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Does Ketosis Burn Muscle

Dear Mark: Glycogen

Dear Mark: Glycogen

Dear Mark, I’m trying to understand how glucose that’s created by proteins and fats is used and stored. Is that ~200g of glycogen stored in the muscles to be used for exercise, or is it stored in the liver and used to fuel the brain and “day-to-day” functions? Also, if muscle glycogen is depleted, will ingested carbohydrates be used first to replenish muscle glycogen and then to fuel other daily functions, or are they used the other way around? I’d like to be able to use ketones to fuel my daily activity, but still have enough muscle glycogen stores to fuel intense exercise. I always appreciate comments and questions that spur more explanation and discussion about the body’s functioning. Let’s take this one apart and have a look. Fat is always the best fuel to use at low levels of effort. We evolved to be very efficient fat-burners and even those of us at single-digit body fat levels have plenty to spare. Glycogen, as you remember, is stored glucose and is the body’s first-line energy stockpile of fuel for harder physical efforts and keeping specific systems (brain, red blood cells, kidney cells) running efficiently all day. It’s stored primarily in the liver and muscles; however, (of the two) only the glycogen stores of the liver can be used by the rest of the body. The muscles can’t share their stores. Selfish, you might say, but that’s how it works. As you suspect, the glycogen stored in the muscles (provided you aren’t taking in other glucose) is used along with fats to fuel physical activity throughout the day like your work out, your daily walk to the train, walk to the fridge, etc. The glycogen in the liver, while it can contribute circulating glucose to working muscles, generally serves up energy (reconverted glucose) to other parts of th Continue reading >>

Is A Ketogenic Diet Really More Effective For Fat Loss?

Is A Ketogenic Diet Really More Effective For Fat Loss?

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study last week to investigate claims that a ketogenic diet can facilitate greater fat loss than diets relatively higher in carbohydrate. Commonly known as “keto”, a ketogenic diet is a diet typically characterized by a 4:1 ratio of dietary fat to protein and carbohydrate and was originally used in the treatment of childhood epilepsy. It has been theorized that keto diets facilitate greater fat loss in humans as an absence of dietary carbohydrate forces the body to oxidize fat as its primary energy source. Taubes and colleagues set out to test this theory. Their study was conducted over eight weeks in a research facility known as a metabolic ward. Seventeen overweight or obese volunteers participated, with no opportunity to eat foods outside of the diets of the study. For the first four weeks, the subjects were fed a high-carbohydrate, high-sugar diet. Fifty percent of their total calories came from carbohydrate (338g per day), and 25% of their total calories came from sugar. The HCD diet totaled 2,739 calories per day. For the second four weeks, they were fed a very-low-carbohydrate, low-sugar ketogenic diet. Five percent of their total calories came from carbohydrate (36g per day), and 2% of their total calories came from sugar. 15% percent of the calories came from protein. The keto diet totaled 2,738 calories per day. Note that the caloric intakes were kept close to identical, meaning fat loss could only be attributed to the source of the food rather than its caloric content. The volunteers spent two days a week inside metabolic chambers, where their calorie expenditure was measured. Once every two weeks, their body composition was measured via a DEXA scan. The researchers also used doubly labeled water to m Continue reading >>

This Diet Burns Fat Like No Other—and You’ve Never Heard Of It

This Diet Burns Fat Like No Other—and You’ve Never Heard Of It

The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, adequate-protein, high-fat diet. It’s also surrounded by controversy. However, in healthy individuals it is proving to be one of the most efficient ways to burn fat. In the past, the ketogenic diet has been used in the medical profession to treat specific conditions, like seizures in children, but it’s making its way into the mainstream now, thanks to its fat-burning, muscle-building potential. Keep reading to find out how it works! Continue reading >>

Burn Fat With A Cyclical Ketogenic Diet

Burn Fat With A Cyclical Ketogenic Diet

The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet What is a cyclical ketogenic diet and how does it help one burn fat? By the way, what even constitutes an optimal physique? This is different based on each individual’s unique genetic potential but researchers would agree that we should have a moderate to thin structure and good muscular development. While many have sought after a thin physique, the mantra of the 21st century is that strong is the new thin! We want to have a good body fat percentage (6-15% for men and 15-30% for women) and have developed well-toned musculature. This article discusses how to build muscle and burn fat with a cyclical ketogenic diet Ketogenic Diet and Fat Metabolism: A ketogenic diet is a very low carbohydrate, moderate protein and high fat based nutrition plan. A ketogenic diet trains the bodies metabolism to run off of fatty acids or ketone bodies. This nutrition plan has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation. This leads to improved muscle development and fat metabolism (1, 2). The ketogenic diet is built around good fats such as grass-fed butter, coconut products, avocados, nuts/seeds, pasture-raised animal products and extra-virgin olive oil. This diet should also focus on low-carbohydrate fruits, vegetables and herbs as staple components. The fat levels will be between 60-80% of calorie intake. How Ketones Are Formed? The body has two major energy sources, it burns glucose or ketone bodies. The majority of people burn glucose primarily because they are constantly supplying a steady form of sugar, starches and proteins that can be turned into blood sugar. When one either fasts or goes on a low-carb, moderate protein and high fat diet they switch their energy source to fat. In particular, the fatty acids are broken down into keto Continue reading >>

Ten Reasons You Are Not Losing Fat On A Low-carb Diet

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 >>

The Definitive Guide To The Ketogenic Diet

The Definitive Guide To The Ketogenic Diet

If you want to lose weight or build muscle faster and think the ketogenic diet might help, you want to read this article. How did a diet meant for treating epileptic seizures turn into a popular weight loss fad? That’s the story of the ketogenic diet, which was introduced in 1921 by an endocrinologist named Dr. Henry Geyelin. Geyelin, presenting at the annual meeting of the American Medical Association, explained that the ancient Greeks had discovered that fasting was an effective method of managing epileptic seizures. Hippocrates wrote about it and, like Geyelin, found that the seizures would return once eating resumed. Why? What was it about fasting that suppressed the seizures? Well, epileptic seizures are triggered by electrical abnormalities in the brain. The causes can vary, from genetics to brain injury, but more common is chronic inflammation throughout the body. Geyelin found that when people fast, two major changes occur in the blood: glucose levels fall and ketone levels rise. You’ve probably heard of glucose, also known as blood sugar, but not ketones, which are carbon-oxygen molecules produced by the liver that cells can use for energy instead of glucose. This finding fascinated Geyelin and he set out to determine if similar effects could be achieved without starvation. A decade of work proved they could, and the “ketogenic diet,” as it would be later called, was born. The purpose of the ketogenic diet is to maintain a state of ketosis, wherein the body’s primary energy source is ketones, not glucose. Early studies showed it was an extremely effective treatment for seizures, but in 1938, it was eclipsed by the anticonvulsant drug phenytoin. This medication became the standard treatment for epilepsy, effectively retiring the ketogenic diet from cli Continue reading >>

Your Ultimate Science Based Guide To Fully Reversing Muscle Loss During Water Fasting

Your Ultimate Science Based Guide To Fully Reversing Muscle Loss During Water Fasting

Welcome to my science based guide on water fasting and muscle loss. I'll show you the science on how much muscle mass you can expect to lose during a water fast. I'll also show you exactly what you need to do, to fully prevent that unnecessary loss of muscle mass. my beginner's guide to water fasting. But if you already know the basics, you can read my advanced guide to speeding up fat loss during a water fast. Now that you know what my other water fasting guides are about, here's a quick overview of what's covered in this one: Muscle loss during water fasting, a mixed diet, and a ketogenic diet I found an awesome study[1] that took a really close look at muscle loss during water fasting, a ketogenic diet, and a mixed diet. The people on a mixed diet (with normal amounts of fats and carbs) ate 800 calories a day. The people on the ketogenic diet (with lots of fats and almost no carbs) also ate 800 calories per day. And of course, the people doing a water fast, got in 0 calories a day. Here are the amazing results the scientists came up with: Weight loss Fat loss Muscle loss Water loss Mixed diet 277.9 g/day 166.7 g/day 9.5 g/day 101.7 g/day Ketogenic diet 446.6 g/day 163.4 g/day 17.9 g/day 265.3 g/day Water fasting 750.7 g/day 243.1 g/day 50.4 g/day 457.2 g/day At first glance, the table tells you that you'll lose muscle mass 5 times faster during a water fast than on your standard, 800-calorie weight loss diet (50 grams a day versus 10 grams a day). But there's a catch. The speed of muscle loss isn't the only thing that matters While it's true that water fasting will destroy the most of your muscle mass per day, you also have to look at how quickly your total weight (or better yet, your body fat) will be coming off. So let's say you wanted to lose 20 kilograms (44 poun Continue reading >>

How To Burn Fat & Spare Muscle: The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet

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 >>

Building Muscle On Keto: Can You Build Muscle On A Ketogenic Diet?

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 [1]. That lifting weights with low levels of muscle glycogen doesn’t impair the anabolic response to resistance exercise [2]. And that the consumption of carbohydrate has no effect on muscle protein synthesis above and beyond the consumption of protein alone [3]. On the other hand, keto critics claim that low carb diets limit your ability to train hard [4]. 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 [7]. Who’s right Continue reading >>

Keto Diet Science: How Your Body Burns Fat

Keto Diet Science: How Your Body Burns Fat

By now, you’ve probably heard about the keto diet. You've probably heard that it all but bans carbs and sugars, or that it's been clinically shown to reduce epileptic seizures in kids, or even that it helps people condition their bodies to burn fat. As we detailed in our recent feature on the keto diet, all of those things are true. But as any bodybuilder knows, you don't need to be on the keto diet to burn fat. Heck, you can do it with a focused meal and exercise plan. So we've been wondering: When your body "burns fat" for energy, what's really going on there? How exactly does the keto diet work? And why the hell is it called the "keto" diet, anyway? Play Video Play Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% Remaining Time -0:00 This is a modal window. Foreground --- White Black Red Green Blue Yellow Magenta Cyan --- Opaque Semi-Opaque Background --- White Black Red Green Blue Yellow Magenta Cyan --- Opaque Semi-Transparent Transparent Window --- White Black Red Green Blue Yellow Magenta Cyan --- Opaque Semi-Transparent Transparent Font Size 50% 75% 100% 125% 150% 175% 200% 300% 400% Text Edge Style None Raised Depressed Uniform Dropshadow Font Family Default Monospace Serif Proportional Serif Monospace Sans-Serif Proportional Sans-Serif Casual Script Small Caps Defaults Done Well strap some protective boxing headgear over those thinking caps, bros, because we’re about to roundhouse kick you in the brain with some KNOWLEDGE. (For a detailed breakdown of the chemistry at work, be sure to check out our references: this explainer on ketone bodies from the University of Waterloo, and this ketosis explainer from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology [PDF], plus our feature on the keto diet from the July/August issue of Men's Fitness.) Why does the body go into fat-burning mode? For most pe Continue reading >>

The Ketogenic Diet’s Impact On Body Fat, Muscle Mass, Strength, And Endurance

The Ketogenic Diet’s Impact On Body Fat, Muscle Mass, Strength, And Endurance

This is the first article of a 6-part series on keto Part 1: Body fat, LBM, strength, and endurance Part 2: The ketogenic diet: appetite, adherence and side effects [published in the future] Part 3: Challenges and limitations in the ketogenic literature [published in the future] Part 4: Conflicts of interest in the keto literature [published in the future] Part 5: Keto for disease management [published in the future] Part 6: Going keto: science-based arguments for and against [published in the future] Disclaimer: the following information is not medical advice, please consult your doctor before making drastic lifestyle changes. This is very important if you have diseases that can be modified by ketosis, or if you’re on medication: “patients on diabetes medication who use [a ketogenic diet] should be under close medical supervision” - Yancy et al., 2005 The basics of keto With the ketogenic diet, you aim to eat 20 to 70g of carbohydrates per day. The body then starts using fat and ketones as primary energy sources. A high protein diet (i.e. 2.2 g/kg) does not seem to prevent ketosis (read more). Some claim that keto is the best diet for improving body composition, endurance, and strength. We have reviewed the ketogenic literature and come to the following conclusions: Continue reading to learn more! Continue reading >>

More Muscle Gains And Fat Loss On A Ketogenic Diet

More Muscle Gains And Fat Loss On A Ketogenic Diet

What happens when you combine weight lifting with a very low carbohydrate ketogenic diet (VLCKD)? You get greater muscle gains and more fat loss than when compared to a conventional diet.1 The study looked at a group of “college aged resistance trained men”, and put them on either a conventional Western diet or a VLCKD. The conventional diet was 55% carbohydrate, 25% fat, and 20% protein, similar to what lots of people eat, though a bit higher in protein, a bit lower in fat. The low-carb diet was 5% carbohydrate, 75% fat, and 20% protein. Note that protein, the main macronutrient responsible for muscle growth, was the same in both groups. Both groups did resistance training three times a week for 11 weeks. The very low carbohydrate group gained twice as much muscle as the conventional group, 4.3 kg vs 2.2 kg. The very low carbohydrate group lost 50% more fat than the conventional group, -2.2 kg vs -1.5 kg. It should be noted that this is from a “poster presentation” at a conference, and as such has not been peer-reviewed. What could be going on here? The extra fat loss was not a surprise to me. Low-carbohydrate diets have a much better record at fat loss than do conventional diets. However, this was not a weight-loss trial, and presumably the participants ate as much as they wanted. How ketogenic diets could increase muscle gains There are several ways that muscle gains could be greater when a ketogenic diet is combined with weight training. 2 Adrenergic stimulation. Lower blood glucose (sugar) stimulates adrenaline release, which inhibits muscle protein breakdown. Although this doesn’t directly relate to gains, the breakdown of muscle is a normal, daily occurrence in healthy people, for instance with overnight fasting. Inhibiting this could mean greater gains Continue reading >>

Ketosis: Metabolic Flexibility In Action

Ketosis: Metabolic Flexibility In Action

Ketosis is an energy state that your body uses to provide an alternative fuel when glucose availability is low. It happens to all humans when fasting or when carbohydrate intake is lowered. The process of creating ketones is a normal metabolic alternative designed to keep us alive if we go without food for long periods of time. Eating a diet low in carb and higher in fat enhances this process without the gnawing hunger of fasting. Let’s talk about why ketones are better than glucose for most cellular fuel needs. Legionella Testing Lab - High Quality Lab Results CDC ELITE & NYSDOH ELAP Certified - Fast Results North America Lab Locations legionellatesting.com Body Fuel Basics Normal body cells metabolize food nutrients and oxygen during cellular “respiration”, a set of metabolic pathways in which ATP (adenosine triphosphate), our main cellular energy source is created. Most of this energy production happens in the mitochondria, tiny cell parts which act as powerhouses or fueling stations. There are two primary types of food-based fuel that our cells can use to produce energy: The first cellular fuel is glucose, which is commonly known as blood sugar. Glucose is a product of the starches and sugars (carbohydrates) and protein in our diet. This fuel system is necessary, but it has a limitation. The human body can only store about 1000-1600 calories of glucose in the form of glycogen in our muscles and liver. The amounts stored depend on how much muscle mass is available. Men will be able to store more because they have a greater muscle mass. Since most people use up about 2000 calories a day just being and doing normal stuff, you can see that if the human body depended on only sugar to fuel itself, and food weren’t available for more than a day, the body would run Continue reading >>

Will I Lose Muscle On A Ketogenic Diet?

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 >>

When You Are In Ketosis Are You Burning Fat Rather Than Muscle?

When You Are In Ketosis Are You Burning Fat Rather Than Muscle?

In recent years high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets have become a popular choice for rapid weight loss. While these types of diets do typically result in weight loss, the initial loss is attributed to the depletion of muscle and liver glycogen and the fluid that is stored with it. Only after several days of being in ketosis will the body resort to burning fat rather than muscle. Ketosis Under normal conditions, the body relies heavily on glycogen stored in the skeletal muscles and liver for energy. When you reduce carbohydrates in your diet, that glycogen becomes depleted. The theory behind many low-carb diets is that once that glycogen is gone, your body will begin to burn fat for energy. That is not entirely true. For the first few days of low glycogen levels, your body goes into starvation mode and will convert lean muscle into glycogen to use for fuel. That process can only be maintained for a few days before your body will need to start using fat stores for energy. Fat cannot be fully utilized in the body without carbohydrates being present. When your body starts to metabolize fat, a byproduct called a ketone is created. Ketones can be used for energy in extreme cases, but they are highly acidic and when they start to build up in the blood they become toxic. Concerns with Ketosis Ketosis may sound appealing because it means you're burning fat for energy. However, there are numerous health risks associated with ketosis. Over time ketosis can lead to organ failure, gout, kidney stones or kidney failure, nausea and bad breath. Avoiding the Dangerous Aspects of Ketosis It only takes about 100 grams of carbohydrates each day to avoid ketosis. That would be equivalent to a sandwich, 0.75 ounces of pretzels, an apple and a cup of orange juice. At that rate, your body wou Continue reading >>

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