It has become increasingly popular, as of late, the ketogenic diet (high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate). However the diet is not new. In fact, it has been around for quite some time. Doctors and scientists have been implementing ketogenic diets in the prevention and control of cancer, epilepsy, and obesity for hundreds of years.
Recently a lot of people have been knocking the ketogenic diet. In their defense, the ketogenic diet certainly has its pitfalls. First and foremost, most people won’t be able to do it because of the almost complete avoidance of carbohydrates that it requires.
It is not the perfect diet for everybody, no diet is. Of course, it’s not for pregnant women or people who with certain ailments; but that’s no reason to demonize it completely.
In my opinion, the ketogenic diet has its place. From a bodybuilding perspective, it can serve as an awesome contest-prep diet.
For the non-bodybuilder, the following are some benefits I think everybody would enjoy:
- Increased Satiety
The increased in healthy fat consumption greatly improves satiety. Alleviating hunger is critical on a diet. It’s inevitable but can be mitigated. The digestion of proteins and fats are much slower than carbs and therefore satisfy your hunger much longer.
- Initial Weight Loss
It’s common for people to drop 6-10 lbs during the first week of a ketogenic diet. However, let me caution you. Ninety percent of that weight will be water weight. The decrease in carb consumption will deplete glycogen stores and allow for less water retention.
Each gram of carbohydrate requires approximately 2.5 oz. of water to help with digestion, etc. Naturally, when carbs are cut out, your body holds on to less water.
This doesn’t mean that the only weight you lose from the diet is water weight. Once you have successfully “fat-adapted,” you will begin to lose body fat.
- More Energy
Once successfully adapted, you will find that your energy doesn’t have the ups and downs like it usually does. You’ll find that you have a constant amount of energy throughout the day.
Following a keto meal, you will find that you are not sluggish or need a nap an hour after you eat. Fats and protein are digested more slowly than carbohydrates. Therefore, you will not have the same spike in blood sugar as you do with a mostly carb meal.
So what is this diet, of which I speak? No carbs? What will I use for energy?
Well, all calories are technically energy. While carbs are the body’s preferred source, they are not the only source. The body likes carbs because they are easily used as energy. The bad news is that they are easily stored as fat if eaten in excess.
The ketogenic diet suggests that the majority of your calories come from fat, somewhere in the ball part of 70-80% of your calories. Protein will consists of 10-20% and the remaining will be trace carbs (mainly in the form of vegetables).
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