Ketogenic regime and possible Muscle Loss: The Carb Dilema

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 05, 2012 at 11:06 AM


I'm triyng a ketogenic type of diet, consisting of 20%-25% protein 65-70% Fat and the rest from Carbs(usally 30-50gr a day). My main concern is regarding the gains i've made in lean muscle mass. I'm trying to shred down a bit of fat(5,9, 180 pounds, 12-13% BF, aiming to get to 10%). I'm cylcing calories between off and in days and engaging in powerlifitng(wendler 5-3-1) and intermitent fasting. I'm reducing calories a bit, doing 3000 on training days and 2500 on off dys, plus one 24 hour fast a week, to create a caloric deficit weekly, get autophagy and no have to cut many calories every day.

The thing here is: with just 30-50gr of Carbs,150-160gr of protein, is not this protein beiing converted to glucose for brain energy? These means no protein for muscle repair?

My doubts aroused even more reading throught the 150gr of carbs a day from Paul Jaminet at PHD, specifically here, where He advocates that in the absense of dietary carbohydrate, more protein is needed to amper muscle, which can lead to amonia toxity at more than 150gr of protein day, so my dilema to not increase it further than that.

Also, i'm a bit concerned over physiological insulin resistance on ketosis.

Will i be best served with-isocalorically- the PFD therms(high fat, moderate protein, moderate carbs) or the ketogenic protocol, in the attempt to mantain muscle mass,loose a bit of fat and continously progress in the gym?

Thank you



on June 18, 2012
at 01:09 PM

Paul Jaminet is an astrophysicist. Take his advice with a grain of salt.



on June 18, 2012
at 08:32 AM

Maybe not so low protein if you're worried about muscle mass? Try to eat about 1gm of protein per pound of lean muscle mass? Or more if you want to increase?



on June 05, 2012
at 04:26 PM

I' about to pick up Voleks's work. I was already interested in it two. By the way 320kg, right?



on June 05, 2012
at 03:00 PM

I vote against keto.



on June 05, 2012
at 02:58 PM

I vote against keto.


on June 05, 2012
at 02:54 PM

I eat 70% fat 25% fat 5% - I'm leg-pressing 320 this week. I really suggest you read Volek's book on low-carb performance. It will alleviate your concerns. All my strength gains have come while in ketosis, I live at 1.4. Volek is a champion lifter and pushes 1/2 ton boulders; he lives at 2.



on June 05, 2012
at 11:58 AM

t my assumption is not one that you'll likely to die from amonia, but surely it can have impact in health markers, not only longevity. But i kind of understand you, and i in practice i some times i get more than those 150gr( sometimes as high as 180gr, as just yeasterday), but in the same fashion i usually dont stress over when i only get 100-120gr. The problem that i expose here is critically depriving exogenous glucose and relying on protein for the energy. Although, Lyle Mcdonald says that in the presence of 50gr of Carbs, the body neglets protein as a source of energy.



on June 05, 2012
at 11:45 AM

But what about all the weight lifters who have been using the one gram per pound rule for years? Why haven't they all keeled over from protein toxicity?

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2 Answers



on June 18, 2012
at 12:37 PM

Dude, 20-25% protein is way too much. I can't stay properly in ketosis above 18%. You need to follow Volek's advice and eat 0.6 to 1.0 g of protein per pound lean mass.

If you don't cut down on your protein, your ketsosis will be weak at best (<0.5 mmol/l), and you'll simply be getting the glucose that you don't eat through gluconeogenesis (with the added non-benefit of increasing your cortisol levels).

Ketosis is protein sparing. Stick to the recommended levels and see what happens.


on June 18, 2012
at 07:27 AM

I highly recommend reading Volek and Phinney's Low Carb Living for Performance. It is a small book but tons of great information. The short answer is that not only is it possible to be an athlete in ketosis, it is preferred.

Don't go with excess protein. If you are keto adapted you will be fine with 1.0 to 1.5 grams per kg of lean mass. Remember that excess protein is converted to sugar and can actually knock you out of ketosis. The ketones will feed your brain just fine and your muscles will live happily off ketones and triglycerides. Also, I got this answer directly from Jeff Volek himself:

"As for the need for protein after exercise, being in a keto-adapted state raises blood levels of branched-amino acids which allows for maintenance of anabolism with less insulin. This translates into less of a need for protein after exercise relative to someone not keto-adapted."

But read the book. It's worth well more than it's weight in gold.

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