Ketogenic Diets have been around for a long time and even though the hysteria has waned a bit I think it’s still important to address this as a series of articles I am writing. Body builders and weight sensitive sports have used Ketogenic cycling for some time, mostly because you can pull a lot of water out of your body fast when insulin isn’t present and it’s great for the tapering phase as you are closer to a show. Boxers as an example have learned in recent years that staying much closer to the weight you fight at is better than being much bigger, cutting drastically and re-hydrating for a fight.
Notice that I keep saying re-hydrating, that’s important as this discussion evolves because there are lot’s of claims that are made that just aren’t true when it comes to Ketogenic Dieting.
As most people know Ketogenic Dieting is very low carb and high fat, what most people don’t know is that it’s also supposed to be low protein. The reason is because protein is insulinogenic, meaning that it can cause an insulin spike, especially in concentrated forms like whey protein. In a later article I am going to make the case that all of this stuff about spiking insulin is nonsense but I just want to lay the groundwork for what is coming.
CarboHYDRATEs hydrate your body, not only do CARBS have water in them they require water to process. This is why carbs are essential for hydration, to optimize hydration as an example, you would want water, carbs and electrolytes like salt. Will this hold your weight a bit higher, yes it will but it will also make you leaner for a couple of reasons, starches as an example provide glucose that power your muscles and keep your workouts from sucking. Skeletal muscle as an example is more than 70% water and can be closer to 80%. So if the goal is “anabolic” which simply means holding onto tissue and potentially building muscle. Hydration is an important piece of the equation for that process (not to tip my hand but so is insulin by the way). If you have ever seen a boxing or MMA weigh in the look of the athletes is completely different 24 hours later. Literally 5 minutes after those weigh ins they have IV’s in to re-hydrate. Incidentally Floyd Mayweather famously never did this and he would often make fun of the people that did laughing how slow they got in that process. Floyd stayed hydrated with no big weight fluctuations throughout his career, in fact, when he moved up in weight that was harder. MMA as an example still has fighters playing the extremes but I have a strong feeling that will change also.
I say all of this to illustrate the point that manipulating bodily water levels as been around for a very long time. Every single company similar to mine is trying to keep you hydrated for two reasons but at the end of Fat Loss cycle as an example the numbers are pretty close to Ketogenic dieters. This is for a reason, when your muscle and body is hydrated you are more useful and less fatigued. Certainly you can manipulate that with PED’s or even caffeine but that has it’s consequences.
I am going to make this into a series of articles but in the next article I am going to dispel the myth that you need to eat fat to burn fat and that you can in fact store fat without the presence of insulin.
If you want to read more here is an article I wrote on Extreme Fasting which is also seeing a rise in popularity. In the article I talk about a lot of the water manipulation tricks I talked about here that aren’t good practice for fat loss but I go a lot more in depth on that.