Every year there seems to be a new fad or diet kick that promises big results. Oftentimes the science behind a new diet or fitness trend is not fully understand and we base decisions off what we hear from others (or what we want to believe). “Diets” seem to be used as a quick fix solution to lose ‘x’ amount of weight quick, but usually quick fixes aren’t the answer to long term success. It is important to remember that diets do end and once we are done, it’s common to find ourselves slipping back into old habits. If we focus on living a healthy lifestyle, we will find a steady improvement ratio with no yoyo effects.
Now, let’s take a second to try and understand the goals and the science behind the Ketogenic Diet. The diet requires us to intake low carbohydrates, high amounts of fats, and moderate levels of protein. By eating low amounts of carbs, the body should reach a phase called ketosis which is a metabolic state where the body breaks down fat for energy.
If you live a sedentary life, meaning spending long days sitting or never going to the gym, this diet will be the most effective for you. With a low carb intake, the body is creating lack of muscle glycogen, which is not important to a person not using it anyway. It has also shown to possibly decrease inflammation in the body. This diet has also proven to improve the symptoms of some types of epilepsy, Parkinson’s, and diabetes.
The downsides of this diet are immensely more intriguing. The brain utilizes blood sugar (glucose) as a main ingredient to focus, help with cognitive work, interpersonal communication, and sluggishness throughout the day. Anyone who is an athlete or avid gym goer is going to have a terrible time on the Ketogenic Diet. Not only will you have no energy to work out, you will start to burn muscle for fuel. People do see weight loss numbers on the scale the first couple weeks of the diet, but it has been identified as mainly water weight being excreted. There is a difference between losing weight and burning body fat. This diet also consists of a very strict eating plan that most people have had a challenging time following and instead end up using this fad as an excuse to eat high fat diets.
The takeaway from this is that living a healthy lifestyle will always trump the new diet fad. Do it right and you won’t have to do it again. Be knowledgeable about what you are doing to your body and keep working hard.
NASM Certified Personal Trainer