The Ketogenic Diet

The Ketogenic Diet was created by Lyle McDonald. This low carbohydrate diet is based on the notion of ketosis. The low carbohydrate aspect of this diet makes it similar to the Atkins and the South Beach diets. What makes this diet different from other low carbohydrate diets is that it focuses heavily on exercise. Furthermore, the Ketogenic Diet is utilized for more than just weight loss; this is a popular diet for individuals who suffer from epilepsy.

The Premise

By forcing the body into ketosis, you force the body to start breaking down fat storages for energy. This occurs when the body does not have an adequate supply of carbohydrates to utilize for energy.

When following this diet, individuals will need to begin by determining daily caloric needs. McDonald utilizes the medically based notion that eating fewer calories than the body burns per day will lead to weight loss. This concept is a major difference between the Ketogenic Diet and other low carbohydrate diets.

McDonald states that to lose fat, individuals must create a calorie deficit. McDonald recommends to create this calorie deficit by combining a diet that has you eating 20 percent fewer calories than your body burns a day, combined with at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.

The Diet

The Ketogenic Diet has individuals switching meal plans on weekends and weekdays. Weekdays are low carbohydrate days, while the weekends are considered carb-loading phases.

While remaining within your daily calorie requirements, during the week individuals are supposed to consume 1 g of lean protein for each pound of lean mass weight; the remaining calories are to come from fat sources.

During the weekend carb-loading phase, dieters are allowed to eat basically any carbohydrate, but should aim to still remain in their calorie range. It is recommended that individuals get 15 to 20 g of carbohydrates per pound of lean body mass, along with 1 g of lean protein for each pound of lean body mass.


The Ketogenic Diet recommends that individuals do aerobic exercise at least three times a week. For fat loss, it is recommended that dieters complete 4 to 5 days of aerobic exercise. Individuals are recommended to complete between 20 to 45 minutes of daily aerobic exercise. This aerobic exercise is combined with a stringent strength training program.

What to Get Excited About

Compared to other low carbohydrate diets, the Ketogenic diet allows for you to carbohydrate-load every weekend, helping you avoid binges and boredom when on this diet.

A major benefit of the Ketogenic Diet, especially for athletes, is that the high protein aspect of this diet combined with its heavy focus on exercise should allow for individuals to maintain their lean muscle mass while still losing weight. On many other diets, individuals lose muscle in combination with fat.

Things to Consider

Low carbohydrates are not recommended for all individuals. Certain individuals will experience side effects such as headaches, dizziness and low energy levels when following a low carbohydrate diet. Due to this, it may be difficult for certain individuals to remain on the Ketogenic Diet long-term.


Some people thrive on the Ketogenic diet. It has shown to help some athletes cut down their body fat to the lowest levels of their life. While the diet may be confusing at first, dieters appear to adjust quickly to this diet and experience success when following the Ketogenic meal plan and exercise routine.


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