Cyclic Ketogenic Diet
A cyclic ketogenic diet (or carb-cycling) is a low-carbohydrate diet with intermittent periods of high or moderate carbohydrate consumption. This is a form of the general ketogenic diet that is used as a way to maximize fat loss while maintaining the ability to perform high-intensity exercise. A ketogenic diet limits the number of grams of carbohydrate the dieter may eat, which may be anywhere between 0 and 50g per day. The remainder of the caloric intake must come primarily from fat sources, as well as protein sources, in order to maintain ketosis. (Ketosis is the condition in which the body burns fats and uses ketones instead of glucose for fuel.) The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet can be complex, as it requires the dieters to closely watch the number of carbohydrate grams they eat during the intermittent period that they are not maintaining a strictly low carb/moderate protein diet. When following a low carbohydrate diet, for the first few days, there is an adaptation period during which most people report feeling run-down or tired. Some people report feeling irritable, out of sorts, and unable to make decisions. For most people these feelings disappear after the adaptation period, however, and are replaced with feelings of calm and balance, and more consistent energy. Although most people report a waning of cravings while in ketosis, some people may crave carbohydrates during ketosis for psychological reasons. During a hypocaloric ketogenic diet, the carb cravings may combine with hunger pangs, making matters worse. (However, it is noteworthy that most people report having no hunger pangs on a ketogenic diet, due to its higher fat and protein contents, which help to increase a sense of fullness). A CKD offers a way to combat this. It offers a cyclical "refeed" Continue reading >>
What Is The Ketogenic Diet?
In most weight loss circles, low carb dieting is viewed as one of the best ways to lose fat without having to resort to starvation. Cutting down on carbs eliminates any potential competition for fuel and so your body is more inclined to burn fat. Also, cutting starchy carbs and replacing them with non-starchy vegetables means you automatically reduce your calorie intake. A double fat-loss whammy! However, what if you don’t just reduce your carb intake, but eliminate carbs altogether? That’s the basic premise of the ketogenic diet. Carbs – how low can you go? The ketogenic diet restricts carb intake to between 20 and 50 grams per day. In contrast, a low carb diet allows around 100-150 grams per day. Restricting carbs this low forces your body to almost exclusively use fat for fuel. The trouble is, your brain only really runs on glucose (derived from carbohydrate) and can’t use fats or fatty acids. So, instead, your body converts fatty acids into a substance called ketone bodies which your brain CAN use for fuel. Note these are very different to “raspberry ketones”. This conversion process is not very economical and it takes a large amount of fat to make a relatively small number of ketones. Needless to say, this inefficiency is very good news when you are trying to lose fat fast. In addition, all-but eliminating carbs will significantly lower your blood glucose and pretty much remove the need for your body to produce insulin. This very firmly puts your body in fat burning and not fat storing mode. Carb-free side effects There are a few downsides to the ketogenic diet though none of them are too great to overcome. Getting into ketosis takes several days and during that time as your glucose, carbohydrate and glycogen stores are depleted, it’s very common to s Continue reading >>
Ketogenic Nutrition And Exercise: Carbs
In my previous post, How to Exercise on a Keto Diet, I outlined the some of the basic facts about exercise and the most common myths. In this and future posts, I'd like to focus on nutrition aspects of exercise. Foods containing carbs are not all evil and I'll explain when clean paleo-friendly carbs can be used even on a keto diet. Let's start by busting some of the most common myths... Carbs and Performance Do we need carbs for better performance? One of the most common myths is that low-carb eating will negatively affect your performance. This is down to studies that ignore keto-adaptation and only focus on the immediate effects of carb restriction. There is, indeed, a transitional period in which performance drop occurs but it only lasts for a few weeks. Once you get keto-adapted (usually 3-4 weeks), your body will switch from using glucose to using ketones and fatty acids as the main source of energy. This study performed on elite athletes shows that a keto diet does not affect strength performance. Eight athletes over a period of 30 days were fed virtually a zero carb diet and didn't experience any drop in performance. In fact, more and more studies are showing the beneficial effects of keto-adaptation. Even athletes that are doing very long cardio training or marathons can follow a keto diet. Timothy Allen Olson is just one of the many super athletes who have proven to be thriving almost purely on a diet that is best described as low-carb, keto and paleo. However, Timothy doesn't follow a standard ketogenic diet - he eats carbs strategically. Before or after his workouts he eats clean carbs such as sweet potatoes and fruits. He also uses glucose gels on training runs. Everyone is different and although some may thrive on a Standard Ketogenic Diet, others may benef Continue reading >>
The Old School Ketogenic Diet Plan
When most people hear “no carbs” they automatically assume misery and think of horror stories they have heard. Utilizing the ketogenic diet plan doesn’t have to be miserable, and yes you can still consume carbohydrates! I have had great success using a form of ketogenic dieting. When introduced to the diet I was very skeptical. How could someone not be skeptical when carbohydrates are taken out of a nutritional plan for days? This plan isn’t for everyone. I will explain to you how I go about the plan and give you the pros and cons. No carbs (high fat and protein) The first 2-4 days of the plan call for no carbohydrates (except for 20-60 grams simple carbohydrate post workout). Calories still need to be counted while using this plan. 5-6 meals of high protein/fat (80/20 ground beef is my choice for meals) per day. Many vegetables (spinach, broccoli, green beans, peppers, cucumbers, anything lower glycemic) can and should be eaten with the protein/fat meal. It is very important to consume the vegetables with these meals! 20-30 minutes post workout 20-60 grams of carbohydrate should be consumed to prevent muscle cataolism. Keep this carb simple, and this is the only caloric source of carbohydrates during this time. The macros should be 50-70% of calories from fat, 25-45% from protein, and 5-10% from carbohydrates. Carb Load After 2-4 days of the high protein/fat a one day carb load is needed. On this day only carbohydrates are consumed. Very little protein and fat if any. 5-7 meals of more complex carbohydrates will be consumed. Good examples: rice, sweet potatoes, cheerios, oatmeal, apples, bananas, or grapes. Essentially any carbs but keep fat/protein to near zero. No post workout simple carb is needed but a whey protein shake can be consumed. This protein will h Continue reading >>
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Video: Time To Carb-up? Signs To Watch For + Why I Do It.
If there’s one thing I regret when I started eating high-fat, low-carb, keto, it’s that I waited way too long to do my first carb up. In all honesty? I got a little scared of eating carbs. I went months fighting the urge to eat a little bit of carrots, sweet potato or yam thinking that powering through would help me reach my goals quicker. Yah, it didn’t. If anything, it made things worse. I don’t want this guilt for you. So, I made this video. Today, we’re going through the 3 strategies for carb ups aka carb refeeds – why I (now) practice carb ups, how often to do them, why they work, and more. A must-watch if you’re using a ketogenic, high-fat eating style to heal your hormones, build muscle and/or reset your health. For video mini guide & transcript PDF, scroll down. Your Mini Guide & Transcript A 5-10 page PDF with the transcript for this video, resources, and exclusive steps to taking your keto fat burning to the next level. Download to your device and access anytime. Simply click the button above, enter your details, and the guide will be delivered to your inbox! Get the mini guide & transcript now. Highlights… Why I carb-up When to carb-up and how to do it The 3 different carb up and carb refeeding strategies to pick from Resources… Which of the 3 carb-up strategies have you done? What was your experience? Lets chat about it in the comments! Continue reading >>
How Many Carbohydrates Do You Need?
A perennial question, argument and debate in the field of nutrition has to do with how many carbohydrates people should be eating. While the nutritional mainstream is still more or less advocating a large amount of daily carbohydrate (with fat being blamed for the health problems of the modern world), groups often considered at the ‘fringe’ of nutrition are adamant that carbohydrates are the source of all evil when it comes to health, obesity, etc. They advocate lowering carbohydrates and replacing them with dietary protein, fat or both. This is a topic that I discussed in some detail in Carbohydrates and Fat Controversies Part 1 and Carbohydrate and Fat Controversies Part 2 and I’d recommend readers take a look at those for a slightly different look at the issue than what is discussed here. Arguments over recommended carbohydrate intake have a long history and it doesn’t appear to be close to ending any time soon. Typical mainstream recommendations have carbohydrates contributing 50% or more of total calories while many low-carbohydrate advocates suggest far fewer (ranging from the 40% of the Zone diet to close to zero for ketogenic diets). This article looks at the topic in detail. And while I originally wrote it quite a while back (some of you have probably seen it before), it was nice going over it with fine toothed comb for an update. While the majority of it stands up well over time, I was able to make some slight changes to the values, along with removing some original stuff that wasn’t really relevant. Enjoy. Introduction It’s safe to say that most carbohydrate recommendations that you will see are put in terms of percentages, you should be eating 45% of your calories as carbs, or 65% or whatever number is being used. As I discussed in Diet Percentag Continue reading >>
All You Need To Know About Carbs On A Low-carb Ketogenic Diet
When it comes to ideal carbs intake, I've discussed it in my post here: How Many Carbs per Day on Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet? However, daily carbs intake is not the only aspect you should focus on. Does our body need carbs? It's a common misconception that our body, especially our brain needs carbs. In fact, the brain can either use glucose or ketones. When you restrict the intake of carbohydrates, your body will switch to using ketone bodies instead of using glucose. Not only that, ketones are a better fuel for our body and brain than glucose, even for highly active individuals. Once you get keto-adapted (3-4 weeks), you will experience improved energy levels. Although a small amount of glucose is still needed, our body can produce glucose on demand via gluconeogenesis. Dr Volek and Dr Phinney, The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance (2012): "Ketone bodies are an important lipid-based fuel, especially for the brain, when dietary carbohydrates are restricted." It has been estimated that about 200 grams of glucose can be generated daily just from protein (Dr Briffa, Escape the Diet Trap, 2012). Our body needs some glucose (e.g. for the thyroid health) but according to Dr Volek, it's a very small amount. As I said in my post here, there is no need for everybody to follow a very low-carb / "zero-carb" diet and you may need to adjust the level of carbs to fit your needs. Types of carbs in ketogenic diets Generally, you should avoid any sugary or starchy foods. The best measure to represent "good" and "bad" carbohydrates is their Glycemic Load (GL), which measures how much insulin will be released by your body for a given food measured in standard portions. This is different to Glycemic Index (GI), which doesn't take the serving size into account. As a result, some 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 >>
When To Carb Up On A Ketogenic Diet
If you’ve been doing the ketogenic diet for long, you may have heard the term “carb up” used. We are going to explain When to Carb Up on a Ketogenic Diet to help you make the most of your recent choice to live a healthier lifestyle and work toward losing weight. When to Carb Up on a Ketogenic Diet A ketogenic diet is mostly a low-carb and high-protein dietary option. However, many individuals restrict carbohydrates strongly and use what they call a cyclic keto diet by using a few days on a regular basis to “carb up”. Below, I will explain more about the process, and some tips for when you should choose this method. Have you hit a plateau with weight loss? If you have been doing the ketogenic diet for a length of time, your body may be at a point where it just needs a change. That includes those who have lost a lot, but have just a few last pounds to reach their goal. A carb load can switch your body out of ketosis just long enough for the change back to ketosis to boost you back into loosing mode. Are you training regularly for building muscle? Many who are focused on building muscle find that doing a carb up day helps give them the extra boost of energy needed to really push to a goal. This is especially found with those who are preparing for a competition or a marathon of some sort. A carb up day allows them to add extra energy for 1-2 full days to get past that event. Most who do this follow a weekly regimen of ketogenic for a week, then follow that with 1-2 days of carb loading. They may limit this to once a month or do it routinely each week. However, they are using this as part of their high-intensity workout regimen. Do you have the discipline to go back on plan? If you don’t have the discipline to stop and go back on plan after 1-2 days, then this ma Continue reading >>
Part K: Ketogenic Diets
On Ketogenic diets: What do you think about Ketogenic diets for naturals, would they come in to flat, would they be able to still put on muscle and get pumps? Ketogenic diets have always been thought of as ‘protein sparing’ because ketones spare blood glucose which will reduce gluconeogenesis (conversion of amino acids to glucose) and ketones can be used as fuel, however ketones can only be used by aerobic metabolism. Weightlifting is quite anaerobic and studies have shown performance is very closely correlated to levels of muscle glycogen & glucose availability. Is keto a good way to lose fat very quickly? yes. But if you give yourself ample time… why not have carbs? They are not evil and are quite useful. Also keto diets will make it more difficult to fill out when it comes time to do so, it takes weeks to adapt to a ketogenic diet, so when you come off of keto it will take weeks to adapt to carbohydrates back in the diet and so if you are trying to carb up a few days before the show after you did keto for 12 + weeks I’m afraid you will have very little idea what to expect as you will essentially be challenging your body with something it isn’t accustomed to. If you choose to do a ketogenic diet and not re-introduce carbohydrates, I would do a moderate protein/fat load and only increase carbs very slightly. Finally, I think some people are better with keto diets than others. I think the mental aspect cannot be discounted. Some people just mentally cannot handle carbs. That’s fine, keto is probably better for them, but in my opinion, if you don’t absolutely have to do keto, you are better off not doing it as it really complicated trying to properly fill someone out for a show and has not been shown to be superior to an isocaloric high protein non-ketogeni Continue reading >>
Here's Exactly How I Lost 50 Pounds Doing The Keto Diet
Of all the places to seek life-changing nutrition advice, I never thought the barber shop would be where I found it. But one day last January, after a couple years of saying to myself, "today's the day I make a change," my barber schooled me on something called keto. Normally, I take things he says with a grain of salt unless they're about hair or owning a business, but this guy could literally be on the cover of Men's Health. He's 6 feet tall, conventionally attractive, and his arms are about five pull-ups away from tearing through his t-shirt. If anyone else had implied that I was looking rough, I would've walked out in a fit of rage, but I decided to hear him out. I should clarify that I was out of shape, but my case wasn't that severe. I hadn't exercised in a few years and basically ate whatever I wanted and however much of it, but I was only about 30 to 40 pounds overweight. My barber went on to explain that this diet, paired with an appropriate exercise routine, allowed him to completely transform his body in less than a year, and all he ate was fatty foods. Once he showed me his "before" picture, I was sold. It was time to actually make a change. Short for ketogenic, keto is a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet that forces your metabolism into what's called a state of ketosis. There's a much more scientific explanation to that, but it basically means that instead of burning carbohydrates (mainly glucose, or sugars), your body switches to burning fat as a primary source for energy. Keto isn't necessarily about counting calories, though the basic idea of eating less in order to lose weight still applies. This is more of a calculated way to rewire your metabolism so that it burns fat more efficiently over time, using very specific levels of each macronutrient Continue reading >>
Can I Have A Cheat Day With Carbohydrates If I'm Following A Ketogenic Diet?
Of course you can HAVE a cheat day. Yes, it will knock you right out of ketosis and it will take at least 3 days (up to a week for some people) to get back into ketosis every time. So if you do it once a week, you'd basically only be benefitting from ketosis for a couple of days each week, max. You will not see results and you'll get discouraged because your low-carb diet isn't "working"--because it's not low-carb if you're cheating on a regular basis! If you are actually trying to lose weight, keep any cheat days few and far between--more like once every month, or couple of months. Doing some intermittent fasting (google it) can help you get back into ketosis more quickly after cheating, but it's not a cure-all for frequent cheating. The ideal approach is to not cheat at all, ever--many people say that they lose the desire for high-carb foods after a while--but that can be tough to commit to for life, and many of us need to stick to a low-carb diet to avoid regaining the weight. I find that the occasional cheat day (or cheat week, say a vacation or Christmas holidays) make it easier to live with the restrictions the rest of the time. However, it is always a tough time getting back into ketosis, so it's best to keep those periods to a minimum. If you have a lot to lose, set yourself a realistic weight loss goal and don't cheat until after you have achieved it. Also, be prepared to gain 3-5 pounds in a single day when you do cheat; some of it is water weight that will drop off quickly, but not all of it. When the body is in weight loss mode, it will pack the pounds back on the minute it has access to the extra calories to do so. It wants to keep a reserve of fat for hard times. Continue reading >>
5 Reasons You Should Eat Some Carbs On Rest Days
Guest Post by Nate Miyaki, Author of Feast Your Fat Away About a year ago, I was hanging out with a colleague and friend of mine. We were downtown around lunchtime. In between intermittent deep thoughts about important nutrition topics, we were trying to look down the shirts and up the skirts of some fine looking women in their business attire. Now here’s what I don’t get. I had just returned from Hawaii, a place where women walking around in bikinis is the norm. I wasn’t going to see anything different hiding under those work clothes than what was in plain sight on the beach, just a few days back. But it didn’t matter. I was still trying to sneak a peak. I guess its just natural, biological instinct right? If there is even the slightest shot of getting a glimpse at a panty party, as guys, we’re going to look. Do I speak the truth, or am I way off base on this one? I think you should ponder this thoroughly. Yes, your People’s Nutrition Educator is also a worldly philosopher indeed. Can you smell what The Miyaki is cooking? But, uh, back to the lecture at hand. We were two G’s talking about a carb thang, baby. The Carb Cycling Catch My buddy is a strength coach, but he also is a rep for a few fitness companies. Basically, he needs a plan that allows him to stay very close to peak shape, year-round. To accomplish this, he had been following various carb cycling protocols. Although he was getting results, he admitted to me that he hated his current plan with a passion. On his high carb days, he struggled to get in all of the food necessary. He felt bloated, tired, and lethargic for most of the day. But even worse, on the low carb days, he felt like shit – low energy, irritable, and hungry. He couldn’t sleep on those nights. It was basically a roller coast Continue reading >>
How To Use Carb Cycling To Make Fat Loss Easier Than Ever
Carb cycling is central to every quality nutritional guide I’ve ever come across. It is recommended by some of the most highly-regarded coaches and transformation experts in the world and has been used by fitness models, bodybuilders and athletes to acquire some of the most impressive physiques ever seen. In 2013, a British study confirmed what the fitness elite already knew instinctively, when it was found that this style of diet was superior to a standard, daily calorie-restricted diet for reducing weight and lowering blood levels of insulin (more on this later). Yet, despite its effectiveness and popularity amongst the fitness elite, it’s a method of dieting that is shrouded in mystery. For years, I wrongly assumed that carb cycling was an advanced technique that would make my life more complicated, and that I didn’t need carbs in my diet at all. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Implemented properly, carb cycling makes fat loss easier from a physiological standpoint and, best of all, it makes dieting enjoyable because you actually get to eat carbs (aka pretty much every food you love). Many diets, such as Paleo or Atkins, almost completely ban you from eating carbs. When I tried the Paleo diet for myself, I found this style of eating overly-restrictive, and after months on the diet – and many missed social events – I finally gave in. But here’s the thing: I did lose weight, and lots of it. To get a better idea of why that might have happened, it’s important to understand the effect that carbohydrates have on our bodies. How Do Carbohydrates Affect The Body? When you consume carbohydrates they are broken down into sugars (otherwise known as glucose) that then enter the blood stream. A hormone called insulin is released to remove glucose from the blood Continue reading >>
Occasional Post Workout Carb Load; Throw Off Keto Adaptation?... Thoughts
Been basically paleo with my food choices for many years, except for rice. I'm 4 months into full on vlc paleo; no carbs except copious green vegetables (no fruit, grains, sugar, or roots) and feel amazing. 9am raw lamb leg, raw egg yolk, fish oil 3pm sashimi (I live in Tokyo) or chicken, coconut oil, avocado, seaweed, cabbage 9pm raw beef, coconut oil sauteed tons of green vegetables. I also add chelated minerals esp mag, Vit D3, E, B, C Felt like crap and could barely work out for 3 weeks, then magically I became a diesel engine! Actually, now my workouts are stronger than ever and I never bonk. I digest my raw meat by itself so easily now I workout an hour after eating 325 grams of it....deadlifts and all. My previous problems are reversing; my mind is clear all the time, my energy is constant, I can finally go more than 3 hours without eating, my moods are more even, I sleep better, and my body feels/looks stronger. I was already lean and hard, if small muscled, but now I seem to be gaining a bit of good weight. I am presently working out to try and gain mass, which my hardgainer body has never cooperated with before. I'm following leangains advice and eating 3 grams of protein per kilogram (I weigh @60kg lean body mass), and filling the rest out with fat; about 180g protein/195g fat/@2500 cal/day/3 meals @8-850cal. I don't count green veggie calories, I just eat em. Before I was really carb sensitive and they were making me sick. In the glycogen window I could eat more of them, but other times more than 40-50g of carbs would make me feel crappy. Now that I am keto adapted, I don't wanna screw that up. But, I do want to gain some mass. I'm at my limit with protein, and I don't think I can stomach more fat (already almost 200g a day). I have no need to add carbs for Continue reading >>