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I was researching the ketogenic diet and as I understand it, it's basically the same as Atkins except that it allows for a high fat intake. Also, under a ketogenic diet you have days where you 'carb up' to replenish your system.

Is it bad to be on a ketogenic diet when you're not going to the gym? Does the high fat intake of this diet have a bad effect if you're not working your muscles? Is it better to be on an Atkins diet if you have a sedentary lifestyle?

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3 Answers

Atkins is a ketogenic diet. I've never heard of anyone taking days to "carb up" on a ketogenic diet, but I haven't heard of everything, and the Cyclic Ketogenic Diet apparently takes this approach. A very high intake of carbs will stop the ketosis and switch you back to carb-fueled energy, and it typically takes 3 days to switch back to ketosis. The amount of carbs generally needed to make the switch as I understand it is somewhere more than 9g of carbs in less than an hour, depending on the person and how their body processes the sugars.

Atkins dieters usually go heavy on the protein, and there's ample research that shows that excess protein is extremely bad for you. Your body will leach calcium from your bones in order to flush the excess from your body. Your body can handle more protein without losing calcium if you are working out fairly heavy, but still not enough to cover as much as many of the people I've seen on Atkins take in.

Fat, on the other hand, is turned into ketones for energy, and is then either burned or flushed from your body in sweat, saliva, urine, etc.

In summary, the higher protein intake is much worse for you than the higher fat intake if you are NOT working out. Whether or not extended periods of ketosis are bad for you in general is still a matter of debate.

Referring to AlexC's answer, losing weight and keeping it off requires a lot more than just going on a diet for a while. It requires a dedication to a lifestyle change, including exercise and long-term healthier eating habits and goals. It's well worth it, though, your moods will be better, you'll sleep better, feel better, etc.

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Atkins dieters usually go heavy on the protein, and there's ample research that shows that excess protein is extremely bad for you. How much excess is bad? If you consume less than your daily energy requirements will the protein not be burned for energy like carbs? –  Mr. Roland Dec 11 '12 at 15:03
    
Excess protein leaches calcium from your body, taking it from your bones if you don't have enough free. There are some basic calculations for the amount of protein you need in my answer on "Protein: How Much is Too Much?" –  Nathan Wheeler Dec 11 '12 at 17:58
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The Cyclic Ketogenic Diet involves carb loading (usually measured precisely so you do not carb overload) in order to allow you to perform in the gym. This is an intrinsic part of the diet, and if you don't carb up and go to the gym, you won't be doing CKD.

However, it's certainly possible (whether it is recommended is another thing) to be on a diet that induces ketosis, which can be any low carb diet. If you don't eat much (lets say in the order of 50g a day) carbs, then after 3 or 4 days you'll probably be in ketosis. (There are other things to avoid, such as citric acid, but let's not go into details here.) Going to the gym can speed that along, but eventually you'll be in ketosis and even, once you're over the hump, it won't be all that bad.

Now, the reality check: You will find it hard to lose weight and keep it off without a lifestyle change that involves finding an exercise you enjoy. And if you do, it probably wont be healthy. Sorry.

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> then after 3 or 4 days you'll probably be in ketosis. Why 3 or 4 days? I thought you will enter ketosis as soon as your body burns through your carb reserves. This may take longer or shorter depending on how much energy you are expending and how much carbs you have stored(glycogen). –  Mr. Roland Dec 11 '12 at 14:59
    
Yes, you will enter ketosis once you burn through carb reserves. Typically, for me it takes 3 days to just about get into ketosis if I don't go to the gym. When I do go to the gym it still usually takes 3 days, but by the end of the 3rd day I'll be deeper in ketosis. Obviously, your mileage may vary. I do mention that going to the gym will speed the process along. –  AlexC Dec 12 '12 at 20:14
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No its wrong ... See the carb up period is not to improve your workout, a carb up phase can only stimulates your pancreas to release insulin and. shoot the new glucose. Into blood so to be stored as muscle glycogen but it won't improve a workout rather help rebuild some muscle because insulin is an anabolic agent. So why do we carb up other than an anabolic advantage ? It is to keep the metabolism Intact see in a situation of prolonged carb fasting the thyroid harmone t4 shifs to t3 which slowers your metabolism thus lowering bmr and leading to lesser thermogenesis I.e. The main goal while burning fat initiated through glucagon and harmone sensitive lipase as a result of lowered insulin levels and blunting atp citrate lypase ....so our job is to keep insulin low but no so less that it would blunt thyroid t4 that is where carb up becomes necessary.

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Nice answer. Is there any supporting links for your answer that you can share with. –  Freakyuser Apr 30 '13 at 15:02
    
Freaky user I am a master trainer Myself but still a page from my mentor keleven.com/blog/sports-nutrition/my-pre-contest-diet –  Dishank Nagpal Apr 30 '13 at 17:23
    
Thank you very much for the answer, being a master trainer you took the pains to help people here. Welcome to the community and thank you very much for the links too. –  Freakyuser May 1 '13 at 7:34
    
@DishankNagpal, your contributions would be valuable to this site in progress: area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/44550/nutrition. Please upvote the questions with less than 10 upvotes to get the site up and running. –  Mew May 1 '13 at 10:53
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