What Is the Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic (otherwise known as “Keto”) diet is a popular new diet that is catching on with athletes everywhere. To anyone that’s been serious about their fitness for some time; they know that fad diets come and go like the tides, and that typically there will be two or three popular ones a year that sweep through and dominate the forum and chatroom space until the next year when the new fads show up. So, is the keto diet just another fad? We will examine the science, and break it down in simple terms on whether or not this new diet packs the punch that people have been claiming!
What is “Keto”?
To put it simply: the ketogenic diet is a diet that puts an emphasis on getting your calories from protein and fat, while keeping your carbohydrates under a very strict number. The reason they want you to keep your carbohydrates low is that your body will enter a state called “ketosis” once it has been deprived of carbohydrate based energy sources, which is a state in which your body will start producing (burning) more of it’s energy from fat stores instead of carbohydrate based sources. Meaning, your body is using your fat directly to fuel your body. Once your body begins burning this fat directly, it produces a by-produce called “ketones”, hence the name keto. Typically this process takes 2-5 days of consistently keeping your carbohydrate intake low.
How many carbs should I eat on the Keto diet?
How many carbohydates you can eat per day and maintain your ketosis is dependent on a ton of variables. Typically, the range is 20 to 40 grams of carbs and after a few days, your body will have entered into it’s super-charged fat burning state.
Is it possible to tell you’re in ketosis?
While the amount of carbs you can personally take in varies from person to person, the great news is that we can dial this in precisely. Using ketone strips, you can test yourself and see in seconds if your body has successfully entered into ketosis or not. This is a highly effectively and cheap way to tune in your dieting. We recommend starting on the higher spectrum for a few days, around 40 grams or so, and every 5 days dialing back another 5 grams or so until you finally hit the magical number that will send our body into a fat burning frenzy. We do recommend retesting every so often, but usually this number will stay consistent.
Does the Ketogenic diet work?
Taking a look a look at the scientific data on the subject, a few studies stood out as the most-cited:
Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients
Ketogenic Diet for Obesity: Friend or Foe?
The Three-Month Effects of a Ketogenic Diet on Body Composition, Blood Parameters, and Performance Metrics in CrossFit Trainees: A Pilot Study.
They all come to the basic conclusion that a ketogenic-based diet that is low in carbohydrates is, calories being equal, more effective at burning fat and improving body composition over a traditional diet. Long-term effects seem also include a dramatic reduction in cholesterol and blood glucose levels.
Typically the studies suggest running your diet for at least 2-3 weeks, but studies indicate this diet could be followed long-term for months and potentially years successfully.
Will the Keto Diet work for you?
On a final note I wanted to say the best diet will always be the one you can stick to. While the keto diet can improve your fat burning capabilities, long-term it will all even out if you aren’t able to stick with it very long. Fortunately, this diet is very friendly to very delicious foods like: hot wings, bacon, cheeses, steaks, dips, bacon, seafood, and did I mention bacon? Since this diet is low in carbohydrates, you have to make those calories up in fat, which means you can indulge more often in some items you otherwise wouldn’t on a traditional diet. So if you are worried about this diet limiting you to boring meals, don’t worry, you are going to be a frequent guest to flavor town!
We couldn’t leave you to start your keto-journey without a bit of assistance, could we? Here are some of our favorite ketogenic friendly recipes that can help transition into your new diet.
Keto-friendly pizza: Coming soon
Keto-friendly hot wings with blue cheese dip: Coming soon
Keto-friendly cookies: Coming soon