Very-low-carbohydrate Diets And Preservation Of Muscle Mass
Go to: Metabolic adaptations in VLCARB It is frequently claimed that a VLCARB sets the stage for a significant loss of muscle mass as the body recruits amino acids from muscle protein to maintain blood glucose via gluconeogenesis. It is true that animals share the metabolic deficiency of the total (or almost total) inability to convert fatty acids to glucose . Thus, the primary source for a substrate for gluconeogenesis is amino acid, with some help from glycerol from fat tissue triglycerides. However, when the rate of mobilization of fatty acids from fat tissue is accelerated, as, for example, during a VLCARB, the liver produces ketone bodies. The liver cannot utilize ketone bodies and thus, they flow from the liver to extra-hepatic tissues (e.g., brain, muscle) for use as a fuel. Simply stated, ketone body metabolism by the brain displaces glucose utilization and thus spares muscle mass. In other words, the brain derives energy from storage fat during a VLCARB. Glycolytic cells and tissues (e.g., erythrocytes, renal medulla) will still need some glucose, because they do not have aerobic oxidative capacity and thus cannot use ketone bodies. However, glycolysis in these tissues leads to the release of lactate that is returned to the liver and then reconverted into glucose (the Cori cycle). Energy for this process comes from the increased oxidation of fatty acids in the liver. Thus, glycolytic tissues indirectly also run on energy derived from the fat stores. The hormonal changes associated with a VLCARB include a reduction in the circulating levels of insulin along with increased levels of glucagon. Insulin has many actions, the most well-known of which is stimulation of glucose and amino acid uptake from the blood to various tissues. This is coupled with stimulatio Continue reading >>
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How To Burn Fat & Spare Muscle: The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet
One of the toughest things to do is to burn fat while sparing muscle. Unless you have a hormonal issue working against you, proper diet and exercise will help you burn off those unwanted inches. The problem arises, however, when all that sweat and effort begins to eat away at your muscle gains, as inevitably happens whenever you begin cutting calories and forsaking the weights for the treadmill. Fortunately, there’s a metabolic trick you can perform that will largely fix the problem. THE BACKGROUND Anyone familiar with the Atkins Diet has heard of ketosis. Ketosis is a state your body enters when it runs out of free glucose or glycogen for its energy needs and begins burning fat instead. Diabetics try to avoid this state, but bodybuilders, fitness athletes, and anyone looking to get lean gladly invite and, indeed, even work to initiate the condition. While most doctors will tell you ketosis is something you want to avoid (because it could potentially lead to a buildup of ketones, causing ketoacidosis to set in), the fact is that it is one of the most remarkable feats of metabolic legerdemain you will likely ever find. Like the Atkins Diet, the ketogenic diet (particularly the one written by Lyle McDonald) relies upon the elimination of most carbohydrates from the diet for a predetermined period of time to allow ketosis to set in, creating an environment where your body burns all the fat it wants. Now, before you get overly excited and start throwing away all the bread and pasta in the house, there’s a laundry list of rules and directions to familiarize yourself with first. To do otherwise is to invite failure. First off, there are a number of different ways to follow a ketogenic diet. You can simply stop eating carbs for a few weeks – or even a few months if you� Continue reading >>
8 Ketogenic Foods That Can Help You Lose Weight
If you're looking for the most hard core low-carb diet of all the low-carb diets, the ketogenic diet is it. The trendy ketogenic diet, which reportedly has fans like Lebron James and Kim Kardashian, reduces your daily carb intake to 35 grams or less, depending on the plan you follow. That's about the amount in one large apple for the whole day. The theory behind the ketogenic plan is that when your body doesn't have any carbs to use as energy, your liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketones. Then those ketones are used as a primary energy source by your body (meaning you burn more fat each day), says Jim White, R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and owner of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios in Virginia. That whole process is called ketosis. While, in a pinch, ketones can replace carbs as your body’s primary energy source, it often comes at a price. Ketosis can cause side effects like constipation, fatigue, brain fog, and possible nutritional deficiencies, White says. Obviously, we don't recommend any unsustainable eating plan that seriously restricts important nutrients like carbs. However, incorporating certain keto-friendly foods that are rich in protein and healthy fats into a well-rounded diet can get you to your pounds-dropping goals faster. That's because these eats help you build more lean muscle, prevent blood sugar highs and lows, and keep cravings at bay. "Salmon is rich in polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which you can only get through the food you eat," White says. "Increasing your intake of polyunsaturated fats can help reduce inflammation and therefore improve your ability to lose weight." Plus, salmon is brimming with vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that can help slash your inflammation levels even Continue reading >>
Intermittent Fasting For Fat Loss Without Losing Muscle
This article is about the discipline of intermittent fasting (IF) and the several health benefits of IF research has discovered. In short it sheds fat, allows for lean muscle gains, increases general health and has several neurological benefits. Sounds good right? Well to be clear, IF is not the single magic bullet to optimum health and it does not make you ripped straight away. You should see it as just another tool you can use to improve your body composition and health. It can be used by both men and women. Let’s have a look at what intermittent fasting is and how you could use it. What is intermittent fasting? In summary IF is a diet approach where a person fasts in intervals. There is a long period of no food intake followed by a relatively brief period where you do eat. A great example of an IF diet is the one of Martin Berkhan from the website Leangains. His approach consists of a period of fasting for 16 hours and a feeding window of 8 hours. You focus on three meals a day where you take the majority of your calories (especially carbohydrates) after training. With three meals per day the setup where you fast for 16 hours could be: 12 AM – 1 PM: Meal one with approximately 20 -25 % of your daily total calorie intake 4 PM – 5 PM: Pre workout meal with again 20 – 25 % of your daily total calorie intake 6 PM – 7 PM: Workout 7 PM – 9 PM: Post workout meal which contains the remaining 50 – 60 % of your daily total calorie intake On resting days you consume 50 – 60 % of your daily calorie intake at your first meal. There are some rules that you need to stick to make this approach to IF work. The most important ones are: Consume more carbs and less fat on training days. Consume more fat and fewer carbs on resting days. Eat high protein on all days. You s Continue reading >>
“starvation Mode” And Muscle Wasting Myth On A Low Carbohydrate Diet
Another one of the fallacies that seems to pervade is that a ketogenic diet is the same as being in starvation – whereby the body significantly reduces it’s metabolism and starts tapping into the muscles for energy. This is completely bogus and you’d be best off just ignoring the idea altogether. In light of restricted carbohydrates through either keto or starvation the body will focus on maintaining glucose homeostasis, ie constant blood-glucose level. It’s highest priority is to provide sufficient energy to the brain and other critical functions, and can do so with a mix of glucose and ketone bodies. The only real common ground is that ketone production is elevated in both a keto diet and in starvation due to reduced carbohydrate intake. Conflating keto with starvation is guilt by association – eg falling asleep makes you unconscious; being punched out also renders you unconscious and can cause serious injury; therefore falling asleep is dangerous like being punched out. Starvation is just that – severe restriction of calories over a long period, and “starvation mode” is what anti-low-carb people tend to call it as a scare tactic. After a few days of complete fasting the metabolic rate only drops 5-10% – sometimes increases – and even on an intake of half the amount of energy you’d normally consume for maintenance, you would be fine for months without too much of a drop. If you have a significant amount of fat to lose then your metabolism will barely drop at all, even on severe restriction your extra adipose stores will make up any energy requirements you have. A ketogenic diet stabilises glucose and maintains very low levels of circulating insulin, so access to liberating energy from your adipose stores is unhampered. A ketogenic diet is extreme Continue reading >>
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Building Muscle On Keto: Can You Build Muscle On A Ketogenic Diet?
He wasn’t overweight, but wanted to lose some fat and gain some muscle while he was at it. And, after reading a bunch of articles, he was convinced that a ketogenic diet was the best way to go about it. Google around for information on ketogenic diets and muscle growth, and you’ll come across the many great and wonderful things that happen when you cut carbs from your diet. Fat will be lost. Muscle will be gained. You’ll recover more quickly, feel less sore, and get stronger faster. Critics of the diet say the exact opposite. Ketogenic diets limit your ability to train hard. Trying to build muscle without carbs is like Batman patrolling the streets of Gotham without his utility belt. There’s absolutely no way, they say, to add muscle while you’re in ketosis. As it turns out, both sides can bring data to the table to support their point of view. SIDE NOTE: If you want a basic overview of the ketogenic diet, as well as more information about the pros and cons, Jeff Cavaliere explains more in the video below. The Ketogenic Diet and Muscle Growth Fans of keto dieting point to research showing that low levels of muscle glycogen don’t have an adverse effect on your performance in the gym . That lifting weights with low levels of muscle glycogen doesn’t impair the anabolic response to resistance exercise . And that the consumption of carbohydrate has no effect on muscle protein synthesis above and beyond the consumption of protein alone . On the other hand, keto critics claim that low carb diets limit your ability to train hard . That lifting weights with low levels of muscle glycogen dampens the post-training anabolic response [5, 6]. And that carbs are anti-catabolic, playing a key role in preventing the breakdown of muscle tissue . Who’s right Continue reading >>
Will I Lose Muscle On A Ketogenic Diet?
The ability to simultaneously gain muscle and lose fat is a rather controversial topic amongst those in the fitness industry; however, this seems to be the desired goal of anyone looking to optimize body composition. One of the biggest conundrums we face is that in order to shed body fat, we tend to cut calories so much that we lose muscle mass, and in order to build muscle mass, we tend to bring along some fat gain for the ride. These changes in body composition can happen for a number of different reasons, a few of which we will touch on in this article. In any case, the evidence is clear that a properly implemented ketogenic diet exhibits a protein sparing effect, which may allow one dieting to preserve more muscle mass than if he/she hadn’t been ketogenic. This means that we can ideally shed off that pesky lower abdominal fat, all the while keeping those prized muscles we have worked so hard to build. In this article we are going to discuss some of the mechanisms of fat loss and muscle maintenance on a ketogenic diet and why a ketogenic diet may be more ideal for attaining these goals than a traditional low fat diet. One particular piece of dietary advice that people tend to give is the “calories in, calories out,” hypothesis which indicates that it doesn’t matter what you eat or how you eat it, just as long as you eat less than you expend. This is true to a certain degree, but far too often we tend to simplify what both of those equations mean without taking into account other variables (e.g. fiber, thermogenic effect of protein, brown adipose tissue, etc.). If you put yourself in a caloric deficit, it is likely that you will experience weight loss; however, it is possible that some of this weight loss will not come strictly from body fat, and that some of Continue reading >>
Losing Water Weight: How Carbs Really Work
Does going on a ketogenic diet mean you have to stay on it forever? Why do many folks experience a few days of low-energy moodiness (“low carb flu”) at the beginning of ketogenic diets? The answer to all of these queries can be found in understanding our body’s relationship with glycogen. Many people ask if is glycogen a carbohydrate. Glycogen is the way the body processes and stores glucose as energy, chiefly in the liver and the muscles. High intensity activities like sprinting draw upon the glycogen tucked away in our muscles for fuel, which is why you hear about marathoners “carb-loading” in the days before a big race. The glycogen stored in the liver is what keeps specific systems running all day, including the brain, kidney cells, and red blood cells. For anyone not low-carbing, the body needs a minimum of 100g of glucose each day in order to meet the basic demands of the brain. So — what if a person consumes significantly less than 100g of carbohydrates in a day? What happens when the body runs out of glycogen stores? The hierarchy of energy sources Your body’s just as lazy as you are on Sunday afternoon eating chips on the couch, and it will get energy from the easiest sources possible as long as they’re available. The zippiest energy comes from carbohydrates in the diet, especially simple carbs quickly converted into sugars (think white bread, sweets, fructose, etc.), with more complex carbs following shortly after. For a person following SAD (Standard American Diet) — we’re talking easily over 300g carbohydrates a day on average — the body may not ever burn through this ingested potential energy. Instead, it simply sweeps it away under the rug — you know, the one bulging around your waist — where no one will ever notice. When you cut Continue reading >>
Do You Lose Muscles Along With Fat In A Calorie Deficit?
You can keep all of your muscle gains while in a caloric deficit if you follow this exact diet. To build muscle you have to be in a caloric surplus. To lose fat you have to be in a deficit. To build lean muscle or maintain muscle while losing fat look no further than the Ketogenic diet. Ketogenic diets have been known to burn fat while maintaining muscle mass. I did cyclical keto and lost 22 pounds while keeping ALL of my muscle gains. Basically I did keto 6 days a week and on my 7th day I loaded up on carbs in a 4 hour window. Here were my results. Typically, the ketogenic diet consists of only 30-50 grams of carbohydrates a day. High in fat Moderate Protein The beginning of a ketogenic diet can be challenging for some who are not used to eating a very low carbohydrate diet. You’ll probably experience a lack of energy and brain fog as your body is in the beginning stages of making a metabolic shift. This shift is simply your body beginning to use fat for fuel rather than glucose. Your brain and body actually prefers to run on keytones rather than glucose for energy. The goal here is to use the fat on your body as fuel rather than glucose (from sugar or carbs) to burn fat and for overall daily energy requirements. Another thing you want to do to keep muscle is to supplement with BCAA’s. If you are still struggling to put on quality muscle mass, here are 10 PROVEN methods for drug free muscle that will keep all of your GAINS. Please see more about that article here on my blog > 10 PROVEN Methods For Drug Free Muscle Mass Continue reading >>
Ten Reasons You Are Not Losing Fat On A Low-carb Diet
“” —Passmore & Swindells, two British dietitians writing in the British Journal of Nutrition in 1963 Whether you agree with the above quote or think it’s hilarious nonsense, there’s no doubt that reduced carb diets are useful for losing body fat. A lot of people find that cutting carbs in favor of a higher protein, higher fat diet is the simplest way to get lean fast. However, people often make mistakes when going low-carb, especially if they are training hard in an effort to accelerate the fat loss process. With these 10 simple tips, you can make going low-carb a lot easier and get better fat loss results. Mistake #1: Not Restricting Carbohydrates Enough Low-carb, high-protein diets are effective for fat loss. This is a scientific fact. But, low-carb is a vague term. Simply cutting the average American man’s carb intake of 310 grams a day in half could be considered low-carb, but if you are overweight and your goal is fat loss, you most likely need to go a lot lower than 155 grams. A review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests the 50 to 150 g/day range is too high for losing body fat in overweight, sedentary populations. A useful definition of a low-carb fat loss diet is less than 50 grams of carbs a day, which will lead to the production of ketones. When the body is producing ketones it is no longer relying on glucose (sugar from carbs) for its fuel source, which is a state that provides significant metabolic benefits and easier fat loss. Fix It: For best results, get those 50 grams of carbs from vegetables and select fruits, such as berries, or other low-carb fruit. Eliminate all grains—whole and processed. Mistake #2: You are Lean, Active & Restricting Carbs Too Much The AJCN definition of a low-carb diet as less than 50 grams a day w Continue reading >>
Fasting And Muscle Mass
It seems that there are always concerns about loss of muscle mass during fasting. I never get away from this question. No matter how many times I answer it, somebody always asks, “Doesn’t fasting burn your muscle?” Let me say straight up, NO. Here’s the most important thing to remember. If you are concerned about losing weight and reversing T2D, then worry about insulin. Fasting and LCHF will help you. If you are worried about muscle mass, then exercise – especially resistance exercises. OK? Don’t confuse the two issues. We always confuse the two issues because the calorie enthusiast have intertwined them in our minds like hamburgers and french fries. Weight loss and gain is mostly a function of DIET. You can’t exercise your way out of a dietary problem. Remember the story of Peter Attia? A highly intelligent doctor and elite level distance swimmer, he found himself on the heavy end of the scale, and it was not muscle. He was overweight despite exercising 3-4 hours a day. Why? Because muscle is about exercise, and fat is about diet. You can’t out-run a bad diet. Muscle gain/ loss is mostly a function of EXERCISE. You can’t eat your way to more muscle. Supplement companies, of course, try to convince you otherwise. Eat creatine (or protein shakes, or eye of newt) and you will build muscle. That’s stupid. There’s one good way to build muscle – exercise. So if you are worried about muscle loss – exercise. It ain’t rocket science. Just don’t confuse the two issues of diet and exercise. Don’t worry about what your diet (or lack of diet – fasting) is doing to your muscle. Exercise builds muscle. Clear? Does fasting burn muscle? So the main question is this – if you fast for long enough, doesn’t your body start to burn muscle in excess of Continue reading >>
How To Lose Stubborn Belly Fat Through Ketosis
Losing stubborn belly fat is one of the biggest challenges when getting in shape. Belly fat is not only aesthetically unappealing, it has health consequences. It can make you vulnerable to many conditions such as diabetes and heart problems. In this blog, we will share with you why belly fat is so ‘stubborn’ to burn, explain what exactly is Ketosis and how you can lose stubborn belly fat through Ketosis. We will also share a specific exercise and a diet plan to help burn this belly fat. What is Stubborn Belly fat and why it is bad for our health? While you may have fat all over different parts of your body, it isn’t the same. Stubborn belly fat is the soft layers of fat around the waistline that covers your abs. To be more precise, there are three types of fat: Triglycerides– A fat circulates in your blood Subcutaneous Fat– The layer of fat directly below the skin’s surface. This is the fat you can grab with your hands Visceral Fat– The dangerous fat. This is located beneath the muscles in your stomach Belly fat unfortunately does not just sit still. Some visceral fat is necessary, but too much can lead to health problems. You can estimate whether you are carrying too much belly fat by measuring your waist with tape. Anything over 80 cm (31.5 inches) in women and 94 cm (37 inches) can provoke health issues. Carrying excess visceral fat is associated with an increased risk for: Coronary heart disease Cancer Stroke Dementia Diabetes Depression Arthritis Obesity Sexual dysfunction Sleep disorders Why is Stubborn belly fat so “Stubborn”? To understand what makes belly fat so difficult to burn,let’s dive into the biology. Burning fat is a two-part process: Lipolysis is the process whereby fat cells release molecules of stored fat into the blood. Oxidation Continue reading >>
7 Tips To Stay Shredded While Gaining Mass
Sponsored Content I’ll start with two words you might already be familiar with: ketogenic diet. The words “keto” and “macros” have been floating around in the bodybuilding community a lot recently. If you’re familiar, you probably know keto as a way to get shredded: the basic mantra is "eat fat to lose fat." Now you’re thinking… “Wait, this is a keto article? There’s no way to add muscle while in ketosis.” You’re mistaken, and I can prove it because I’ve done it. Ketosis for shredding is only half the story. If you get systematic about the way you eat, cycling off of keto weekly for about 24 hours to refeed, then you can absolutely add lean mass AND stay shredded while you’re doing it. A brief keto overview: (You can skip ahead to the tips if you already know the basics) In a nutshell, a ketogenic diet requires switching your metabolism from glycolysis (burning glucose, a byproduct of carbohydrates) to ketosis (burning ketones, a byproduct of fat). To accomplish that switch, you have to deplete your body of glycogen and keep your blood glucose levels incredibly low. That means eating a high percentage of fat, a moderate amount of protein (too much protein and it can get converted into glycogen), and an extremely low amount of carbohydrates. We all know high protein as a bodybuilding essential and we’ve been talking about carb timing for decades. But flipping into ketosis basically requires that you look at that all-important third macro: fat. And more importantly, ketosis requires looking at all three of those macros in relationship to each other. To stay shredded while getting big, you actually have to lower your protein calories a bit and replace those calories with fat. There’s a lot of research being done on the benefits of operating Continue reading >>
Why Ketogenic Diets Increase Muscle Loss
By Daniel Gwartney, M.D. For the bodybuilder or image-conscious person, the purpose of dieting is to improve one’s appearance by reducing body fat to reveal a healthy and impressive physique. Few people diet with the intention of losing muscle; certainly not bodybuilders and athletes. Unfortunately, most dieters suffer a balanced loss of both lean and fat mass due to extreme caloric restriction, excessive cardio, or unwise use of stimulant-based weight loss products and thyroid hormones.1 The physical and emotional stress can also disrupt sleep, which promotes fat gain and interferes with optimal hormonal balance. The preservation of muscle mass during hypocaloric dieting, especially in a setting of physical exercise or labor, is challenging. Not only must sufficient calories be consumed, but also amino acids to avoid limiting any anabolic processes. Dieters also need to manage their macro- and micro-nutrients necessary to support lean mass function, repair, and growth. The basis for all successful diets is caloric restriction and long-term compliance, coupled with appropriate lifestyle interventions (e.g., exercise, sleep, alcohol intake). However, calories are not calories, as many advocates of the Atkins Diet and similar programs have learned. Though initially challenged by many in the health care professions, largely due to increased consumption of saturated fat during the induction phase, the Atkins Diet has been shown to be as effective in regard to weight loss, quicker, and surprisingly has heart-healthy effects.2 The Atkins diet is not a true ketogenic diet in that it gradually re-introduces carbohydrates to the diet after an induction phase of variable length. However, the dramatic changes that occur during the ketogenic phase have caused that component to be Continue reading >>
The Science Of Fasting: Can You Lose Weight By Not Eating?
Find out whether not eating to lose weight actually works or if it does more harm than good: With peoples love for food continuously increasing and the ‘junk’ food industry continuously innovating, who is not worried about getting fat? Women aren't the only ones who are conscious about their figure; men not only wish to lose the excess fat but also want to gain that athletic physique as well. However, few are ready to make the sacrifices needed to make that happen. There are a lot of new types of diets today such as Paleo, Raw Vegan, and Ketogenic among many others. Even though they differ in many ways, they equally highlight the cry from people - "I want to lose weight". The problem with some of these diets is that they may just be a fad and not actually based on any real science. This could potentially put your health at risk. New types of diets often lack research to back their claims and in worse cases they might even lead to certain vitamin or mineral deficiencies. That is why it is much safer to opt for those that have overcome the test of time, such as fasting. If you feel uncertain about what to eat for weight loss, not eating at all to lose weight might be the answer you’re looking for! What is fasting? Related: Does the "Eating One Meal a Day Diet" work? Fasting is a practice you can find in many religions and has existed for many centuries. It is simply the practice of refraining from eating some or any food for a period of time. Water fasting is the most common since humans cannot live without water for too long, however we can live without food as long as we still have fat on our bodies. When you water fast, it means you only drink water. You don't eat anything. You can do this in either of the following two ways: #1: Long term fasting Long term fasti Continue reading >>
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