Haven’t you heard the news? You don’t have to kick all carbs to the curb to see your body composition goals!
No diet has captured the public’s eye quite like Keto. The Atkins Diet received fleeting fame, the Grapefruit Diet’s come and gone several times – even the Baby Food Diet made a splash on the news. But nothing seems to have the staying power of Keto.
No wonder, with amazing, muscle-sparing results and shocking transformation photos inspiring others to take the plunge and strip their nutrition bare with one of the most intensely structured diet plans.
Keto achieved critical acclaim through its novel approach to shifting your body’s main fuel source from the glucose stored in both your muscles and fat, to Ketones stored only in fat, protecting muscle gains, and selectively melting the pounds off.
But it’s the unique lifestyle-adverse approach to achieving body composition goals is why so many fall off the wagon after being stuck in a cycle of emotionally draining successes and failures.
Keto is Hard
No one warns you about the notorious Keto-Flu or the impossibility of going out to eat with friends. Not to mention – it’s simply not healthy for everyone! If you’re a slow oxidizer and inefficiently convert food to body-available energy, taking away all fast-energy yielding carbs will leave you tired, discouraged, and irritable.
But if it’s results you’re after and not the badge of honor that comes with making it through the trenches of Ketosis? You’re in luck.
Here are 3 evidence-backed alternative diets to help you achieve your body composition goals without short-changing your zest for life!
1. The Low Carb Diet
The Low Carb Diet ups your carbs from just below 50g, to 20% of your daily intake. This diet increases the amount of protein to 3-3.4g/kg of Lean Body Mass. Fats fill in the rest of your calories (make sure you’re getting your essential 0.8g/kg LBM!)
It may be difficult to imagine eating all this protein. But, since you no longer have the muscle-sparing effect of running off of ketones instead of glucose, you need that much more to prevent your body from converting hard-earned muscle gains into fuel.
On the plus side? You can enjoy more carbohydrates!! Stick to fibrous starchy carbs, adding in High GI carbs to pre- and post-training windows to promote stable blood sugar, lessen muscle protein breakdown, and replenish glycogen stores after your workout.
Bonus: Studies show that timing your carb-consumption around training can suppress cortisol and lessen stress, so if you’re feeling irritable, unable to train effectively, and your energy keeps plummeting – try adding some carbs back into your diet for the ultimate mood booster.
2. High Carb Diet
Still not satisfying the Carb-Hungry Cookie Monster in you?
Bump up to the High Carb Diet. Keep your protein intake at 2.6-3g/kg of LBM, and up your carb intake to 50-60% of your caloric total. If there’s not enough room to squeeze in your essential fat levels, reduce your carb consumption.
You will never be at a loss for carbs with this diet – you may actually struggle to eat them all!
This plan is great for:
- Lean clients looking to fine-tune their body composition goals.
- Very Carb Tolerant Clients with high insulin sensitivity and elevated nervous system activity.
- Ectomorphs (slow oxidizers) who need fast sources of energy to maintain energy levels and manage cortisol (the stress hormone) throughout the day.
Struggle with insomnia? Try consuming your carbs right before bed. Studies show this helps suppress cortisol and increases serotonin, creating more melatonin (sleep hormone) which reduces stress and promotes a good night’s sleep.
3. The Isocaloric Diet
Hate tracking calories and don’t have time to craft a meal plan in addition to cooking for your family and your other obligations? Try the Isocaloric Diet.
Similar to the average western diet, the Isocaloric diet is popular because of how easily it fits into your lifestyle.
This diet uses a balanced blend of macros. Try a 40:30:30 split of protein, carbs, and fats on non-training days, with a 40:40:20 split on high-intensity workout days to optimize your gains.
The best thing about this diet? How familiar it feels, and how it only encourages compromise on quantity, rather than limiting certain macros to specific meals.
So if you try Keto, and find you struggle to get into Ketosis, it doesn’t fit with your lifestyle, and leaves you feeling cranky and tired throughout the day?
Give the Low Carb, High Carb, or Isocaloric Diet a go! You might be surprised how much it changes your life.