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The Low Down on Keto Diets
If you have been following the world of fitness in general and have picked up a magazine or even just watched television in the past decade, there is one thing you have probably noticed; a bombardment of advertisements directed at you all claiming to be the secret to your fat loss success. Countless so called "gurus" and other nutritional advisors have preached about the successes of their clients based on a diet constructed by them with the promise of a lean healthy body. Many of these diets have unattainable and unrealistic results in the time frame they propose. You may have seen things like six weeks to a six pack or 30lbs in 30 days, or something along those lines. Well my friends, most of those diets simply do not work and the integrity of the people endorsing them is sketchy at best.
In the past few years, bodybuilders and many people wanting to shed fat fast have been turning to a practice of eating little to no carbohydrates in the effort to promote fat burning at an expedited pace. Borrowed from the infamous Atkins diet, eating high amounts of protein with very little carbs and a high amount of fat has started to catch on with some real results. To take that even further, the introduction of the Keto diet where you eat zero carbs with high amounts of protein and healthy fats in the effort to create ketosis in the body, has many bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts alike showing crazy drops in body fat percentage at record pace. So, is the keto diet worth trying? Let's take a look.
What is a keto diet?
A keto diet is a nutrition program designed to put the body in a glycogen deprived state where the brain activates the liver to produce ketones so that it can use these for energy, which is called ketosis. In order to do this, you have to design a diet in which you are consuming high amounts of proteins and high amounts of healthy fats and little to no carbs. Once this ketosis takes place, your body starts to use your fat stores for energy for all functions and everyday activities. Now, I have tried the keto diet before and after talking to many people who have done the same, we all had very similar experiences with it. Personally I didn't like it and didn't stick with it for too long but others I know who used the keto diet for getting ready for a bodybuilding competition used it with great success and were more ripped than they had ever been before, and did way less cardio.
What are the pros to using this diet?
- Your body gets trained to use stored body fat as energy. When glycogen is absent, the body looks elsewhere and fat is the first to get used up.
- Any protein available in the body is spared once in ketosis, so that protein will be used for nothing but building muscle.
- You avoid peaks and valleys associated with the body's production of insulin. You'll maintain lower insulin levels allowing fatty acids to be broken down.
- Once in ketosis, many people have reported feeling in a state of euphoria and regard this as feeling better than they ever have before, with more energy and more focus.
What are the cons to using a keto diet?
- Until you have reached a true state of ketosis, the shift in your metabolic processes will cause you to feel sluggish, light headed and even some slight vertigo. This doesn't last the whole diet and changes in a couple weeks or less.
- High levels of fat in your blood due to the amounts of fats being eaten is a concern and cholesterol levels do rise, but come down soon after ending the keto diet regime.
- Your training takes a hit in the first week or so because of the cloudiness you will initially experience and this can cause some psychological problems if you are getting ready for a show.
- Your muscles feel flat initially and it's hard to get a pump in the gym.
- You are depriving you body of a major macronutrient and energy source in carbs, and long time use of the keto diet could cause complications.
Now, within the keto diet the person using it is allowed to consume carbs at different points in the diet, and the sources are usually high fibrous carbs such as vegetables which contain many nutrients, vitamins and minerals, so the dieter is not restricting themselves of nutritious foods altogether.
Like I've mentioned, I'm not a big fan of the keto diet myself, and I hated the way I felt trying to get into ketosis, but if this is a diet that intrigues you and you're looking for a way to shed fat fast, give it a try. I would suggest adding supplements to your diet such as a high quality protein supplement like VP2 Why Isolate along with MultiPro 32X, GL3 L-Glutamine and AR-5.
Many trainers are using this diet with high success and report loving the way they feel all through the diet, which if you've competed know is not easy. So, my suggestion is to work with someone who has experience with this diet, try it to see how you feel, and make your decision after about three weeks or so. You'll know if it's right for you or not, trust me.