The Keto Diet: A Low-Carb Approach To Fat Loss
The idea of the ketogenic diet is to get your body into process known as Ketosis in which our body stop burning carbs as fuel and instead of burning carbohydrates , turn to the burning of what are known as ketones.
Along with the South beach & Atkins diet , individuals who are interested in low carbs approaches to dieting will likely want to look into the Ketogenic diet.
This keto diet is popular among many who are trying to maintain blood glucose levels and lose body fat, the main premise of this diet is, 'eat fat to lose fat'.
So How Does It Work ?
As stated above Ketosis is a process in which our body stop burning carbohydrates as fuel and instead turn to the burning of what are known as ketones. Ketosis will occur when you bring your carbs levels to around 50 g / day or lower. Many keto activists suggests that number to be 30 g of carbs but most individuals can still maintain ketosis while consuming the 50 g. and this allows for a little more leeway in the diet since you can increase the consumption of veggies & a variety of flavorings that contain a few grams of carbs.
TKD (Targeted Keto diet) or CKD ( Cyclical keto diet)
Usually individuals who are involved with exercise will follow either a TKD or CKD.
Targeted Keto Diet (TKD)
A Targeted Keto diet is one where you’ll eat carbs right before and right after your workouts. This TKD is the best bet for those who are involved in more intense activities and require some carbs to fuel them and who are not as interested in doing carbohydrate loads and depletion workouts.
Cyclical Keto Diet (CKD)
A Cyclical keto diet on the other hand is a diet where you will eat a minimum amount of carbs/ day ( i.e. 30 to 50 g.) and then on the weekend (or at a time that is appropriate for you) do a large 'carb-up' phase where you will eat a large amount of carbs in an effort to refill your muscle glycogen stores so you can continue to workout the coming week.
Usually right before the carb-up phase you will do a depletion workout where you try and get your muscles to completely eliminate their glycogen supply. Then when you do the 'carb-up' phase, you cut almost all the fat out of the diet so you are now just consuming carbohydrates and protein.
Setting Up The Diet
To set the diet up, first you take your lean body weight and multiply it by one. This will be the total number of gm. of protein you are required to eat / day. After you get this number, multiple it by 4 (how many calories are in 1 gm of protein) to get your total calories coming from protein.
Now the rest of your daily requirement will come from fat calories. You don't really need to calculate carbohydrate grams specifically because by default you will likely reach your 30 to 50 gm / day simply by including green veggies & the incidental carbs that come from your fat and protein sources. To figure out how many fat grams specifically you want, you would take the total number of calories it takes to maintain your body weight (normally around 14 to 16 calories per pound of body weight).
Subtract your protein calories from that number and then divide by 9 (no. of calories / gram of fat). This would give you how many total fat gm. you need to eat / day.
Divide these numbers by however many meals you wish to eat / day to get the basic layout for your diet. Be sure to eat ample of green leafy veggies for antioxidant and vitamin protection and you are good to go.
Weekend Carb Load
Now this brings us to the weekend carb load period and usually the 'fun' part for most individuals. You are now able to eat large quantities of carbs containing foods, bagels , cereal, rice chips, pasta , candy, and so on are all good options here.
Since you won't be eating very much fat at all, there is less likely of a chance that these carbs will get turned into body fat as they will be going towards filling up your muscle glycogen stores once again.
Most people will choose to begin their carb-up on Friday night and end it before bed on Saturday. This is usually most convenient as it's when you are off of work and can relax and enjoy the process. If you are not overly concerned with fat loss and are just using this diet as a way to maintain blood glucose levels, you can likely eat whatever carbohydrate foods you like during this period. Though If you are worried about fat gain , then you need this calculation .
Try and aim to keep your protein the same at 1 g / pound of body weight and then take in 10 to 12 g. of carbs for every kg of body weight. Start taking these carbs (usually the first bit in liquid form) right after your last workout on Friday night.
This is when your body is primed and ready to uptake the carbs and it will be most beneficial for you.
Note that you can have some fat here, since it will be hard to consume many of the foods you really want to eat without being allowed any (pizza for instance) but do your best to keep your fat grams around your body weight in kg’s. (so if you weigh 80 kilograms , eat no more than 80 g. of fat). On a second note, some people find they like to eat a little fruit along with protein before their final workout on Friday night as this will help restore their liver glycogen levels and give them the energy they need to push through that workout. Plus, by refilling the liver glycogen you will help put your body into a slightly more anabolic state so you do not see as much energy breakdown.Pros & Cons
Overall this appears to be a really smart diet for most people as far as fat loss is concerned. Some do deal with negative side effects while in ketosis but most people will find that although it's really hard the first 2 weeks, after that period their body begins to adapt and it gets much easier.
Furthermore , Appetite blunting is one of the biggest benefits of being in ketosis , thus it will truly be a perfect program for someone on a diet.
The only drawback you’ll see is for those that do have high activities or are involved in numerous sprinting type exercise.
Although a few can notice they feel fine, even have more energy on a high fat & moderate protein diet, most of the time carbs are the best source of fuel for these kind of activities.
That isn't that big of a problem though, it just means that that person should instead look into doing a TKD(Targeted Keto diet) instead of a CKD (Cyclical Keto Diet).
In part two of this article, we will go over how you should set up a TKD (Targeted Keto diet) for those who want to keep their carbohydrate intake slightly higher on a daily basis so as to allow for more intense training levels.
To sum up, for fat loss, this diet would rate four out of five .
For muscle gain though, it is slightly harder to put on muscle since usually a large amount of insulin is needed to put the body in an anabolic state, so it would be more along the lines of 2 out of 5 (TKD though could bump that higher).