Throughout time, the idea that athletes need to rely on a high-carb diet to maintain muscle glycogen to be able to perform high intensity and endurance exercises has been common-knowledge. However, most of the diets that are currently gaining momentum proclaim the opposite. As new evidence points to the benefits of a LCHF (low-carb, high-fat) diet, many are unsure about which method to follow.
The Ketogenic Diet is one diet among many that has gained a decent amount of attention within the past couple of years. In fact, in 2014 LeBron James immersed himself in a 67-day Ketogenic Diet program, which resulted in noticeable weight-loss. Since then, a number of nutritionist and dietitians have supported the idea.
What exactly is the Ketogenic Diet?
The Ketogenic Diet is a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet in which participants get less than 20% of their energy from carbohydrates, more than 50% from fat and a decent amount protein.
What’s the purpose of the Ketogenic Diet?
Unlike other LCHF diets, the Ketogenic Diet is specifically designed to produce ketones, which are alternative sources of energy that the body produces through ketosis when there’s a limited amount of carbohydrates.
In other words, the purpose of the Ketogenic Diet is to get the body to burn fat as its primary energy fuel instead of carbohydrates. By doing that, your body puts your fat-burning system into high-gear enabling it to maintain a stable weight and a lean physique.
What do you eat on a Ketogenic Diet?
Like previously mentioned, most your calories will come from fat. However, there are specific foods that are recommended for the diet to be most effective.
Here are a few suggestions:
|Veggies||Dairy||Nuts & Seeds||
|Grass-fed Meat||Spinach & Kale||Full-fat Yogurt||Almonds||Avocado|
Full-fat Cottage Cheese
|Olive Oil||Organic Eggs||Broccoli & Cauliflower||*NO MILK!*||Pecans||
Is the Ketogenic Diet safe?
Despite new evidence detailing both the safety and benefits of the Ketogenic Diet, findings are still inconclusive. It’s no secret that specific LCHF diets are a controversial topic among the health community. After all, everyone’s body reacts differently to certain diets and medications.
Typically, the diet has been used to treat drug-resistant epileptic seizures, cancer and other metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases. That being said, the diet is not meant for everyone. If you choose to give it a try, you must be under careful observation of your doctor or physician.
Some of the common side-effects are:
- Keto Flu (headaches, nausea, fatigue etc.)
- Bad breath
- High levels of lipids and cholesterol
- Women may experience amenorrhea and other disruptions to their menstrual cycle
- Stunted growth on children
- High risk of bone fractures
To be perfectly clear, the Ketogenic Diet can be dangerous if done carelessly. As you all know, I’m not a doctor. All my knowledge comes from extensive research of credible, scientific, fact-based sources, which are listed on here.
Honestly, I recommend doing quite a bit of research and meeting with your doctor before giving it a try. As a brief overview of the Ketogenic Diet, keep in mind that there are multiple side effects and complications that I didn’t discuss.
On another note… have you tried the Ketogenic Diet before or any sort of LCHF diet?
If so, what are your thoughts?
Bosecamp, Emily. 2016. The Diet That Helped Lead LeBron James to Victory. June 21. Accessed April 14, 2017. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-25580/the-diet-that-helped-lead-lebron-james-to-victory.html.
Eenfeldt, Dr. Andreas. 2016. The Ketogenic Diet for Beginners. April. Accessed April 14, 2016. https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto.
Graham, Tyler. 2016. The truth behind the world’s most cutting-edge, fat-burning performance plan: the Keto diet. December 16. Accessed April 15, 2016. http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/truth-behind-worlds-most-cutting-edge-fat-burning-performance-meal-plan-keto .
Mercola, Dr. 2016. Conditions Shown to Benefit from a Ketogenic Diet. September 26. Accessed April 14, 2017. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/09/26/nutritional-ketosis-benefits.aspx.
Smith, Yolanda. 2015. Ketogenic Diet Side Effects. October 19. Accessed April 14, 2016. http://www.news-medical.net/health/Ketogenic-Diet-Side-Effects.aspx.
Marcel, C, BS. 2016. “Ketogenic Diet in Adults.” CINAHL Nursing GuideNursing Reference Center Plus, EBSCOhost (accessed April 16, 2017).
Chang, Chen-Kang, Katarina Borer, and Po-Ju Lin. 2017. “Low-Carbohydrate-High-Fat Diet: Can it Help Exercise Performance?.” Journal Of Human Kinetics 56, no. 1: 81-92. SPORTDiscus with Full Text, EBSCOhost (accessed April 16, 2017).
Schick, Evan E. 2016. “The role of the ketogenic diet in exercise performance.” Sports Medicine Journal / Medicina Sportivâ 12, no. 2: 2756-2761. SPORTDiscus with Full Text, EBSCOhost (accessed April 16, 2017).