Ketogenic diets have become the big buzz today and for good reason! The ultra low-carb, high-fat diet can help with weight loss and improved health. By vastly reducing carbohydrates in your diet, your body is put into a metabolic state called ketosis (if all the other macros fall in place), which results in it becoming more efficient at burning fat for energy. Nevertheless, the benefits far exceed fat meltdown.
The ketogenic diet has taken many forms, from those that merely eliminate high glycemic index carbs, but still incorporate low glycemic alternatives to those that avoid carbohydrate sources from the diet altogether (or as close to zero as possible). Nevertheless, in order for the ketogenic objective to prevail and ketosis to manifest the daily carb intake must be as low as 50 grams or less. If you decide to significantly limit carbohydrate sources from your diet, your cells will require an alternative energy source.
The body is very efficient at ensuring survival and generating glucose from alternative nutrients, including protein, if you choose to drag yourself through a carb-restricted program. Dietary carbohydrate sources serve to spare dietary protein; therefore, on the ketogenic diet where carb intake is limited the precious protein supply can be sacrificed in order to generate glucose and diverted from cell, fluid, hormone and tissue regeneration and maintenance. Although protein catabolism can be limited by increasing dietary fat intake protein intake still needs to be limited if optimal ketosis is desired So for builders and power athletes depending on optimal lean body mass a strict ketogenic diet may not serve the objective maximally.
In such cases following the low carb/high fat (LCHF) feature of the ketogenic diet that is modified to heighten protein intake, however, can play a positive role and produce a positive outcome for athletes relying on a myogenic or muscle building outcome. The million dollar question that we’ll get to see variable answers to in the coming article series is: Does this protein augmentation really support true metabolic ketosis?
The ketogenic diet is not for everyone, as it can be very restrictive and difficult to maintain. In fact, medical ketogenic applications are typically only employed as therapeutic programs, and can work effectively for insulin support and ultimately serum glucose regulation, as well as in support of cognition in cases of neurological deficits associated with dementia. It also has a long history as an effective treatment for drug-resistant epilepsy.
In fact, ketosis can play a monumental role in the treatment of these disorders and for reasons that extend beyond the voidance of serum glucose. The ketone bodies generated by the ketogenic macronutrient profile, themselves serve as cell signalling agents in ways similar to how keys turn on or turn off engines; or buttons control light switches. Ketones are powerful ligands for receptors that set in motion a plethora of metabolic changes that appear to favour healthy outcomes.
The challenge that ketogenic initiatives posed in the past don’t have to be a challenge at all today while the benefits are pursued. There are effective strategies that can be applied to facilitate ketosis and support the metabolism, mind and body through the transition from one energy substrate (glucose) as the primary to the ketone without that mental drag and lag associated with dietary carb restriction.
Conflict of Interest Statement. The author/researcher is the owner of a biomedical research group – Biologic Nutrigenomics Health Research Corp and Biologic Pharmamedical Research, that funds and executes research on the pharmacology of nutritional and nutraceutical agents that are studied in the context of disease pathology including characteristics that have been associated with inflammation and dementias. The author/researcher is also the owner of related Intellectual Properties. author copyright Franco Cavaleri PhDc
Franco Cavaleri, BSc, PhDc, is The Rhema Group’s Chief Science Officer. He is also the principal research scientist at Biologic Pharmamedical; is a former Mr. IFBB North America; and is completing a doctoral degree in Experimental Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine.