Ketogenic diet is a special case of the low-carb diet. It is even lower in carb than a low carb diet which means that there are fewer low net-carb vegetables and more nuts and oils. Otherwise, the keto (ketogenic) nutritional plan is simlar to the low-carb meal. Many people are interested in keto because it does seem to work miracles for fat loss. Before we go into WHY it works lets get this standard explanation of how keto works out of the way:
The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted to glucose which is transported around the body for energy. However, if there is very little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketones which server as the energy source. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis.
Many will go on further to create complicated explanations of how keto increases the metabolic rate and amplifies the fat loss beyond what could be expected from the caloric deficit. Maybe its true, maybe its not, but honestly, I dont buy it. I do not dispute that keto is great for fat loss, I have seen its results in myself
but I think the reason is a lot simpler. The simple reason keto works so well for fat loss is that it causes you to lose your carb cravings. I have a sweet tooth at a level that most would call it a psychological addiction but after two to three weeks of very low carb levels I found that even I did not crave sweets any more ... or other carbs either! Once you get in this state, no willpower is required, you simply dont need carbs and you are not hungry either. This lack of sugar cravings was nothing short of a miracle to me. A consistent caloric deficit is required week after week, month after month for a successful fat loss program and this is easy to achieve without carb cravings.
What is keto (ketogenic) good for?
Losing bodyfat is the main use of keto whether you are a bodybuilder preparing for hitting the beach in the spring or someone who is morbidly obese and pre-diabetic. You can also use keto for maintenance to help crush your carb cravings and keep from re-gaining fat after a diet. Keto is also good for people with diabetes. With the help of their doctors, keto can be an amazing tool to control blood sugar. Not sure why anyone other than a diabetic would use keto for bulking.
Create your custom keto meal plan
In just 10 seconds you can create an optimal keto meal plan for fat loss and muscle gain. Simply answer the questions and click on the button labeled "Create Instant Meal Plan".
Note also that keto is not some miracle maker. Newbie lifters can gain muscle while cutting with keto but an experienced lifter who is near their genetic max will not. For these advanced lifters in bulking/cutting cycles, this optimal keto meal plan will help limit the loss of muscle during the cut.
As mentioned above, the majority of people will use keto for cutting. Some just want to diet to get down to a healthy weight but many bodybuilders use it to prepare for contests. In either case, the goal on many peoples minds is achieving sixpack abs. With the free CustomMealPlanner
there is no guesswork involved, your meal plan will tell you exactly how many days it will take you to get sixpack abs! Here is an example of the bodyfat chart it will produce for you:
Does keto work? Is it healthy?
People often ask if keto (ketogenic) is healthy or if keto is good for bodybuilders, this is like asking if "drugs" are bad. It depends, are you talking about aspirin or crack? Both are drugs. Same with "keto". You could eat bologna and Velveeta all day long and although that is keto, it would result in the cannibalization of muscle and your eventual death from malnutrition. Most people forget that the goal is not to lose "weight", it is to lose FAT. If your keto meal plan is too low in protein then you will be burning hard earned muscle off which is the last thing a bodybuilder wants to do. Most of the keto meal plans and fad keto diets you will find online are horrible for bodybuilders. You need quality protein, omega 3 fatty acids, fiber and vitamins from natural sources - popping a Flintstones multivitamin and chugging Metamucil is no substitute for real vegetables. The problem with keto is that so few carbs are allowed that one has to be very clever in designing the nutritional plan to get sufficient fiber and vitamins. CustomMealPlanner.Com creates custom meal plans perfect for muscle gain even while cutting. Not only that, the meal plans are healthy! Leafy greens are the key to health in keto meal plans as all other vegetables simply have too many net carbs. Spinach and kale are the powerhouses here and to a lesser extent, asparagus too. The keto meal plans generated by CustomMealPlanner will also rely almost exclusive on unprocessed foods to make the meal plans even healthier. Despite the popularity of bacon and cheese in keto meal plans, you will find no bacon here and only a little cheese. The bacon that 99% of people buy is simply too highly processed and full of nitrates and the non-organic cheese in America is just too full of pesticides and antibiotics.
What are the pitfalls of keto?
With keto, the real work begins once you have achieved your fat loss goal
. Keto (ketogenic) works really, really well for losing bodyfat relatively quickly and easily which is why bodybuilders love it. The problem is that when obese people use keto, within 3 years 70% of them will gain all the fat back - plus more. Why is this? Its because people do not change their lifestyle! The go on the keto diet, lose crazy amounts of fat, then go back to eating the way they always have. This rebound effect is worse with keto than any other kind of diet. One of the ways keto helps you lose fat is that after about 3 weeks of stopping all carb consumption, you stop craving carbs and carbs. When you dont crave, candy, cookies, crackers, chips, and cake its pretty dang easy to lose bodyfat. What typically happens is that someone achieves the fat loss goal, then goes off keto and celebrates. That first donut (refined sugar + nutrition-less white flour) opens the floodgates and suddenly those carb cravings come back with a vengeance and they become carb-sucking vacuum cleaner and cant stop themselves till they wake up two months later to find that they have gained all their fat back. Keto has this problem far worse than any other nutrition type.
Transitioning successfully off keto
With keto, you have to plan your introduction back into the real world very carefully - a dietary soft landing
so to speak. You have two options, keep on keto forever or very slowly introduce carbs back in. With the keto meal plans at CustomMealPlanner, they actually have enough vegetables in them that you could stay on keto long term and still be very healthy. If this is the option you choose then after you achieve your bodyfat goal, simply change your goal in the meal planner to "Gain muscle, lose fat". Most people find keto simply too difficult and end up having tensions with family and friends about their "food obsession". Here is a good three week progression to get you safely back into the real world:
- Achieve your bodyfat goal using keto
- Using CustomMealPlanner, switch to low-carb nutritional type with a 10% caloric reduction for 7 full days. You must weigh and measure everything!
- Using CustomMealPlanner, switch to a medium-carb nutritional type with a 10% caloric reduction for 7 fulls days - again, you must weigh and measure everything.
- Using CustomMealPlanner, continue with a medium-carb nutritional type right at your TDEE (gain muscle, lose fat) for 7 full days - again, you must weigh and measure everything.
At the end of step 4 you have safely re-introduced good carbs and have re-calibrated your eyes so that you know what your new portion sizes are.
Can you handle keto?
If you are someone who cannot be firm and say "No Thanks!" at a birthday party when someone tries to shame you into eating a piece of cake then keto is not for you. With keto its all or nothing. Unlike other nutritional types where cheat meals are kind of open-season, there is no such thing as a cheat meal with keto. Because of the way that you body will react to delicious carbs after you have deprived yourself of them for days or weeks, its very likely that a "little cheat meal" will end up as an ugly carb binge and leave you demoralized or depressed. When you are on keto it is instructive to think of yourself as a recovering alcoholic. Know that one sip and its all over so think very carefully before you blow it. While we are on the subject, its best to avoid alcohol completely when on keto. Yes, alcohol is keto friendly because it does not count in the net carb count but the problem is that with alcohol loosened inhibitions, things like pizza will start to make sense.
For the first two to three weeks until your carb cravings go away, you either need an iron will or you need to make sure that carbs are never in the same room as you are. Once you are saftely past the three week point, it becomes much easier to say "No". One little carb cheat meal and you have to start this whole difficult three week which is why you should not use keto if you are someone who will think that you "deserve" treats for being good. If you need an occasional cheat meal then choose another nutritional type.