The Ketogenic Diet - A Beginner's Guide to Keto

It’s the most popular time of the year to start diets, whether it's for weight loss, leaning-up, bulking or cutting.  With so many different diets and lifestyle plans trending it can be hard to choose which one is right for you! In order to succeed, studies state that diet is equally as important as exercise and in some cases more important. For maximum results, it is important that you don’t begin with fad diets but alternatively a lifestyle change, so make decisions that over time just become habits.

 

There are many diets out there that claim they are superior; the truth is that not one diet alone is best suited for everyone! What may work for you, might not be suited to everyone else. Although it can be time-consuming you may find that you must test a couple of diets until you find the right one for you.

This blog post is going to highlight the current top trending diet, keto. It will explore the pro's and con's using scientific evidence to support, in the hope that you will get a better understanding of the diet and whether it is suited to you.

 

The ketogenic diet is a low carb, high protein, the high-fat diet that shares similarities with the Atkins diet. The diet entails reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with high protein and high-fat foods, this causes your body to go into a metabolic state called ketosis.

The ketosis state occurs in the body when dietary carbohydrates are consumed in such low quantities that your body relies exclusively on fatty acid oxidation and ketone metabolism. To simplify that, most of the cells in your body use blood sugar which comes from carbohydrates as an energy source. When you cut out carbohydrates the absence of circulating blood sugar causes the body to break down stored fat into molecules called ketones, you then become very efficient in burning fat for energy.

Once your body has reached ketosis, it uses these ketones to generate energy until you introduce carbohydrates back into your diet again. The rate at which your body goes into ketosis can vary, typically it takes in between 2-5 days. However, some people may need a more restricted diet to produce these ketones. 

 

The keto diet typically reduces carbohydrate intake to 20-50 grams per day, whilst you may think this will be hard there are many alternative foods to replace these carbs. Below are some examples of do’s and don’ts when it comes to foods and ketosis.

 

Pros and cons

Supposedly there are many benefits to the keto diet, however, a discussion of risks has also been questioned! So, what should we believe? Below is a list of Pro's and Con's that I feel are supported with scientific evidence. 

 

  1. Weight loss

It is highly advertised that the keto diet aids with weight loss. In order to lose weight, you must be calorie defecate, which means to consume fewer calories than you burn. It is said that the main reason keto helps with weight loss is due to appetite suppression, which results in fewer calories being consumed. Below are some statements from studies to support- 

  • The hunger hormone Ghrelin is produced during weight loss, this can prevent weight loss as it increases your hunger. Studies found that under a keto diet participants Ghrelin levels decreased, resulting in an improvement in weight loss (Sumithran P, 2019). 
  • When you eat your body produces a hormone called cholecystokinin, this hormone aids satiety (Feeling full). When you lose weight, your body fails to produce adequate amounts of cholecystokinin, this is your body’s way of getting you to eat more, which is a major setback when it comes to weight loss. However, other studies show that participants who consumed the keto diet had sustained levels of cholecystokinin during weight loss, thus leaving you to feel fuller for longer (Chearskul S, 2019) (Sumithran P, 2019).

 

  1. Muscle Gain

When you lose weight, muscle is usually lost alongside. There are opposing arguments as to whether the keto diet aids or hinders muscle mass. One side argues that the ketogenic diet limits your ability to train hard, due to low levels of muscle glycogen, whereas others argue that fat is lost, muscle is grown, recovery time decreases and a reduction in DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).

So, who's right?

In a summary of results from a number of studies (systematic review) researching muscle gain and loss, it was shown that both sides had significant evidence to support their claims. However, when researching further most of the studies were un-reliable. For example:

A study performed on 25 college men, were spit into a ketogenic diet and traditional western diet group. From the results the keto group gained around twice as much lean muscle mass than the western diet group. When taking a close look at the study, it was found that the keto group ‘carbed’ up on the last week, which goes against the ketogenic diet, this in turn resulted in the participants gaining around 3kg of lean mass. Meaning, we can't really trust these results! (Wilson JM, 2019). 

Furthermore, as for muscle loss studies found that having insufficient levels of glycogen, doesn't influence your performance or impair an anabolic response to resistance exercise. However, opposing studies show that low carb diets such as keto, limit the ability to train well and lift weights with lower levels of muscle glycogen, does in fact hinder post-training anabolic response. They believe that because carbs are anti-catabolic, they play a key role in preventing the breakdown of muscle tissue, so it is important to consume. (JB, 2019), (DM, 2019), (RJ, 2019) (A, 2019).

To conclude, as time goes on more studies will be tested for the ketogenic diet and it will become clearer as to whether keto influences muscle mass. For now, studies don't lean to either sides, as far as we know the ketogenic diet does just as well as carb filled diets, when it comes to preserving muscle mass during weight loss. However, it is a speedier way of losing fat!!

 

  1. The Keto Flu

The dreaded keto flu! does this put you off doing keto? Lets see what causes these flu like symptoms and whether there are ways around it! 

Although the keto diet is safe to do, there are some side effects that can occur as your body begins to adapt. Symptoms of the keto flu can include decreased energy levels, headaches, nausea, weakness, irritability, muscles cramps, dizziness... 

The keto flue tends to occur within the first few days of restricting carbohydrates and usually last up to a week. Symptoms can range per person, whilst some people may transition with no side affects others may have a range of symptoms  from mild to severe. This can cause individuals to give up however there are many ways to avoid them. 

  • Stay hydrated- The keto diet can cause rapid shed of water stores, resulting in dehydration. Drinking enough water will aid symptoms such as fatigue, muscle cramping, and weakness.Having water near you at all times is important if you can get hold of a large water bottle just like our XL water bottle- https://bit.ly/2YcuG80  this can give you a target to work towards of drinking  at least once a day to help you to stay hydrated!
  • Replacing electrolytes- During the keto diet levels of insulin decrease which causes your kidneys to release an excess amount of sodium (salt). The diet also restricts the intake of foods that are high in potassium, Consuming adequate amounts of both these nutrients is important when completing keto. Keto safe foods containing high levels of salt and potassium are foods like leafy greens and veg and avocados. also taking extra supplements such as our Electrolyte Powder- https://bit.ly/2yne7XI , which is an advanced blend of essential minerals to support hydration and performance. Even a slight drop in electrolytes can lead to flues like symptoms such as cramping, nausea, muscles weakness and fatigue. 
  • Consuming enough fat- Eating enough fat is important when doing keto. Fat helps reduce cravings and help you feel satisfied for longer. Foods such as, fish, salmon, seafood, nuts, sugar-free nut butters, seeds, and jerky can help up your fat consumption.

Still struggling to fit in your fats. Try supplementing with our GoNutrition Omega 3 tablets- https://bit.ly/2yjyEwo. These tablets contain essential fatty acids sourced from fish oil which are found to support weight control and fat loss and are very well complemented alongside the ketogenic diet. 

  • Being well-rested- Fatigue is a well-known complaint from people beginning the keto diet. Lack of sleep causes levels of cortisol (stress hormone) to increase which can give a negative impact on one's mood and intensify the flu-like symptoms. Making sure that you get a good night’s sleep and don't overdo it during the day is very important to reduce these symptoms. 
  1. Carcinogens

The keto diet tends to advertise the consumption of processed meat such as hot dogs, ham, bacon, sausage, and beef Processed refers to meat that has added preservatives and flavours this can include smoking, fermenting, salting and curing. You should plan your keto diet around limiting red meats as it is found to be a Probable carcinogen (Cancer Causing). 

 

Keto Tips 

There are many different tips and tricks when it comes to doing the keto diet. The key to succeeding is following the correct food... There is a few different typed of substances that can get you through ketosis. 

  • Exogenous Ketones- This supplement helps to increase the body's ketone levels increasing the success of keto. 
  • MCT Oil- Adding MCT oil to foods and drinks such as a bulletproof coffee, provides energy and increases ketone levels. 
  • Omega 3- Omega 3 includes your essential fatty acids which help with energy and fatigue. Purchase some omega3 tables now at-https://bit.ly/2yjyEwo
  • Minerals- Adding salt and electrolytes can be important to balance minerals. Try our electrolyte powder at -https://bit.ly/2yne7XI
  • Caffeine- Caffeine can increase your energy levels which aid weight loss, performance, and fatigue. Test out our caffeine tablets at https://bit.ly/2SLsn6d%20 these tablets contain high-quality caffeine the naturally occurring stimulant.  
  • Whey- Using half a scoop of low sugar whey protein into smoothies, shakes or yogurts can help to increase your protein intake, increasing the production of ketones. Use our yummy whey protein 80 or diet whey to get your protein intake- https://bit.ly/2LLXMVm
  • Creatine- Creatine aids when combining keto with exercise GoNutriton has its own range of creatine tablets which help with the involvement of producing energy stores in our muscles. creating is usually found in red meat however you would have to consume large amounts of red meat to have an adequate amount! Follow the link to get your supply of tablets- https://bit.ly/2GxXpcA

 

A ketogenic diet is well recommended for people who are looking to improve metabolic health if you are looking to start the diet good luck and remember that diets only work if you are consistent and stick to them long term. If you have already started your keto diet, keep going you have got this and remember that things that come the hardest are the sweetest to remember!!!

I hope that this blog helped you give you a slight overview of the ketogenic diet and of what it entails!

 

References

 

A, C. (2019). Influence of muscle glycogen availability on ERK1/2 and Akt signaling after resistance exercise in human skeletal muscle. - PubMed - NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15879168 [Accessed 25 Jul. 2019].

Chearskul S (2019). Effect of weight loss and ketosis on postprandial cholecystokinin and free fatty acid concentrations. - PubMed - NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18469245?dopt=Abstract&holding=npg [Accessed 26 Jul. 2019].

DM, C. (2019). Low muscle glycogen concentration does not suppress the anabolic response to resistance exercise. - PubMed - NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22628371 [Accessed 25 Jul. 2019].

JB, M. (2019). The effect of preexercise carbohydrate status on resistance exercise performance. - PubMed - NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9286742, [Accessed 25 Jul. 2019].

RJ, M. (2019). Diet composition and the performance of high-intensity exercise. - PubMed - NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9232552 [Accessed 25 Jul. 2019].

Sumithran P (2019). Ketosis and appetite-mediating nutrients and hormones after weight loss. - PubMed - NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23632752 [Accessed 26 Jul. 2019].

Wilson JM (2019). The Effects of Ketogenic Dieting on Body Composition, Strength, Power, and Hormonal Profiles in Resistance Training Males. - PubMed - NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28399015 [Accessed 29 Jul. 2019].

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