If you’ve made the decision to try the ketogenic diet (“keto” for short), you undoubtedly expect to experience some of the numerous health advantages it is said to offer. The goal of the keto diet is to induce ketosis in the body. When your body is in ketosis, it uses fat as fuel rather than carbs to function. Keto is hailed for its potential for weight reduction, increased energy, and reduced blood sugar fluctuations.
However, whether or if the diet benefits your activity is a matter of debate.
According to Andy Galpin, Ph.D., a professor of kinesiology at California State University in Fullerton, “We have very little evidence that says the ketogenic diet is better for anything exercise-wise.” Though it could have a greater impact on performance for some forms of exercise than others.
What you need to know is as follows.
1. When it comes to high-intensity exercise, it could be harder to increase performance. During the Keto Diet
The bulk of your body’s ability to perform high-intensity exercise, which calls for brief, strong bursts of energy, is fuelled by the carbs you consume. The body stores carbs as muscle glycogen in the cells of the muscles. When you engage in any type of exercise that occasionally needs significant movement, such as strength training, running, and other sports, your body immediately converts that muscle glycogen into fuel.
If you’re following the keto diet properly, your body will burn fat for energy instead of carbs. The procedure is less effective overall since that fat isn’t as readily burnt as carbs as a fuel source.
As a result, performance during intense activities is sometimes limited by the keto diet, although lower-intensity workouts may be less affected.
Following 42 healthy people for six weeks on the ketogenic diet, a short study from February 2017 indicated that the subjects’ performance in peak power and endurance decreased.
Galpin claims that he wouldn’t advise using the diet to enhance performance. “It’s not going to be any better for physical performance than the standard diet,” he claims.
2. Keto Might Increase Fat Burn
While the keto diet may not be the ideal choice for activities that call for quick bursts of energy like weightlifting or spinning, it does appear to help those who prefer steady-state aerobic activity, such as distance running or cycling at a steady rate, burn more fat.
In contrast to walkers on a more typical diet that contained carbs, athletes on ketogenic diets were able to considerably boost the amount of fat burned in their bodies during training, according to a 2017 research of elite competition walkers. But even though they burned more fat when exercising while on the keto diet, those athletes nevertheless performed worse than those who followed the more conventional diet. The race walkers on the ketogenic diet expressed dissatisfaction that they believed they required more effort to complete the same workouts as the athletes on a more conventional diet and that they were less likely to finish the prescribed workouts than the athletes on the more conventional diet.
3. At first, especially, you could feel that your gas pedal isn’t working as well.
As your body becomes “keto-adapted,” it starts to teach itself to burn fat for energy rather than carbs. At first, that approach could make you feel less motivated to exercise than normal.
According to Nitin K. Sethi, MD, a clinical associate professor of neurology at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, who started researching the effects of the keto diet on human performance because one of its original purposes was to treat epilepsy, some research findings suggest that athletes have been successful in increasing their capacity to use fat as a fuel source.
According to tiny research cited by Dr. Sethi from July 2017, “While athletes on a high-fat diet experienced reduced energy initially, the athletes experienced a return of higher levels later on, especially during exercise.”
Sethi warns that the study’s players had greater challenges engaging in higher-intensity kinds of exercise.
4. You Might Burn Calories Faster on the Keto Diet
According to a 2018 research, overweight persons who swapped out carbs for fat for five months were able to burn around 250 more calories per day than those who followed a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet. But keep in mind that fat contains more calories per gram than carbohydrates: According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a gram of fat has 9 calories, compared to 4 calories for a gram of protein or carbohydrate.
When it comes to weight reduction, the difference in daily calorie burn might mount up. Keep in mind that in order to lose weight, the body must burn more calories than it consumes. Calories are not the only thing that matters, but they are still important, according to Galpin.
5. Maintaining Muscle Mass Is Better With Keto Than Adding Muscle
Age-related bone loss can be reduced and the aging process slowed down by maintaining and increasing muscle mass. Even when you aren’t exercising, having more muscle mass helps you burn more calories each day.
A ketogenic diet could be beneficial for you if you work out regularly to maintain your muscle mass. However, the decreased calorie and protein intake you experience while on the keto diet may make it harder for you to gain muscle mass. “The average person is going to have a much harder time adding muscle on keto,” Galpin asserts.
If you’re attempting to consume fewer calories than you burn, which would be the situation if you’re on a diet for weight reduction (and that would be the case if you’re on any diet), a portion of that challenge would occur. However, it’s also more challenging to gain muscle when on a ketogenic diet since your body has less access to the carbs that it would typically store in your muscles and utilize for muscle building. Galpin believes it’s not impossible, but it’s a lot less effective technique to gain muscle.
6. Just because you’re burning fat doesn’t necessarily translate into weight loss.
Although the ketogenic diet can be an effective approach to teach your body to use fat as a fuel source, it doesn’t guarantee that the body will burn off all that fat when you exercise. To truly shed fat (and decrease weight), you still need to be burning more calories overall than you are ingesting.
“Burning fat doesn’t always mean fat loss,” Galpin asserts. According to him, when you follow the keto diet, you burn more fat but you also retain more fat since more of your calories come from fats than they normally would. “A calorie deficit is still required to experience weight loss,”