“Fat is bad for you.” That’s what we’ve been told for generations. So it’s easy to question why there are so many people talking about the ketogenic diet, which is basically a high-fat, moderate-protein and ultra-low-carb diet. In other words, it’s a diet that encourages you to eat butter, cheese and bacon. … How exactly is this “healthy?” It all comes down to how your body metabolizes fat. The ketogenic diet triggers what’s called “ketosis” — it’s when your body burns fat for energy instead of glucose. Because glucose (from carbs) is your body’s preferred fuel source, when you deny your body this fuel, it relies on its second favorite food — fat.
Shock Your Metabolism
Ketosis won’t happen unless you take it seriously. You can stuff all the butter and bacon in your body that you want to, but if you’re still eating carbs, you’ll stay in glycolysis, which means that your body is still burning glucose and that fat isn’t going anywhere useful. One of the more effective ways to enter ketosis is to do a fast before starting the diet in order to deplete your glycogen stores. Then as soon as you fry up your first buttery, fatty breakfast, your body should start burning ketones for fuel instead of sugar. The more your body becomes accustomed to entering ketosis, the easier it gets to experience the ketogenic diet’s benefits.
The Keto Bump
One thing keto users report is an insane boost in energy levels. This is great news for competitive athletes because ketosis all but removes the barrier of “hitting the wall” after a couple of hours of intense workouts.
Did you also know that your brain is 60 percent fat? Lucky you, Mr. Genuis, because consuming all this extra fat on the keto diet might actually improve cognitive function. Some clinical and animal studies also show decreased instances of headaches, lowered proclivity for neurodegenerative disease and healthier sleep with more deep REM cycles, as well as cancer-resistant benefits.
Yes, that’s right, tumors have a favorite fuel source, too, and, you guessed it, it’s glucose! Studies like the one conducted at the KetoPet Sanctuary in Austin, Texas, are finding incredible results in the field of cancer treatment by starving cancer of its favorite food: carbs.
What About Shredding/Bulking?
Shredding on keto is pretty easy — you eat fat to burn fat … but what about bulking? Yes, you can absolutely gain mass while in ketosis. If you’re systematic about the food you eat and cycle off keto once a week for 24 hours of re-feeding, you can add lean mass and remain shredded. BUT you have to be diligent; there’s no cheating. Stick with the high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb split or your gains will be in vain.
Oh, Also These Other Great Benefits
• When followed properly, ketogenic dieting can stabilize your blood sugar levels — making diabetes much easier to manage.
• Many people experience lower cholesterol and blood pressure on keto.
• Users experience increased satiety — meaning bye-bye hangry moods.
• You’re encouraged to add bacon, ground beef and butter back into your diet. Hell yes.
While there are some hurdles to overcome in the ketogenic diet (finding the right foods, avoiding the carb traps, etc.), once you hit ketosis and your body is craving fats for fuel, you’re already on the road to redefining the nutritional benefits of fat. So rather than cycling through the same old meal prep filled with grilled chicken, brown rice and broccoli five days a week, why not stock up on butter, bacon, meat and cheese?
Welcome back, fat, we’ve missed you.