It wasn't long ago mentions of a ketogenic diet or ketosis or ketones were met with puzzled stares. While the diet has been used for some time in health research for patients with Alzheimers and mental illness, it's now recognised by the fitness industry as a sound method to restrict glucose levels and potentially burn fat quickly.
During the Hustler Fitness Lean Muscle Transformation program, the ketogenic diet is recommended in certain weeks because of its vast body composition and digestive health benefits. Combine this with the training prescribed in the Transformation package and results can be seen in a short period of time as they did in my own transformation.
So why consider a ketogenic diet?
The benefits include:
While the benefits are immense, ketosis remains a mystery to many new trainees and bodybuilders. This post aims to answer common questions about ketosis and assist you in deciding if a ketogenic diet is right for you.
Let's get started.
The body typically gets its fuel from dietary carbohydrates, which includes foods like rice, bread, pasta, and other grains, along with fruit, sugars, and vegetables.
When carbohydrates, specifically starches and sugars enter the body they are broken down into glucose, and used by the body for energy. The hormone insulin then steps in to remove glucose from the bloodstream and the body either uses it for energy or stores any that is unused.
Any glucose that is not immediately used as fuel will be sent to the liver and muscles to be stored as glycogen as a fuel reserve, and any unused glycogen in the muscles, such as through exercise or energy expenditure turns to stored body fat.
For people with a carb sensitivity or those with insulin resistance it’s a grim outlook that can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes…
High carb diet = high glucose in the blood = high insulin = high amounts of body fat
An alternative source of fuel for the body is its own body fat, this process is triggered when the intake of carbs is limited, and their sources controlled, the body enters a state called lipolysis, the most efficient biochemical pathway to weight loss and a scientifically proven alternative to the body using or needing glucose for energy.
Lipolysis occurs as the body begins to burn the body’s own fat stores for energy instead of dietary carbohydrates and the by-products of this fat burning process are ketones and so ketosis is the secondary process of lipolysis.
When you eliminate carbs, the body is forced to use its fat stores instead, which literally turns into a fat burning machine. Ketones are the byproducts of ketosis and provide fuel for the body.
The only true exception to the body not needing glucose for fuel is ketones. Ketosis not only provides adequate energy for the cells within the body, it also fuels the brain and other organs just as glucose from carbs does BUT, unlike what may occur during the use of glucose, ketosis does not store fat, and actually allows the body to burn stored fat for fuel.
This is the reason that low carb diets are so popular and have allowed thousands of people to lose weight and keep it off.
After 3-4 days following this diet, the body produces ketones and enters into a state of ketosis where it uses fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.
All our lives we've been taught to avoid fat because it will make you fat.
Ketosis requires a complete change of thinking.
75% of your diet consists of healthy fats. Almonds, cashews, nut butter, coconut oil, olive oil, butter. This becomes your source of fuel.
In the footage below, Steve Hertzler, PhD, RD and Jason Wittrock, a trainer and ketogenic diet adherent, present a very insightful conversation into ketosis.
Of particular interest is the conversation concerning ketosis, supplements, muscle building while on the ketogenic diet and the aesthetic changes that follow keto.
If you are serious about the ketogenic diet, set aside 60 minutes to watch the introduction to ketosis below: