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Pros and Cons of a Ketogenic Diet on Metabolic Health

What is Keto and Metabolic Flexibility

A ketogenic diet is characterized by eating a high amount of fat, low carbohydrate, and moderate protein. A ketogenic diet is NOT the best way to increase metabolic flexibility. Metabolic flexibility is characterized by your body’s ability to switch quickly back and forth between fats and carbs for better performance and body composition.

Physiology

The good news is that a ketogenic diet will dramatically increase your body’s ability to use fat. Highly trained athletes that have been doing it for months went out for a moderate pace run and their ability to up regulate fat for fuel was demonstrated.

The unfortunate downside to staying on a ketogenic diet is that you start losing your ability to tap into carbohydrates for fuel. The main reason is that the key enzyme for carbohydrate metabolism PDH (pyruvate dehydrogenase) will decrease over time because you are telling the body that you don’t need it anymore.

Performance

If you are competitive athlete and want to perform at a high level, your speed and power will pay the price. Even with endurance events having the ability to switch over to carbs and pass someone or power up a hill you will lose this ability if you do keto. 

If you are recreational athlete or solely workout for vanity purposes and don’t need speed and power for performance in life then keto might be ok for you. 

If you want a brief whiteboard explanation of how this all works to fuel your knowledge and make an educational decision on whether a ketogenic diet is something you want to explore further then check this out.