What is the basics of a ketogenic diet ? Is it a magical diet that loses fat while building muscle? Or does it only build muscle? We break it down in our detailed guide for keto.
What is a keto diet? Keto or ketosis is a process of your body using fat as fuel for energy, rather than carbohydrates. To understand everything about keto we also need to understand that the body primarily uses carbohydrates as energy or fuel. Once you shut those down, the body then starts using fats and produces ketones. Once your body is producing ketones, this means that now your body will be using fat as energy rather than carbs.
Thus, a beginners guide to ketosis would state the keto diet as a high-fat, moderate protein and extremely low carb diet. What? You can burn fat by eating fat? Yes you can, but not the ghee you put on your paratha’s. Healthy fats that help you attain good cholesterol.
But how is this even possible? Well the body actually prefers to use glucose i.e. glycogen for fuel. That essentially means that your body will use carbs first and fat later. Eating carbs also increases insulin which promotes fat storage. Essentially by taking a high fat, low carb approach, you are coaxing the body to now use fats as your primary source. The results? Effective fat burning.
This is a little tricky because your body needs to be in a state of ‘ketosis’ for it to start burning fat. Ketosis diets only work when the body is carb depleted so this is how you get to ketosis:
- Calculate your calories and get your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)
- Reduce this by 100-200 if you want to cut fat. A bodybuilding keto diet is also used for bulking and since keto has a muscle sparing effect, even if you cut calories you will lose negligible muscle
- Once you have calculated your calories use a 60-35-5 ratio. Yes that means, if my BMR is 2000 then 65% of my calories is fat, i.e. 1300 calories. Similarly do the same for protein and carbs with the given percentages by using a macronutrient calculator. A ketogenic diet plan means that you need to use sources like paneer which have 20g of fat and protein per 100g or olive oil which have 100g of fat per 100g. Use your daily allowance and stick to this.
- In the intial phase of keto, you will tend to feel lethargic due to the carbs not being present in your body. Don’t worry, that’s the body adapting to your new diet. Soon enough use a keto stick to determine whether you are in ketosis or not. Refer to the graph below to understand what the healthy rate of ketosis means. Once you have achieved your goal, indulge in a cheat meal that is high in carbs to drive nutrients to muscle and increase the leptin in your body which will further still reduce the fat!
The benefits of a ketogenic diet are several. From a physique perspective, the ketogenic diet can reduce your body fat, put more muscle on you and even a better body composition at the end of the diet. While there are certain muscle building foods that are prohibited on the keto diet, by understanding the nuances of this diet, you will be able to reduce your body fat percentage naturally without any anabolic help. Further studies have mentioned that ketones can actually help fight against cancer. Ketosis is a fantastic option to people who are looking to lead a healthy lifestyle since many people feel low carbs will interfere with your hormones detrimentally. Is keto diet healthy? I surely think so. That being said keto side effects are surely present. Any low carb diet will give you a bad mood, fatigue, dizziness and even muscle cramps and headaches. Make sure you consult your doctor or physician before starting this diet.
Supplements, while they are not the answer for everything, are indeed helpful for ketosis. The following supplements are recommended for ketosis:
BCAA– A branch chain amino acid will help preserve muscle during your intense training session
Glutamine– Will help you recover faster after a workout
Creatine– Will give you explosive strength in the gym