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For this nutrition edition of the Community Conversation, Prototype Nutrition Coach Jon Collette and Prototype Nutrition’s Registered Dietitian, Sam Russo will be discussing The Keto Diet. If you’re looking to learn more about nutrition for yourself or pick up some good eating habit tips, you will want to check this out!
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Thank you for tuning in to the community conversation brought to you by protect training system home of CrossFit prototype seminar back with another nutrition episode to help provide you with some education and strategies to better your nutrition while still have a lot of misinformation on nutrition. And we aim to provide you with some clarity. Today, what we wanted to talk about was the keto diet and some of the common myths that are associated with it. So to start, Sam, if you want to start us off, what is the keto diet? And why is this been popularized in lately? Yeah, so the keto diet as a whole started as a therapeutic diet, like use it in a hospital setting, or a clinical setting for patients with epilepsy. So it’s like used as treatment for seizures. And the premise of this is that usually your body uses glucose for an energy source. But the keto diet, your body uses ketones as an energy source, so it breaks down the fat cells turns it into fatty acids, and then that turns into ketones. So your body’s like using your fat cells as a source of energy as opposed to like sugars in the form of glucose.
Recently, though, is no longer a therapeutic diet. I mean, it still is, but it’s been like popularized as like a fad diet, mostly for weight loss.
Probably because it’s pretty marketable, which is the number one reason that anything is actually a fad diet, it’s because like people can make money off of it, and sell you special shakes and teas and you know, foods and products that help you get to, you know, this ketosis in this case.
But you don’t necessarily need all those things. So like, as a whole, I like touch on, like a lot about it, but not actually what it is, like the keto diet is a concept of your eating, and very low carbohydrates, like less than 20 grams of carbohydrates in the day, net carbohydrates. So like sugar alcohols, like don’t count, um,
a little bit of protein. But a vast majority of that, like close to like 70% of the diet, I think comes from fat. And then the rest is just like a small bit of carbohydrates, like a moderate amount of protein. And that’s what actually causes the body to get into ketosis. And that’s why it’s used as treatment. But that’s what everybody in the world seems to be doing these days, because it sounds really fun and flashy. And it sells. And I think the thing with the keto diet is that there’s there’s quite a lot of myths surrounding the keto diet. And so a big part of what we want to do today is kind of like, dispel some of those myths and like, give you the actual reasoning of what’s going on why the keto diet typically works for people, and like, whether or not it’s a good idea. Um, so john, let’s kind of dive into some of those in this, I know that you have one that you want to touch on to start, what is
it? Well, I think everyone’s wondering is why. Why do people lose weight so quickly on the ketogenic diet? And if you’re in ketosis, you’re just burning fat, right? So why? why are people losing weight really quickly? Because their body is just, it’s just getting fat oxidation right away? And that’s all your body’s using as energy sources? No, like? No, there’s no other logistics to it, your body doesn’t need to use any of those carbohydrates because they’re not there. So your body’s just burning off fat. So Sam, is that like, Is that true? Like, are you losing weight really quickly, because you’re just burning fat.
People are losing weight really quickly, because they’re losing water weight really quickly. The first like two weeks of the keto diet is typically strictly water weight that’s lost. So people will go on to the keto diet and be like, Oh, I lost 10 pounds in two weeks, which one is never a healthy thing. And two, it’s not actual weight loss. It’s just water loss, where the body like isn’t holding on to excess water weight and so that like quick 10 pound drop is not necessarily fat loss. And for a lot of people who go on the keto diet, that’s the goal is fat loss. And so yeah, that like initial surge of weight loss, not necessarily fact. It’s exciting, flashy. It’s just it’s not, it’s not the fad that people are expecting to burn because at the end of the day, like the diet consists mostly of that to like, people are still getting calories in so like that is still being used for energy there. It’s not only burning what’s already in the body.
Right. So since you’re getting rid of all of those carbohydrates, your body can store I believe it’s like up to 400 grams of carbs. hydrates in your body. When you get rid of 400 grams of carbohydrates, all those carbohydrates come with water retention to hold on to them. So all the glycogen that’s stored in your muscles in your liver is just gone, right? And so that’s how your body gets in the keto. Right, Tim, when you want carbohydrates, you flush out all the glycogen, and then your body has nothing else to run off of.
Yeah, pretty much without getting deep, deep into the science for that, when your body doesn’t have, because the easiest thing for the body to use is glucose. So it’s like that is what it’s going for. And so when you remove that, then the body has to use some other form of energy. So it pulls from the fat cells, the fatty acids, turns it into ketones.
Which probably brings us to the next myth that well, since carbohydrates are essential. You don’t need carbohydrates to live, you need fat to live. You don’t need carbohydrates to live as they don’t really serve a purpose. So, Sam, what’s optimal versus as essential in the form of what carbohydrates do to the body?
I don’t know if I’m answering the question the way you want me to. So I’m gonna I’m gonna talk about carbs anyway.
repose if I can use you. So let me need carbs to live their optimal for life. Correct. Your body prefers glucose over and keto. Right. So why do Why is that a? What’s the difference in essential as in, we don’t need to live versus optimal as will live more optimal life right with having that in our system. So if you want to talk about that, Oh, my
God, that’s the direction I was gonna go. I was hoping it was the right answer. But yeah, so like, we need certain things in body. It does not function without it. But there are things that we can do to help the body just run more efficiently and run better. Like last week, we touched on supplements and like you can live right without like your creatine, but you’re gonna see more effects from like taking it as a supplement. And you can do the bare minimum. But it’s like putting regular gas in your car. And then you can do a little bit extra you can like nourish your body better. And that’s going to be more optimal. It’s like putting the premium gas in the car where it’s just going to run better, because there’s less stuff to like, filter out. Right? Do you want to touch a little bit on that, john, I think you have an answer in mind.
So when it comes to performance in the gym, if we’re not having carbohydrates, your your body, again, stores carbohydrates in your muscles and in your liver. So if you have muscle, if you have carbohydrates stored in your muscle, and you’re trying to do a task with performance in the gym, your body is going to utilize glycogen more efficiently than it would utilize. Key tones. So if you’re doing like a high intensity workout, especially not having reserved energy in the form of glycogen is going to diminish your performance. Especially if you’re because if you’re doing something like what most of us do is CrossFit or weightlifting, it’s very demanding, right where your body needs that reserved energy on because and when you’re actually performing in the gym, a lot of us might think that we’re, you know, we’re burning fat like crazy right now, because we’re burning so many calories. But really what your body is utilizing is that glycogen, which this is why it’s good to like look at things in the sense of a total calorie expenditure in your game and your week, if the goal is weight loss, but in the sense of performance, your body’s gonna utilize that glycogen to be able to do those 10 pumps in a row to be able to go ahead and pick up that barbell because your body isn’t going to efficiently want to utilize fat and your body it’s going to want to utilize glucose, you can almost think easy analogy is if you went into your closet and you had clothes that were already in a suitcase, it would be much easier to grab that then to take the clothes off the hanger, put them in a suitcase, because you need to go ahead and use something as like, okay, like I need to get this you know, I need to get this out of the way, like I need to utilize this. So if you have something that’s already like in this form of sugar, which is what your body is going, that’s why your body makes ketones is so it can reserve sugar in the body for other things like your brain, and things that are essential. Your body needs glucose, your body’s going to reserve glucose in the body and use ketones because it doesn’t have that. So if we have that available, you’re going to be able to perform even better in the gym performing like athletic tasks. When you get your heart rate up and you’re breathing heavily, right like you’re going to notice that, you know, you’re going to have this energy fluctuation in the sense of like your blood sugar level is going to go up and down this way. It’s also a good idea to have carbohydrates after you work out as well as having like the protein and stuff like that. It’s good for like muscle building, but in the sense of, you know, recovery, as well as you know, performance and the act of like having reserved carbohydrates is optimal, but it’s not essential like you can get you can get the task done, but it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be like the most optimal way of doing it. Yeah, yeah, that’s
a good point. It’s definitely for like the people listening to this, like exercise is an important component of their lives, where like keto doesn’t actually have, like, a performance enhancing effect, if anything, it’s going to decrease performance in the gym. Because it lacks severely carbohydrates.
Yeah, and I mean, the other downside too, is that a thing that we can, as long as we’re keeping our carbohydrates to a minimum that we can have as much of those keto appropriate foods, but we still need to monitor those as well. So Myth number three is going to be, you’re gonna have as much like bacon and steak and eggs, and you can have as much of this stuff as you want, and remain in ketosis. But, Sam, what happens when we have too much protein in our diet? On a ketogenic diet?
Yeah, the unfortunate thing is that the body processes protein through the liver. So there have not been long term studies on this, like, we don’t have data on long term effects of keto diet. So I can’t like say exactly that, yes, this is going to cause this, but there’s definitely, um, there’s an unsafe amount of protein that you can get in a day, right? Like if you were eating almost all your calories strictly from protein that’s really demanding on the body to process and that can have effects on your liver. Um, too much protein is never a good thing, too much of anything is never a good thing. But especially because with the keto diet, we’re taking away carbs. And people automatically think, okay, if I eat more protein, there’ll be fine. And we’ve touched on this before john, where like, the body processes a certain amount of protein at a given time. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing to have more, it is a bad thing, though, however, to have too much. So the idea that like you go on keto, you can eat as much steak eggs, bacon as you want to, yes, those are higher in fat, but they’re also high in protein, that if you get too much protein, it can have some serious negative negative effects on the body and potentially long term.
Right, and you won’t even remain in ketosis if you’re if you have, because your body needs to maintain that ratio of like over 70% dietary fat. So if those ratios are off, your body will start utilizing protein. And so many people don’t know that protein spikes insulin just like carbohydrates do. So if you have too much protein into your diet, your body is also going to turn protein into glucose. And that is now turning you out of ketosis because now your body has a form of glucose available, it’s taking protein, it’s turning into that energy source it’s going to use so now it’s not using dietary fat as a ketone anymore, because it has glucose available, because now it’s gone through the process of converting protein to carbohydrates. I’m drawing a blank on what the word is what the process is called.
gluconeogenesis is the process where your body takes protein, and turns it into sugar. And that’s how your body will use that. So this is why like all calories matter whether it’s protein, carbs, and fats, because your body’s pretty smart. If it’s not getting enough carbs, it’ll use fats as a ketone. If it’s you’re not getting enough. If you’re getting too much protein and not enough carbohydrates, your body will turn protein into carbohydrates, your body still needs carbs, and other ways to form it. Um, and so that’s like a whole nother reason why, if you’re truly trying to be on a ketogenic diet, or you’re trying to be in ketosis, you have to keep your protein intakes to I believe, it’s like 20% 20 Um,
so I think that like at least for like the children with epilepsy, we recommend like a gram per kilogram.
Yeah, and if you’re having you’re setting your protein, usually it’s more ideal if the goal is muscle building or fat loss to be more In the 30% range of your protein intake, so if your total calories are, you know what they are, but you’re not getting enough protein into your diet, you’re not necessarily going to support lean body mass anymore either. So if you’re in a calorie deficit, which you can be in a calorie deficit on keto, but you don’t have to be in Quito to be in calorie deficit, but you are in a calorie deficit, but your protein intake lower because you’re truly trying to be in ketosis, then you’re probably also going to lose some of your lean body mass and not just oxidized body fat. Reason why it’s so trendy have that keto, you burn more fat is because you’re eating more fat, you’re going to be you’re going to be oxidizing more dietary fat, you’re going to be using more dietary fat. If you’re in a calorie deficit, you’ll also burn some body fat. But that doesn’t mean that that is, again, the most optimal way to do things, it’s probably going to be a lot harder to sustain. Myth number four, it’s easy to sustain that type of diet. Sam, it’s more filling, having more protein and have a more dietary fat in the diet. But when you limit Li your food choices, like what’s like a common association with, we remove foods, and then we reintroduce them. What is the comment what is a common thing that happens with behaviors with those with that type of overly restrictive diet?
Yeah, so anytime we will remove something, it’s like, that’s all I want, I need to eat this. I want it now. And so it’s like the cycle of you feel deprived, and then you need to eat it. So then you feel like you have to binge on it when you have it in front of you. And then you take it away again, and then you feel deprived. And this this binge restrict cycle over and over and over again. And we see it all the time in so many different iterations. Because there’s so many different diets out there in the world. With keto, it’s like no carbs. So if you go out to a restaurant with your family, like you can get a steak, you can get a steak, but it’s not going to be something that’s to your specifications. Or if you’re at a birthday party, like you’re skipping the cake and the ice cream or like it removes the ability to have any alcohol in your day. So being on a keto diet is really, really restrictive. And then if you’re ever in a social situation, or if you’re ever craving some kind of carbohydrate, you really can’t have it. And like that deprivation creates this like over like interest, I guess in the specific food that you’re lacking. The keto diet even removes fruits, but you’re getting enough fruits, when you’re on a keto diet, like you can’t even have a nice little strawberry. So yeah, you miss out on a lot of things that can be really good and really healthy for you.
Now, I’ve never done keto myself. But I think you said you experimented with doing keto for like a couple weeks because you wanted to try all the
Yeah, all the diets. I like internship, we, the other interns and I we went through this process where he like tested out therapeutic diets for two weeks at a time. Did you figure right if we’re recommending it to patients a lot more helpful if we have experience doing it. So we tried keto, and I’m gonna be honest, it was really bad for me. If I can’t have fruit, then I’m sad. Like, if I can’t eat a bowl of strawberries, I mean, you can like you just have to limit. But it was so sad to come home at the end of the day and not be able to have like my apple that I would usually have. Or like, you know, I have candy every day to not be able to have any candy at all. Or like a pretzel. You know, it just felt so strict. Like it was just really, really hard for me to do. And maybe TMI like because I no longer had any fruits or vegetables in my day or like very minimal. I was like really, really harsh on my digestive system. So like my GI tract was just a disaster. Because I’m used to the lack of fiber. Yeah, strict lack of fiber. Just like going from eating fruits and vegetables on a regular basis to not eating hardly any at all. I had cabbage a lot, which is not good. He’s very good either. So yeah, no, it was really hard. It was like the hardest one out of all the ones I tried. I know that there’s a good reason that a lot of people need to be on a keto diet, but to electively choose to be on a keto diet, having first hand experience, I would not recommend it.
Right. I always find it funny too. When you see like keto cookies and keto cakes, and all that. I feel like they’re there because that’s really like you just want to have like a cookie, but you’re gonna spend like six bucks on a shitty cookie. They don’t taste good. And they’re usually like, yeah, they’re usually not the lowest in calories, which a lot of times people do these things like keto because they’re trying to Find the fastest route to getting to the goal of whatever it is with their weight. You know, if they’re trying to lose weight or lose body fat, maybe they have like a body image that they’re that they perceive would make them happier. So they go and do something that’s overly restrictive, which just makes it really hard, right? When you can’t even have like a cookie. So then you have to replace it with a bush cookie, or, you know, a mud pie. Like it’s not, it’s not like the most enjoyable thing. And when you have the real thing, it tastes so much better that you’re going to have like six of them. I could have that would be like, like, a cycle that would happen, like repeatedly, just kind of like when I told you when I did paleo, I removed some food out of my diet. And then when I had anything that was off limits, it was like, Okay, well, now I feel like I just broke the rules. So, you know, on and off type of thing. And I feel like that another myth too, is that you can, like it’s okay to go on and off keto, like going every other day, like with carbs in your diet. And it’s, it’s really not even you’re not doing you’re not even I’m hearing even on keto, you’re, it’s just more of a, I guess a strategy in order to minimize your calorie intake. Um, plenty of studies out there that show you can be on a high carb, low fat diet, protein equal or on a high fat, low carb diet would protein equal, and then the results would be the same proteins lower and your calories are equated, then you’re going to have, you know, you’re not going to have the same results because there’s going to be more lean body mass, but in the sense of, if you get enough protein in your diet, having more or less carbohydrates shouldn’t be totally dependent on your food preference and what you enjoy most, if it’s difficult to stick to, it’s not a long term solution. If you find that having, you know, a higher carb approach makes it easier for you to be able to sustain your you know, that calorie deficit if the goal is weight loss, then do that carbohydrates are four calories per gram, fat is nine calories per gram. So you can be in a calorie surplus much easier having a high fat diet, then you can being in a you know, having carbohydrates in your diet. Sam, anything that you want to add to what we talked about stuff that come to your mind with Mr. associations with keto diet, and what would be a easier approach or what what’s your thoughts? Hmm,
I have a lot to say on keto. But I think the general thing of like carbs are bad is where like the idea of keto would be a good diet comes from and I am here to tell you that carbs are great. We love carbs. And you should eat carbs.
Real quick, some carbs or carbs are bad is that because like people are worried about like insulin or sugar like what like what are what’s the what’s the fear behind carbohydrates?
That’s a good question. I don’t know. It’s because it’s like out there, right? Like, I go on my Instagram and there’s so much food on my like search page, and I’m sure you have the same thing. And it’s like, there’s infographics and things galore that say like don’t have carbs, carbs are making you fat, etc, etc. Like maybe it’s the concern about the insulin spikes. Maybe it’s because they’ve seen something out in the world. That’s just not true. But I feel like the thing I hear all the time is that carbs are bad for you. They are killing us. And that’s the reason Americans are overweight. Like I feel like that is like the blanket statement that I hear all the time. But like really, carbs are so great.
If we so Carbo carbohydrates, in theory are bad for us. Why do we have insulin to begin with in our body?
That’s the question, john, why, why is the lie archive is bad? And the answer is they’re not unique cards when it comes to function. Because the live need carbs for us to move our bodies. We need carbs for our brains to work, we literally need carbs. And I think maybe and this is something that we have talked about separately before. Like maybe people think like, oh, when I have carbs, I’m gaining weight, but it’s not carbs that people are eating in excess. It’s probably like the sweet treats of like cakes and cookies or ice cream that like aren’t actually just carbohydrate sources. They’re the things that are like carbs paired with that, that make them taste delicious. And so if people are worried about gaining weight, it’s not like that carbs are causing the weight gain. It’s that having a calorie surplus Because there are certain foods that tastes absolutely delicious, and they’re eating those in addition to their normal diet. That’s where the weight gain comes from. Not necessarily. carts.
Right. So it’s not so much like the bread. It’s the the cheese and the pepperoni that go on the bread that makes the pizza. Yeah, I love what, you know, when people think of carbs. It’s a combination of ingredients that make super highly palatable. Yeah. Yeah, no 100% it’s probably Yeah, hard to not overeat on carbohydrates. But, in, in, in the process of how your body takes in carbohydrates versus fat, your body metabolizes, what, six to 8% of carbohydrates, when you take it in your body processes zero to 3%, when it takes it in thermic effect of just digesting So technically, if you’re having carbohydrates, it’s not a very like significant difference, but you’re actually going to expend slightly more energy, having carbohydrates, calorie per calorie than having dietary fat, all these things are important. So we’re not saying you should be on low fat diets or high carb diets or anything. We’re just saying, like, try to think more critically about making the choices you’re making with what you’re going to put into your body. If the goal is weight loss, or if the goal is weight gain, both of those have very different contexts with how we might apply, you know, the amount of that or the amount of carbohydrates or what type of things that you would want to have in your diet, based off of whatever your goal is. But my point is that if it’s not something you can see yourself doing forever, it’s not the solution. Now, it’s just a matter of time before you go back to your old habits, that you know, then it’s just going to be a vicious cycle of just trying the same thing over and over and over again, it’s like signing up for, you know, Weight Watchers, like 10 times, it’s like, clearly that isn’t working that point system, like maybe it’s finding something else, like maybe it’s any, like, you know, that’s just an example.
Yeah, um, example of a diet that is marketed to you because they take your money.
Yeah, um, cool. So, Sam, any last things we want to add? before we sign off?
I think we covered everything I had on my mind. How about you, john, anything else that we didn’t touch on that you want to? You know, cover before we we close out today?
Yeah, I mean, the only only time I would say, keto is a good diet is if you really enjoy those types of foods. That’s the only time if you really, really truly, really, really enjoyed those types of foods. And sure, but calories always matter. And if you’re having too much or too little, it’s going to impact how you feel and the results you’re gonna get. So I’ll leave it at that. Um,
yeah, no, I wholeheartedly agree. People need to do what’s good for them, what their body responds well to, and what makes them happy. The end of the day, no matter what diet it is, whether it’s keto probably shouldn’t be, or whether it’s something else, again, probably shouldn’t be. You got to do what works for you. And that’s, that’s all there is to eating really, at the end of the day. So with that, we’ve made it to the end. If you have listened this far, thank you so much. If you have questions or concerns or any comments, please reach out to us directly. Additionally, if you have suggestions for future topics, please do let us know we might start talking about random diets that we hear about in the, you know, diet world, because I think john, I have lots of opinions about those
questions are super helpful. Yeah, questions.
Definitely super helpful. Yeah. So reach out with questions. Give us other topic ideas that you want us to cover. And definitely if you want to meet with us schedule an appointment, you can reach out to us directly or sign up for a free nutrition console. With that, have a wonderful day and we will see you soon!