Have you been struggling with bad eating habits or been trying to make a decision on how to eat “healthier”? We’re here to help! Over the next month, we’ll be releasing a blog post each week from CHT’s own Robert Langston that goes in depth on 5 of the most common dietary trends. This week’s article is the 6th in the series and focuses on a Ketogenic Diet.
In this edition we will see how a Ketogenic Diet stands up against the objectives of Health, Performance and Aesthetics. We’ll also look at the ease of implementation of this approach. As a review…
The purpose of ketogenic diet is to take the body into ketosis. The body enters ketosis when blood ketone levels rise above the normal level. Ketones are organic compounds used as an energy source in the body (acetoacetate & D-B-Hydroxybutyrate). Ketogenic diets are very low in carbs, low in protein and high in fat. By low carb we're talking 10-15g of carbs per day. By high fat, we’re talking about 90% of total energy intake coming from fat. Here is more detailed break down.
20/5/75 calorie split for Protein/Carbs/Fat
Low in vegetables
Very low carb
Very high fat
Very little processed foods (generally speaking)
No Grains, Fruits, Beans, Starchy vegetables, Sweet Vegetables, Dairy
Ketogenic diets do a poor job of reaching and maintaining the health objectives. One major exception is for people with various brain disorders (Parkinson’s & Alzheimer’s). Research suggests that ketogenic diets may improve brain health for people suffering from these conditions. For everybody else, the low intake of proteins, carbs and micronutrients result in a less than stellar health profile.
Ketogenic diets score low on the performance objectives. This is again caused by the low protein, carbohydrate, and micronutrient intake. When the body enters a state of ketosis, ketones are the primary energy source (instead of glycogen/glucose), which theoretically should increase fat oxidation and decrease lactate production resulting in less oxygen usage. The problem here is that glucose is still a better fuel source for our bodies. The low carbohydrate intake slows down thyroid output, resulting in a sluggish feeling. The low protein intake makes recovering from exercise very hard on the body as well.
BODY COMPOSITION (aesthetics)
Reaching and maintaining the body composition objectives requires muscle synthesis (building of muscle tissue). Muscle synthesis requires a steady, adequate supply of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, zoochemicals, half your bodyweight in ounces of water daily, progressive overload on exercises and 8+hours of quality sleep over a long period of time. This creates an ecosystem that favors muscle synthesis. Muscle is an expensive tissue for our bodies to create and hold on to. Muscles consumes a lot of ATP. This increase in muscle tissue raises our metabolic rates and makes us burn more calories throughout the day including fat, resulting in a leaner look. Ketogenic diets usually don't supply enough macro and micro nutrients to create an internal eco system favorable to muscle synthesis.
Most people find it challenging to start and maintain a Ketogenic diet. Let's start with what I call the “Base Plan”.
1. Eat 4 meals per day following a Mixed Diet (30/40/30)
2. Ensure that the food in those 4 meals is Local/Organic/Grass-Fed/high quality
3. Drink at least half your body weight in oz of water every day
4. Sleep 8 hours per night in bed no later than 10:00pm. Sleep is a very intricate process. Physical repair takes place between 10pm-2am & psychological repair takes place between 2am-6am.
5. Strength and Conditioning training 4 days per week
6. Do this consistently (80% of the time) for the rest of your life
Most people struggle A LOT to do the above. When it comes to meal prep most people will never organize their lives in a way where they can prepare themselves 4 nutrient dense meals on a daily basis. This is why I highly recommend Meal Prep companies for prepping some or all of their meals.
Following a Ketogenic Diet would mean eating 4 Meals per day with 20/5/75 macronutrient split.
Achieving that macro break down requires careful meal planning and weighing all your foods on a food scale to get the proper weights of foods to maintain the specific macro nutrient ratio,or it won't be a ketogenic diet. Most people that claim to follow ketogenic diets are actually following a version of a paleo diet. If a person doesn't have a consistent track record of following the base plan for 6 months to a year then the likelihood of them consistently
Thank you for reading our series "You Can't Outwork a Bad Diet". We hope you thoroughly enjoyed the information presented over the last few weeks and we look forward to providing more content like this in the future! Please keep your questions and comments on fitness coming, and we'll be sure to keep providing you with all the answers you seek! - Chapel hill Training Staff
following a legitimate ketogenic diet is very low.