You’ve probably heard of the ketogenic diet, but have never tried it because it sounds scary. It’s all about ketosis – a specific condition of the human body when it gets energy from ketone bodies in the blood instead of getting it from glucose, i.e. from carbs you eat. You can reach the ketosis state if you decrease your daily carbs to as little as 30-50 grams.
Types of the ketogenic diet
There are two ways to keep to the ketogenic diet. The first and most rigid one is the TKD (targeted ketogenic diet), which calls for consuming carbs right before and right after sport activities. If you work out really hard and need carbs to support you while you’re doing your exercises, this way suits you the best.
The other option is the CKD (cyclical ketogenic diet), which allows eating a minimal amount of carbs during the day and loading up on a lot of carbs on the weekend. Note that it is recommended to carry out depletion workouts before such carbs-rich weekends.
According to the general formula for protein intake per day, you need 1 gram of protein per kilogram of your lean body mass. 1 gram of protein supplies you with 4 calories, so multiply it by 4 to learn how many calories from protein you should get per day. Since we already know that carbs are limited to 30-50 grams a day, we need to find out how many calories come from fats. That’s not difficult either: subtract the number of protein calories from the total daily calorie intake, and divide the result by 9 (that’s how many calories every gram of fat contains).
Don’t forget about vitamins and include enough green vegetables and leafy greens into your menu. Also, keep an eye on sodium, potassium, magnesium and fiber intake.
Long-anticipated carb-rich weekends
First of all let’s make it clear: saying “weekend” here we mean generally one day only. For example, if you start your Carb Weekend on Friday night, it ends on Saturday night. That’s the day when all the high-carb products are allowed, and you are not restricted to these 50 grams. The point of such a weekend is to fill up the glycogen stores of your body for the coming week.
Pros and cons of the ketogenic diet
The very first and most important advantage of this diet is that it really works. It is extremely effective in terms of weight loss. Besides, it reduces insulin levels as well as appetite, it decreases the risks of cancer, cardiovascular and neurological diseases, and it is second to none in obesity treatment.
The greatest drawback of the ketogenic diet is the difficult adaptation period, which lasts for about two weeks. This diet is very restrictive, so adhering to it may be rather painful.
Finally, the ketogenic diet may be a wrong choice for those who prefer sports with high aerobic activity (soccer, basketball, etc.), since they may lack energy for maximal performance.