popular amongst trainers and fitness professionals. Below I talk about what the diet is and how it works in your body. Read on and see if this is right for you.
The ketogenic diet gets its name from the process in the body where the brain stops using glucose (carbs) as a fuel source and begins using ketones (fats). This is the only way you can truly be using the keto diet. If you follow a meal plan that has more than 20g of indirect carbs in a day you are NOT in ketosis.
Naturally your body will crave more sugar when it needs a quick fuels source, rather than break down the fatty tissue it stored from the last time we ate carbohydrates. This creates a never ending loop of fat storage and cravings since an excess consumption of carbohydrates will be stored as fat. The Keto diet fixes this process by removing the craving for sugars and replacing the demand for fuel from ketones, which are derived from fats. The benefit of this is we have an abundant supply of fat from the carb loop. Therefore when the brain and body needs fuel it will break down the fat stores we already have and reduce our body fat.
In order to reach a state where the brain is using ketones as a fuel source you first need to starve the body of carbohydrates and this will force ketones to be produced, taking 72 hours to 7 days. This process can be accelerated by exercising on an empty stomach. By exercising on an empty stomach you are burning up and left over glucose stored in the muscle cells or the liver. Once this is gone the body will need to draw fuel for the brain from ketones.
One last part of the diet and arguably the best part is the “re-feed”. Once a week you are allowed a re-feed meal. The re-feed can be foods that are better tasting, ie. burger and fries. You want to take in a larger amount of carbs and keep the fats low. Protein should stay normal. Remember this is only for ONE meal during the week. It would be the last meal on the last day of your week. This way once you are done the meal you can go to bed and start fresh the next day back on the ketogenic diet. DO NOT over do it with your re-feed meal. Burger and fries are acceptable. Garlic bread, milkshake, full pasta dish, and two desserts are not. You have to remember your still trying to lose body fat and the latter meal is what got you here in the first place.
The body is very smart organism and will start to slow down the fat loss process if you stay in ketosis too long because it recognizes that we are trying to remove a large part of our fat stores. To keep this from happening the re-feed meal will spike insulin levels and convince the body everything is fine which will allow you to keep losing body fat the next week.
If you are planning to try the ketogenic way, I would recommend starting the process on a Friday. Give yourself the weekend to adjust and by Monday you will be ready to tackle the world. Good luck with your health and remember that Consistency is Key!