Do you keto? This high fat, low carb diet is being embraced by bodybuilders and athletes as a way to lean out, but will it work for you? Here’s the low down on the ketogenic diet and how to get started.
Fuel performance with fat – and get leaner in the process! Sounds like it can’t be true, right?
Those are some benefits of the ketogenic diet, a way of eating that has been around for a long time, but is becoming more and more popular as of late. Commonly referred to as “keto,” this diet is almost the polar opposite of what you’ve been taught. Contrary to the common belief that fat = bad and carbs = necessary, the ketogenic diet turns the tables with the majority of your calories coming from fat. And prepare to break up with those carbs you hold so dear. A true keto regimen is very low in carbs!
What is the ketogenic diet?
Originally developed to treat epilepsy in the 1920s, the keto diet was found to be effective in treating that and more, and is prescribed as a method of treating a variety of other conditions. Then, the potential benefits of getting lean caught the attention of people in the fitness industry, leading to research and studies on how this diet could be used to help people lose weight. But this diet is restrictive and definitely isn’t for everyone, so make sure you check with a doctor or dietitian before embarking on a fat-fueled lifestyle!
A ketogenic diet is set up (depending on your goals) with your calories coming from approximately 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs. This varies from person to person, and requires a lot of carb counting, weighing and measuring so you don’t exceed your carbohydrate or protein limits. This split might seem outrageous if you’ve been following a traditional diet, but EAS is here to make it easier. EAS helps athletes supplement and replace meals with a new Myoplex Ketogenic shake because each serving is split into a keto-friendly macronutrient breakdown.
The goal of eating high fat and low carbs is to bring your body to a state of ketosis. Ketosis is when your body reaches a state where it is deprived of glycogen (which is energy that comes from carbs) and it begins burning fat for energy instead. But getting to this state of ketosis doesn’t happen in a day – it can take about 3 to 5 weeks to adapt. Like we’ve said before, the keto diet is far from typical. In order to achieve ketosis and ultimately become keto-adapted requires a lot of discipline, so you’ll have to take a rain check on those cheat meals for a while.
Consistency is key when getting started on keto, as exceeding carb or protein macros may kick you out of ketosis. Play the numbers game: track, measure and weigh your food every day to ensure you’re hitting the right numbers! For carb counting, you’ll be focusing on net carbs, which means you subtract the fiber content. This way, you can enjoy a good amount of leafy greens like spinach, kale, and more.
And this is where a registered dietitian can be very helpful in determining your calorie goals and the right amounts of fat, carbs and protein for a keto regimen.
How do you know if you’re in ketosis?
The best way is to find out if you are in ketosis is to test the amount of ketones in your blood or urine – again something to talk to your doctor about. Next, during the adaptation phase you might notice a few side effects. Many people report reduced energy and mental function, increased hunger as the stomach adjusts to smaller, more calorically dense portions, digestive discomfort and decreased exercise performance. These side effects fade but to combat this, you might want to ease into the ketogenic diet by reducing your overall carb intake over a few days. Many of these side effects actually stem from dehydration. Simply drinking water alone will not fully replace the water you’ve lost since absorption is limited without the aid of electrolytes. By adding in higher levels sodium, potassium and magnesium, you will be better hydrated.
What do you eat on the ketogenic diet?
A lot of the fats. Some of the protein. Little of the carbs. Swap lean proteins for higher fat cuts like bacon, chicken thighs, higher fat cuts of beef, and salmon. Cook your food in coconut oil, add avocado to recipes, and use MCT oil or butter in your coffee. Low carb dairy options like heavy cream or certain cheeses can also help you reach your fat macro goals. Keep carbs to the bare minimum, eating only high fiber, low calorie veggies like spinach or asparagus. Sip on EAS Myoplex Ketogenic – it’s a meal replacement that’s designed to support a keto regimen and has the added benefit of HMB to help protect muscles. Read more about it and get tips and plans for starting keto at EAS.com/Keto! In the end, research, plan, and consider carefully if this is the right regimen for you and good luck with your personal goals!