Ketogenic Diet and More

Lisa Oberacker, MS, CSCS, PRCS
Written by: Lisa Oberacker
Published March 13, 2017

 

The hype nowadays is the Ketogenic Diet and how it can solve your weight loss problem. To put it simply, it’s a low carb, high fat diet that triggers the body to use fat metabolism over carbohydrate metabolism.

Popular for short bouts of time, this diet can help jump start your weight loss tremendously if you really stick to it. Any cheating will make it harder to lose weight, and you’ll also notice a lot of fatigue.

With that said, I’d like to discuss elements to this diet:

How Ketogenic Diets work

The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb and high-fat diet. It puts you in ketosis, a metabolic state where your liver produces ketones out of fatty acids, forcing your body to use fat metabolism over carbohydrate metabolism for its energy source.

Ketones, derived from fatty acids in the liver, are molecules that are sent to the rest of your body for energy. Your body usually relies on carbohydrate metabolism to produce energy for your daily tasks, but with the ketogenic diet, it’s now fat metabolism.

This usually brings up the question of whether your brain can survive off ketones and not carbs. Common knowledge is that your brains feeds off carbs, so it’s surely a good question whether this diet has the capability to run while on this diet plan.

The answer is yes, it can.

The complicated part of a true ketogenic diet is the first couple weeks you’ll notice fatigue and lowered brain function (tired and unable to focus). You need to push through the first couple of weeks while the brain learns to function off ketones instead of glucose.

After that time, your brain learns that ketones are a great energy source and you should function better and notice your energy come back.

To Note: Many people who continue to feel low energy aren’t actually in ketosis. You lowered your carb intake, but it might not be enough.

There are a couple ways to make our bodies produce ketones aside from diet alone. Below are a couple examples on how certain supplements can aid in fat metabolism.

Supplementation

Ketone exogenic supplements, meaning supplements that are not created inside the body, are a great way to add to your ketogenic diet. The biggest examples are BHB and MCT oil.

Beta-hydroxybutyrate – BHB:

BHB
A common exogenic ketone supplement is Beta-hydroxybutyrate – known as BHB. It’s a ketone body in the form of a powder, synthesized in the liver and goes right to the brain for an energy source.

MCT Oil:

MCT oil

Medium chain triglycerides, aka MCT, are triglycerides in the body that take less steps in the liver to create energy (ATP). Coming in a liquid form, adding this supplement to one’s diet can help the body create ketones, and result in the body using fat resources over carbohydrates.

Try or Not To Try?

That’s the question you must ask yourself.

It’s a diet that works for sure. Should you stay on it forever? I don’t think so.

Short term for a few months is the length I would go. But there are a few populations that probably shouldn’t be on this diet:

  • Athletes
  • Those looking to increase muscle size

Carbohydrates do play a large role in muscle recovery and increase in size, so be aware that your gains to muscle mass may be limitied on this diet. And much of athletic performance relies on carbohydrates to quick bursts of energy, so when you are low in carbs, this may alter your performance abilities.

 

Let’s weigh it out:

  • It’ll spark good weight loss in a healthy way by using fat for an energy source
  • Short-term ketosis provides a manageable time to stay disciplined
  • Long-term ketosis makes it easier to cheat, resulting in going in and out of ketosis
  • Supplementation can add up in expense
  • May supress muscle mass and athletic ability

Those are the basic facts of ketosis and exogenic ketone supplements. You decide if it’s worth it.

 

 

RESOURCES:

  1. https://www.t-nation.com/diet-fat-loss/avoid-this-ketogenic-rip-off
  2. http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-nutr-071816-064916
  3. https://authoritynutrition.com/ketogenic-diet-101/
  4. https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/mct-oil-is-it-the-ultimate-way-to-burn-fat.html
  5. https://www.onnit.com/onnit-mct-oil/
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