The Pros and Cons of the Ketogenic Diet

If you are thinking about trying a ketogenic diet for weight loss or health, it is worth considering the pros and cons.

Ketosis is a natural body process that converts stored fats into energy. A ketogenic diet helps your natural fat burning function work its magic longer than normal. In this way, it is a very natural form of dieting.

What are the cons or disadvantages of the keto diet plan?

  • You will need to go through an adaptation period of around 1 to 2 weeks. For some people, this phase can be uncomfortable as the body becomes fat adapted.
  • Many people take great pleasure in eating carbs, and feel like they lose the fun aspect of eating.
  • It takes more time to consider your meal choices. This can be especially true when dining at restaurants, where a lot of meals are carb-heavy.
  • For those who exercise a lot, there can be a drop in performance ability and stamina in the early stages. This can be unmotivating if you are a person who does a lot of physical activity.
  • Sometimes your friends may criticize you, or say you are crazy for eating more fat. This is common on the keto diet, as for almost 50 years it has been believed that eating fat is bad for your health.

What are the pros or advantages of the keto diet?

  • Reduce insulin levels meaning you have fewer crashes (sometimes known as a carb crash) during the day. This leads to more consistent sustained energy.
  • A lot of people feel like they have reduced appetite, and will need fewer snacks. This is because the body is used to burning fat for fuel and isnt seeking quick burn carbs and glucose.
  • Studies have shown and Increase in thermogenesis (meaning the production of body heat) which increases the number of calories you burn on a daily basis.
  • Reduced risk of degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes. The current research is showing how much our carb and heavy sugar diets are causing issues with our health. Ketogenic diets can potentially reduce this risk dramatically.
  • When youre in ketosis your brain switches to ketones as a fuel source. Because it has a consistent fuel source, this means that you can focus for longer periods of time.
  • Recent medical studies have shown that the Keto diet can be a great way to help to lower blood pressure.

When weighing up the pros and cons of keto, you must decide what is more important: short or long-term results. Most of the cons of keto diets are short-term, whereas the pros of the ketogenic diet are long term.

 

Jerry Hizon, MD is a keto doctor working from Murrieta and Temecula, California. He assists people with weight loss and lifestyle changes to improve their health. If you are interested in getting started with a keto diet, we can help you stay on track, with our Nudge Coaching program, and guidance from Dr. Jerry Hizon. Reach out to us today to see how much better you can feel!

Cardio exercise and the keto diet

Most people begin a ketogenic diet for weight loss and to improve their health. Along with changing the diet habits, another important step can be to add some cardio to your keto diet plan. But how valuable is cardio to weight loss? Does it have as much effect when combined with a ketogenic diet?

What is the true value of cardiovascular exercise?

Adults as rule are much more sedentary today than we used to be 100 years ago. Many of us work with computers or in offices that dont require a lot of physical output.

If you have a sedentary job, you might notice that you body feels very low energy at the end of the day. You can even experience have tight muscles, an aching back, or feel exhausted even though you haven’t done anything physical.

In contrast, think about how you felt last time you had a good workout: your muscles are alive, you body is more flexible, the blood is pumping and providing oxygen and energy. Its likely you feel energized, confident and even proud of yourself for taking the time to exercise.

This is why cardio exercise can be a great solution.

According to Very Well Fit, here are some of the key benefits of a cardio program:

  • Weight loss
  • Stronger heart and lungs
  • Increased bone density especially in older age
  • Reduced stress
  • Reduced risk of heart disease and some types of cancer
  • Temporary relief from depression and anxiety
  • More confidence about how you feel and how you look
  • Better sleep

How a Keto Diet affects Cardio

In the early stages of the keto diet, there can be a tendency to feel less energy and stamina. It can dampen your enthusiasm for exercise, especially cardio, which is usually fueled by carbs.

If you already have a regular exercise program in place, then you may have to go easier on yourself during the first few weeks or month. But over time as your body becomes more fat adapted, you may find that your stamina increases.

The key here is to exercise not only for weight loss but for the other benefits: the enjoyment, the cardiovascular health, the mental health, less stress, better sleep, etc.

Cardio can cause water retention so you have to trust the process, know you’re eating with a plan in mind, and be patient.

Keep in mind as well, that cardio isn’t as effective for weight loss as many people think because it doesnt burn as many calories they think and it’s easy to eat them back.

When you combine exercise with ketogenic diet, the results can be impressive. You are creating two new habits at once, and you are also increasing your chances for greater longevity.

But take it easy in the earlier stages and be aware that the true benefits of exercise may actually be the health and lifestyle improvements, rather than just weight loss.

Jerry Hizon, MD is a keto doctor working from Murrieta and Temecula, California. He assists people with weight loss and lifestyle changes to improve their health. His keto coaching programs helps people to track their progress and stay on track. Visit his website today to learn more, or sign up online for a keto coaching session via nudge coaching.

Carbs, Exercise and the Keto Diet: what you need to know

A lot of people who are on a ketogenic diet wonder what the best types of food are when exercising. They are told not to eat carbs, but also that carbs can help with exercise. Keto and exercise is a confusing topic and one that I will try to demystify.

First of all, you body has different types of fuel. The most common type of fuel most people burn when exercising is carbs. This is because carbs provide a faster burn and are great for explosive exercise.

What does it mean to carb-load before exercise?

You might have heard of the term carb loading which is what a lot of athletes will do the day or evening before an event. It can provide the energy boost needed in that short period for better performance.

But here is the challenge of carbs: most people are not elite athletes. We exercise moderately, usually one to three days a week. So the majority of the time, our carbs are not being used for explosive energy.

Why is exercise harder on a keto diet?

When a person first takes on a ketogenic approach to eating, they can find it is hard to exercise. This is especially true in the first few weeks of a keto diet (link) because they feel a lack of energy.

Rest assured when you first start exercising on a keto diet, this is normal. Your body is becoming fat-adapted, meaning it is switching from burning carbs to burning fats.

Are you exercising with the wrong fuel?

To further fuel analogy: you can think of carbs and fat like gas and diesel. Both can power vehicle, but are used in different ways. Gas is more like carbs, in that it burns quickly. Diesel is a slower burn, more like fats in your body.

For years, experts have derided fats in our diets, but we are now seeing that humans are more like diesel vehicles, which perform well with a slow burn.

When you first start a keto diet, the exercise you do will trigger your body to burn carbs. But after a few weeks on a ketogenic diet when there is little carb fuel left, it will start to burn fat and ketones as fuel.

Here are some symptoms you feel when first exercising on a keto diet:

  • Lack of stamina compared to past performance
  • Lack of explosive power
  • Lack of muscle strength
  • Muscle cramps (usually due to low sodium or dehydration)
  • Need for more water
  • Need for more sleep


How often should you exercise per week on a keto diet?

As a rule, if you exercise less than 2 hours a week, then ketones (fat) are good fuel source. They will help you to lose weight, and your stamina and strength will increase if you persist.

If you exercise an hour or more per day, or you participate in activities like crossfit or cycling, then you may benefit from some additional carbs to give you additional fuel.

With around 80% of people above their ideal weight, the keto diet combined with moderate exercise can be an excellent combination to help you. If will give you slow burn and assist with long term weight loss. If you go a little easier on yourself during your first few of exercise weeks on the keto diet, you will soon see an improvement.

Jerry Hizon, MD is a ketogenic doctor based in Murietta, California. He assists people wanting to lose weight and improve their health through ketogenic diets. His keto coaching programs can help you to track your progress and improve your success. Visit his website today to learn more, or signup online for a keto coaching session via nudge coaching.

The Keto Diet and Intermittent Fasting

The keto diet and intermittent fasting are two popular diets for losing fat, gaining lean muscle mass, and boosting your energy levels.

Many people wonder whether combining intermittent fasting with keto can help you experience even greater results.

The short answer is yes. Intermittent fasting on the keto diet is a simple hack that can definitely accelerate the results and benefits.

What is Intermittent fasting?

If youve slept overnight and not eaten for 12 hours, then youve already experienced intermittent fasting! It simply means that you go for a specific period of time without eating. Some people choose 12 hours, 16 hours or even 24-48 hours. Whatever period of time you select is called your ‘fasting window.’ When you are outside the fasting window, you eat normally.

The key is to know when and for how long to fast. That way you arent tempted to snack during that time.

The difference with intermittent fasting is that usually when you eat throughout the day, youre in a fed state. This makes your body keep digesting and absorbing nutrients from your meals.

Most people who have breakfast, lunch, and dinner will remain in this state during the day, and into the night. The only time their digestive system gets a break is when theyre sleeping.

When your body to enter the fasted state (usually after about 8-12 hours), it means that accelerated fat burning can now take place. Essentially fasting kicks your body into the same ketosis state as being on the keto diet does.

Keto is accelerated with Intermittent Fasting

Since the keto diet is designed to force the body into running on ketones from a very low-carb intake, youre essentially fasting yourself of carbs. In a way, this mimics regular actual fasting that takes place with intermittent fasting.

When you restrict your bodys primary fuel source on the keto diet, adding fasting can kickstart your body into ketosis. Once youre there, you just need to stay on the keto diet to stay in ketosis.

Also, when on the keto diet, you may find it easier to fast for extended periods of time, since your body becomes adapted to the fat burning and you are less hungry.

Here are other benefits that intermittent fasting with keto can give:

– Balancing blood sugar
– Improving nutrient absorption
– Detoxification
– Clearer mind, less brain fog
– Increased fat burn during exercise

On top of all this, intermittent fasting can help with unnecessary snacking and extra caloric intake throughout the day. And its as simple as setting a goal to not eat for as little as 8-12 hours. As you build your fasting window, you may find you can last 12-16 hours and then perhaps even 24 hours without too much worry.

If you are serious about kick-starting your keto journey, then intermittent fasting can give you that extra push you need. Once your there in the ketosis state, its much easier to stay on the keto path and achieve your goals.

Whether youre looking to lose weight, manage a chronic medical condition, or simply want to overhaul your eating habits, changing your diet for the better is one of the best ways to improve your overall health.

Dr Jerry Hizon, MD strives to demystify the complex science of nutrition, giving his patients sound nutritional guidance designed to set them up for long-term dietary success, whatever their specific goals may be.

What kind of exercise is best for the keto diet?

When starting to exercise on a keto diet, you may feel different than you have before. You may feel weaker, or not have the stamina that you had when eating a lot of carbs.

However, exercise, in general, will help you get into ketosis faster, so that is not a deterrent from embarking on exercise during this time frame. Instead, you should focus more on endurance and mobility.

Before the ketogenic adaptation phase is complete, your body is essentially weaning itself off the carbs as a food source. Carbs tend to be very good for exercise because they can make you feel like you have a lot of energy. But if you are wanting the full benefits of the keto diet, you must go through this phase.

The first few weeks, stick to light exercise

Before being keto-adapted, in the first 2-3 weeks of adopting the ketogenic diet, you should stick to low-intensity, aerobic exercise for a majority of the time so as to prevent sugar cravings and muscle catabolism during exercise.

Aerobic exercise, sometimes called cardio exercise, is anything that lasts over three minutes. It is ideal during this early phase. Lower intensity, steady-state cardio burns fat, making it very friendly for the keto dieter. You can also increase electrolyte and fluid intake by consuming water with a pinch of salt before working out.

Anaerobic exercise is characterized by shorter bursts of energy, such as from weight training or high-intensity interval training. Carbohydrates are the primary fuel for anaerobic exercise, so fat alone cant provide enough energy for this type of workout.

Build up to high intensity over time

You should avoid doing high-intensity, anaerobic exercises until youre are keto-adapted. because it can be counterproductive to adaptation and you will definitely have decreased performance during this time period.

Other exercises you can do during the early phases of the keto-adaptive phase are:

Flexibility exercises: these are helpful for stretching out your muscles, supporting joints, and improving muscle range of motion. Increasing your flexibility can also help to prevent injuries caused by shortening of the muscles over time. Yoga and simple after-workout stretches are good examples of flexibility exercises to try.

Stability exercises: these include balance exercises and core training and will help improve your alignment, strength of muscles, and control of movement.

Will you lose muscle mass on keto?

Very often when considering the ketogenic diet, there is a concern about whether you will lose muscle mass. The keto diet is known for having great results for weight loss, however, there is a misconception that you may lose muscle as a part of the weight loss.

Really, it all comes down to what you eat.

Going keto means greatly reducing carbs, and since carbs are usually the bodys primary source of fuel, the diet requires using fat and protein as the main source of fuel.

If you still consume a good amount of healthy protein and fats when following the keto diet, your muscles will be fine.

The good news is that while there are some things to keep in mind, exercise is very possible and beneficial to the success of the ketogenic diet.

As you become keto-adapted, make sure to listen to your body, and go easy on heavy exercise for the first few weeks. Slowly, you will find that you can function just as well as before, perhaps even better on the keto diet when exercising.

Whether youre looking to lose weight, manage a chronic medical condition, or simply want to overhaul your eating habits, changing your diet for the better is one of the best ways to improve your overall health.

Dr Jerry Hizon, MD strives to demystify the complex science of nutrition, giving his patients sound nutritional guidance designed to set them up for long-term dietary success, whatever their specific goals may be.

What are the Benefits of the Keto Diet?

When considering a ketogenic diet, many people wonder if the change is worth it? Obviously any diet is usually started because of the health and weight loss benefits. However, there are many benefits to low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diets.

Below I have listed a few of the benefits that sway many people to choose a keto diet.

Increased weight loss

Eating a high-fat diet, low-carb diet facilitates weight loss by diminishing hunger, reducing overeating or eating too many “empty” calories. Feeling satiated longer also helps facilitate fasting, which can further assist in weight loss.

In addition, a high-fat, low-carb diet can decrease total body fat as it decreases insulin levels, leading to less fat storage, and it causes the body to “burn” its’ fat stores for fuel decreasing fat stores overall.
Reduced risk of Type II diabetes

When we eat carbohydrates, they are broken down into simple sugars. They are then released into the bloodstream, leading to increased blood sugar levels. As blood sugar levels increase, insulin is released. Insulin is a hormone that tells our bodies to store as much energy in the form of glycogen and fats as possible.

By eating a low-carb keto diet, one can normalize blood sugar levels, control the release of insulin, and reverse the effects of insulin resistance (characteristic of type II diabetes). In this manner, keto can be used to treat or possibly reverse type II diabetes, sometimes even replacing or supplementing medication.

Improvement of neurological disease

A high-fat, low-carb keto diet has a neuroprotective effect by correcting abnormalities in cellular energy usage common in most neurological disorders.

In this way, a keto diet can improve memory function, minimizing diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

It has also been shown to help epilepsy by reducing seizures and lead to mood stabilization when dealing with diseases like autism and even schizophrenia.

Reduced risk of heart disease

A low-carb, high-fat diet can reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing triglycerides, increasing “good cholesterol” and decreasing “bad cholesterol,” lowering blood pressure, and reducing abdominal fat.
Increased triglycerides levels in blood and increased fat in the abdominal cavity lead to increased risk for heart disease. A keto diet decreases the amount of triglyceride in blood and lowers the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity, reducing the risk of heart disease.

Furthermore, a low-carb, high-fat diet leads to increased HDL (“good cholesterol”) and a decrease in LDL (“bad cholesterol”). LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, carries cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body. Whereas, HDL, the “good cholesterol,” is a lipoprotein that carries cholesterol away from the body and to the liver where it can be reused or excreted.

In addition to the above, a low-carb, high fat keto diet is also known to decrease blood pressure, reducing the stress on the heart and the risk for heart disease.

Cancer treatment and prevention

Cancer cells, unlike normal cells, can only metabolize glucose for energy. Thus, switching to a high-fat and low-carb diet can essentially “starve” cancer cells of glucose, whilst still feeding normal cells which can metabolize fats as energy.

Consistent energy levels

A low-carb, high fat keto diet can help to stabilize energy levels throughout the day as one can avoid the “bonking” or crashes from carbohydrate intake (rapid blood sugar increase and decrease).
The high fats can keep one satiated and full of energy longer, reducing any cravings or caffeine needs/ crashes as well.

Increased performance for endurance athletes (endurance performance)
A low-carb, high fat keto diet has been implicated with increased output and increased performance for a longer duration for endurance athletes.

Increased longevity

A keto diet can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and myocardial infarction and protect against strokes, in turn decreasing associated mortality.

Anti-aging

As mentioned above, a low-carb keto diet can lower insulin. Lowering insulin reduces oxidative stress on the body. Reduced oxidative stress increases lifespan and slows degradation, having an “anti-aging” effect.

Decreased pain and lower inflammation

A low-carb keto diet also decreases inflammation. Decreased inflammation, leads to decreased pain.

These are some of the benefits that you can expect from the keto diet, if you stay committed to it. Of course, there can be challenges, but the results are worth it.

If you are interested in getting started with a keto diet, we can help you stay on track, with our Nudge Coaching program, and guidance from Dr Jerry Hizon. Contact us to see how much better you can feel!

– Courtney Assumma

Alcohol and the Keto Diet

A lot of people ask: Can you drink alcohol on the keto diet? Or do you have to abstain completely?

The simple answer, yes, you can drink certain types of alcohol in moderation with the keto diet and still reach your goals.

Below we will break down each type of alcohol and make recommendations for each category then we will list a few helpful points with regards to alcohol and keto.

Beer:

Carb count: 13 grams net carbs per glass
Avoid: most beers, as most are high in carbs
Okay: lighter, American beers are the best option as they are lower in carbs
(i.e. Bud Select, Miller 64, Michelob Ultra, etc.)

Wine:

Carb count: 1-2 grams net carbs per glass
Avoid: sweetened or flavored champagne, dessert wines, or sweeter wines (i.e., Moscato)
Okay: unsweetened/ unflavored champagne and dry red or white wine

Liquor:

Carb count: 0 g net carbs per shot
Avoid: liqueurs, sweetened or impure spirits
Okay: pure spirits like whiskey, brandy, cognac, vodka, and tequila

Mixers:

Avoid: sodas, simple syrups, juice, andmost bitters (as they come with added sweetener)
Okay: sparkling water, citrus (lime, lemon, orange), and olives

5 Helpful Tips for alcohol and the ketogenic diet:

  1. Most people find that they have a reduced tolerance for alcohol on keto. That means they tend to get drunk a lot faster. Thus, be careful to only drink 1 to 2 glasses and dont drive.
  2. Hangovers can be worse on keto. Since the keto diet causes one to urinate a bit more, especially in the beginning, alcohol consumption can add to a dehydrated hangover effect. Be sure to drink one glass of water per 1 shot (or glass) of alcohol consumed.
  3. Alcohol may slow weight loss. The liver will metabolize alcohol before other forms of energy (even ketones). Thus, alcohol consumption may hinder a weight loss process. Be careful to drink only in moderation and take into consideration cutting all alcohol consumption out if you are not able to obtain your weight loss goals with moderate consumption.
  4. Be careful when ordering mixed drinks from bars or restaurants. Although pure spirits may have 0 carbs, the added sodas and sweeteners to mixed drinks and cocktails are loaded with carbs. Stick to soda water, lime, and ice with any pure spirit.
  5. One may turn carb cravings into alcohol cravings. Alcohol, like carbs, can be a quick sugar source to the brain. Be careful not to replace one addiction with another. Drink only in moderation.

In summary, you do not have to cut out all alcohol consumption on keto. Stick to very light beers, dry wines, and champagnes, or pure spirits. Drink in moderation, only 1 to 2 glasses in a sitting. Avoid sugary mixers and add-ins.

Take care to hydrate and be mindful of tolerance and hindrance to weight loss. With all that said, we hope that you found this helpful.

– Dr Jerry Hizon

Is the Ketogenic diet effective for men?

A lot of people are interested in the ketogenic diet as a way to increase weight loss and improve their health. At a recent talk I gave about the benefits of the keto diet, I noticed something interesting: the majority of the audience were women.

It is amazing how few men are aware of, and reaping the benefits of the ketogenic diet. Why men are less interested in dieting as a whole has always been an area of curiosity for me.

From my observation, there are some significant gender-specific differences when it comes to nutrition. Women tend to have a higher awareness and better knowledge of nutrition than men. They also seek nutrition counseling more frequently than men do.

Studies have shown that women eat more fruits, vegetables, cereals, milk, dairy products and whole grain products, whereas the consumption of red meat, particularly pork, sausages, eggs, alcohol, and high sucrose foods is higher in men.

Men’s approach towards nutrition is uncomplicated and pleasure-orientated whereas women have an ambivalent attitude to food. Women are typically less satisfied with their weight.

For this reason, restricted eating, dieting, and eating disorders are much more common in women. Men tend to control their weight with exercising and implement diets often for health reasons more than appearance.

The prevalence of obesity is similar between men and women. However, men are more frequently overweight.

For this reason, adopting a ketogenic diet can be an excellent way for men to get their weight under control. And because of the simplicity and pleasurable foods that can be eaten on the keto diet (bacon, anyone?), it is easier for men to stick to than other diets.

Just google the term keto diet results, and you will see how beneficial it can be for both men and women.

In my experience, men enjoy a more simple, streamlined approach to eating. So, for men looking to start a keto diet, here are a simple few tips to follow:

Think Fat

Because men enjoy protein-rich foods, it is often easy to consume too many proteins. It is better to seek fatty cuts of meat or foods with lots of butter and fat. There are many healthy ways to get your fats increased in your diet. The key is always to ask how can I get more fat in this meal?


Stay above ground

Generally speaking, the best vegetables to help you on the keto diet are those that grow above ground. Leafy greens (kale, spinach, chard) are the best, in fact, anything in the salad variety works well to keep your carbs low. Vegetables that grow below ground (potatoes, carrots, beets) are higher in carbs and reduce the ability for your body to stay in ketosis.

Say no to beer

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to lose weight (and improve your health) is to reduce the amount of alcohol in your diet. When it comes to the keto diet, the best way to lower your carbs is to stop drinking beer. Beer contains both carbs and sugar, which both are going to mess with your ketone levels. If you really need to consume alcohol, then the best are liquors such as gin, vodka, tequila, etc. A glass or two of red wine can also be a great alternative to beer.

These are just some basic tips to help me on the path to better health on the keto diet. As I said before, it is rare to see men interested in their diet, but the keto approach I believe is about as simple (and enjoyable as you can get).

Hopefully, as more research shows the success of the keto diet for men, there will be a larger uptake of adoption.

Dr. Jerry Hizon

A guide to Exercise and the Keto Diet

Before we talk about exercise and the ketogenic diet, it is important that we address two common misconceptions regarding diet, exercise, and weight loss.

Misconception # 1: Less calories in than calories out causes weight loss. Therefore, more exercise and less calories eaten equals even more weight loss.

Reality: Less calories and more exercise equals hunger, fatigue, stress, and ineffective weight loss.

No matter which way you look at it, your diet is the weight loss ‘game-changer’. What you eat is more important to weight loss than exercise.

Therefore, focusing on what you eat versus how much you eat is a much more successful and safe approach to weight loss.

This is where the ketogenic diet is such a useful tool to those wanting to lose weight.

Misconception # 2: You need carbohydrates to exercise at optimal levels. Thus, low-carb diets decrease exercise performance.

Reality: Carbs are stored in the form of glycogen and are only used as a fuel source in quick bursts of high intensity exercise and can only sustain an individual for a few minutes of these types of exercises.

Fats are the main source of fuel for all aerobic exercise (i.e. long jogs or cycles) and are used as fuel once glycogen stores are depleted in anaerobic exercise (i.e. sprints or heavy lifting).

Once you understand the importance of diet over exercise, andexplained why you dont necessarily need carbs for optimal exercise performance, you may be asking: should I even exercise on the ketogenic diet?

Although diet is arguably the most important variable to weight loss, exercise is also a key component to optimal health benefits.

Here are a few of the many benefits of incorporating regular exercise into your ketogenic lifestyle:

  • Improve bone mineral density (bone-loading)
  • Improve immunity
  • Increase cognition
  • Regulate mood
  • Reduce the effects of aging
  • Increase insulin sensitivity in diabetics
  • Prevent injury
  • Improve overall locomotion and flexibility
  • Burn 2-3x more fat doing endurance or ultra-endurance exercise (20-30+ minutes)
  • Prevent fatigue during long periods of aerobic exercise
  • Maintain blood glucose during exercise in obese individuals
  • Increased exercise performance overall

    What Should I Expect with Exercising on Keto Diet?

As your body is becoming keto-adapted (switching from using carbohydrates as a main fuel source to fats) in the first 2-3 weeks of starting the ketogenic diet, your exercise performance may be negatively affected. You may feel tired, fatigue, or even dizzy during exercise, especially anaerobic exercise (like heavy lifting or sprints) and you most likely wont be able to perform at the same level as you did before.

It is important to note that these effects are short-term and performance will only suffer until you are keto-adapted. This is natural and due to your bodys natural transition from carbs to fats for fuel resulting in keto flu symptoms.

You will be able to presume regular aerobic exercise safely and efficiently after your body makes its transition to using fats as its main source of fuel, so have patience and trust your bodies normal process. How should you go about your exercise routine?

Exercising in the first few weeks on a keto diet

Before adaptation: Before being keto-adapted, in the first 2-3 weeks of adopting the ketogenic diet, you should stick to low-intensity, aerobic exercise for a majority of the time so as to prevent sugar cravings and muscle catabolism during exercise (i.e. yoga, Pilates, or long walks/ jogs).

You should also increase electrolyte and fluid intake (i.e. drink a large glass of water with a pinch of salt before working out). You should avoid doing high-intensity, anaerobic exercises until youre are keto-adapted because it can be counterproductive to adaptation and you will have decreased performance during this time period. We keep saying anaerobic exercise versus aerobic exercise and you may be unfamiliar with these terms. As a general rule of thumb: if you can breathe easily through your nose without panting during the exercise, it is an aerobic exercise. These include things like 20-30 minute + jogs and cycles. If you cannot breathe easily through your nose during an exercise, these exercises are considered anaerobic. Examples of anaerobic exercises include: heavy weight lifting, sprints, and explosive sports like soccer, lacrosse, hockey, etc. However, exercise in general will help you get into ketosis faster, so that is not a deterrent from embarking on exercise during this time frame. Instead, you should focus more on endurance and mobility.

Bottom line: Before keto-adaptation you will experience an initial drop in performance. During this time period you should increase electrolytes (sodium) and fluids and stick to low intensity, aerobic exercise.

After keto-adaptation: After you are adapted to using ketones and fat for fuel, your energy levels will improve along with your training. Your aerobic exercise performance will increase, you will burn more fat and feel less fatigued during these exercises. Studies have suggested that a keto diet will increase endurance or ultra-endurance athlete performance, lead to greater fat loss in these individuals, and maintain their muscle mass.

The benefits of keto diet for athletes

Becoming keto-adapted using a ketogenic diet can also specifically help aging athletes who struggle with impaired recovery, increased body weight, and have difficulty maintaining desired body composition. In addition to these aerobic performance effects, anaerobic exercise performance should proceed almost back to normal levels, if not normal.

It is expected that you will be able to perform at 90% of maximum equally as good anaerobically. Your muscle glycogen stores that fuel these types of exercises will be replenished despite lack of carbs and with the increased ability to use fats for fuel, you wont tap into glycogen stores as often.

An everyday, moderately active individual will experience less fatigue during exercise and greater performance on a normal ketogenic diet. Those that do more intense, anaerobic exercise often may want to consider adapting the ketogenic diet to optimize anaerobic performance.

Here are two ways to do so:

Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): Eat 25-50 grams or less of fast-acting carbs (i.e. whole fruit) within 30 minutes of workout and/or 30 minutes after workout. This will ensure that your body has the proper amount of glycogen to perform during training and recover after. This will not take you out of ketosis, as your body will use up this glycogen during training and after for recovery.

Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD): Eat strict keto for 5-6 days to get the benefits of ketosis, then eat a higher carb diet 1-2 day a week to replenish glycogen levels and help improve high intensity performance. This can be especially helpful for athletes who train throughout the week and can up their bard intake to perform well in games/ matches on weekends.

The standard ketogenic diet can lead to increased fat loss for the normal individuals and increase exercise performance of ultra-endurance, endurance, and aging athletes.

It is possible to receive all the health benefits of the keto diet and be able to participate in regular exercise or preform at a high level as an athlete.

After being keto-adapted, aerobic exercise performance may increase, as your body can use fats for fuel more efficiently and you experience less fatigue.

– Dr Jerry Hizon, MD