From Lebron James’ glistening abs to Kim Kardashian’s resplendent glutes the Keto Diet has taken to the 21st century like a grill to toast: doctor’s sneered and fitness gurus dabbled in the early noughties, nothing much happened for about ten years; then the regime suddenly caught fire in 2017.
Now it’s not just athletes (in fact, many who exercise for a living find they need the carbs) but everyone else who is jumping on the Keto Bandwagon, with graphic designer, yoga teacher and tradie Keto Warriors all putting their co-workers to shame with the largest Tupperware imaginable.
Forget vegans, these are the new zealots.
While going Keto comes with a host of potential benefits (and risks) to your overall health (which we investigate in detail here), today we are here to discuss the specific implications of relying on The Keto Diet to lose weight (read: shredding). And we have at our disposal a post by fitness coach (and PhD holder) Brad Schoenfeld to help.
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“Proponents of [The] Keto Diet[s] often claim that cutting out carbs increases resting energy expenditure, thereby enhancing weight loss,” Schoenfeld begins. “As shown in this recent study from Kevin Hall’s lab, an increase in REE in fact does occur.”
So far so promising.
But, according to Schoenfeld, “The increased thermogenic effect is very short lived, lasting just a little over a week before returning to baseline.” Which basically means: a reset, with Schoenfeld adding, “It’s not entirely clear why there is a short term spike in metabolism, but it may be due to the increased gluconeogenesis during the period where the body shifts from using glucose to ketones for fuel.”
“Regardless, the net increase in energy expenditure amounted to ~1000 total calories. This would have no meaningful implications on weight loss. For all practical purposes, it’s irrelevant.”
Bottom line? If a keto diet fits your lifestyle and goals, it’s a decent option. But from a shredding (i.e. fat loss) standpoint, according to Schoenfeld, “Many other options are equally as effective,” with your long term adherence ultimately being the deciding factor (so choose a plan that you can stick with over the long-term).
So what’s the danger in relying on The Keto Diet to get shredded? Essentially, it might help for a week or two (and give you a false sense of progress), but it is not a silver bullet in the long term – and if you try and turn it into one you might give yourself quite a scare (just ask this Australian personal trainer, who did exactly that).