The new year always brings weight loss resolutions, so I thought I would share a short conversation that took place in a nutrition program I am currently part of with nutritionist Dr. Mike Roussell.
Question asked by a coach in the program…
When a person goes on a Keto plan, I’m assuming they will burn fat because there is little to no carbs, correct?
If so, and fat takes longer to access, is that why you feel sluggish on a Keto plan? Because there is no quick energy from carbs?
The sluggish feeling people have when starting low carb diets isn’t due to the fact that fat is a slower energy source to access.
The initial sluggishness can be due to a variety of factors. One is that their body does not have the enzymes at the ready to maximize the ‘fat as primary fuel source pathway’ – it takes some time (days to weeks) for your body to recognize that it needs more cellular resources for breaking down and utilizing fat.
This can be a driving force behind the fatigue that people experience; especially when it is coming with calorie restriction!
One touted strike against low carb diets is that you can’t do high intensity exercise on a ketogenic diet because you don’t have the sugar stores to support that kind of activity.
Research shows that over time the body starts to conserve muscle glycogen by becoming more efficient with it. This adaptation can take (6-8 weeks). Once this adaptation takes place you can expect similar levels of physical performance but not superior.
I see one of the big problems that people suffer from with Ketogenic diets is that they don’t go ‘all in’. They eat too many carbohydrates to actually be in ketosis OR they hop back and forth between very low carb and a ‘normal’ diet on a weekly/monthly basis.
This prevents the body from fully adapting to using one fuel source as the primary one and thus puts them in a metabolic no-mans land. That isn’t good for anyone!
Thank you. It’s a conversation that has come up in my classes and I tried Keto for 13 weeks and could have slept all day. Now I understand why.
Also, some people just don’t have the physiology for very low carb diets. I tolerate them well but my wife does not at all. I think it is a mistake to force people into specific dietary patterns like that if it doesn’t jive with their body. Especially because the ‘superiority’ is generally overstated and isn’t worth the negative effects on quality of life.
I made this last statement by Dr. Mike bold for a reason. In my opinion, quality of life is what we are all really after.
So as you go into the new year looking for the next best thing for quick weight loss, remember that ‘superiority’ is generally overstated when it comes to these diets.
Instead, let’s focus on creating better habits (meal planning, less after dinner snacks) and behaviors (weekend binge drinking) that WE KNOW are keeping us from reaching our fitness and weight loss goals.
The best part is we’ll also improve our quality of life.