WHAT IS A KETOGENIC DIET? KETOSIS DIET EXPLAINED
Time to read 5 min
Time to read 5 min
The ketogenic (keto) diet seems to be the “in thing” at the moment. But what is the ketogenic diet all about? How does it work?
Even celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Lebron James have been experimenting with the ketogenic diet.
Like every new buzzword or dieting style that does the rounds in the fitness industry, it is important to fundamentally understand the trend before you attempt to implement it.
Put simply, a ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate diet which puts the body into a state of ketosis.
Typically speaking, most diets limit carbohydrate intake to 30 – 50g per day or ~5% total calories. The fat intake makes up between 60 – 70% of the total caloric intake. And finally, protein fills the remaining 25 – 35%.
Fat : 60 – 70%
Protein: 25 – 35%
Carbohydrates : 5% or less.
Ketosis is the metabolic process of using fat as the primary source of energy instead of carbohydrates. When your body is in a state of ketosis, it's fuelled by ketones, which the body produces by breaking down fat stores (instead of using glucose which comes from carbohydrates).
A few things to keep in mind when considering a ketogenic diet:
A ketogenic diet is not the magical unicorn that will undo years of poor dietary habits.
Following a ketogenic diet can be a convenient way to control cravings, and regulate appetite.
A keto diet does not put your body into ketosis due to the high fat intake. Your body goes into ketosis due to the absence of carbohydrates. We cannot stress this enough as it is a PRIMARY REASON why many fail to experience the benefits of a ketogenic diet.
A high intake of dietary fat does not make a diet ketogenic and does not make your body produce ketones. Only a low carbohydrate diet, containing less than 30 – 50 grams per day does.
A keto diet can be fantastic for those who have issues with:
Due to the low carbohydrate nature of a keto diet, reducing the consumption of grains, fruits and other sources of carbohydrates can provide great relief from stomach issues and brain fog that often plague people who follow a moderate to high carbohydrate diet.
Another benefit of the keto diet, is the appetite control effect. Due to fat being a more satiating (i.e. it makes you feel fuller) macronutrient than carbohydrates, most on a keto diet note a significant reduction in appetite. This often makes losing fat and controlling your caloric intake much easier.
Energy levels on a ketogenic diet are often a concern. During the initial adaptation phase of a ketogenic diet, you may feel fatigued and your workouts may feel like a drag. This is normal for most people. And the tiredness is only short-lived, while your body adapts to running on ketones for energy, instead of glucose. Most people find their energy levels are much more consistent while on a ketogenic diet, but this varies from person to person.
Eating out is easy. Almost every place you eat has the option of salads, a source of protein and a source of healthy fats. This might be as simple as removing the dinner roll that comes with your meal or skipping the roasted potatoes with your steak. Choose the right option and you’ll have no issues.
Keto diets aren’t for everybody
If you have issues digesting fats or have significant stomach discomfort when embarking upon a keto diet, it is best to consult with a doctor. Always ensure you aren’t doing yourself any harm.
It can take a while to get used to
Some people are able to adapt within a week, others may take a month or two. Just like everything, you need to be patient. Your body is a complex organism and it will take time to adapt.
High volume training might not be suitable for a ketogenic diet
Many people during the initial stages of a keto diet find it difficult to push through their training sessions without experiencing fatigue. This is largely expected, but if you are someone who experiences fatigue and low blood sugar levels already, this could pose risk.
There are many foods you have to avoid
Almost an entire macronutrient is removed from this diet. The tastiest treats and cheat meals are likely comprised of carbohydrates and fat. Carbohydrate consumption under 50g daily makes it difficult to fit these foods into your daily intake. Bye-bye hot chips.
It can be easy to exceed your daily caloric target
Due to the calorie density of fats (9 calories per gram), it can be easy for people to go over their target caloric intake without realising it. 50 grams will not only look different but feel different between eating carbohydrates and fats. To put this into perspective, 50 grams of cottage cheese (fat) roughly equates to 4 tablespoons. The calories can vary depending on brand, but generally for full-fat cottage cheese is up to 80 calories. Whereas, 50 grams of potato roughly looks like two small potatoes (carbohydrates). The calories from this can range from 50-60 calories. This is why it's important to plan your meals effectively.
It is important to understand that if your goal is fat loss, the most important factor in achieving fat loss is achieving a calorie deficit. Without creating a calorie deficit, whether it be through calorie restriction or exercise, you will not lose fat.
Although a ketogenic diet has your body utilising fats/ketones for energy, if you are still consuming too many calories for what your body requires, you will not lose any body fat. This again goes back to the calories per gram in fats vs carbohydrates.
Take two identical twins. One was to put on a ketogenic and the other on a non-ketogenic diet, both with the goal of fat loss. With all factors taken into account and equal, and provided they were both in a calorie deficit, they would both lose the same amount of body fat over any given period of time.
Now for one of our favourite topics...
Supplements to help improve gym performance, energy and focus while on a keto diet. As the ketogenic diet grows in popularity, so does the range of ketogenic supplements in Australia. Some of the most common ingredients found in ketogenic supplements include MCT oil and ketones.
For those who want a keto-friendly supplement that is rapid-acting and potent, look no further than Switch Nutrition Keto Switch.
Supporting a ketogenic diet, Keto Switch is vegan-friendly containing ketogenic amino acids in L-leucine, L-lysine, MCT oil, L-tyrosine and goBHB and other critical co-factors. Collectively, these support ketosis, mental clarity and energy production while being on a ketogenic diet.