T Nation


Does Ketosis lead to muscle loss? Obviously you lose water, but I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews on the net about the issue. What are some of everbody’s experiences with going low to no carbs for more than 2 weeks at a time?

Long term ketogenic diets(2 weeks at a time befor a one day carb up)is what I recommend.Why do it the cyclic version?You spend at least 2 days trying to reach ketosis,then stay in ketosis for 2-3 days before eating like shit again.Look,I dont care about bodyfat % as theres no 100% way of getting an accurate number,so my phylosophy is you either look good or you dont,and If you dont,a long term ketogenic diet is best for a great looking body in the short term.Let us know how it goes.Good luck.

1st week is hard because you are hungry and have no energy (this is if you also severely cut your calories as I did according to the fat fast diet). 2nd week is better, 3rd week is kinda of a pain, 4th week is a bastard, during this week you think to youself next time I’m doing this I’m stopping at week 3. Then when you stop its all over… you want carbs, food… etc etc… I suggest peanut butter shakes as they satisfy the cravings and at least are fairly healthy. Oh and don’t keep any candy at home during the first 2 weeks after the keto diet. And expect to be the sleepiest Mr. sleepy pants for about 2 weeks after.

You will always get some LBM loss when on any kind of sub maintanence calorie level diet unless using androgens, etc. Most of the LBM loss on a ketogenic diet is muscle glycogen loss along the associated water. This will leave you looking and feeling “flat” during the diet and you may “appear” to have lost more muscle due to glycogen store being depleted and lack of any pump when lifting, but in fact, after ending the keto diet, glycogen and any strength losses return quickly. Actual muscle loss will depend on how the diet, as any diet, is conducted, ie how far below maintanence dropping calories. As the lower calories drop, the quicker fat loss but also the higher risk of muscle loss - same as any diet. Remember though that protein intake is typically high on keto diet and this helps combat actual muscle loss. With ketogenic diets, people either love them for fat loss or they hate them - there is no middle ground. Personally, I’ve had good luck on keto diets and for the people that can tolerate them, fat loss is usually dramatic if done correctly. The main complaint with keto diets is the difficulty in maintaining intense, productive lifting WO’s due to loss of glycogen and no anaerobic source of fuel or energy. I seemed to do ok and get around this by using a very slow lifting tempo with longer rests between sets and adding plenty of low intensity cardio. A better trade off may be a “low carb” diet where carbs are kept between 50-70g on non lifting days and at <100g on lifting days as compared to a full keto diet where carbs are generally kept at <30g and usually <20g per day continously. I just finished a 12 week cutting cycle using the low carb protocol and went from 15%BF to <7%. Two of the most knowledgeable people on the forum with respect to keto diets are Vain68 and WSTRAINER, who can give more detailed info.

The theory behind a keto diet (high fat low carbs)is that it actually works much much better at preserving FFM while dieting (i.e., below maintenance kcal). Whether or not it does is scientifically up in the air becuase of a paucity of studies on the topic. In regards to my experience, fat loss is dramatic (again, that is primarily dependent on your KCAL intake) and the other weight is mainly muscle glycogen and water (for me up to 7lbs of water in muscles are lost on a keto diet).
I am not going to get into the techincal aspects of the diet, but I like it for me, and it works well…where you need to be careful is upon resumption of normal eating, and how to do a carb-up correctly so as to avoid rebound fat gain. Again, as with any diet, you need to be very VERY strict about your diet (i.e., detailed food log) and your supplementation (MCT, HMB, amphibolic intermediates, BCAA).

I’m on a CKD right now. Instead of a full carb up on weekends I have two carb up meals on day 7 of the week. Breakfast is a cup of oatmeal and a whey shake, the next meal is a large meat sandwich, then back to the lower carbs. So far I’ve lost about 10-12 lb (2+ inches on my waist) my strength in bench and back work is stable or slightly increasing, squats staying stable. I haven’t lost arm or chest size, legs are down a bit. I had a BF and lean mass calculation done in the begining and I’m due for one this week. I guess we’ll see what the numbers say then. I didn’t get hungry until the third week, after I lost the majority of the fat. The program has a bit over 3 hours a week of cardio too. I did a more Adkins type diet and I did lose strength and size, and 17 lb of fat, a few years ago. I like the results of this better.