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Does Keto Diet Work for Build Muscle Mass? (+ Schedule and hazards)

I regularly receive questions in my mailbox about the keto diet. That's why I decided to dedicate an article to it.

The idea of ​​the ketone diet is to get your body into a state called ketosis where you stop burning carbohydrates as the main source of energy and instead use fat stores as a source of energy.

Read on quickly!

In this article you will learn everything you need to know about the keto diet:

  • How to get into ketosis as quickly as possible
  • What You NEVER Want To Do Once You're In Ketosis
  • The Potential Dangers of the Keto Diet
  • A keto diet example nutrition schedule
  • What you can and can't eat on the keto diet
  • And much, much more.
Keto Diet  for Build Muscle Mass

What is a ketogenic diet?

The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. Following this diet is a great tool for fat burning and weight loss.

With this diet, the carbohydrate intake is drastically limited and the calorie deficit (that arises) is compensated with an increased amount of fats.

Once this happens, your body will create molecules (ketones) from fats. In short, because the glycogen stores are depleted by the keto diet, your body will automatically switch to fat as the main source of energy.

State of ketosis

Ketosis is a state where the body enters fat-burning mode. Once your body is in ketosis, ketones are used for energy instead of glucose. Even the brain then uses ketones for energy.

Ketone bodies are derived from fat and are a much more stable source of energy than glucose, which comes from carbohydrates.

To get into the state of ketosis, the amount of insulin in the bloodstream has to drop drastically. The lower your insulin level, the higher your ketone production.

Blood test ketosis

One way to see if you are in a state of ketosis is to measure the ketones in the blood or urine. High amounts of ketones in your blood is proof that your insulin is very low and that you are enjoying the maximum effects of the diet.

Blood ketones are best measured in the morning on an empty stomach.

You can interpret the blood results as follows:

  • Below 0.5 mmol/l is not considered ketosis. At this level, you are a long way from maximum fat burning.
  • Between 0.5-1.5, mmol/l is light ketosis. You notice some effect on your body weight, but not optimally.
  • For fat burning and maximum weight loss, the optimal ketosis state is between 1.5 and 3 mmol/l.

Anything above 3 mmol/l is unnecessary. That is, you will not achieve better or worse results than at the 1.5-3 level. A higher number can sometimes also mean that you are not getting enough food.

After how many days in ketosis?

I am often asked how long it takes to get into ketosis. On average it takes 4 days. If you don't exercise, assume that it takes an average of a week before you get into the state of ketosis.

Your body will enter the state of ketosis once the glycogen stores are completely depleted.

The only problem is that you can get out of ketosis if you eat too many carbohydrates. A cheat day is therefore not included. Once out of ketosis, the body needs time to adjust again. So keep that in mind.

Keto Diet: What Can You Eat?

The most important thing to remember to achieve and maintain the state of ketosis is to avoid consuming too many carbohydrates.

The keto diet will make a big difference in your current diet. For the sake of convenience, let's take a look at the Western diet, say what the average adult consumes in a day.

In that case, you will drop considerably in the number of carbohydrates, the number of proteins will increase somewhat and the intake of fats will rise sharply.

Bodybuilders will probably be shocked by the large amounts of fat they have to eat. The protein intake also decreases somewhat.

Why drop in protein you ask? Eating more protein than your body needs is also not wise with the keto diet. Excess proteins are converted into glucose and used as an energy substrate.

This is what the macronutrient ratio looks like with the keto diet:

  • Carbohydrates: 5-10%
  • Fats: 70-75%
  • Protein: 15-20%

So how do you create an optimal diet plan based on the keto diet? By starting to calculate the proteins and fats. Especially if you're just starting keto, it's best to keep your carbs below 50 grams per day.

Are you panicking now? No worries! Because to count the carbohydrates you use net carbohydrates. By that I mean you can pull the fibers off.

Let's take an avocado as an example, this delicious fruit is full of unsaturated fats. On average, an avocado contains 12 grams of carbohydrates, of which 10 grams is fiber. This means an avocado has a net of 2 grams of carbohydrates.

So you can continue to eat certain foods as long as you stay below your net carbohydrate limit.


If you want to know how many grams of protein you can eat with the keto diet, here's a simple calculation for you:

  • 1.3 to 2 grams of protein per kg of fat-free mass.

You can calculate your fat free mass by first measuring your fat percentage . Suppose you weigh 81 kg with a fat percentage of 15%.

Then the calculation is as follows:

81 x 0.15 = 12 kg of fat mass.

81 kg – 12 kg = 69 fat-free mass

69 kg x 1.3 – 2 grams of protein = 90 to 140 grams of protein per day.

  • Note: eating more protein is NOT better if you follow the keto diet. You then run the risk that your body will not go into ketosis as deeply. So a maximum of 2 grams per kg of fat-free mass!

To give you an impression of what you can eat with the keto diet, I'll give you some examples below:

  • Red meat (burgers, horse meat, beef, pork, bacon, sausage, salami, ham)
  • Poultry (turkey, chicken, duck, pheasant, goose)
  • Fish (herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, perch, trout, tuna, anchovy)
  • Shellfish (mussels, shrimp, seafood, crab, squid, lobster)
  • Dairy products (all types of cheese)
  • Eggs
  • Fats (linseed oil, fish oil, butter, olive oil, coconut oil)
  • Nuts (cashews, hazelnuts, pine nuts, walnuts, almonds)
  • Vegetables (asparagus, avocado, cabbage, celery, lettuce, cucumber, garlic, mushrooms, onions, bell pepper, spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, olives)
  • Beverage (water, green tea, diet soda in moderation)

Fruits are better avoided as high sugars confuse the state of ketosis. What you may not realize is that you can get enough vitamins (such as vitamin C) and minerals from meat and vegetables.

keto diet plan

I have put together a sample feeding schedule for you. The handy thing about a nutrition plan is that you know for sure that the required calories are eaten in a day. You also no longer have to think and fear whether you are meeting the right macronutrient ratio.

Following a food schedule does have one major drawback: it can get boring to eat the same thing every day. That is why variety is important. So it can be useful to put together a feeding schedule for yourself, with which you can alternate.

Example keto diet plan:

  • Meal 1: 4 boiled eggs and a slice of cheddar cheese
  • Meal 2: protein shake and 2 tablespoons CalvĂ© peanut butter
  • Meal 3: Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad (without the toasted pieces of bread!)
  • Meal 4: steak (150 grams), broccoli (100 grams), olive oil 1 tsp, mayonnaise 1 tsp, mushrooms (50 grams)
  • Meal 5 (1 hour before training): canned tuna pieces in olive oil with 1 tsp linseed oil
  • Meal 6: Hamburger with cheese slice
  • Meal 7: casseine protein shake (25 grams) with cashew nuts (50 grams)

Is the ketosis diet dangerous?

The change from glucose as a primary energy source to ketones can have both positive and negative side effects.

The negative side effects of the keto diet can be expected especially in the first weeks. Your body is forced to use fats as an energy source and that can cause physical and mental discomfort. In the first weeks, there is also a lot of fluid loss, which can cause physical stress.

What makes the keto diet dangerous? Critics argue that the keto diet only works in the short term and is unhealthy. Once your body enters ketosis, you will become extremely fatigued, making it more difficult to function properly.

It's also the very restrictive way of eating that can break you down. You have to constantly watch what you eat to avoid carbohydrates. Friends and family probably won't understand. Social outings can suffer. A visit to a restaurant also brings difficulties.

But is the ketosis diet dangerous?

No, not if you follow it the right way. The keto diet is only harmful if you get too few calories and good nutrients in the long term.

5 Benefits of the keto diet

The benefits of the keto diet are comparable to those of an extremely low-carb diet.

The effect may be even greater, as proteins may be eaten in lesser amounts.

This increases the ketones in your body and lowers insulin even more.

#1: maximum fat burning and weight loss

Switching your body to a fat-burning machine has optimal benefits for weight loss. Fat burning will increase enormously while insulin - the fat-storage hormone - decreases sharply. This provides ideal conditions in which fat loss can occur without suffering from hunger attacks.

Multiple scientific studies have shown that low-carb and ketogenic diets are the most effective for fat burning and weight loss ( source source ).

#2: belly fat is tackled

Not all fat in the body is the same. It is mainly the place where fat is stored that determines whether it affects our health.

We have subcutaneous fat (under the skin) and visceral fat (in the abdominal cavity). Visceral fat is dangerous because it surrounds the organs. Lots of fat in that area can cause inflammation and insulin resistance.

The keto diet (as well as the low-carb diet) is very effective in reducing harmful belly fat. A large part of the fat that is burned comes from the abdominal area ( source ). Over time, this leads to a drastic reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

#3: Type 2 Diabetes Is Reversible

A low-carbohydrate diet is very effective for reversing type 2 diabetes. This has been shown by several quality studies ( source, source ).

The main problem with type 2 diabetes is high blood sugar, and the sugar in the blood comes from the carbohydrates we eat. If you consume fewer carbohydrates, it is also easier to control your blood sugar level.

#4: has an anti-epileptic effect

The ketogenic diet is a proven medical therapy for children with epilepsy. Several studies have proven that the keto diet drastically reduces seizures in children ( source ).

It has also recently been successfully tested in adults with epilepsy, with similarly good results.

#5: helps against acne

Scientific research has proven that the keto diet helps reduce acne. This is due to the hormonal changes that the diet entails ( source ).

5 Dangers of the keto diet

Like any diet, the keto diet has some drawbacks, which can even be dangerous for people in poor health.

#1: Malnutrition and Vitamin Deficiency

Limiting fruit and a one-sided diet can lead to a vitamin deficiency, which is unhealthy in the long run.

To prevent this, it is important that you take extra supplements (multivitamins) and eat foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals.

#2: bad breath

Although it is not a direct threat to your health, it is not pleasant if you smell from your mouth. People often report bad breath once they reach full ketosis. This is caused by elevated ketone levels. The specific culprit is acetone, a ketone that leaves the body through urine and breath ( source ).

#3 weight loss

Weight loss will probably be the main reason you want to start the keto diet. Keep in mind that rapid weight loss can occur during the first weeks. This is mainly due to cutting carbohydrates from your diet, which causes fluid loss ( source ). It is therefore important that you keep an eye on your weight and physical health.

#4: Digestive Problems

The keto diet involves a drastic switch to other foods. Carbohydrates are forbidden. Drastically cutting carbohydrates from your diet can lead to side effects such as constipation and diarrhea.

#5: keto flu

Removing carbohydrates from your diet can cause fatigue. Users talk about 'brain fog', nausea, and feeling like the flu. However, these side effects disappear over time.

Keto diet experiences

Most experiences of people, both bodybuilders, and non-athletes are downright positive. For many, it is an efficient fat-burning and weight loss method. Some people even experienced a mental clarity and energy that they haven't had in a long time: ' I woke up feeling strong, confident and fitter and looking forward to the day!'

What people did have trouble with is that the diet is very strict

. Eating too many carbohydrates can cause you to get out of ketosis. It then takes an average of five days for the body to use the carbohydrates, which are stored as glycogen. This is not motivating and makes it difficult to maintain the diet in the long term.

Build muscle mass in ketosis?

Can you build muscle mass with the keto diet?

In practice, there are people who claim to have gained muscle mass with the keto diet.

However, there is no scientific literature to support building muscle mass with the keto diet.

The keto diet is effective for fat burning and weight loss. However, if you want to grow a lot of muscle mass in a short time, I do not recommend the keto diet. By omitting carbohydrates from your diet, you can train less intensively than you are used to.

With the keto diet, you are often only able to complete a moderate-intensity workout.

Eating enough carbohydrates is also important for rapid muscle building due to anabolic efficiency (insulin). I'm not saying it's impossible to build muscle on a high-fat diet, but it's far from optimal.

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