There has been a substantial increase in interest regarding the ketogenic (keto) diet in recent years. A portion of this can be attributed to the popularity of the Atkins diet, which has many similarities. Some interest may be a result of the published scientific studies that have been shedding light on the benefits of being in a state of ketosis. Ketogenic supplements have even begun hitting the mainstream market for the first time. This hype is sure to raise some questions abut the efficacy of the keto diet and its place in performance athletes. Hopefully this mini-series will answer questions and simplify the process of implementing it in your own regimen.
Ketosis is simply using ketone bodies as the primary source of fuel and energy. Ketones are derived from fat stores within the body, so being in a state of ketosis means your body is using fat for fuel. This is contrary to the standard American or Western diet in which glucose derived from carbohydrates is the primary fuel source. When the body breaks down fat for energy, the vast majority of that fat is converted into ATP molecules. During that conversion process, ketones are produced. It just so happens that most of your body’s tissues, your brain, and other organs prefer the energy derived from ketones as opposed to glucose.
Its important to realize that the ketogenic diet is not a fool-proof weight-loss diet….its a fat-burning diet. This often leads to dramatic weight loss for those who have excess fat stores because the body will use them as fuel. However, if you’re not morbidly obese to start with, you won’t have to worry about wasting away to nothing. If you’re in shape and not excessively overweight, your body will use the fat you ingest through your daily diet for fuel.
But hey, whats so exciting about another fuel source for the body? Most of you are probably thinking that there is no need to experiment with alternative fuel sources since you feel just fine on your daily diet of rice and chicken breasts, (if you’re healthy) or ice-cream and French fries, (if you’re not). Well, allow me to introduce you to the world of alternative fuel and superior performance. Maintaining a glucose dependent diet is the equivalent of driving one of the cars straight from the Flintstones….a whole lot of effort to not get anywhere fast. Compare that to a ketogenic diet where you are now cruising in a classic muscle car with 11:1 compression and running on high-octane gasoline…..I’ll take the latter please.