How does a high fat, ketogenic diet affect your muscles?There is a lot of promotion and talk about the benefits of restricting carbohydrate intake and eating a high fat, ketogenic diet. When you read things like that, always ask, where is the evidence? Is there any science supporting the claims? There is agreement on that more lean muscle mass and a lower body fat percentage are beneficial. This is true for everybody, but especially athletes. Before you go on a high-fat diet, you want to know how a regime like that will affect your lean muscle mass. The following research included 42 healthy individuals that followed a ketogenic diet for 6 weeks consisting of the same calorie intake as their regular diet (Urbain P, et.al., 2017). They were tested for several things at the start of the study and after 6 weeks. VO2peak and peak power decreased after the ketogenic diet. The participants lost equal amounts of fat and fat-free mass, which means they lost some muscle mass. Total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol increased significantly, LDL by 10.7% which is quite a lot, especially since LDL is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Glucose, insulin, and IGF-1 (a growth factor) dropped significantly by 3.0, 22.2 and 20.2%. Another non-significant change was also seen. Similar results were found when seventeen overweight or obese men were admitted to metabolic wards where they consumed a high-carbohydrate baseline diet for 4 weeks followed by 4 weeks of a ketogenic diet (Hall KD, et.al., 2016). Body fat loss slowed during the ketogenic diet and coincided with increased protein utilization and loss of fat-free mass. These participants also lost muscle mass, and this study was done under very strict control. Apparently a high-fat diet is not producing the amazing results some would want you to believe. References Hall KD, Chen KY, Guo J, Lam YY, Leibel RL, Mayer LE, Reitman ML, Rosenbaum M, Smith SR, Walsh BT, Ravussin E. Energy expenditure and body composition changes after an isocaloric ketogenic diet in overweight and obese men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Aug;104(2):324-33. Urbain P, Strom L, Morawski L, Wehrle A, Deibert P, Bertz H.Impact of a 6-week non-energy-restricted ketogenic diet on physical fitness, body composition and biochemical parameters in healthy adults.Nutr Metab (Lond). 2017 Feb 20;14:17 Learn to eat program
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