Do You Know About The Keto Diet?

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Ketogenic diets are a rage nowadays. Along with being called the ‘perfect’ diet for fat loss, it is also kind of a cool thing to do. You go around the gym and ask any gym rat what diet they are on and you get an answer like “I’m on Keto, bro.” And why wouldn’t it be? The keto diet has been proven to reduce carbohydrate intake, suppress cravings and burn fat at a higher rate as compared to other diets like the paleo diet or the IIFYM diet. The Keto diet or the ketogenic diet focuses on utilizing fats rather than carbs, the body’s primary energy source, as a source of energy to fuel the body’s needs to carry out various activities. Thus, you might say that ultimately the keto diet results in weight loss. Not only that, the keto diet has also shown signs to fight cancer and reduce the growth rate of cancerous tumors. What else do you want from a diet? But from the fitness point of view, the keto diet, no matter how lucrative it seems, is not the perfect diet for everyone. And chances are that you are not getting any benefit from it. Read on to find out more!

What is Exactly a Keto Diet?

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I’d like to begin this segment by saying that I am a competitive bodybuilder myself and if there is a diet I have heard of, the chances are that I may have tried it as well. The keto diet is no different. I have had a firsthand experience in keto diet and have trained people to help them achieve their goals via a keto diet.

To begin with, many may not know this but the keto diet has been around for a longer time than one may assume it to be. The inception of the idea for a ketogenic diet was done back in the 1920s in the medical sphere in order to fight epilepsy and type-2 diabetes. The idea behind it was to reduce the carbohydrate intake drastically and replace it with an equally sustainable source of energy, a.k.a., fats. 

Keto diets have recently entered the fitness industry and have been exceptionally popular among fitness enthusiasts, athletes, bodybuilders, fitness models, regular gym goers, and gym rats all alike ever since. The main reason, keto diets have been experiencing so much popularity is because they are really effective when it comes to losing fat at a quicker pace. The fat loss during a well laid out keto diet is exponential. This is because of thermodynamics, that is, the concept of 'calories in versus calories out'. 'Calories in versus calories out' is one of the main influencing factors (if not the only) in fat loss.

Ketogenic Diet - Alignment To Body’s Biomechanics

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Another reason why ketogenic diets are effective is because it is in perfect alignment with the body’s biomechanics. It completely or greatly disregards the requirement for carbohydrates which is okay because carbohydrates are not an essential macronutrient. What did I mean by ‘NOT ESSENTIAL’? I meant that carbohydrates are not absolutely needed for survival. We have essential amino acids which are proteins, we have essential fatty acids which are basically fats, but we do not have essential carbohydrates because they are not necessary for survival. The body has an answer for that as well. For meeting energy needs in case of low or zero carbohydrates, the body can –

  • Break down proteins into amino acids and then further break down these amino acids into glucose. This process is called ‘gluconeogenesis’.
  • When there are no proteins and carbs to break down into glucose for meeting energy needs, the body can operate on fats. These fat molecules are broken down into ‘ketones’. Ketones are a very effective source of energy and are in many ways more efficient than glucose. The process of the breakdown of fats into ketones is termed as ‘ketosis’.

Benefits of Ketones

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  • The brain is shown to be extremely compatible with ketones.
  • Ketones lead to the increase in the number of mitochondria in the brain, thus, providing a viable way to treat diseases like Alzheimer’s and seizures.
  • Ketones have been shown to successfully suppress cravings and hunger.
  • Ketones have shown potential anti – cancer properties.
  • Since there are no carbohydrates and ketones are the only sources of energy, the lower insulin levels provide a balanced and sustained level of energy.

Although this sounds like the perfect diet ever created for man, it is far from it. Not that the ketogenic diet is not beneficial but calling it the perfect diet will be taking it too far. In my opinion, ketogenic diets are best suited for people who –

  • Are looking forward to losing weight
  • Want to get leaner and STAY that way
  • Are diabetic/pre-diabetic
  • Are Cancer patients
  • Do not have interest in gaining too much muscle

In the case of diabetic patients, the keto diet is especially effective because, in the absence of carbohydrates to spike the blood sugar levels, there is nothing to worry about. The ketones also make sure that the poor pancreas does not have to work all time to try and balance the blood sugar levels, thus, sustained energy and balanced blood sugar. 

As far as cancer patients are concerned, numerous researches have been done on ketosis and its effects on cancer. It has been seen that cancer growth is seriously reduced and slowed down by the production of ketones. This effect can be attributed to the fact that cancer cells need glucose to survive and their inability to convert ketones into energy results in their demise. In short, cancer cells starve in the presence of ketones. Perhaps, this is by far the most vital use of a keto diet.

The Disadvantages Of The Keto Diet

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1. Not A Long Term Solution

Now let’s be realistic here. Over 90 percent of the world consumes carbohydrates in some form or the other. In such a scenario, how can you possibly say that you can adhere to a ketogenic diet for life or for a substantially long period of time?

The idea of following a diet is to adhere to it for a long period of time. It becomes a lifestyle choice that you swear to abide by. In the case of a keto diet, you will have to give up on all forms of carbohydrates including cake, pasta, and cappuccinos. When talking in a realistic way, the keto diet is not a long-term solution. To add to this, once you come off your keto diet, you resume the consumption of carbohydrates which means an increase in calories intake, this will result in gaining the weight that you lost after such hardship.

2. Not Performance Oriented

When performance comes into question, ketogenic diets are not the way. When we workout, we use up our glycogen stores which need to be replenished in the post workout period. It has been proven that delaying the carbohydrate intake after a workout even by an hour can delay the glycogen replenishment process by up to 50 percent.

The lesser the glycogen replenishment, the slower will be the recovery time. Glycogen is indispensable when it comes to the production of ATP or adenosine Triphosphate. ATP is the body’s energy currency and is required for carrying out various bodily functions.

3. Insufficient Protein

Protein is required for making gains in the gym. Without protein, you simply cannot build lean muscle tissue. The keto diets particularly states that the majorly of the calories have to be from fats (up to 70 percent). Therefore, this leaves very little room for protein. As compared to the average requirement of protein, which is 1 to 1.5 gram per pound of bodyweight, keto diets have very less protein intake and thus, muscle building is completely out of the equation.

The Verdict On Keto Diet

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The keto diet is effective and shows results, and there is no doubt about that. It is probably best suited for a certain group of people, but for the majority of people on the planet, the keto diet is not the right type of diet.

When it comes to dieting, the first and foremost thing to remember is that it should not make you suffer. It should rather be a lifestyle choice than a 6 week or 8-week challenge. Choose something that you can adhere to for the rest of your life and enjoy it as well. Keto diet is simply too restrictive in nature and there is a high chance that you will fall out of your diet prematurely.

The solution is simple. Control your carbs, know when to reduce carbohydrate intake, increase carbohydrate intake and maintain a decent level of protein intake.

 

 

 

 

 

deep 

Hi, I am the author of this article. A competitive bodybuilder and fitness enthusiast at heart. Fitness transformed me into what I am today. I wish to help others to transform themselves too. It is not rocket science. With legit guidance and the will power to change, anything is possible.

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