Cardio & Fat Loss on Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet is a treatment protocol for children with epilepsy, a disorder that occurs when the brain produces electrical signals that lead to seizures. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, the ketogenic diet forces the body to burn fat stores instead of glucose for energy. Bodybuilders also use a form of the ketogenic diet. The targeted keto diet is a variation of the ketogenic plan that increases energy for cardio workouts.

A young boy riding a bicycle outside. Credit: Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Diet

The targeted keto diet follows the basic ketogenic plan until right before a workout. In a traditional ketogenic diet, you focus on proteins and fats in meals. Reducing carbohydrates reduces the energy available from foods. When your body cannot get energy from food sources, it turns to fat stores. It is unclear why this diet helps children with epilepsy, but for those who want to lose weight, the benefit is obvious. You burn off body fat on a ketogenic plan.

Cardio Workouts

Cardiovascular workouts increase the heart rate for extended periods. If you are on the ketogenic diet, you might have difficulty finding energy reserves for cardio exercise. This is why the targeted keto diet can be effective. Right before working out, you load up on high-carbohydrate foods, which provide fuel to burn while exercising. During inactivity, your body burns fat. In periods of high intensity, such as aerobics, the body finds fuel from carbohydrates that can sustain the movement.

Benefits

There is little doubt that one key to maintaining a healthy weight is exercise. Cardiovascular workouts burn off energy and improve musculature so the body works more efficiently. However, it can be hard to reduce body fat. This is where a ketogenic diet may help. By reducing daily carbohydrates, the body must look for other sources of energy, and it is forced to use fat reserves. Loading up on carbohydrates right before exercise provides energy when you need it.

Considerations

In theory, a ketogenic diet that increases carbohydrate loads for cardio exercise seems perfect. However, the side effects of a ketogenic diet can include dehydration, malnutrition and constipation. According to the Mayo Clinic website, ketogenic plans also can lead to kidney stones. In addition, the ketogenic diet does not give you the nutrition you need to be healthy. Instead, try cutting portion sizes and counting calories; this also can force your body to burn fat while still providing you with balanced nutrition, including proteins, carbohydrates, fiber and fat. As with any diet, you should discuss a ketogenic diet with your doctor.

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