Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, probably heard the name “keto” or “ketogenic diet” floating around lately. And you’ve probably heard that it’s supposed to cure diseases, improve athletic performance and help you lose weight.
How Is The Ketogenic Diet Different To Paleo or Atkins Or Just A Low-Carb Diet?
Is there any truth to any of the claims or is it just another version of low carb that’s in vogue right now?
If you haven’t come across it before, the ketogenic diet is a way of eating to help you enter into the metabolic state called ketosis where you primarily “burn” ketones for energy instead of glucose. And the truth is that there’s a lot of good research that being in ketosis could help you slow aging, prevent and cure cancer, reverse Alzheimer’s, prevent Type 2 diabetes, and way more.
In terms of athletic performance for endurance athletes, the initial results look promising. One of the biggest draw cards is that you do not run out of energy as you train your body over time to burn fat instead of sugar. So instead of “bonking” on a 2-3 hour bike ride and scrambling for more sugary gels to keep you going, the ability to access fat for energy means you could literally complete 5 Ironman triathlons in a row without needing any food. Even the skinniest single digit body fat triathlete has enough fat to achieve this. (I suspect for most us then, we would be able to complete 10-15 Ironmans in a row if we have a bit of extra padding!)
I know it sounds a bit too good to be true, and to be honest, there’s a lot of myths about the ketogenic diet floating around too. As with any new science and research, it is important to sort through all the myths/hype from what the science actually shows.
My colleague Charlotte has recently launched her book The Ketogenic Diet for Athletes to address these issues and provide some guidance specifically with respect to endurance athletes.
It provided me some real clarity and though I was already following the Paleo diet- I have now tweaked it a bit more to be Ketogenic- and I have to say I am loving it. For me, I am finally not hungry all day. Also for the first time I am doing proper training in the fat burning zone in order to help build my fat burning pathways and reduce reliance on glucose for energy.
I have a real clarity that this new way of eating combined with a greater understanding of training will propel to a new level of athletic ability.
The implications on preventing cancer and diabetes are huge as well. I currently have family members fighting both these diseases and when you see what the traditional Western medicine “treatment” involves, it very quickly turns your thoughts to prevention.
The other major thing I got from her book is Intermittent Fasting. I had heard of it but had dismissed it as being hungry just makes me miserable.
However with intermittent fasting- it is fairly easy to do, plus I feel benefits rather than misery. Lighter, clearer, more focused and I know I am shedding some stubborn fat. (Always a blessing!)
Let me know in the comments below if you are already on the ketogenic diet or are thinking about trying it out…
and I highly recommend Charlotte’s book on the Ketogenic Diet.
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