T Nation

Thoughts On Keto

Due to the recent “onslaught” of posts on keto diets and people wanting references to particular JB thoughts on them, I thought I might just add why I like them and some of the research/experience I have had with them–

Issue #1: Fat-Rebound and Fat Gain following keto diet–
The most likely reason why people coming off a keto diet gain back the fat, is simply due to this: ENERGY BALANCE. Unless you are doing a CKD, where you carb-up for one day only and then head back into below maintenance energy (kcal) it is very easy to start craving carbs, esp. high GI ones that don’t fill you up and jack insulin, and start bingeing. As a result, above and beyond glycogen supercompensation, you begin to add back fat, which is very noticeable, esp. if you got real lean. The most amount of discipline is required coming out of the diet, not during it in my opinion. Even the carb-up of a CKD is easy, if you structure it, but coming off, you must taper your re-entrance into maintenance kcal and then slightly above so as to avoid fat regain, and this is hard esp. if you have been dieting severely which i normally due.

Issue #2: Insulin sensitivity destroyed or impaired by keto diets–Ironically, studies have shown that keto diets can actually improve insulin binding (Robinson & Williamson, 1980). While I would not say that keto diets don’t possess negative aspects, I believe if done correctly, and for structured amounts of time w/proper supplementation, the insulin issues can be mitigated to a great extent. When coming off, or during a load, always ingest a small amount (around 70g or so) of CHO prior to any major refeeding (5-8hrs) to upregulate liver enzymes and begin the transition out of ketosis. I use honey and something like blackberries/blueberries/strawberries which I blend with a pro shake. The fructose here is key, becuase it upregulates liver enzymes and doesn’t go directly to muscle. When coming off, it is necessary to slowly reintegrate carbs over a total time span of 3 days or so, as it takes approximately 24-48hrs to upregulate muscle enzymes such that they are able to OXIDIZE cho once again (they can still store it though). Obviously, during a chronic high CHO refeed above and beyond glyco comp, if the muscles can’t oxidize it, then it will be stored as fat.

Issue #3: Fat-loss on Keto: From my personal experience, muscle is spared if properly supplmented while on the diet. Here proper amounts of MCT, BCAA’s, and HMB, all taken collectively, and in higher dosages (see Berardi’s article on how supp. companies try to dick us over) are necessary. Sometimes, the dosages used in the studies are simply unattainable for us, but the more the merrier if supplmenting and eating the best quality proteins etc. It seems to me, (maybe its more psychological) that on keto diets, you can almost visualize the fat coming off and as we all know, the psychology of fat loss is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT when dieting. One final comment. If calories aren’t dropped too low (less than 1000 below), no major issues with metabolism shut down should occur if cardio and proper ECA supplementation is ensured. Yes metabolism will slow down invariable depending on the individual, length of diet time etc. but, as long as kcal are kept at moderately below mntc. fat loss should continue to occur (again, my experience).

Hope this helps and provides food for thought.

Vain, I couldn’t agree more. I have done the CKD at least six or seven times (see earlier posts as TeddyKGB), and while it takes a lot of trial and error to fine tune it, it has worked well upon figuring out how to tailor it to my specific needs. I think a lot of these guys who criticize it and complain about lack of energy and whatnot probably tried it once and likely did it the wrong way. Were I to never try it again after my first two times, I would’ve said the very same thing. There are too many important things that most overlook on this type of plan, be it fat/pro ratios, water intake, cal/mag/potassium supplementation, sufficient efa’s and fiber, excessive cardio… you name it. Of course it’s not perfect and certainly isn’t for everyone, but I think many people would be surprised if they gave it a few trial runs and did a few things differently each time. Earlier this year I said I would never go back to it again, but that was only because I was having a difficult time controlling carb-ups. Now I’m on it for the finishing touches of my diet, and while it wasn’t easy, last week I had my first completely successful carb-up, even getting up every two hours during sleep time to eat (that sucked). I should also point out that I can also basically get cut on any diet so long as my carbs don’t go over 30-40 percent of daily cals, so I’m not one of those weird-metabolism types…I think it just comes down to structuring any diet properly. I will say that I don’t agree with Atkins that it can/should be a lifetime approach, but overall I think it’s a great plan if done the right way.

I’ve done several complete keto diets over the years and also just finished a low carb version, all with great results and never had a problem with fat rebound. I agree 100% with the points Vain made. The key to keto dieting is, as Vain pointed out, in conducting the diet correctly and in tapering off intelligently and with deliberate planning. Good points Vain.

Can you guys give me some info on how you came out of keto. How what were your cals. during the diet, and coming out? What kind of foods should I look to eat coming out of a keto diet. Also how much did you increase your carb intake over the time you were coming out of keto? And lastly, what was your training and cardio like coming out of the diet? Thanks

I forgot, I am going to do a keto diet for 5 weeks. Im going to be eating between 1300 and 1400 calories a day and about 20 to 30 grams of carbs a day.

I have yet to delve into a full blown keto diet yet, but I am very glad that you post the detailed information that you do. I know that when I finally give a keto diet a shot, I will have a better experience due to the knowledge displayed on this board. Thank you for your detailed post.

Vain, good post, you touched on a lot of interesting points. After several CKD’s over the last 5 years I have decided that it is the only way for me to attain any significant degree of leaness without losing too much, if any, Lbm. Even then, I can only carb up for 1 24hr period every two weeks. Each time I do a CKD I learn more an more about what works for me. You make a great point about almost being able to see the fat melt off. Seeing quick results is definately a huge motivation. As far as fat rebound, controlling carbs is so critical after the diet. The first time after completeing a CKD, I binged for five days straight on crap. Within a week I had regained 13 of the 35 lbs. I had lost. This was so discouraging that within another two weeks I regained almost 25 of the 35 lost. I find now that I if I diet to about 5lbs below the weight I want to hit, I have more success at keeping the fat off. This way the first 5 lbs. of water I gain back within a few days does’nt discourage me. The easiest way for me to reintroduce carbs back into every day eating is to replace my protein and water shakes with Mrp’s. After a 3-4 days I will add in a bit of oatmeal and some starchy vegetables. This gradual proccess seems to work well for me.

Wow, some good thoughts here, Vain. I would have never considered a keto diet until I read this. However, I find that most competitors don’t think about the “coming off” cycle and that is where most of the mistakes are made. And I know you’ve seen these people in competition.

Something definitely for me to archive for later reference. T'anks!

Definatly agree with the part about how coming off the diet is the hardest part… the cravings… the cravings… the horror… the horror…

Some follow up points real quick up in hea!
As far as the water-weight re-gain, that should not really truly affect your visual appearance as it should be intracelluar (within the muscle) rather than extracelluar (subcutaneous)…obviously, ketones themselves are diuretic in nature, so there will be some slight* increase in water retention under the skin on a carb-up or phase out, but if you use a nice diuretic (dandilien or whatever)…this should not be a problem.
Further, for me, i know the first 6lbs i lose (within a day or two) is water, and that upon reintroduction of carbs (depending on how acute or chronic) this weight will come back…I don’t look at it negatively, as this weight is very important for the overall pump* you lose while on keto–
The bottom line to avoid fat-regain phasing out of a keto or on a carb-up is to watch your ENERGY BALANCE, i can’t stress this enough.
Contrary to some, I do believe (with some exceptions**) that a calorie is a calorie, and too often we try and dick with macronutrient ratios and overlook the most important thing.
Carb-ups should be twice diet calories, and a phase out should see diet calories slightly elevated for a day or two and then a gradual increase to maintenance.
I will post my detailed plans soon, but i got to bizzounce to work now

I’m entering week 2 of a keto diet and after posting a thread earlier I am making some changes. My question is that as you all have done keto diets, how have you gone about fine tuning the macro. ratios to achiece optimal fat loss? Meaning, what has been people’s experiences with adding more protein, or fat or, perhaps adding more fat and decreasing protein and adding cardio? The next month for me is all trial and error. The first week I consumed 1.5g fat to protein ratio, but this week I’ll be doing about 1.75g:1g protein to fat.