The Ugly Truth About Ketogenic Diets
Here's what you need to know... Ketosis occurs when carbs are in such low quantities that your body relies almost exclusively on fatty acid oxidation and ketone metabolism. Ketogenic diets have about 70-75% of your daily caloric intake coming from fat and about 5% from carbohydrates. Ingesting protein above approximately .8 grams per pound is enough to kick you out of ketosis. Ketogenic diets improve body comp, but so does any diet that reduces calories from any source. There is no literature to support that a ketogenic diet is beneficial for promoting increases in muscle mass. Ketogenic diets affect performance negatively. Questions About Ketosis While the ketogenic diet has been used widely and rather effectively in some cases, there's still a lot of confusion about it. What exactly is a ketogenic diet? How does it differ from low carb dieting? Most importantly, at least for the T Nation demographic, is the question of whether ketogenic diets allow you to put on, or at least keep, muscle. Ketosis: What is it? Ketosis is a metabolic state that occurs when dietary carbohydrates are in such low quantities that your body must rely almost exclusively on fatty acid oxidation and ketone metabolism. That sounds simple on the surface, but let's unpack that explanation a bit. To function, your body requires a substantial amount of energy in the form of ATP. So, let's just assume that the average person uses about 1,800 calories per day to create enough ATP to keep him alive (not including any physical activity). Now this is where it gets interesting. You have this thing in your skull called a brain. It uses about 400 or so calories per day and runs almost exclusively on glucose. (There's some evidence it can use small amounts of fat and lactate, but in the big picture it's not Continue reading >>
Can Eating Fat Help You Lose Weight? Let’s Look At The Ketogenic Diet.
Fat makes your meals more palatable and helps you feel full, so it’s no wonder the high-fat ketogenic diet is increasing in popularity. The diet has been trending for the past three years, as “keto” blogs and cookbooks continue to pop up and build an impressive fan base. This diet has been used under close supervision by physicians and dietitians since the 1920s for treating epilepsy and has shown promise in managing brain cancer. But is it useful and healthy as a strategy for weight loss? First, the basics: On the ketogenic diet, at least 70 percent of your daily calories come from fat. Five to 10 percent of your calories come from carbohydrates (20 to 50 grams a day). The rest, up to 25 percent of your daily energy, comes from protein. By contrast, the healthy diet recommended by the Institute of Medicine is 45 to 65 percent carbs, 20 to 35 percent fat and 10 to 35 percent protein. The ketogenic diet’s low-carb target can be met only by avoiding grains, dairy products, fruit, and legumes such as chickpeas and lentils. Starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes and squash are out, and even amounts of lower-carb vegetables are limited. So what’s left to eat? Typically, eggs cooked in butter for breakfast; for lunch and dinner, meat, chicken or fish with salad or green vegetables and plenty of oily dressing. Sorry folks, no alcohol on this diet. Even red wine is out. The ketogenic diet gets its name from a process called ketosis. Ketosis happens when your body doesn’t have enough energy from glucose (carbohydrates), so it adapts by using stored fat for energy. The result? Weight loss. Does the ketogenic diet lead to faster or more sustainable weight loss than other diets? The research to date suggests that initial weight loss on the keto diet is impressive but 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 >>
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 Fat Burning Brain: What Are The Cognitive Effects Of Ketosis?
41 Comments Although mainstream sources still mistake “the brain needs glucose” for “the brain can only run on glucose,” regular MDA readers know the truth: given sufficient adaptation, the brain can derive up to 75% of its fuel from ketone bodies, which the liver constructs using fatty acids. If we could only use glucose, we wouldn’t make it longer than a few days without food. If our brains couldn’t utilize fat-derived ketones, we’d drop dead as soon as our liver had exhausted its capacity to churn out glucose. We’d waste away, our lean tissue dissolving into amino acids for hepatic conversion into glucose to feed our rapacious brains. You’d end up a skeletal wraith with little else but your brain and a hypertrophied liver remaining until, eventually, the latter cannibalized itself in a last ditch search for glucose precursors for the tyrant upstairs. It would get ugly. That’s adaptation. But is there an actual cognitive advantage to running on ketones? Maybe. It depends. It certainly helps people with neurodegeneration. People whose brains suffer from impaired glucose utilization see cognitive benefits from ketones. In Alzheimer’s disease, aging-related cognitive decline, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease, brain glucose uptake is depressed—even before any actual cognitive decline appears. Despite high glucose availability, the aging, epileptic, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s brain can’t utilize enough of it to handle cognition. Enter ketones. Ketones act as an alternative energy source for the glucose-starved brains. It’s no coincidence that ketogenic diets can improve symptoms (and in some cases abolish them) and cognitive function in all four conditions. Okay, but those are in unhealthy people with existing (or looming) neurological d Continue reading >>
Can You Burn Fat Without Being In Ketosis?
When you're trying to lose weight, what you really want is to lose fat while preserving your lean muscle mass. Ketosis occurs when the body burns fat at a high rate. Lowering your carbohydrate intake gets you into the fat-burning zone, but you don't necessarily have to be in ketosis to achieve this goal. Video of the Day Ketosis means that your body is burning fat at high enough rates that you have a lot of ketone bodies, waste compounds produced during the burning of fat. These ketone bodies can also be burned for energy by your brain and most of your other body cells. To have ketone levels high enough to be detectable, you need to keep your carbohydrate intake lower than 50 grams per day, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. If you are in ketosis, which can be verified by using urine ketone strips, you can be 100 percent sure that your body is in fat-burning mode. During a study published in 2005 in the "Journal of the American Medical Association," researchers compared different diet plans, finding that people can lose fat without being in ketosis. If your carb intake is too high, your body prioritizes burning these carbs first. You can promote fat burning by decreasing your carbohydrate intake, but you don't necessarily need to go as low as required to be in ketosis. Restrict your carbs slightly to help your body switch into fat-burning mode more easily. You can burn fat even if you're not producing ketones as long as you create a calorie deficit. In other words, if you eat slightly less than your body needs, your body must gain energy from somewhere else, such as the fat in your love handles. To burn more fat, cut down on your portion sizes, especially of carbohydrate-rich foods such as sweets, soft drinks, bread, pasta, rice an 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 >>
Rewriting The Fat Burning Textbook – Part 2: Why You’ve Been Lied To About Carbs And How To Turn Yourself Into A Fat Burning Machine.
In Rewriting The Fat Burning Textbook – Part 1 you discovered how eating a high fat diet doesn’t make you fat, and may actually increase the amount of fat you burn as fuel at both rest and during exercise, allow you to exercise or function for longer periods of time while eating relatively few calories, massively improve your health and not limit performance in the least. But much of that information is theoretical, and not grounded in hard, sweaty numbers. Sure, there are videos such as this that suggest high-fat diets and ketosis-adapted performance can aid with things such as fat loss and high-altitude resilience, but there is scant data related to the pointy end of human performance potential. However, what if we could actually prove that eating a low-carb, high-fat diet for a long time, becoming fat-adapted and even avoiding carbohydrates during the one time when we’re most encouraged to consume carbohydrates (during exercise)… …could actually turn you into a fat-burning machine without losing a shred of performance capability or causing any metabolic damage? That, my friends, would rewrite the fat-burning textbooks. Let’s find out if it can be done… ——————————————– Enter The Exercise Nerds: The FASTER study at the UCONN Human Performance Laboratory As you’ve already learned – from controlling cancer to reducing your waistline to biohacking your brain – a high fat and low carb diet has been shown to massively enhance health, energy levels, and focus while reducing risk of disease. But what does a high-fat diet do to the body when you’re exercising? Does it actually cause you to burn more fat as fuel? Does it mess up your gut? Does it drain precious muscle and liver energy stores? And most importantly: can you turn Continue reading >>
Ketogenic Dieting 101: How To Use Fat As Fuel
Eating fat to burn fat sounds contradictory, if not nuts, right? The world is full of people who are fat because of high-fat diets, so why would a fit person want to follow suit? I'm not talking about stuffing your face full of peanut butter cups. I'm talking about following a ketogenic diet—or, put simply, a high-fat, moderate-protein, carbohydrate-restricted diet designed to make the body burn fat for fuel. Bodybuilders, fitness enthusiasts, and researchers alike have found that such diets are an effective fat-loss tool. In fact, studies have shown that ketogenic diets induce numerous favorable metabolic and physiological changes, including weight loss, less oxidative stress, improved body composition, reduced inflammation, and increased insulin sensitivity.[1-4] That being said, what does the science surrounding ketogenic diets have to say about individuals looking to run faster or farther, jump higher, or improve other aspects of sports performance? Shouldn't athletes be swilling Gatorade before, during, and after their events instead of adopting a high-fat, restricted-carbohydrate diet? Not necessarily. Ketogenic diets have become increasingly popular among athletes ranging from Olympic competitors to endurance runners, with good reason. Let's take a closer look at the science. What Exactly Is A Ketogenic Diet, Anyway? Ketogenic diets are very high-fat, moderate-protein, carbohydrate-restricted diets. The exact breakdown of the diet varies between individuals, but a general profile may reflect 70-75 percent fat, 15-20 percent protein, and only 5-10 percent carbohydrate. So, you're probably thinking, all I need to do then is watch out for the carbs, right? Not exactly. Ketogenic diets are not the same as high-protein, carbohydrate-restricted diets. I often hear Continue reading >>
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 >>
What Are The Optimal Ketone Levels For A Ketogenic Diet?
If you’ve just started a ketogenic diet, then you’ll know that it can be really tough to figure out if you’re doing keto right. Am I eating too many carbs? Too much protein? Should I still be feeling tired? When is the fat burning supposed to start? It’s confusing, and one of the most confusing aspects is what your optimal ketone levels are supposed to be. Unlike most other diets, the ketogenic diet is designed to put your body into a state of ketosis in order to get your body to start burning ketones instead of the glucose that it usually burns when you eat a high carb standard American diet (SAD). But to know whether you’re in ketosis and whether your body has enough ketones circulating for you to use as energy instead of glucose, you have to measure your actual ketone levels and then determine whether they’re high enough for you to be reaping the benefits of the ketogenic diet. If you’ve tried searching for this information already, then you’ll know that there’s some controversy depending on which expert you follow. So in this article, we’ll tell you exactly what the different experts are suggesting are the optimal ketone levels as well as give you recommendations for what ketone levels you should be aiming for depending on your goals with a ketogenic diet. A Few Quick Notes Before We Start… If you’re looking for signs other than testing your actual body ketone levels as to whether you’re in ketosis or not, then please check out this article instead that provides you with signs you’re in ketosis. If you’re a type 1 diabetic, then this article is not for you and the optimal ketone levels suggested below are not applicable to you. Please check out the tons of other ketone level articles on the web to ensure your ketone levels do not reach Continue reading >>
How To Burn Stored Body Fat — A Ketosis Primer
“So, how do you tell your body to start burning stored body fat?” my friend and fellow mother asked. “Cut the carbs,” answered another mom. “I go into ketosis just about every afternoon.” “Ketosis? Isn’t that bad for you?” The short answer? No. I talk to a lot of people who want to lose weight. They try all sorts of things — exercise, calorie restriction, you name it. Sometimes, they lose the weight. Inevitably, they gain it back. That’s because what they’re doing is going on a diet — a temporary fix at best. What they need is a lifestyle change, a perspective shift, a new paradigm. Of course, you all know the paradigm I espouse — a conversion to eating real, traditional foods. Yet even a conversion to eating real food won’t necessarily help the pounds melt away. If you’re still eating 200 grams of carbohydrates a day — even if they’re “traditional” carbohydrates like sprouted or soaked grains, unrefined sweeteners, etc, you’re not going to lose weight without making some serious changes. If your body is regularly storing body fat (you gain a little bit of weight each year), then something is wrong with how your body metabolizes food. Let me introduce you to a new concept: the body fat setpoint. The body fat setpoint is the mass of body fat that your body attempts to defend against changes in either direction. It’s your body’s attempt to maintain homeostasis. This is why if you exercise more, you eat more. It’s also why if you restrict calories, your metabolism slows down to compensate. Why should you care about the body fat setpoint? From Stephan at Whole Health Source: We care because this has some very important implications for human obesity. With such a powerful system in place to keep body fat mass in a narrow range, Continue reading >>
Ketosis: What Is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a normal metabolic process. When the body does not have enough glucose for energy, it burns stored fats instead; this results in a build-up of acids called ketones within the body. Some people encourage ketosis by following a diet called the ketogenic or low-carb diet. The aim of the diet is to try and burn unwanted fat by forcing the body to rely on fat for energy, rather than carbohydrates. Ketosis is also commonly observed in patients with diabetes, as the process can occur if the body does not have enough insulin or is not using insulin correctly. Problems associated with extreme levels of ketosis are more likely to develop in patients with type 1 diabetes compared with type 2 diabetes patients. Ketosis occurs when the body does not have sufficient access to its primary fuel source, glucose. Ketosis describes a condition where fat stores are broken down to produce energy, which also produces ketones, a type of acid. As ketone levels rise, the acidity of the blood also increases, leading to ketoacidosis, a serious condition that can prove fatal. People with type 1 diabetes are more likely to develop ketoacidosis, for which emergency medical treatment is required to avoid or treat diabetic coma. Some people follow a ketogenic (low-carb) diet to try to lose weight by forcing the body to burn fat stores. What is ketosis? In normal circumstances, the body's cells use glucose as their primary form of energy. Glucose is typically derived from dietary carbohydrates, including: sugar - such as fruits and milk or yogurt starchy foods - such as bread and pasta The body breaks these down into simple sugars. Glucose can either be used to fuel the body or be stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen. If there is not enough glucose available to meet energy demands, th Continue reading >>
How To Increase Fat Burning During Ketosis
Ketosis is also known as the body's process for generating energy by producing ketones when insufficient carbohydrates are available in the diet. In other words, a low-carb diet is called ketogenic because it forces the body to use fat for energy. Ketosis is a very effective means of burning fat, but there are certain techniques for increasing fat-burning through exercise and nutrition. How many carbs should you eat per day? When is the best time to eat them? What kinds of carbs are best? And what natural supplements prevent muscle loss caused by extreme ketogenic diets? Follow a few basic rules to answer these questions and achieve your fat-burning goals. Video of the Day Take in 30 to 50 g of carbohydrates per day, depending on your individual metabolism. Typically, this carb-depletion phase lasts five days and is followed by two days of carb-loading. For example, having 100 to 200 g of carbs per day for two days. This carb-cycling strategy helps to prevent dieting plateaus in which the body stops burning fat in response to what it perceives as starvation. Stack your carbohydrates around your workouts. Carbs are needed for two reasons: muscle recovery and energy. One good strategy is to take in half of your carbs before your workout and the other half after. Some people choose to take all of them before or after. Either way, taking in your carbohydrates in the morning will allow the body to switch into ketosis during the day, burning more fat. Limit resistance training workouts to 60 minutes to control cortisol levels. The stress hormone cortisol, part of the fight-or-flight response, slows down fat-burning and metabolizes muscle tissue. After about an hour of training, muscle-building hormones plummet, and cortisol increases significantly. Sometimes, training harder Continue reading >>
How To Become A Fat-burning Machine With The Ketogenic Diet
Perhaps the most immediate and dramatic benefit of ketogenic eating is the opportunity for quick and efficient reduction of excess body fat. This also means easy, long-term maintenance of your ideal body composition. Ketogenic eating can make you an efficient fat-burning machine. When you are in full-blown keto, you enjoy complete dietary satisfaction, rarely feel hungry (even if you skip meals!), and never have to struggle, suffer, restrict calories, or force strenuous workouts in order to burn extra calories. Instead, you allow your body to naturally calibrate you to a healthy composition and weight. The scientists, medical professionals, and athletes on the ground floor of the keto movement can barely contain their excitement over its power to reliably reduce excess body fat, enhance neurological function, protect against diseases of cognitive decline, and slow the rate of inflammation and oxidative damage that are the essence of the (accelerated) aging process. Research has suggested it's also able to help prevent seizures, halt the growth of cancerous tumors, and improve athletic performance for all types of athletes.1 In essence, ketogenic eating allows you to benefit from the extraordinary (and scientifically validated) metabolic efficiency, general health, and longevity benefits of fasting—without having to starve yourself. When you're starving, engaging in a purposeful fast, or adhering to a nutritional ketosis eating pattern, your cells prefer to burn fat and produce ketones. Ketones burn efficiently and quickly in the body. In fact, they have been the preferred human fuels in our body for 2.5 million years of our hunter-gatherer existence.2 On the other hand, the high-carb, high-insulin-producing Standard American Diet (SAD) causes you to burn glucose (also Continue reading >>