With all the hype surrounding the keto diet so far this year, have you been tempted to give it a try?
Have you ever stopped to wonder what would happen to your body if you drastically reduced your carb intake?
It’s no secret that eating lots of carbs (especially refined and processed carbs) can contribute to weight gain, although overall alorie balance is the biggest driver of weight loss or gain.
Keto can be a great way to put yourself into a calorie deficit for fat loss without the hassle of counting calories, provided you are choosing nutrient rich foods over pounds of butter and loads of bacon.
Lean cuts of meat with fibrous vegetables is the best approach to a Keto style diet, hands down.
It’s a logical step to think that reducing the amount of these in your diet would lead to a leaner, fitter, healthier you.
But is it true, or is it hype? And is it really worth giving up your carboholic ways?
There are several versions of the ketogenic diet, including:
Standard ketogenic diet (SKD): This is a very low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat diet. It typically contains 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbs (1). This type of keto diet is more suited for sedentary people who don’t workout
Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): This diet involves periods of higher-carb refeeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days. The benefits of “carb up” days are the replenishment of muscle glycogen to fuel intense workouts, and the production/stabilization of hormones such as leptin, cortisol and thyroid hormons such as T3.
Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): This diet allows you to add carbs around workouts, which will help you to maintain the intensity of your training, as carbs are the body’s preferred fuel source for intense exercise.
Both the cyclical and targeted ketogenic diets are more suited to people who strength train and/or do intense cardio on a regular basis.
High-protein ketogenic diet: This is similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but includes more protein. The ratio is often 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs. This type of keto diet is more suited to a sedentary person, as the higher protein intake will help preserve muscle mass as weight is lost in the absence of regular strength training.
Here’s what really goes down when you give up refined carbs…
Body Change #1: You Burn Fat
When you stop eating carbs your body no longer has a readily available fuel source to burn, and so it clicks over into burning stored fat as energy (after an initial period of adjustment as the body becomes used to this new fuel source). This means that once this energy shift occurs, your pants will start feeling looser around your waist and thighs, and you’ll start to notice more muscle definition over time.
Body Change #2: You Feel Less Hungry
Fat burns longer and slower than carbs and so your energy stores will take longer to deplete. This means that you’ll find yourself skipping that afternoon pick-me-up snack and powering through until mealtime without hunger pains.
You’ll also notice that it takes longer to feel hunger in the mornings after waking up, once you’ve cut the simple carbohydrates and refined sugars out of your diet.
Body Change #3: You Have More Sustained Energy
Living on a diet of simple sugars and refined carbohydrates puts your body in a continual energy roller coaster. Right after you eat your energy is high and then, whoosh, an hour later your energy levels crash. All of that changes once you cut out those simple carbs. The low carb meals that you switch to are filled with nutrient dense foods that sustain your energy levels for hours at a time, saving you from that frustrating roller coaster.
While eating healthy, nutritious meals is awesome, don’t forget that exercise is another hugely important element when it comes to getting and staying fit and reshaping your body, not just lowering the number on the scale.
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