Ketosis: Lose FAT like a man

April 18, 2012 4:08 pm 0 comments

By Ana Castilla CISSN.

No, this is not an Axe advertisement. This is however for real men. Men that want to eat big, lift big and look dam good doing it!

Much unlike….

Johnny Skinny-Pants and his skinny soy caramel macchiato.

Pssttt Weaksauce!

Tell you what big boy. How about a nice hunk of real steak with all the rendered fat slammed on it? O yeah and a side of bacon please!

 And for the record, real men also drink their coffee black. No sugar. No soy. End of story.

Now that we’ve got that settled, let’s talk business.

These are your typical six-pack-shortcuts: Starving yourself1, low fat dieting, deliberate dehydration2, counting points, doing jumping jacks in the sauna3, puking your little guts out, etc4. Let’s see, not exactly what I would call an Alpha male! –Props for the product placement right Rick Collins?

So if you want to show off that six-pack, it is time for you to put the one you are currently drinking down, yes put it down buddy, and pay attention. 

Yes I understand that looking and performing good can come by different routes for different people. You can dive into a snickers-bar-induced coma on the weekend ala Tim Ferris for all I know. Do I think that will still get you results? It’s possible; do I think it’s the best option for the majority of the people? No, definitely not! I believe there is a better way to make your body incinerate fat stores while maintaining those pretty biceps of yours.

Even the leanest person out there has a full tank of fuel stored as fat. If I were to send you out to hunt and gather right now, you would find that the best, most efficient way to meet your energy demands would be to go for animal flesh and fat. There is no way that we would have evolved dependent on something as scarce and volatile as carbohydrate. No 7/11 slurpees in the old days now where there? Ok fine we are after all cement-jungle spoiled little brats, so maybe we wouldn’t catch much. Starve? No problem, that’s why we have fat stores to fuel us through bad hunting seasons, liver glycogen stores for our brains to make bad decisions and muscle glycogen stores to let us run away from saber tooth tigers5…or cops whatever situation you might find yourself in.

Wanna take a wild guess as to why most of us don’t constantly burn fat as fuel?

The reality is for those of us who gain weight just thinking about a twinkie (yes this is possible)12, insulin and therefore primarily carbohydrates are to blame13. Disclaimer: folks react very differently to the ingestion of carbohydrate, and this mostly depends on how well they picked their parents. Yes, I am aware, no need to go down that rabbit hole quite yet.

But how is a testosterone infested badass like you supposed to overcome this? Eat everything in moderation? Have a lean cuisine with a pink breast cancer awareness bow for lunch? I don’t think so!

I say we stop adding on the chub and use it as fuel? For this, more often than not, you want to be in this state called ketosis, state in which you are a fat burning machine6! Here you are creating ketones, by-products of fat metabolism that will fuel your daily endeavors straight from your own love handles, provided you ditch the carbs. It’s so easy you can do it in your sleep. Actually you already do 9 ,just because you are fasted10. Folks, I do believe at this point we are all grown up and we do not confuse ketosis and the pathological condition ketoacidosis.11

Lets low carb it and bring home the bacon, the additional fat will up-regulate all the enzymatic pathways that tell your body to burn your fat stores as fuel21. As it turn out it is almost impossible to tell just by looking at someone’s blood lipids if they are fasted or they are eating a high fat, ketogenic, diet13. As a matter of fact the escape of free fatty acids from your fat cells is directly a function of carbohydrate restriction28. The benefit of choosing this route over moderation? Fat is inherently the most satiating macro22 therefore you will probably find yourself in a calorie restricted state yet you will not be hungry, even when you are instructed to stuff yourself like it’s thanksgiving. The Holy grail of fat loss y’all!

I got you Ana you forgot that our brain likes sugar. Yes it does and it regulates it tightly in blood also; we are talking about 60-100mg/dl of glucose5. Ok that is less than ¼ of a slurpee, what happens with the rest? Since we might need it further down the road, we do have the capacity of storing about 70mg as liver glycogen and about 200mg in muscle5.You see how we can top of these stores quite quickly huh? With just about half of that skinny caramel macchiato. Now extra sugar in your bloodstream is so toxic (AGES* nasty! 14) that your body, by means of insulin, is willing to shove it all into your fat cells to save you from yourself.15

How do we get glucose to the brain without overdoing it? Here’s a quick lesson in calorie partitioning. Insulin is a hormone that can store glucose away in a variety of tissues. Say we were to reduce our calories from carbohydrate; we could then create a nice scenario in which our muscles, as well as fat cells, are a smidge resistant to this hormone insulin. That way there would be little to no glucose storage in muscle and fat cells, sparing it primarily for the brain13. In fact diet aids such as GH16 and Clenbuterol17/ephedrine18 cause insulin resistance. Aha! listen up hormones! I want you also to use this glucose to build lean muscle only, not fat! No problem. This ketogenic state will also make muscle cells have to increase their ability to use fat as fuel (ketones as fuel), while fat cells shrink away19. OUTSTANDING!

For you lets-eat-a-balanced-diet fellaws, It turns out that YES you can 30-30-40 starve yourself, apply moderation and get good results. 20 But I say everything in moderation including moderation! YOU want to be the most ripped kick ass version of yourself and thus YOU do not engage in this middle of the road mentality. You deserve to eat big and lose fat like a man….YOU need to find ketosis my friend!

Now because no one wants to be just a skinny weaksauce, we need to make sure we lose fat and come out at the end of this whole process with as much muscle mass as possible. Being able to utilize ketones efficiently will help23 .Nonetheless shoot for a protein intake closer to a 1-1.5g/kg of body weight24, heck even sprinkling in a hefty dose of BCCAs here and there. Keep in mind guys; if you increase your protein intake by a certain percentage I would decrease my fat intake accordingly. This may kick you out of ketosis now and then but not to worry, the adaptations remain 25. Your metabolic expenditure is going through the roof! 26

By increasing your fat consumption you will also increase the amount of free testosterone floating around your manly selves 27, this is the most primal signal that tells your body it’s time to get your groove on. Also how about you through in some resistance training while you’re at it, tell those muscles you need to keep them around29 30

But no we cannot make fat cry by sweating. Sorry folks.

I get it, you want to look good naked and also completely DESTROMINATE anything and anyone that tries to outperform you, including the dude doing a set of vanity biceps curls right next to you at your local LA fitness. Don’t blame you. Now depending on the sport/activity we are talking about ketosis might be still beneficial to performance26, provided you give your body time to keto-adapt 31 However you are not a beginner and everything is not gonna improve all at once champ. But it all comes down to choosing a goal.  Is your goal performance or is it body comp? What are the metabolic demands of your sport? 26You can chose to eat for ketosis enjoy lifting heavy things of the ground and put them back down as well as e-harmony long walks on the beach, or you may need to add in some extra carbs in the mix. Some electrolytes wouldn’t hurt either26

I do beg my fellow crossfiters or any other high intensity beat-down-dopamine-junkie to take a critical look at what I am suggesting here. If you are constantly draining that glycogen tank, you need to refuel it! 26 That does not mean you can’t EVER enter ketosis. I suggest you become a little scientist and play with this. You may want to surf the web and give a look a different carbohydrate timing protocols. But that is another bed time story I’m afraid.

For my super-lean-and-jacked-men-to-be, I hope that you will hence forth, leave that low fat blueberry muffin to your little sister and demolish that Bacon wrapped piece of sirloin. GET SOME!

*Advanced glycation end products.


1. Oppliger RA, Steen SA, Scott JR: Weight loss practices of college wrestlers. Int J Sport Nutr ExercMetab 2003, 13:29-46.

2. Cadwallader AB, de la Torre X, Tieri A, Botre F: The abuse of diuretics as performance enhancing drugs and masking agents in sport doping: pharmacology, toxicology and analysis. Br J Pharmacol 2010, 161:1-16.

3. Caldwell JE, Ahonen E, Nousiainen U: Differential effects of sauna-, diuretic-, and exerciseinduced hypohydration. J Appl Physiol 1984, 57:1018-1023.

4. Shephard RJ: Electrolyte manipulation in female body-builders. Br J Sports Med 1994, 28:60-

5. Berg JM, Tymoczko JL, Stryer L. Biochemistry. 5th edition. New York: W H Freeman; 2002.

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8. Cahill GF,Jr: Fuel metabolism in starvation. Annu Rev Nutr 2006, 26:1-22.

9. Veech RL, Chance B, Kashiwaya Y, Lardy HA, Cahill GF Jr. Ketone bodies, potential therapeutic uses. IUBMB Life. 2001; 51 :241-7.

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11. Lee P, Campbell L. Diabetic Ketoacidosis: the Usual Villain or a Scapegoat? A novel cause of severe metabolic acidosis in type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Care March 2008 vol. 31 no. 3 e13.

12. H. R. Berthoud, E. R. Trimble, E. G. Siegel, D. A. Bereiter, and B. Jeanrenaud: Cephalic-phase insulin secretion in normal and pancreatic islet-transplanted rats Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab April 1, 1980 238:(4) E336-E340

13 Rutger W. van der Meer, Sebastiaan Hammer, Hildo J. Lamb, Marijke Frölich, Michaela Diamant, Luuk J. Rijzewijk, Albert de Roos, Johannes A. Romijn, and Johannes W. A. Smit. Effects of Short-Term High-Fat, High-Energy Diet on Hepatic and Myocardial Triglyceride Content in Healthy Men JCEM 2008 93: 2702-2708; doi:10.1210/jc.2007-2524.

14 Singh, R.Barden, A.Mori, T.Beilin, L.Advanced glycation end-products: a review Diabetologia.2001-02-01.Springer Berlin / Heidelberg0012-186X.Medicine 129-146(44)2.

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16. Atsuko Takano, Tetsuro Haruta, Minoru Iwata, Isao Usui, Tatsuhito Uno, Junko Kawahara, Eiichi Ueno, Toshiyasu Sasaoka, and Masashi Kobayashi.Growth Hormone Induces Cellular Insulin Resistance by Uncoupling Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase and Its Downstream Signals in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes Diabetes August 2001 50:1891-1900; doi:10.2337/diabetes.50.8.1891

17. Shujia J. Pan, Joe Hancock, Zhenping Ding, Donovan Fogt, Mancheong Lee, and John L. Ivy:Effects of clenbuterol on insulin resistance in conscious obese Zucker rats Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab April 1, 2001 280:(4) E554-E561.

18. Bessey PQ, Brooks DC, Black PR, et al. Epinephrine acutely mediates

skeletal muscle insulin resistance. Surgery 1983; 94:172-77.

19. Phinney SD, Bistrian BR, Evans WJ, Gervino E, Blackburn GL: The human metabolic response to chronic ketosis without caloric restriction: preservation of submaximal exercise capability with reduced carbohydrate oxidation. Metabolism 1983, 32:769-776.

20. Johnston CS, Tjonn SL, Swan PD, White A, Hutchins H, Sears B. Ketogenic low-carbohydrate diets have no metabolic advantage over nonketogenic low-carbohydrate diets. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 May;83(5):1055-61.

21.Kreider RB, Rasmussen C, Kerksick CM, Wilborn C, Taylor L,4th, Campbell B, Magrans-Courtney T, Fogt D, Ferreira M, Li R, Galbreath M, Iosia M, Cooke M, Serra M, Gutierrez J, Byrd M, Kresta JY, Simbo S, Oliver J, Greenwood M: A carbohydrate-restricted diet during resistance training promotes more favorable changes in body composition and markers of health in obese women with and without insulin resistance. Phys Sportsmed 2011, 39:27-40.

22. Dirlewanger M, di Vetta V, Guenat E, Battilana P, Seematter G, Schneiter P, Jéquier E, Tappy L. Effects of short-term carbohydrate or fat overfeeding on energy expenditure and plasma leptin concentrations in healthy female subjects. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000 Nov;24(11):1413-8.

23. Paoli A, Canato M, Toniolo L, Bargossi AM, Neri M, Mediati M, Alesso D, Sanna G, Grimaldi KA,Fazzari AL, Bianco A: The ketogenic diet: an underappreciated therapeutic option? Clin Ter 2011,162:e145-e153.

24. Eaton SB, Cordain L, Sparling PB: Evolution, body composition, insulin receptor competition, and insulin resistance. Prev Med 2009, 49:283-285.

25. Westman EC, Mavropoulos J, Yancy WS, Volek JS: A Review of Low-carbohydrate Ketogenic Diets. Curr Atheroscler Rep 2003,5(6):476-483.

26. Phinney SD: Ketogenic diets and physical performance. Nutr Metab (Lond) 2004, 1:2.

27. Timothy J. A. Key, Liane Roe, Margaret Thorogood, John W. Moore, Graham M. G. Clark and Dennis Y. Wang (1990). Testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulin, calculated free testosterone, and oestradiol in male vegans and omnivores. British Journal of Nutrition, 64 , pp 111-119 doi:10.1079/BJN19900014

28. S. Klein and R. R. Wolfe: Carbohydrate restriction regulates the adaptive response to fasting Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab May 1, 1992 262:(5) E631-E636

29. K De Bock, EA Richter, AP Russell, BO Eijnde, W Derave, M Ramaekers, E Koninckx, B Léger, J Verhaeghe, and P Hespel.Exercise in the fasted state facilitates fibre type-specific intramyocellular lipid breakdown and stimulates glycogen resynthesis in humans. J Physiol. 2005 April 15; 564(Pt 2): 649–660. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2005.083170

30. Bodine SC. mTOR signaling and the molecular adaptation to resistance exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006 Nov;38(11):1950-7.

31. McClernon FJ, Yancy WS,Jr, Eberstein JA, Atkins RC, Westman EC: The effects of a lowcarbohydrate ketogenic diet and a low-fat diet on mood, hunger, and other self-reported symptoms. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2007, 15:182-187.

 About the Author:  Ana Castilla CISSN is a Biology major at Nova Southeastern University who is a certified sports nutritionist from the International Society of Sport Nutrition. She gives Paleo Diet nutrition lectures at Crossfit affiliates such as 911 Crossfit and City. 



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