Posted on May 10 2018
Carbs and Ketogenic Nutrition
A common belief is that post-workout meals have to be high in carbs. The reason for this belief is that a meal high in carbohydrates will increase insulin which will increase amino acid uptake and promote muscle protein synthesis. However, loading your body with large amounts of post-workout carbs is not as effective as you may think. In fact, to get the maximal effect of protein synthesis, you only need a small amount of insulin.
This doesn't mean you should avoid carbs altogether. Depending on the type of exercise, you may benefit from small carb ups. Just keep in mind that if you include extra carbs, time them wisely round your workouts or later in the day rather than having a high-carb breakfast meal.
Protein and Ketogenic Nutrition
The primary factor in muscle protein synthesis is your protein intake, specifically leucine. Leucine is an essential amino acid that triggers muscle protein synthesis. It has been shown that blood levels of leucine increase when in keto-adapted state (protein-sparing effect of ketogenic diets). You don't need to over-consume protein to benefit from muscle protein synthesis - just eat adequate amounts to fit your needs. What actually maximises muscle anabolism after resistance exercise is leucine and not the insulin response if you were to eat carbs.
Fat and Ketogenic Nutrition
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat diet. However, it is not recommended to eat high-fat meals immediately after a workout. A high-fat meal would slow digestion of post-workout protein intake - this is not desirable for weight loss or muscle gain. I will include more details about the optimal fat intake in an upcoming post.