Yes we have all heard about it, its trending everywhere, it’s even bigger than Paleo, and Low carb, yes its Keto! And it seems as if your success in weight loss and body shape change depends on it!

Does it?

But is it all its cracked up to be?

Is it safe for everyone?

Will it work for you?

Can you stick with it?

Well lets dive in a chew the fat (so to speak :-))

Ketosis is a metabolic state that occurs when your dietary carbohydrates are in such low volumes that your body must rely almost holistically on fatty breakdown and ketone metabolism for you to take your very next breath. This is very different to ketoacidosis which is a very dangerous and can be life threatening medical condition. So in a nutshell what you’re doing is reprogramming your metabolism to use both dietary fats (ones your eating and stored body fat) as the fuels you burn rather than glucose from carbohydrates, and to a lesser degree proteins.

Basically the 101 of the Ketogenic diet is this; you will be consuming a high amount of dietary fat and an extraordinary low amount of dietary carbohydrate, and not to mention a mighty low protein concentration to allow you the optimal environment to have your body go into ketosis!

Exactly how much fat, and how miniscule will the carbohydrates be, not to forget the low protein content? Technically speaking there are quite some variants in to what forms a ketogenic diet! However, a strict, keto diets are structured with about 70-75% of your daily caloric intake coming from fat and about 5% from carbs, and the remainder from our protein intakes, maybe 20% or less.

The range of carbohydrates you can consume and stay in ketosis varies from person to person, but you can usually get about 12% of your daily caloric intake from carbs and stay in nutritional ketosis, again, this is uniquely different for all of us.

Here is an important fact! Your protein intake in the ketogenic diet is extremely low in most cases. WT? (I hear you say) Most of us in the industry of body transformation and using panel beating (weight training as a building block) have be programmed to devour high protein intakes to allow optimal satiety and elicit the muscle building effects most of us are chasing! However with ketogenic diets, this intake of more than roughly 0.8g/kg of your body weight can lead to you falling out of ketosis, and rendering the ketogenic diet a big splat, or fail! Why you ask? Well i’m glad you asked. You see ingesting protein above certain quantities is glucogenic, yes you got it,  proteins will lead to increased blood glucose levels and therefore elevated insulin levels, and once this occurs, ketosis is ceased!

Ideally, an optimum ketogenic state would require you to be at about 75% fat intake, 5% carbohydrate ingestion, and 20% protein intake, which would allow you to perhaps maintain lean muscle mass. Perhaps I say! The literature does not tend to support increases in lean muscle mass with a ketogenic diet! So let’s dive deeper!

So in regards to weight loss, fat loss, performance improvements and muscle tissue development what’s the general consensus? (Again this varies for every single one of us)!

*Yes – Optimal fat burning does tend to be seen – whilst be able to sustain ketosis!

Yes, improved body composition is often seen with the ketogenic diet! But could this be simply due to the sustained negative caloric intake and the diminished variety in foods available to eat? As you would be well versed, all diets that allow you to sustain long term calorie deficits will lead to a weight loss!

Of course, when we’re talking about improved body comp in ketogenic diets, we’re referring almost exclusively to a loss of fat mass. However, currently there does NOT seem to be any literature to support that a ketogenic diet is optimal for synthesising an increase in your lean muscle mass!

Sounds great yes, optimal fat loss with a ketogenic diet? However, whats to literature show us in regards to our performance with our intense or robust motivated movement? What tends to happens when we exercise hard, like in the panel beater or interval based cardio workouts? Well unfortunately it would seem this is where it goes downhill fast!The science seems to support we just BONK! Yes we simply run out of steam with the intense exercise limitations being seen. This is likely due to 2 factors: 1. reduced muscular carbohydrate stores, and 2. a reduction in the ability of the liver to provide us the carbs to power our workouts. So this isnt what most of us are chasing is it? A little fat burning, with substantial muscular wastage? So not only will the intense exercise bouts be hindered due to lack of “on tap fuel to support this exercise”, but wait for it, we will also be limited in our ability to recover from the exercise bouts, and therefore be disadvantaged in our ability to build muscle! OOOPPPSSSS! So be careful what you wish for I guess!

So who is this Ketogenic dieting good for?

Well there is quality research out there that supports the use of the classic 1:1 ratio of fats;proteins/carbohydrates form of Ketogenic dieting for the epileptic patient. Yes, for quite some time the ketogenic diet has been used successfully for patients suffering with all different forms of epilepsy and its also being trialled with many other neurological disorder, so watch this space!

NB: with many epileptic patients this diet may be used for 1-3 years years and then whilst working with the medical specialists eased into a modified version of the classic 1:1 ketogenic diet!

So who else may benefit with this type of restrictive ketogenic diet? As we have already found, those looking for short term weight loss, it does seem to have the wood over the other diets in regards to weight lost, but after the 6 month period the results tend to move in favour of the balanced diets again. So yes, no doubt, initially short term weight loss it would seem is favoured for the ketogenic diet!


Ketogenic Diets 101 – the take away:

Ketogenic diets may be optimal for short term weight loss, however, they certainly don’t optimize muscle gain, nor do they optimize your training capacity. Yes you may lose a little more weight in the early parts of the diet, but long term your weight loss will be difficult to maintain with such a restrictive diet, and your performance in regards to weight training and intense interval training is heavily limited, hell, it falls flat! So dont try build guns with this ketogenic diet!

The science of nutrition has found that consuming both carbohydrates and protein elicit a greater anabolic response than either in isolation. On a ketogenic diet you strip out the carbs, but since both protein and carbs are needed for optimal muscle gain, ketogenic diets strip you of a missing key ingredient.

Ultimately, ketogenic diets aren’t optimal for building lean muscle and they inhibit your performance whilst training with intensity!

  1. Ketosis occurs when your carbohydrates are in such low quantities that your body relies almost exclusively on fatty acid oxidation and ketone metabolism.
  2. Ketogenic diets have about 70-75% of your daily caloric intake coming from fat and about 5% from carbohydrates.
  3. Ingesting protein above approximately .8 grams per pound is enough to kick you out of ketosis.
  4. Ketogenic diets improve your body fat loss, but as we are already almost all aware of so does any diet that reduces calories from any source.
  5. There is no literature to support that a ketogenic diet is beneficial for promoting increases in muscle mass.
  6. Ketogenic diets affect performance negatively whilst performing at high intensity. Yes that means your weight training and interval based cardio vascular work will be impeded dramatically!

So there you have it!

A general overview of the on trend Ketogenic diet!

Is it for you?

I hope you have be able to garner a little better insight into the wonderful world of dieting?

Be sure to return again to to get all the latest and greatest in regards to what is happening in the world of nutrition, exercise and lifestyle success.

Craig Kelly

Fusion Fat Loss & Nutrition