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What is this Keto diet all about?

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By Brett Freliche

So what is this ketogenic diet all about?

It’s one of the more popular questions we get at the nutrition seminars we host.  At the last seminar, I spoke with a woman who had been on the ketogenic diet. Then she started doing CrossFit, and soon after she started craving carbohydrates like crazy.  Why?

First, let’s talk about what is the ketogenic diet.  

A ketogenic diet is one with high protein and fats, and very low carbohydrates.  To give an example, a popular CrossFit diet, the Zone diet, usually consists of 30% protein, 40% carbohydrates, and 30% fat.  By comparison, the ketogenic diet is right around 25% protein, 70% fat, and 5% carbohydrate. It eliminates any high carb foods like fruits, beans, starchy vegetables like potatoes or sweet potatoes, or any sweet vegetables like carrots and beets.  What ends up happening is that your body uses up all the glycogen stores in the body (remember that glycogen is the energy source found in your body). Through several steps and chemical processes, your liver releases ketones into the bloodstream for any cells needing energy to pick up.   

People who start a ketogenic diet (or go on a 72 hour fast to kick start your body into ketosis) usually report quick weight loss.  This is because every gram of glycogen requires about 2.7 grams of water. So when you lose all the glycogen stores, you lose the water associated with it.  Therefore, that initial weight loss is mainly water!

Besides weight loss, other benefits with a ketogenic diet are decreased inflammation and helps fight diabetes.  Doesn’t sound too bad right? While there are benefits to a ketogenic diet, there are some negatives.

As I mentioned above, the main focus of a ketogenic diet is to consume foods consisting of mainly fats and proteins.  One concern that you may not consume enough calories while focusing on these two macronutrients.

There is also the fact that if you are doing CrossFit, or any type of high intensity style workout, the energy system mainly used is glycolytic in nature.  The glycolytic energy system is fueled by carbohydrates. So like the woman I mentioned above, her body was telling her that it needed carbohydrates. If a person were to stay on a ketogenic diet and train in the high intensity module for a long period of time, the result could result in hormone and metabolic issues.  

Lastly, a ketogenic diet causes something called halitosis, which is chronic bad breath that mints, gum, listerine or teeth brushing cannot hide!

If you have any questions regarding this blog post or anything nutrition related, please contact Brett, Brittany or Wes at