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Ketogenic Diet and Body Composition

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created April 10, 2013 at 10:48 PM

I apologize if this is already a question. If it is, please re-direct me. I'm a little confused about how about how a ketogenic diet affects body composition. From what I understand, some bodybuilders eat keto to really cut down body fat. But a couple of months ago, this girl in my class did a research project and gave a presentation about how a ketogenic diet will help one to lose weight, but the resulting body comp will end up being mostly fat. A lot of these studies were done on mice, and the diet was a little ridiculous: normal diet (something like 30%PRO/20%FAT/50%CHO) vs. keto (5%PRO/5%CHO/90%FAT), so that must have had an impact. But I think some human studies had similar results (to a lesser extent).

Also, I'm getting interested in the Perfect Health Diet and it says to eat higher carb/lower protein/lower fat, too (for weight and muscle maintenance).

So does anybody have any experience with this, or a valid source for more info? Thanksss

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on April 12, 2013
at 01:59 PM

Oh sorry didn't answer you directly. I try and fast through till lunch most days, eat typically low-carb on the days I don't work out (Wed/Thur/Sat/Sun) and higher-carbs post-workout on (Mon/Tues/Fri). weekends I don't generally think to much about things but try and keep things like the rest days. Calories are higher on workout days than rest days.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on April 12, 2013
at 12:19 PM

Well from what I understand we are always cyclic ketogenic to some degree (during sleep for instance or any period without food) and we don't necessarily need to be in a ketogenic state to burn fat. During times of stable blood glucose, lower insulin and depending on energy requirements, we will be in a better position to burn fat as fuel. See: http://bit.ly/ZlmSqZ Becoming 'fat adapted' is more about switching primary fuels (carbs to fat). In terms of the 15% depends on activity. See: http://bit.ly/ZOSuez

A4e6473c7791ca1ddeedf5c5db5fbe14

(85)

on April 12, 2013
at 10:53 AM

I don't really understand the concept of a "cyclic ketogenic diet". I think I understand why you would cycle carbs around workout days, but don't you have to be eating ketogenically for a while in order for the fat-burning to kick in? And wouldn't eating carbs make you have to start all over again? How long do your cycles last, and how do you fit in IF? I tend to be kind of all-or-nothing, so I like a consistent schedule (daily IFing, similar meals everyday), but I'd be willing to experiment with this. Also, is 15% protein really enough? I just ordered PHD, so I'm just going off what's online.

A4e6473c7791ca1ddeedf5c5db5fbe14

(85)

on April 11, 2013
at 05:23 AM

Thanks, this makes sense. I was totally for the extremely high fat idea too, until I was kind of forced into lowering my calories and realized that it works (duh). But I feel like this is eating into my lean mass as well as the fat, so I'm trying to figure out a macronutrient distribution that could help prevent this. I was/still am afraid of the insulin effect of carbs and protein, so I get why many people here do ketosis, but why is this effect on body comp not more well known?

3fc95bca9e723edfbbb72b172798ab49

(1354)

on April 11, 2013
at 02:04 AM

You know, I've never been completely convinced that fat has no muscle building role. Dietary fat intake is a necessary precursor for proper hormone (i.e. testosterone) and cell membrane production. While I have no inclination of rocking the "protein + carb = gains" boat I certainly do question the notion that fat is somehow only used for energy and not at all as a building block.

3fc95bca9e723edfbbb72b172798ab49

(1354)

on April 11, 2013
at 02:03 AM

Fat doesn't really help you build muscle
You know, I've never been completely convinced of that myself. Dietary fat intake is a necessary precursor for proper hormone (i.e. testosterone) and cell membrane production. While I have no inclination of rocking the "protein + carb = gains" boat I certainly do question the notion that fat is somehow only used for energy and not at all as a building block.

3fc95bca9e723edfbbb72b172798ab49

(1354)

on April 11, 2013
at 02:03 AM

Fat doesn't really help you build muscle You know, I've never been completely convinced of that myself. Dietary fat intake is a necessary precursor for proper hormone (i.e. testosterone) and cell membrane production. While I have no inclination of rocking the "protein + carb = gains" boat I certainly do question the notion that fat is somehow only used for energy and not at all as a building block.

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D05f3050dc3d973b8b81a876202fa99a

(1533)

on April 10, 2013
at 11:14 PM

Some people use the term "keto" when they're really talking about macrocycling or, if you're lucky, they're referring to a Cyclical Ketogenic Diet. A lot of guys on forums will abbreviate this to "keto" but I would argue that's not what they're actually doing.

The idea is that eating at a low enough level of carbs, and not eating too much protein, will induce ketosis. As a result, your body will use fat, both dietary and your own stores, as it's primary fuel source in the absence of carbohydrates. The carbohydrate restriction required to achieve a state of ketosis varies depending on the individual and the "depth" they're seeking to achieve in terms of ketosis.

For what it's worth, I don't think this is an ideal way to achieve the body comp you want. Better off cycling macros and eating higher carb and lower fat on training days (eating in a surplus will make it easier for fat to get stored so I like to keep fat kind of low on these days) and then highER fat and lower carb on rest days. Obviously, this will all depend on training, if any, and your general activity level. Fat doesn't really help you build muscle, but carbs sure as hell do. I could elaborate on that further but hopefully that clears things up a bit.

3
Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on April 12, 2013
at 09:22 AM

Lyle McDonald wrote a very extensive book on the subject: The Ketogenic Diet. http://bit.ly/Zl0k9H which describes The standard ketogenic diet (SKD), The targeted ketogenic diet (TKD), and The cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD).

A shockingly verbose quotation from his book...

The research on fat and LBM losses are more contradictory and may be related to calorie level. At maintenance calories, fat loss will not occur. At extremely low calorie levels, below 1200 per day and lower, there are some studies suggesting that a ketogenic diet causes more fat/less LBM loss than a non-ketogenic diet while other studies support the opposite. In all likelihood, the differences are due to variations in study design, protein intake, study length, etc. Because these studies do not mimic the types of ketogenic diets described in this book, with a moderate caloric deficit, adequate protein, and exercise, they should not be used as evidence for or against the ketogenic diet.

At more moderate caloric levels, one early study has shown that fat loss increased as carbohydrate intake decreased. Two recent studies showed no statistically significant differences, but there was a trend towards greater fat loss and less muscle loss as carbohydrate quantity came down. An important note is the high degree of variability in subject response to the different diets. None of these studies provided what this author considers to be adequate amounts of protein.

Perhaps the proper conclusion to be drawn from these studies is the variety of approaches which can all yield good results. At the very least, a properly designed ketogenic diet with adequate protein appears to give no worse results than a non-ketogenic diet with a similar caloric intake. Some research suggests that it may give better results. Anecdotally many individuals report better maintenance of lean body mass for a SKD/CKD compared to a more traditional diet. This is not universal and others have noted greater LBM losses on a ketogenic diet. The definitive study comparing a ketogenic to a non-ketogenic diet has yet to be performed. It would compare fat loss/muscle loss for a ketogenic diet at 10-20% below maintenance calories, with adequate protein, and weight training to a higher carbohydrate diet with the same calories, protein intake, and exercise.

Ultimately, fat loss depends on expending more calories than are consumed. Some individuals have difficulty restricting calories on a high-carbohydrate diet. If lowering carbohydrates and increasing dietary fat increases satiety, and makes it easier to control calories, then that may be the better dietary choice. Other potential pros and cons of the ketogenic diet are discussed in the next chapter. Lyle Mcdonald. The Ketogenic Diet. Section II: The physiology of ketosis. 6. Changes in body composition.

My personal opinion is that when people attempt a ketogenic diet at first, they may until they notice, be eating less calories then they think they are, (since they are excluding energy dense carbohydrates) and thinking they are eating a lot of fat when actually they are not. I think this probably is the reason the paleo diet works well at first for fat loss, as people assume they are eating 'a lot' but perhaps are not.

General PHD macros: [C:20% P:15% F:65%]
Ketogenic PHD macros (guessing): [C:10% P:15% F:75%]

I certainly thought I was eating a lot of fat until I calculated it. But on the plus side I went from a skinny fat 90kg to a much better looking 65kg in a year. I am now upping my calories overall to put on muscle. I don't believe a standard ketogenic diet is helpful for this. So a calorie deficit is helpful of course, but once you reach the body weight you want, you need to eat at maintenance levels.

I think as Lyle is pointing out, if you were to hit your maintenance calories (14-16 cal/lb), your body composition would not change (without resistance training), and that a calorie deficit would be needed. He points out in the book that the notion that you can eat as much fat as you like on a ketogenic diet (referring to Atkins) and still lose body fat is just that, a notion and not actually true.

After reading the book I personal follow a more cyclic ketogenic diet which is more about allowing for intermittent fasting and carbohydrate consumption around workout days. This to me both provides high calorie / lower calorie days, fasted benefits and prevents very-low-carb disadvantages as Paul Jaminet outlines in the PHD.

A4e6473c7791ca1ddeedf5c5db5fbe14

(85)

on April 12, 2013
at 10:53 AM

I don't really understand the concept of a "cyclic ketogenic diet". I think I understand why you would cycle carbs around workout days, but don't you have to be eating ketogenically for a while in order for the fat-burning to kick in? And wouldn't eating carbs make you have to start all over again? How long do your cycles last, and how do you fit in IF? I tend to be kind of all-or-nothing, so I like a consistent schedule (daily IFing, similar meals everyday), but I'd be willing to experiment with this. Also, is 15% protein really enough? I just ordered PHD, so I'm just going off what's online.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on April 12, 2013
at 12:19 PM

Well from what I understand we are always cyclic ketogenic to some degree (during sleep for instance or any period without food) and we don't necessarily need to be in a ketogenic state to burn fat. During times of stable blood glucose, lower insulin and depending on energy requirements, we will be in a better position to burn fat as fuel. See: http://bit.ly/ZlmSqZ Becoming 'fat adapted' is more about switching primary fuels (carbs to fat). In terms of the 15% depends on activity. See: http://bit.ly/ZOSuez

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on April 12, 2013
at 01:59 PM

Oh sorry didn't answer you directly. I try and fast through till lunch most days, eat typically low-carb on the days I don't work out (Wed/Thur/Sat/Sun) and higher-carbs post-workout on (Mon/Tues/Fri). weekends I don't generally think to much about things but try and keep things like the rest days. Calories are higher on workout days than rest days.

0
0334d143dae3bb0f30169e6ef31e3a4d

(104)

on April 12, 2013
at 08:31 AM

I think that research is a bit lacking. It discussed some things the wrong way. Also to lose weight you have to do low carb- low calorie- high protein - high fat because carbs/cals is the one that makes you fat not protein because protein cannot be retained by the body.

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