What is the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet?
In a ketogenic diet, one of the fundamental principles is to limit the intake of carbohydrates as much as possible.
Hence, the low carb, high fat diet is usually avoided by many athletes and bodybuilders as they believe that such a lifestyle could hamper their performance.
Fortunately, the ketogenic diet has different variations which makes it appropriate for any individual. Moreover, a particular type of ketogenic diet, known as the cyclical keto diet, allows people to consume carbs without compromising on the implications and specifically, the benefits, of the lifestyle.
In this initial series, we will discuss more about what constitutes the cyclical ketogenic diet and the measures that can be undertaken to follow it efficiently.
What is the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet?
The cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD) is one type of ketogenic diet wherein individuals are allowed to consume clean carbohydrates for one or two days each week.
However, if you adopt this diet, you will be required to follow a standard keto diet for the rest of the week, which includes extremely low consumption of carbohydrates, high consumption of fats, and moderate consumption of protein.
When you do eat carbs for one or two days, you are encouraged to consume high levels of them, which is known as carb overloading. You can opt for items such as rice, potatoes, oatmeal, pasta, and whole grains. However, if you want to witness optimal results, minimize your fat consumption on such days of carb loading.
Who Can Benefit from the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet?
If you have chosen to adopt a keto diet in order to deal with health concerns including hyperinsulinemia, epilepsy, or metabolic disease such as type 2 diabetes, we recommend staying away from the cyclical ketogenic diet.
Moreover, if you are just entering the world of keto or even dieting in general, it is best to avoid CKD.
Essentially, the cyclical ketogenic diet is referred to as an advanced eating protocol that has been devised specifically for those who have substantial expertise in the area of nutrition and engage in an active lifestyle.
Thus, CKD is an ideal variation of the keto diet for:
Individuals who engage in physical activities regularly
Dieters with substantial experience in the area of nutrition
People seeking to build muscles
Athletes who are trying to optimize their performance during workouts
The Purpose of Carbs in Keto
The cyclical ketogenic diet aims to temporarily suspend ketosis to help the buildup the body’s muscle glycogen. If you wish to enhance your performance in workouts or athletics for the rest of the week, this is a great method.
When you engage in a high-intensity exercise, your body largely relies on glucose from carbohydrates as opposed to ketones, which are derived from fat.
Upon including one or two carb-loading days, your body enjoys several advantages due to various processes that are unfolded, thereby enabling you to build muscle and improve your strength. This is how the process occurs:
Increase in Anabolic Hormones
An individual’s strength, physique, and physical performance are bettered due to hormones such as testosterone, IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1), and growth hormone.
Insulin Is Important for Bodybuilders and Athletes
The reason for this is that when you consume carbohydrates, insulin increases. A spike in the insulin level on your carb days will lead to the replenishment of your glucose stores.
Essentially, your muscles are like tanks that hold glycogen. Thus, an increase in the muscle glycogen leads to increased performance in the gym and the carb days will ensure that these stores remain full for the rest of the days in a week.
Testosterone and Growth Hormone Increase Standard Ketogenic Diet Days
A high level of insulin tends to blunt the growth hormone. However, since you are only increasing insulin on your carb days, when you consume low carbs and high fat on the other days of your diet, your body will reap the benefits of increased growth hormone.
Furthermore, on your non-carb days, your body ill witness an increased intake of fat. According to studies, an increased intake of fat leads to a rise in the overall testosterone levels [*].
How to Start the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet
Since you now understand the benefits of CKD, particularly for athletes and bodybuilders, we will quickly guide you through the basic layout that can help you get started.
The objective must be to enter back into ketosis as soon as your carb days end. Thus, after your carb days, your workouts must be extensive, compound lifts that can contribute to depleting glucose at a quick pace, thereby helping you re-enter ketosis.
During your 1-2 carb days:
Of your total calorie intake in a day, carbohydrates should constitute 70 percent
Protein must account for 15% of total calories consumed
Another 15% of the total calorie intake must come from fats
Refrain from consuming processed carbs. Instead, enjoy organic carbs such as whole grains, rice, potatoes, lentils, and black beans.
On the ketogenic days which make up about 5 or 6 days a week, these pointers must be adhered to:
Your total calorie intake must constitute 65% of fats
Proteins must account for about 15-25% of your total calories
Your total calorie intake must contain less than 10% of carbohydrates
For your fat intake, turn to healthy sources such as avocados, fatty meats, eggs, and coconut oil
Cyclical Ketogenic Diet is Ideal to Attain Your Muscle Building or Athletic Goals
If we are being straightforward, the CKD is not for every individual. As stated in the article, it’s only recommended for individuals who are experienced in dieting and wish to build muscle, improve strength, as well as holistic athletic performance.
In case you are just starting out with keto, due to being overweight or for other medical purposes, we recommend staying away from the cyclical ketogenic diet. You will find that adhering to a standard ketogenic protocol will fetch better results.
This article must not be taken as medical advice and was devised for informational and educational purposes only. Before changing one’s diet, it is always a good idea to consult a doctor.