A low-fat diet might encourage fat loss, but it is not as extreme as a ketogenic diet. The latter is defined as a diet that contains less than 100g of carbohydrates. For most bodybuilders, the threshold is reduced to as little as 50g. The diet therefore emphasizes proteins and healthy fats as fuel sources.
A Little Science behind Keto Diet
In the absence of carbohydrates, the body switches to fat for energy. Fat yields more energy than carbohydrates, but breaking it down is a tricky affair. The by-product of fat metabolism is ketones. During this process, the body is said to be in a state of ketosis, hence the origin of the name. This is actually an evolutionary outcome, and it is meant to keep your organs supplied with glucose in times of scarcity. The ketones produced can be detected in urine.
A keto diet is adopted by bodybuilders as a way of reducing body fat without losing muscle. It is very extreme as the body is forced to rely on protein and fat to meet its daily calorie requirements. In the absence of carbohydrates, appetite is naturally suppressed. While you may experience lower energy levels, your muscle tone will be maintained so long as your intake of protein is sustained.
To achieve that state of ketosis, your carbohydrate intake should be drastically reduced over some period of time. Ideally, 45% of your calories should emanate from protein, and 50% from fats. This amount of fat might sound alarming, but if it aligns with your daily calorie requirement, none of it will be stored. Rather, it will be broken down to provide energy, further promoting ketosis as your body also breaks down stored fat.
Creating Your Keto Diet Plan
The key to formulating an effective keto diet meal plan is first establishing what your nutritional requirements are. Determine how much protein and fat you need and then calculate your daily calorie requirement. A gram of protein yields about 4 calories while a gram of fat yields double that. Using the aforementioned percentages, you can be able to calculate how much you need to eat.
It is recommended that you eat your carbs in the morning. It is the time of day when your body needs them most. Use protein shakes, lean animal protein sources and healthy nuts and oils to meet your daily requirements.
The keto diet should not be used for very long. You cannot refrain from taking carbohydrates for very long before the effects become intolerable especially if you are a bodybuilder. Ideally, only use it when you need to cut down on your body fat and it should not exceed a few weeks.
For my 90-days keto diet experiment, I find myself more striated and my face more sunken/bony. My waist (1.1 inch) and thigh circumference (0.5 inch) reduced. Energy levels was surprisingly alright. My first week was difficult adapting to the low carbs. My breath was somewhat gross too!! And I noticed that I took more effort when doing cardio compared to when I was on higher carbs intake, the cardio was much easier to do then. I would do a keto diet again in the future perhaps, but not anytime soon.
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