Ketogenic Diet Explained | Expert Panel | The Bodybuilding.com Podcast | Ep 14 & 15



welcome to another episode of ask the expert panel I am your host Crissy Kendall I am the science editor here at bodybuilding.com and with me today I have Jason wit rock he is a personal trainer as well as a ASIO plex athlete and a bodybuilding.com spokesmodel and then I also have dr. Steve Hertzler who is the chief science officer for EAS sport nutrition as well as a member of the EAS Academy advisory panel thank you both for being here we are thrilled to have you and today's topic is basically going to cover all different aspects of the ketogenic diet including what is the ketogenic diet who uses it or who might benefit from it and then how to incorporate it into your everyday lifestyle so I would say before we even get started diving into this dr. Hertzler if you want to talk a little bit about what is the ketogenic diet and if you were to explain it to one of your patients that came in to talk to you how would you explain it to them yeah essentially the ketogenic diet is a very high fat diet that is moderate in protein and very low in carbohydrate and the diet is has been used therapeutically in different populations in the epilepsy population and in children that's one of the areas where it got a large amount of exposure but it's sort of moved into the fitness and bodybuilding world now and a lot of individuals are attempting to you know reduce their carbohydrate and increase their fat intake is via this diet typically this diet is you know around 75% of its calories from fat 20% of its calories from protein and about 5% of its calories from carbohydrate you know I think the reason it's becoming more popular is because people are starting to realize the carbohydrates might be the culprit for why people get fat and insulin resistance is a very real thing so it kind of turned people's attention to having a high fad diet so and the purpose to switch on to the site or to consume such high fat low carb would be yeah essentially what you're trying to do is stop your body from burning carbohydrate as its main fuel source and switch the body's metabolism over to metabolizing fat as its primary energy source when you're metabolizing fat primarily in the absence of carbohydrates your body will generate compounds called ketones that circulate in the blood and then they can be used as energy sources for the brain and for the muscle tissue and it's not quite as high in protein than some of the typical low carb diets out there we have to keep the protein under control because too much protein can actually interfere with the productions of those ketones as well and you mentioned ketones so for the newbie out there what are ketones and why are they important in this site or in this type of lifestyle yeah ketones they're when your body kicks over into heavy duty fat metabolism when you're not metabolizing carbohydrate you're using fat for energy and when you really start using fat for energy you actually produce in your body three substances acetone acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate those three substances are called the ketone bodies and when those circulate in the body those can be a source of energy for your brain and other tissues to use for fuel and you start to use those from fuel instead of carbohydrate during your exercise and Jason you had briefly mentioned insulin resistance and I think we can kind of tie into ketones and and your body using that for fuel versus what we typically yeah consider carbs or glucose yeah so when you're running on glucose you know you eat a carbohydrate rich meal and that protein also does convert into glucose so that is why it's a moderate protein diet but when you eat carbohydrates they cause a significant impact on your blood sugar levels as a response your body secrete a hormone called insulin so insulin is this hormone that is responsible for taking glucose and storing it inside muscle cells or fat cells it's literally called the fat storage hormone so the other thing that insulin does is since it's trying to get glucose inside the fat cell it prevents fat from leaving the fat cell so since this the ketogenic diet is very very low carb you are able to control low insulin levels which allows fat to actually leave the cells and like the doctor said as soon as fat leaves the cell it goes to your liver gets metabolized there and turns into ketones so that's the most important thing about the carbohydrate restriction is simply controlling the insulin and blood sugar levels to allow yourself to burn fat you know your body wants to burn fat but it can't because you're constantly spiking your blood sugar and constantly spiking insulin and where insulin resistance comes into play is overtime when you continuously spike your blood sugar in your insulin levels by eating carb after carb after carb eventually your body becomes more resistant to that insulin so the fat cell starts to say hey we can't take any more glucose you know this is enough we can't do it so it resists the effective insulin as a response your body says well we got to get this glucose out so it shuttles out even more insulin so now even if you just eat a small amount of carbohydrates your body's forced to secrete a ton of insulin and like I said if insulin is in your bloodstream it has a locking mechanism on the fat cell and you simply will not burn fat so insulin resistance leads to diabetes where eventually the time is run out your pancreas just gives up and now you have type 2 diabetes so the ketogenic diet kind of reverses that entire mechanism and says well let's not run on carbohydrates then let's run on fats because fats do not cause a significant increase in blood sugar and insulin levels and so yeah and you bring up a great point and we will definitely talk about the ketogenic diet for athletes yeah or those who are resistant strain but its application is not just for one population type 2 diabetics is just what you just mentioned you also mentioned seizures so yeah maybe talk a little bit about who else could make benefit it may not always we use as a weight-loss it may not always be used again for an athletic yes they're doing a lot of research you know this ketogenic diet is is coming to the forefront and and thank heavens for it because they're starting to use the diet actually in cancer research because cancer survives on glucose so I expect a lot of promising things to come out of it for that Parkinson's disease it's being used in clinical studies right now to see what the effects are on that something that's hits home for me my grandmother suffered from Alzheimer's disease and so they have actually used an application of a ketogenic diet to see if it's able to kind of help explain you know why people get Alzheimer's in the first place in can this diet cure it you know I went low-carb forever I found out when I first started off as a wrestler and I started counting calories and I said well you have to do to lose weight is under eat and and over exercise so I did that forever I got exhausted from it when I got in the fitness industry you know I started doing the same approach and it just didn't work I went to find more answers I did a lot of research on bodybuilding.com as a matter of fact and found out that insulin is what drives fat accumulation so I went low-carb forever and it was absolutely it was it was miserable I had low energy all this stuff then I took a different approach I started carb cycling then I had the opportunity to work on with children who suffer from mental illness and I was brought in as a lead personal trainer and these kids all suffered from bipolar schizophrenia cutters many of them had tried to commit suicide you name it these kids have it right and so I went in there and and the thing about is all of these kids were taking a medication right and this medication made their triglycerides go up their risk for cardiovascular disease went up their weight went up its skyrocketed I mean it went up 3040 pounds in a matter of week so I was brought in to help train these individuals to try and save their life because ultimately they end up dying by the time they're 40 simply from this this medication has such a major effect and so when I got there they told me they were going to use a ketogenic diet approach and that you know metabolic syndrome could be cured by having a ketogenic diet and I didn't know what that was and I thought they were crazy to be honest with you having a high fat but it was very very very effective for all of these children they lost weight the cholesterol went down the good cholesterol went up triglycerides went down waste out of pasta tea went down their overall sense of well-being and energy went up the whole thing was extremely successful I was sold I did it on myself and haven't turned back since so yeah so it really can be used to save lives yeah multiple applications for multiple applications do you ever see so I guess that's a good lead-in to actually how to do or to set up a ketogenic diet and I think we start from the ground works and how do you figure out how many or the percentage of carbs fats proteins and if you could you know maybe talk a little bit about some of the common mistakes you guys come across when people are starting the ketogenic diet and whether that's as you mentioned before too high of protein or not monitoring their carbs close enough so I guess yeah how do you set it up how if I'm I want to start keto tomorrow what do I need to do well you know the most important thing is making sure you understand what the macronutrient ratios are on a true ketogenic diet again it's different than a low carbohydrate diet that a lot of people are familiar with this is a diet that has about 75% of its calories from fat about 20% of its calories from protein and about 5% of its calories from carbohydrate so basically you have to get an estimate of what your caloric needs are on a daily basis or a lot of different formulas to do that you know you can go see a dietitian you can get your metabolic rate checked and all those kinds of things to try to determine what your overall calorie levels are and then you do a little bit of math and you come up with that using that ratio and that will give you the grams of fat carbohydrate and protein that you need to target each day mm-hmm and are there any specific sources because I know some people think seventy-five percent fat how can that be good for you so the hardest part of this diet when you first start out just getting over the fat phobia as I like to call it because you've been ingrained your entire life with this low-fat craze you know that fat is what makes you fat but as we discussed insulin resistance and carbohydrates are actually what makes you fat but nonetheless people were taught to fear fat you know they think butter is the devil eating fatty meats is also the devil so the first thing you have to do is get over that fear of eating fat is going to make you fat so when it comes to having 75% of your calories from fat these are things coming from you know saturated fats which have actually been proven to give you the most amount of energy so you have butter you have coconut oil eggs bacon sausage in the morning I know everybody when you say bacon you're like what right yeah I personally don't eat a ton a ton of bacon but yes you can eat bacon on this diet um and you know you're using oils olive oil you know fatty fish salmon especially is good for the Omegas I eat nuts and seeds pumpkin seeds sunflower seeds you can use cream cheese sour cream regular cheese it's just training yourself to go after the fat is the hardest part um and you know you can only get 20% of your calories from protein and the other thing people will end up doing is they say they go to the grocery store and they say I have to have 75 percent fat 20% protein and they end up selecting ground turkey or turkey bacon that's a big mistake because you'll quickly find out that your protein numbers are way up there but your fat is down there and and what ends up happening is your body converts that protein into glucose it'll keep you out of ketosis and mess with your energy levels when it comes to the five percent carbohydrates I think it's important to note that it is net carbohydrates so you are taking out fiber from that calculation green leafy vegetables are huge on this diet taking a fiber supplement is also important you know I when I was low carb for a very very very long time years I would spend every single day just thinking in my head I got to avoid carbs I got to avoid carbs I got to avoid carbs and they're everywhere and it could be mentally exhausting on the ketogenic diet carbs you need to be focusing on getting enough fat you need to wake up everyday and you need to say where's the fat coming from and how how can I reach my fat macronutrient goal instead of saying I got to avoid the carbs because you'll get caught up pretty quick so I think one of the you know one of the points of confusion that a lot of people have on ketogenic diets and I know you know dr. Jacob Wilson talks a lot about this too is that a lot of times the confusion about ketogenic diets happens because many people are afraid of high fat high carbohydrate diets at the same time and while this amount of fat might seem high I mean if you think about it a person or twenty four hundred calories a day is eating 200 grams of fat on this diet but the thing is that is their primary energy source on this diet they're not you know it's one thing to be eating 300 grams of carbohydrate and 200 grams of fat that's a bat that's bad news but this is a different a little bit different take on it and so that's one of the things that people kind of have to understand yeah and would you say at least getting started that it's pretty important that you're tracking or is this one of the diets where you can get on the right path with just estimating no you must track and this is from personal experience and experience working with a lot of clients it's very hard to track using MyFitnessPal and things on every single day it just really is it's not realistic but it's very important especially when you start off on this diet to use something like MyFitnessPal to track your macronutrients you know it's because like I said before if you're not getting enough fat your energy levels are going to be down are you getting too much protein how are your carbs you need to be able to see you know you need be able to manage what you're doing at least for the first few weeks while you're trying to get keto adapted and also by tracking during that keto adaptation phase it gives you a way to troubleshoot problems hey I feel like you know I feel like crap my energy levels are down well you can take a look and see was your fat number there were you way under on fat did you go too high on protein and then you can kind of take the training wheels off you know after you kind of you know you'll have your go-to meals that you'll use tract and every day you know you'll find yourself eating the same things you'll start to know what you need to be eating to hit those numbers then you can take the training wheels off but I also suggest if for some reason you find yourself hitting a plateau you go straight back to tracking mm-hmm that's the way I approach it yeah and you had mentioned keto adapted yes and that's a word we hear ketosis and then obviously the ketogenic diet and ketones a lot of names that sound very very similar but they all kind of have their own respective definition so take me through the process of if I just started a ketogenic diet today what can I expect in the next few days in the next couple weeks and then win and what is what does it mean to be keto adapting I can take you through a little bit of that you know the one the one thing people don't understand is that there's a difference between being key in ketosis and being keto adapted and the differences is that you know if you go on on a very high fat very low carbohydrate diet for a short period of time you will end up with ketones in the blood you'll let you'll meet the definition of being in ketosis but your body hasn't fully adapted to using those ketones for fuel yet there are enzymes that are present in your brain cells and in your muscle cells and everything and it takes a while for those enzymes to kick in and there's adaptations that go on with those enzymes you actually see the activities of those enzymes that metabolize ketones go up so it so while you might get into ketosis after you know 3 4 days on a high-fat diet like this you may not be fully keto adapted for weeks or even months it takes a little while to really truly adapt to this way of eating and this get your body metabolism to change over to using fat for fuel and from experience myself and from dealing with a lot of people that I've helped with the ketogenic diet the first few days I would say the first two weeks kind of considered hell week you have to face and you have to understand you've been running on carbohydrates your entire life Lucas is your primary source of energy and when you take that glucose away your body will fight you back for it I kind of you know carbohydrates hit the same part of your brain as narcotics and other drugs called the reward center so when all of a sudden you pull that stuff away your body in your brain is saying it's give me this stuff back I kind of liken it to checking yourself into rehab essentially and it really does kind of feel like that your energy levels for the first few days will go down but physiologically what your goal is to burn off the stored carbohydrates in your body once that happens your body will switch over and start burning fat and produce ketones for you it depends on the individual how quickly they can kind of overcome what's called the keto flu the dreaded keto flu it's not the actual flu you just kind of get certain symptoms that are similar to the flu so you know all of a sudden you'll kind of come out of that's–that slump and your body's just going to say fine okay we give up we don't care about the carbs anymore we're going to start using this fat as energy and you'll notice immediate benefits from it and then you're kind of you're off to the races there so and there's some changes that go on with fluid balance as well during the first couple weeks of a keto diet where you have some some lot more losses of fluid and electrolytes then your body is used to on a higher carbohydrate diet some people think that might be part of the reason why other than the low carbohydrate obviously in the low glycogen levels in the muscle which is stored carbohydrate in the muscle beyond that you also can see some problems with electrolyte imbalances and things like that so you know it's been suggested by dr. Volek and other individuals who do a lot of research on the ketogenic diet make sure you're keeping your sodium intake where it needs to be your potassium intake where it needs to be on this diet and that might help to ease some of those keto flu type of so yeah that's very very very important you know the sodium is another one of those things though where everybody's like well if I eat too much sodium I'm going to get fat is going to cause bloating not the case on the ketogenic diet you're suppressing the hormone in so and that's allowing you to mobilize fat but the problem is insulin is also that the hormone that tells your kidneys to store sodium so you must replace that sodium your kidneys are just flushing out sodium that rapid amounts especially when you're working out so sodium in my opinion is absolutely critical when somebody when a client calls up and says hey you know I'm feeling like crap the very first thing I do is say how's your sodium intake level I'll suggest drinking a cup of chicken broth make sure you salt your food don't be afraid to put salt on your food eats all these snacks the other one is potassium which is also very very very important as well things like avocados are perfect for that and then magnesium is the third essential electrolyte on this diet you can go to bodybuilding.com and you can buy magnesium supplements there and that will help you cover your electrolytes but most people when they fail on a ketogenic diet when they just say hey I'm going to do this and I haven't done much research and they you know they'll get the eating part down for the most part but then the electrolytes is the hidden killer here that's it's when those go down you start getting the headaches the dizziness the lethargy and you will quit and you have union even know that it all you had to do is add some salt to your family even using salmon as one of your protein sources during ketogenic diet number one it's got great healthy fats and it's a good source of protein but also it's a it's a fairly reasonable source of potassium putting that with your leafy greens your avocado things like that okay that is one way to try to get potassium potassium can be a little difficult to get on this diet because you're not getting on dairy products you're not drinking orange juice you night eating bananas all the kinds of thing or baked potatoes a lot of the things that people typically associate with potassium so but during you know ways to do that even using some vital salt once in a while with yeah you know potassium chloride type of product is a way to get a little bit of extra potassium in there on this diet so you make sure you don't take on the electrolytes and the fluids and stuff and so from going from starting feel a little crappy for a few weeks and then you get into keto a deletion or yeah and then become keto adapted other than just how you feel I know that there are still you can pee on theirs vodka is do you guys recommend doing that do you recommend just going off of how you feel or how do you know or be able to track your progress through the adaptation or getting to the adaptation part of Kyodai I use the keto the urinalysis test that you can buy at your local grocery store and pharmacy and they are the least accurate of all the ways to measure but you know I and they can also fluctuate depending on you know water intake timing of the day things like that I use them kind of just as a way if that stick turns any shade of red I'm good you know and I don't obsess over it I don't do ketones drip test every single day I just kind of use it as a guide you know it's kind of like an it's an assurance thing it's if that thing turns red I know I'm doing something right you know I don't care how dark it is how light it is things like that but I'll let the doctor explain the other methods that are yeah yeah there's there are a couple methods that are out there as well one of the primary circulating ketone bodies is beta hydroxy butyrate or BHB so the Abbott company actually has monitor to measure beta hydroxy butyrate concentration in the blood so it's a finger stick like just like testing your blood sugar it's kind of expensive on a per strip basis especially it's probably the gold standard as far as monitoring your levels of ketones you know typically on a ketogenic diet we you know to be considered in ketosis your blood ketone level or BHB level has to be at least point 5 millivolts per liter which is what the you know machine will tell you how many millimoles per liter you are 0.5 to around 3 is what we would consider sort of that nutritional ketosis type of range kind of that target level that you're shooting for there's also a breath monitoring as well that monitors monitors acetone and that one you know they've done some studies showing some correlations with the with the blood monitoring so that might be an option as well I would say still probably the blood blood monitoring is is the gold standard if you're really really trying to stay in that strict ketosis range so during this process again going back to starting the diet may be experiencing crappy days how or would you train differently during this time did you train any differently and how did you push through because I think that's another reason why people quit this early on and again maybe it's because they're not using the correct supplements with it sodium potassium magnesium or maybe they're just going in too hard and not realizing that their body might need more time to adapt yeah I'm trying to think back when I first started this diet I definitely remember you know your strength kind of falls off in the very beginning it's very common a lot of people or they get alarmed by that they freak out and they think my string is going to go down on this diets not for me that your strength will come back as you become adapted your body's going through so many changes in the very beginning of this you know so incorporating rest days into your training is something that I feel is very very very important also research has shown that things like high-intensity interval training and my personal favorite is Tabata will get the glycogen down very very very fast which will bring you closer to actually switching over and producing ketones and getting into ketosis I incorporated a lot of supersets try sets you know and just kind of keep the intensity up I also make sure that I pair before I did this diet I was the typical bodybuilder one muscle group at a time one muscle group at a type of guy now I make sure I pair muscle groups together I've even done some full-body workouts upper body lower body splits really it's up to you but you know the high-intensity interval training and the Tabata and my opinion is is something that's very important in the beginning and make sure you rest your body is going through so much changes if you don't give yourself enough time to rest your body's just gonna hate you for it so that's been my experience with it and did you take anything before during after your workouts or did you supplement differently once you started on a diet so I had to kind of avoid the flavored BCAAs for the first two weeks just to make sure that I wasn't sending me signals to my to my brain that hey you're going to get a little bit of glucose here and there you can buy unflavored BCA's of course but creatine in my opinion was absolutely critical the production of ATP you know there's so many benefits to creatine and adding that in was a huge help the creatine monohydrate you know I backed off protein for the first two weeks protein whey protein supplements because like I said before if you get too much protein you know you'll your body will convert into glucose but that was kind of the basic supplement that I was taking I think some other supplements that might be that might be helpful is you know when you're on a ketogenic diet you're always risking losing muscle mass because it is a moderate protein diet and it's not as high in carbohydrate carbohydrate is a great for everything that some people fear about it it is a great protein sparing nutrient so you do have the issue of potentially turning too much protein into glucose and degrading some of that muscle protein that you work so hard to build so some supplements that might be helpful there's been some interesting research on hmb especially in an int in an animal model they actually did in some animal studies simulating military training and caloric restriction so they actually taught taught rats how to exercise like soldiers okay and they put them on a calorically restricted type of diet kind of similar to what your body would go through in a in a ketogenic type of state and using some HMB in their help to ward off that protein degradation and there are lots of studies in humans you know showing that hmb is very good for helping to reduce protein degradation there's also some interesting work on phosphatidyl serine and potential anti cortisol affects of phosphatidyl serine that might be helpful to kind of you know minimize that protein breakdown and try to help you hold onto that hard-earned muscle tissue yeah yeah so once you get into your now fully let's we'll fast forward a few weeks from my start date and I'm key to adapted what can I expect to be different how I feel how I perform what were some of the things that you've noticed or maybe that you've heard of that people when they finally got to be fully key to adapted I think the number one thing is the energy levels the maintaining high energy levels is from my experience like I said before before I did keto I was just straight cutting carbs forever and my energy levels were rock-bottom then when I did you know yes so glucose you know when you're when you have high blood sugar your energy levels are up but then when your blood sugar goes down all of a sudden your energy levels are down it creates this rollercoaster type of energy with ketosis your body is able to kind of draw its energy from itself right and it no longer has that urge to go out and seek more glucose so you'll start to notice that you have more steady energy levels throughout the day which in my opinion is is huge energy crashes are the worst and that's the one thing that I was thankful for the ketogenic diet is alright I don't have to worry about feeling like crap all day long you know inflammation goes down in the body when you restrict carbohydrates so you'll feel a bit lighter on your feet joints less and less joint pain if you have joint pain you know mental clarity and alertness is through the roof you know I remember right when I first became a dad that I was waking up in the morning and I was just ready to rock and roll you'll also notice some suppression and appetite again you know your body is able to kind of use itself and use its own fat stores as energy so especially in the morning when you wake up you won't be as hungry as you used to be so you know those are a few of the things in the gym I I noticed more endurance you know I wasn't getting huffy and puffy so quick I could I could go forever I think that's one of the main reasons why a lot of long-distance runners and endurance athletes are using this diet including some MMA fighters most popularly Joe Rogan uses it as well but for that endurance factor is well so and I think it you know kind of tying in with that there's a lot of research now on not only ketogenic diets but but also training the muscles in a state of low carbohydrate availability so like hitting muscles repeated times without replacing glycogen and one of the things they're showing in a lot of these models is that that does upregulate some of the enzymes associated with fat metabolism in the muscles so you know some athletes might be using this diet on a periodized type of basis where they'll go keto for a while to try to increase some of those fat metabolizing enzymes they may not necessarily go keto through their whole training structure because for some athletes where they have to have really high power outputs really and have to exercise at a really high percentage of their maximal oxygen consumption you know it can be hard to do that with just fat as an intern and ketones as an energy source but you know if they're there also in sports where they're using fat for energy for a period of time during the exercise so having a period of adaptation type of training might be helpful in particular phases of their event to improve their performance as well I know that's one of the things that athletes are experimenting with a lot and what about someone who wants to add muscle because we here with the ketogenic diet sometimes people use it for a weight loss its received a lot of attention as a weight loss diet and along with some of the other you know low carb high protein diets but if I wanted to add muscle would this diet work for that or would I have to tweak or change up anything to my diet or training to follow a high fat diet but still increase muscle protein synthesis and put on mass yeah I guess my my take would be is you know there are some there are some studies that dr. Jacob Wilson's lab has done that they've done and presented it some meetings showing that that it was possible for individuals on a ketogenic diet to actually gain lean body mass and strength so you know I think one of the things that messages that sort of gets lost in the ketogenic literature is that there's just not that many studies that are out and there very very few studies on people who are actually doing heavy duty and appropriately designed resistance training at the same time and one of the advantages those studies have is that they were doing no periodized resistance training and a very well designed weight training program now I wouldn't say that the ketogenic diet is necessarily the optimal diet for building muscle mass I mean I think if you're really in a serious you know muscle building phase you know you you may want to have that extra carbohydrate than there to help you out but I don't think it's necessarily impossible to gain to gain muscle mass and certainly you can at least maintain your muscle mass on this keto ketogenic type of diet yeah and to follow up on that is this a diet or is there a population or type of athlete that you wouldn't recommend so you talked a little bit about athlete cycling on and off but is there someone where based on their energy requirements and if they're a sport athlete if there's a specific sport that says absolutely not this diet will not support or it could really be used in certain parts of their training season for anyone well I think you know if you've got an athlete with type 1 diabetes for instance you know this is probably not the diet that you want to go with in that particular instance and you know the one thing I always tell people too is if you really want to if you're concerned about it from a medical perspective you know and overall health and we yes there are some studies that have been done showing to some potential positive effects on blood lipid panels and everything but the bottom line is when you when you're applying it you're the person that you're interested in not a research subject file who lives 500 miles away okay so if you really want to know how this diet affects you test test test you know go to the doctor get your blood lipids done I can't believe how many people I run into who are worried about taking this supplement that supplement or you're going on a keto diet and yet they don't even bother thinking about going to the doctor getting their lab values tested get your liver enzymes tested it's a very simple blood test it's not expensive and you can monitor in how your blood lipids are doing what your fasting blood glucose looks like all those kinds of things you know how this diet affects you and you know there's just not enough research out there to say for sure that this diet is the absolute you know wonderful thing for everybody that's out there you you have to find out how it is affecting you and go in with the knowledge that there are some things that you would want to monitor to make sure that you're you know not damaging your health and actually helping your health in the process and so Jason I'm interested to hear how because you are a Akito athlete you follow the diet I believe for eight and a half months I'm like you've said yeah so how have you taken to the research side of things and what you've read about and then tailored it yeah to fit your lifestyle everyday life yeah I mean that's the that's what people want to know it looks great on paper it looks great in a controlled research setting but what happens in real life yeah so ideally versus reality was you know like I said before I've kind of progressed into the keto diet I started from the very beginning as a wrestler counting calories and just thinking that was it then I went to low carb from low carb I kind of found out my energy levels were terrible so I went to card cycling and then from carb cycling through you know my opportunity to work with the mentally ill children I found ketogenic diet and it just solved all my problems I was just in heaven but you know really it's you know there are people that will do a strict ketogenic diet you know forever and that's great but there's also different approaches you can take like targeted Kia genic diet and cyclical ketogenic diet uh chose to do a cyclical ketogenic diet and it's you know probably the primary reason why I've been able to stick to this diet for about eight and a half months you know carbs are just absolutely everywhere and avoiding them for eight and a half months is almost an impossible task some people can do it my hat's off to you but for me you know wife wants to go out on the weekend I've got a birthday party to go to a wedding you know it kind of allows you that social flexibility so you know I will what I basically did was I took a keto cycle approach and so I would get myself adapted I would take myself through the adaptation phase and then from that point once I was adapted I would do a strategic carb day once every weekend the carb day was very restricted though it wasn't just go blow it out it was 300 to 350 grams of carbohydrates I would have my cheat meal of course but then I would also scale it back and have slower digesting carbohydrates in there as well the average American gets about 300 or 350 grams of carbs a day anyways so I felt like that was kind of a good place to be um I was able to get back into ketosis 24 hours after that strategic carb day and also I think it's important to note that when you eat those carbohydrates you know they're going to refill muscle glycogen once the muscle glycogen gets up to the top then you will start storing fat so I also kind of took a conservative approach and saying I'm not going to go eat a thousand seven hundred grams of of carbs I want to make sure I get the gas tank up there but I don't want to get to overboard with it so really that has kind of helped me stick with it now when I work with clients who need to lose significant amounts of weight I would suggest going what's called the long cycle where you're going two weeks on keto with a strategic carb day on the weekend even less carbs and then I also work with clients who are over 300 pounds both men and women and for them I keep them in ketosis for much longer periods of time so three weeks in a row keto with the carb day on the weekend and it's worked out brilliantly you know life just happens and and they look like the carrot you know in front of you it's like hey let's just go keto for these three weeks you know and then you know you can have your carb day and it's just a cheat day everything's great you know and you're right back into it on so socially I feel like it's it's been a great way to kind of take keto and apply it to every normal day life and I've gotten amazing results you know that's why I'm sitting here right now first I did it with myself well first I saw it changed the lives of a bunch of kids with mental illness that we're literally gonna die and this diet saved their life for me it solved a lot of problems I'm in the fitness industry I you know my physique is my business car and I have to I have to have a diet that I can stick with long term it has to be a lifestyle for me and so the ketogenic diet was absolutely been a godsend for me and my career all of a sudden I was able to maintain you know very low body fat and continue and maintain muscle with having the added extra energy and so you know that was my biggest thing when I went on this ketogenic diet was was I going to lose a bunch of muscle I knew I was going to lose weight but was I going to lose a bunch of muscle I did some research I found that ketones actually have a protein sparing effect because when you are in ketosis your body is relying less on the glucose so it's not going to try and convert the protein that you have in your body into glucose to stimulate protein synthesis so I was you know my gains were still there you know I was like I said before my strength went down in the very beginning I got a little bit alarmed but that quickly bounced back I've been able to maintain and build slightly a lot of good muscle also when you you know I feel like the visual appearance of you know the muscle definition and things like that is something that I go for so so yeah that's kind of how that happened so would you say it's more or less have it's helped you maybe train better with more energy versus it's gotten you this body where it's at right now we're just intimating if that yeah well hasn't really gone you know this it takes years and years and years of training to build muscle you know um this like I said before I'm interested in being in shape is best possible I don't go through big bulks bulking periods and things like that it's it took a lot of time to build muscle this diet has just been the best in terms of increasing my energy making me feel better and allowing me to stay shredded without losing weight I know so many guys that do competitions and they just straight cut the carbs out completely and you know it doesn't last for very long it's it's very hard to do that so something like a ketogenic diet approach what actually in my opinion be beneficial as well I feel like I could jump on state anytime I want throughout the year because I can stay lean and muscular all year round without losing the muscle density and and I'm making gains in the gym you know I much more than when I was just running straight low-carb that is for absolute fact I think 50 percent your muscle is made up of fat you really you don't need carbs in order to build muscle really you need protein synthesis and so things like leucine H and B things like that kind of creatine help that out as well so yeah and less miserable yeah less miserable I mean when you looked at me if I was you know a year ago and I look the same if I look like this I was miserable I really was it was it's very very tough to live a low-carb life but when I went to the ketogenic diet all of a sudden I get to eat all this fat all this butter and fatty meats and it was it's like it was like a dream come true I thought it was too good to be true in the beginning to be honest with you so that's my approach the keto cycle is you know in my opinion for me what works for me and my clients the best would you say with the keto cycle that it's important to get you don't adapt at first yes taking yourself through the keto adaptation phase is as part of the program absolutely yeah and because I've heard and I've read and maybe you can talk a little bit about why this wouldn't work is from the get-go doing the during the week your keto or your high-fat and then during the weekend your high carb or your you're just not really paying attention so how will that affect and will you just never it does it just drop your ketones back again you'll never get to the keto adaptation process or it's just harder to like if you're only doing keto five days a week yeah and typical carb diet the other two days not meaning in quito adapted state how might that affect the whole process will you still get the benefits of ketones if that makes sense yeah so like I said before I take myself and make sure I get keto adapted first before I start introducing my sister to get carb day and like I said before it's it's one day for me I've been able to get back into ketosis twenty-four hours afterwards you know the majority of my clients have as well so I don't really know as long as you get to would you say it's just most important to get taquito key to adapt at first before you introduce any carbs or a higher rock back okay yes well and again the you know there's not a lot of research that's been done on cyclical and cyclical approaches yet you know some of the limited stuff that I have seen from dr. Wilson's lab show there may be used some concerns with you know a two-day carbohydrate loading type of phase in a cyclical diet but I think there's also a lot of other potential approaches that just simply haven't been investigated yet yeah there's also the targeted yeah and and also monitoring yourself as you go through the process yeah so you know where you're at I think those are the you know some of the main things to really think about during that process there's still a lot of work it needs to be done a lot we still don't know about this diet yeah absolutely and you brought up a good point of you're not going to stick with it if it's not something that fits with your lifestyle and we took we will always it's always said ketogenic diet and I think a lot of people think diet as it's a weight loss or it's something but it's a lifestyle for people and if you can't if you're not okay with eating seventy five percent of your calories from fat if you're not okay with saying goodbye to carbohydrates this just may not be in the lifestyle yeah for you but figuring out a way to make it to make it work for you in a real-world setting because the most important part of any diet is adherence that's the most important thing that's going to tell whether a diet is good or not is how long can somebody stick with it and can they get results so that's essentially what I've done is I've just kind of custom tailored it to meet my needs um so yeah this point that's exactly right when you look at the studies on the different weight loss diets that are out there different macro ratios and stuff like that you know they compare the Ornish diet the Weight Watchers diet the Atkins diet the bottom line is the one that you can stay on yeah right one absolutely yeah preaching to the choir yeah definitely really is so kind of on that line any tips to help you if if the ketogenic lifestyle is one that you're wanting any tips I mean you're traveling right now yes and you your Watchers had a baby you were telling us you know you're at the hospital for three days yeah which is another reason why keto cycle save my day they don't ya support or have higher fat foods like that so how how do you integrate or any tips that you can give us on staying on track or monitoring your diet to allow for travel emergencies I've kind of built in the tribal emergency event social week with the keto cycle and so I do kind of get that part out of the way when those tough situations come up on the weekend I'll just say okay I have something coming up on Saturday where I know I'm going to be surrounded by tons of carbs and I don't want to be the outcast so I'll make that my carb day you know I just think getting over the fat makes you fat thing and being able to like for example I make keto coffee and that's one tablespoon of coconut oil and one tablespoon of butter and to be able to actually put butter in your coffee and drink it and not feel like you're doing something crazy is a big is a big hurdle so really just don't be afraid of fat you know fat does not make you fat that's that's kind of my biggest thing and then track your macros you know keep doing all the research you possibly can and and and you'll be good and see if I'm interested kind of an insider perspective we talked about that there's not a lot of research in this category or with this diet do you see this going in any specific way or is it more or less just trying to again get more studies looking at long-term effects of this diet is their push to study it in certain populations or making slight alterations to it or what can we expect with some of the upcoming research in this field yeah I mean dr. Jeff folic at Ohio State is one of the most active researchers in the world in this area and he is very interested in what in the potential effects that this diet can have on insulin sensitivity and and a lot of the variables associated with metabolic syndrome so I think you know I think you'll continue to see that field grow there's also been a lot of research into exercise physically enok diets but also looking at again states of training with low carbohydrate availability and you know there may be some benefits during you know certain types of exercise or different training routines they've studied the ketogenic diet for instance in our in artistic gymnast for instance and find that their strength doesn't go down in that and it helps them maintain their body weight that they need to be competitive so you know I think you know as a dietician you're looking at you're looking at trying to have a toolbox of approaches that might be appropriate for individuals that have a specific sport a specific goal a specific metabolic profile you know one of the things I want to do as a dietician is you know I want to make sure I have tools in my toolbox for all those different kinds of individuals there may be some people who really really need to I carb okay and we'll do that but then there's some individuals who are I might look at this individual and they they come up to me and they think they're supposed to be on a really high carb diet they already have our really high triglycerides and I'd be like wow you know I don't think I want to go quite as high a carbohydrate for this individual you know I want to get information and I think more than anything in there from the research and applied perspective we're starting to recognize now that you can't just have a one-size-fits-all sports nutrition recommendation you know you have to take into account the entire person their health profiles their sports schools whatever they may be and you could have different diet very different diet recommendations for these athletes instead of just saying you know pushing everybody has to have 60% of their calories from carbohydrate which is frankly what we did in the he's in 90s yeah yeah very standardized we went low-fat for 30 years and there's a record numbers of Americans who are obese and there's a record number of people who are suffering from diabetes and children especially so and what I'm hopeful for too is is more studies especially with the ketogenic diet in association with exercise because if you look at the vast majority of studies that have been done in the obese population and the metabolic syndrome population you don't have exercise as part of that equation and you really to have the best I mean we know we need people to exercise so to really have the best scientific studies that give us the most applicable results to our population we got to have people you know doing the both the diet and exercise pieces of things or you're not going to really get you know the best research that you can apply to the population and I know everybody says well I want to I want to be able to achieve my results without exercise and you know my answer to that is it ain't going to happen you know if you really are committed to making change you're going to you're going to going to need to exercise you can't just follow a diet and say okay that's all there is now the exercise piece is critical and you need to figure out how to how to hit that's that part of it yeah and you bring up such great points that this is very much in its infancy there's still so much research that needs to be put into it and my I don't want to say it's a complaint but my biggest question I always bring up with the ketogenic diet is what about a highly active individual and we have you know n of one you know one subject and we can kind of say okay this is how it worked for one person but to see in a larger group and see how the body reacts to it and if it can maintain a lifestyle that's heavily anaerobic or involves short bursts of activity you know when our body is so used to and we've learned from introductory to X phys 101 that your body used carbs for all of that well what happens when you take it all out and I look forward to seeing some of the research hopefully that can be done on that so we have a better understanding and how to incorporate it into different athletes lifestyles and yeah I think you're going to see big things coming for the ketogenic diet yeah yeah it's it's definitely it's a very interesting I know a lot of our viewers love it yeah it goes against the grain it's it's complete opposite from everything you've you've learned and grew up with but there's a lot of validity to a lot of success stories now if we could just get the funding for the studies that'd be amazing yeah funding always the very minute that's the rules for sports nutrition exercise physiology research in general yes you see for an approach that is the number one approach for helping people improve their lives in their health you would think there would be more devotion of NIH resources and and all those types of things to studying you know the this field in particular thinking about how much it could pendent potentially affect healthcare expenditures and everything in this country it's just sometimes it's mind-boggling to think about how low the funding is for research like this are relative to other approaches that aren't that don't carry nearly the potential for success and helping people change their lives and improve their health yeah yeah well hopefully one day we will be in that that right direction to go forward um so one thing that I do want to get from each of you is maybe your number one tip that you would have or and maybe it's not a tip maybe you hear the same kind of misunderstanding or error associated with the ketogenic diet so either/or a tip or your your number one mistake that you hear and then how you would correct that to someone who is looking to go keto whether that be a supplement whether that be this is my favorite type of fat or this is how I start my day because I think it sets me up coconut oil and butter coconut oil and butter no I think a lot of people are afraid of losing gains on the ketogenic diet and that's one of the reasons why I've loved it ketones have a protein sparing effect and like I've said before I just went low-carb for a long period of time and I lost all my muscle gains completely with the ketogenic diet I've able to be a maintain and actually build lean muscle and so I feel like a lot of people kind of shy away from mixed I don't want to lose muscle mass my other biggest tip is you got to focus on the electrolytes electrolytes are absolutely critical on this diet do not fear fat fat will not make you fat if you don't get enough fat on this diet your energy levels will simply be sapped and you will end up quitting so and just kind of have confidence with it it's scary when you go into it I'm telling you I've been there before you're like 200 grams of fat it plays games with your head you just it goes against everything you've ever known and learned and believed before but if you can just kind of say especially if you're somebody that has to lose a lot of weight you've tried everything out there you just got to say okay I'm going to take the plunge you know I'm going to do this I'm going to give it a shot so just just give it a shot don't be scared off just because you know we're telling you to eat a bunch of fat when you grew up thinking if I made you fat mm-hmm you know okay yeah I think for I think for me it's kind of a educate yourself plan and monitor those three words as are the words that I would keep in your mind if you're you know this is this is a very significant departure from the typical diet and I've done in a contest diet for bodybuilding before and I know that when I had to do that diet it wasn't necessarily a ketogenic diet but it was a lot different diet that I was eating here opt 50 pounds on this diet you know to get into contest shape and it's all about educating yourself and planning and monitoring yourself as you go along and that's the same thing with keto you need to really understand okay what is the ketogenic diet at its core what am I going to be eating how can I keep track of my carbohydrates how can I you know get those systems in place so you've educated yourself on it make yourself a plan for those kinds of foods that you can use shoot there's a lot of really good cookbooks out there I just I just got a ketogenic diet cookbook that has some amazing recipes in there like using cauliflower as a substitute for rice fat bomb yeah and I was just like how do you you know how do you do that you know I wouldn't have even thought about that is in my traditional thinking about a diet as a dietitian there's there are a lot of creative ways that you can incorporate this do so that the you can still maintain a ketosis state but have some interesting foods you can incorporate those part of your plan and then monitoring you know again get your blood get your blood tested don't be afraid to go to the doctor and say I'm thinking about doing this here's why I want to do it I've been reading about this there's the test that I want done and you know and that's one of the things I tell moms who worry about their kids and taking supplements you know they're worried about if their kids take creatine or not it's like well take your kid to the doctor get the blood values tested let the doctor know that your kids on creatine and you know then you can monitor things as you go along and if there's a health issue then you address it you know but at least you you know you've caught it early before you've had you know if you start to see you know blood creatinine levels go up abnormally you know in that process you can get off this thing before you know kidneys start to shut down or some something much more terrible happens you know and it's the same with ketogenic diet if you you monitor yourself and make sure that your values are where they need to be so best resources for you guys because you mentioned educate I think that's hugely important especially with something that is so new something that you guys go to so there's obviously a bunch of good articles and research led by dr. Wilson that are on bodybuilding.com for me Jeff folic Stephen Finney and dr. Gary Talbot had been excellent researchers and and conover at the forefront of this ketogenic diet dispelling a lot of the myths coming out with the studies even though as limited as they may be so I definitely keep my eye on them and what they're doing for sure yeah you know they have they have you know a lot of good books that they have written where they talk about you know the research that's been done out there so I think those are you know good resources look at certainly the FAQ is that dr. Wilson has producer are really good you know because again these are people who are actively researching this and really are at the forefront of what's what's new and what's cutting-edge as far as this diet goes so you know I think those kinds of resources are going to be really really helpful and there's no better resource than monitoring yourself and seeing how you're doing and making sure that you know you've got your your monitoring your your medical status and you're monitoring your you know your body composition and your energy levels and all those things that are important for athletes are training and you know trying to get the best results possible yeah those are all great resources and additionally we do have content in articles right on bodybuilding.com and thank you so much for being here I truly enjoyed spending my day with you and learning pretty much everything there is to know about the ketogenic diet and if you like these articles and videos keep coming back to bodybuilding.com you

21 Comments

  1. I've gained much needed weight on the Keto diet!! I’d been eating a vegan diet for years and ended up much too skinny and feeling lousy. I also developed a nasty, debilitating reaction to high histamine foods. After I began Keto I realized that on the vegan diet I was oil deficient, which probably was a major contribution to being imbalanced.

  2. Uh uh uh oh and oh um uh uh uh um and and (run on sentence) uh and oh uh um oh and (period)

  3. I use keto 2 weeks before my fights to make weight combine with my intermittent fasting that i do everyday I can easily drop 10 pounds in 2 weeks

  4. Worse diet ever. Not good in the long term

  5. That young guy is the reason people hate keto people, weight lifting people and really just people in general. Man that guy sucks.

  6. When they say carb dah there's a difference between a sweet potato and a slice of pizza

  7. I have a question. I have been wanting to try this diet, because it sound good. But I hear a lot of people eating bacon burgers (no bun). I understand that there are good fats, but bacon fat? Where does the grease go? Does this diet not make your cholesterol go up? Or clog your heart? Just a concern of mine I want to be healthy.

  8. Just spent 40 minutes listening to this and enjoying it, then he had to go and talk about using creatine. Come on, man.

  9. Sounds like the EXPeRt really does not understand type 2 diabetes

  10. Am I hallucinating or wall behind them is moving? 44:35

  11. I've been keto for 2 years. I'm 63 and still making muscle gains however small they may be. 30 inch waiste for year and a half. 160 lbs vs 245 before keto. Awesome way of eating, not as strict as some people make it.

  12. So do specific foods knock u out of ketosis or is it more the overall carb number at the end of the day

  13. This is interesting and for sure a ketogenic diet is the most effective for weight loss among other things; but I feel these two are trying to 'sell' the diet a bit too hard. I am a boxing athlete and using a ketogenic diet for boxing would be awful (I have tried) , I know they mention that carbohydrates are useful for explosive exercise, but this isn't the case, they are essential! Especially when you are competing with people.

    I feel a neutral conversation looking at facts from both sides and from a wider perspective would be more useful .

  14. Keto is so overhyped with biased science. Keto dudes are a bunch of gurus…

  15. Never thought sodium would be good in a diet, so that means instead of turkey bacon switch to pork bacon? and can you make considerable gains In the long term using keto? And is the 1oz of protein /lb of bodyweight no longer applicable to build muscle?

  16. Thanks fellas 😁😁😁😁

  17. Uhh, do people say Uhh a lot? Never noticed this.

  18. Can they remake this and just let the doctor speak?

  19. but do i have potential?

  20. I quit sugar for months before I even noticed about any diet, and reduced my carbs and then when I tried Keto I had ZERO "ketoflu"

  21. Can I lift more weight in keto diet with full energy..?

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