About three weeks ago we went to visit with a personal trainer to help put together a diet and exercise program. I don’t mind paying good money for sound advice and support, but after the meeting we felt we had a solid foundation already and figured we could put something together on our own. Three weeks later, and 15 lbs lighter, this is what we learned in a nut shell about the ketogenic diet.
What is a Ketogenic diet?
A ketogenic diet or keto diet is, a diet that involves reducing carbohydrate intake down to 50-100g per day while increasing your fat and protein intake to make up the loss of calories. The goal of the diet is to cause your body to go into a Ketosis state, which basically causes your body to run on ketones and fat, vs carbs and glucose. This is a bit over simplified, and might be a little technically incorrect, but I believe it gets the main point across.
Why a keto diet helps with fat loss
This diet, in a nut shell causes the body to go in to fat burning mode. It makes sense when you think about it, once the body has switched over to burning fat instead of carbs for energy, fat loss in inevitable. That is of course assuming that you are burning more calories per day than you are consuming. So calories still play an important part of a keto diet, carbs have calories, fat has calories, protein has calories, and calories equal energy for the body.
Importance of calories
Calories equal energy for the body, without enough of them you may feel tired and lethargic, to many of them and the body might store the extra as body fat. Let’s talk about getting enough calories because this can be very easily overlooked and make sticking to any diet and exercise a serious challenge. As mentioned already, without enough calories you may feel lethargic and drained of energy. This is your body telling you that it is not getting enough to adequately recover from a hard workout or even routine daily tasks. Although there might be a short term gain to be had in terms of fat loss, this creates a long term sustainability problem. Mentally it will become harder to stay motivated if you constantly feel like crap because of low energy.
Importance of carbs
This article is primarily focused on reducing carb intake, but it should be understood the goal is not to eliminate them entirely from your diet. Carbohydrates serve an important function in the body, including brain function.
Determining your specific fat/carb/protein balance.
To help you determine a proper balance I will include a link below to a great online calculator that will come up with a good keto diet balance. As you can imagine, by reducing carbs, you substantially reduce your calories. This calories will need to be made up by increasing how much protein and fat you consume. Its important to remember that eating fat is not a bad thing, popular diets in the 1990’s demonized fat in a lot of ways. Naturally occurring fats in fish, poultry, red meat, nuts, seeds, avocado, butter, coconut oil, olive oil, etc contain omega 3 fatty acids which have been shown to reduce risk of cancer.
Pod Cast Interview with Charles Poliquin: The couple interviews include topics such as ketosis, building muscle, injury prevention, etc. Overall an amazing personal trainer and entertaining to listen to – click here.