We know that the ketogenic diet can be an effective weight-loss method as it feeds off of fat storage. But there's been debate as to whether this low-carb, high-fat way of eating can eventually eat away at your muscle mass when there isn't enough supply of fat. Additionally, you may be wondering how someone on this diet would have a sufficient amount of energy to work out, let alone build muscle, since keto calls for carb minimization. We spoke with Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies, and Swisse Wellness consultant. Good news for all those on keto or looking to try it: the risk of losing muscle mass is low.
"With any weight-loss plan, a small amount of muscle will be lost, however, as long as the body has stored fat cells, there will be fat cells to burn," Erin told POPSUGAR. In order to reach a state of nutritional ketosis, your diet should consist of 70 to 80 percent fat, 15 to 20 percent protein, and five to 10 percent carbs. This allows you to burn fat for energy.
"The research on ketogenic diets and low-carbohydrate diets has not found there to be a higher level of muscle mass loss than when compared to calorie-restricted meal plans with a higher level of carbohydrate," Erin said.
However, when following any kind of meal plan, especially one that restricts certain macronutrients like keto does, it's critical that you prevent any deficiencies. Erin suggests taking a high-quality multivitamin to compensate for a low-carb intake to keep your energy levels in balance. It's also important that you get enough sleep to preserve muscle.
"The last few hours of sleep is when muscle tissue regenerates and rebuilds," she said. "Lack of sleep may increase loss of muscle tissue."
But as far as muscle loss and keto goes, you shouldn't experience drastic decline as long as you take care of your body.