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    Question Keto vs eating carbs when gaining muscle and about testosterone

    So I've been reading that low carb diets lead to low testosterone and that carbs are also muscle sparing. If the keto community argues that ketones replace glucose from carbs for energy, does that mean that testosterone no longer drops and ketones are now muscle sparing?

    Which one is it?
    Weighted calisthenics>weights anyday. Relative strength>absolute strength

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    Unfortunately the science on this isn't conclusive.

    Keto is no problem for testosterone though. And cutting on keto seems to work for many people without significant muscle loss.
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    Originally Posted by Animal2692 View Post
    So I've been reading that low carb diets lead to low testosterone and that carbs are also muscle sparing. If the keto community argues that ketones replace glucose from carbs for energy, does that mean that testosterone no longer drops and ketones are now muscle sparing?

    Which one is it?
    As long as your calories aren’t insanely low, there’s no reason keto would be the problem.

    Really, in regards to testosterone, a diet too low in fat would have more implications. It’s best just to not go too far low in any macronutrient for a long period of time, especially if you’re dieting on lower calories.
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    Some people react badly to carbs especially when in a deficit. So it can be easier to stick to a low carb diet (probably doesn't have to be strictly ketogenic) if you are one of those people.
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    Unfortunately the science on this isn't conclusive.

    Keto is no problem for testosterone though. And cutting on keto seems to work for many people without significant muscle loss.
    What about for gaining muscle? Are ketones just as efficient as carbs for energy?
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    Originally Posted by Animal2692 View Post
    What about for gaining muscle? Are ketones just as efficient as carbs for energy?
    After adaptation (~2 weeks) people have plenty of energy on keto. That's not the issue.

    What I imagine is hard on keto is eating 3500 kcal (my bulking calories). Thank god I'm allowed to eat carbs.

    I don't think we have good studies of bulking on keto. Well there's one but the lead author has credibility issues (J. Wilson).
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    After adaptation (~2 weeks) people have plenty of energy on keto. That's not the issue.

    What I imagine is hard on keto is eating 3500 kcal (my bulking calories). Thank god I'm allowed to eat carbs.

    I don't think we have good studies of bulking on keto. Well there's one but the lead author has credibility issues (J. Wilson).
    I see. Well anyways I was just curious, I was telling my friend how carbs are non essential and he mentioned the testosterone issue and then I wondered if ketones make up for it. I myself eat carbs whether I'm cutting or bulking.
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    Originally Posted by Animal2692 View Post
    I see. Well anyways I was just curious, I was telling my friend how carbs are non essential and he mentioned the testosterone issue and then I wondered if ketones make up for it. I myself eat carbs whether I'm cutting or bulking.
    That one study by Wilson actually showed testosterone improved a bit. No wonder, high monounsaturated and high saturated fat will do that.
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    Originally Posted by Animal2692 View Post
    I see. Well anyways I was just curious, I was telling my friend how carbs are non essential and he mentioned the testosterone issue and then I wondered if ketones make up for it. I myself eat carbs whether I'm cutting or bulking.
    Frankly I find it silly when people use the 'carbs aren't essential' argument in favor of KETO.

    Not-essential to SURVIVE? Sure, you could probably say that...

    But then the healthiest and longest-lived cultured on the planet ALL have diets consisting of either moderate or HIGH carb diets... so... I'm not sure sure only doing the minimum possible to not die is the same as doing what is best for our bodies.

    In theory I could survive on nothing but potatoes... doesn't mean I should.
    The power of carbs compels me!
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    Originally Posted by AdamWW View Post
    But then the healthiest and longest-lived cultured on the planet ALL have diets consisting of either moderate or HIGH carb diets... so... I'm not sure sure only doing the minimum possible to not die is the same as doing what is best for our bodies.
    That's just observational though. It in no way proves that carbs are necessary for health.

    There aren't any cultures that eat properly composed keto diets. Maybe they'll live even longer, who knows.

    Not that I'm trying to promote the keto diet. I'd rather eat my fruit and whole grains and pizza.
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    That's just observational though. It in no way proves that carbs are necessary for health.

    There aren't any cultures that eat properly composed keto diets. Maybe they'll live even longer, who knows.

    Not that I'm trying to promote the keto diet. I'd rather eat my fruit and whole grains and pizza.
    'carbs are necessary for health' is kind of nebulous concept.


    What are you defining as 'necessary for health'?

    I would argue that ALL the best evidence we have suggests that in order to OPTIMIZE health, yes, you need to consume foods that contain carbohydrates, because both fiber and phytonutrients lead to better health outcomes.
    The power of carbs compels me!
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    Originally Posted by AdamWW View Post
    'carbs are necessary for health' is kind of nebulous concept.
    No need to define it. I expect you know well enough what I mean.

    I would argue that ALL the best evidence we have suggests that in order to OPTIMIZE health, yes, you need to consume foods that contain carbohydrates, because both fiber and phytonutrients lead to better health outcomes.
    That argument isn't very strong because one can eat plenty of low carb vegetables and berries on a ketogenic diet. That's why I said: properly composed keto diets.

    I don't think we have any good long term data to answer the question though. So we can debate all we like, we just don't know.
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    No need to define it. I expect you know well enough what I mean.



    That argument isn't very strong because one can eat plenty of low carb vegetables and berries on a ketogenic diet. That's why I said: properly composed keto diets.

    I don't think we have any good long term data to answer the question though. So we can debate all we like, we just don't know.
    Ah good point.

    I suppose it comes down to what one defines as a properly composed one... i guess if you ate a lot of greens, and somehow got quality fat in without going crazy on sat fat or cholesterol and heme iron.. it wouldn’t be as bad

    If I ever bothered even experimenting with one, I’d probably just be loading up on avocado, nuts/seeds, EVOO, salmon, etc, but staying away from butter, coconut oil, etc...

    Don’t think I wanna try it tho... basically all my favorite food textures and flavors come from carb-rich foods.
    The power of carbs compels me!
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    Originally Posted by AdamWW View Post
    Ah good point.

    I suppose it comes down to what one defines as a properly composed one... i guess if you ate a lot of greens, and somehow got quality fat in without going crazy on sat fat or cholesterol and heme iron.. it wouldn’t be as bad.
    Or maybe even as good. As you say: avocado, nuts/seeds, EVOO, salmon, chicken, berries, lots of lettuce, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, sprouts etc. It's possible to compose a healthy keto diet, just harder and more costly.
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    After adaptation (~2 weeks) people have plenty of energy on keto. That's not the issue.

    What I imagine is hard on keto is eating 3500 kcal (my bulking calories). Thank god I'm allowed to eat carbs.

    I don't think we have good studies of bulking on keto. Well there's one but the lead author has credibility issues (J. Wilson).
    There is at least one study I know of saying low carb is worse for performance vs high carb even after adaption phase
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    Originally Posted by zatanoa View Post
    There is at least one study I know of saying low carb is worse for performance vs high carb even after adaption phase
    Yes and there's at least one study where a low carb diet enhanced endurance performance.

    But that's not what we were talking about. We're talking about carbs vs. keto for muscle gain (and testosterone).
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    Yes and there's at least one study where a low carb diet enhanced endurance performance.

    But that's not what we were talking about. We're talking about carbs vs. keto for muscle gain (and testosterone).
    My bad

    Would assume performance is very closely related to muscle gain

    Also curious, can you share the one where low carb performs better than high carb?
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    Originally Posted by zatanoa View Post
    My bad

    Would assume performance is very closely related to muscle gain

    Also curious, can you share the one where low carb performs better than high carb?
    Cardio is very different from lifting weights. I remember reading there are people who have broke world record lifts on keto.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5384055/
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    Yes and there's at least one study where a low carb diet enhanced endurance performance.

    But that's not what we were talking about. We're talking about carbs vs. keto for muscle gain (and testosterone).
    so in a nutshell, a balanced diet with carbs is generally better than keto when it comes to lifting performance, right?

    asking because i once again had a family member advertise keto to me, i told them it's not worth it because i have zero issues with carbs, plus a lot of people don't seem to have enough energy to lift properly on keto. family member basically replied "just eat more protein then lol"
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    Originally Posted by faithbrah View Post
    so in a nutshell, a balanced diet with carbs is generally better than keto when it comes to lifting performance, right?
    I don't agree. For most people keto seems to be just fine for lifting.

    If you had said the same thing about sprinting I would have agreed.

    plus a lot of people don't seem to have enough energy to lift properly on keto.
    Not my experience. Nor is it supported by most studies. Most people seem to lift fine when they're adapted.

    Of course there's always people that report they feel terrible and sluggish on keto. But there are also people who feel better on keto.
    Last edited by Mrpb; 11-26-2020 at 10:08 PM.
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    Cardio is very different from lifting weights. I remember reading there are people who have broke world record lifts on keto.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5384055/
    Still unsure on the study you posted after taking a look, it has many flaws imo

    Have you seen this one?

    https://physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.c....1113/JP280221
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    Originally Posted by zatanoa View Post
    Still unsure on the study you posted after taking a look, it has many flaws imo
    It's a review not a study, you need to look at the references.
    Sure but why do you care about race walking?

    Some endurance athletes do well on keto, some don't. Personally I couldn't care less about endurance performance.

    Let's focus on studies about lifting.
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    Originally Posted by Mrpb View Post
    It's a review not a study, you need to look at the references.


    Sure but why do you care about race walking?

    Some endurance athletes do well on keto, some don't. Personally I couldn't care less about endurance performance.

    Let's focus on studies about lifting.
    Let's just say I am very interested in these topics

    Thanks for sharing !
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  24. #24
    team ketchup AdamWW's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by zatanoa View Post
    Let's just say I am very interested in these topics

    Thanks for sharing !
    Don't you have a history of over-exercise and eating disorders?
    The power of carbs compels me!
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  25. #25
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    Originally Posted by AdamWW View Post
    Don't you have a history of over-exercise and eating disorders?
    Yes , most 100% I do
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    team ketchup AdamWW's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by zatanoa View Post
    Yes , most 100% I do
    I'd tread carefully in becoming too focused/"interested" in weight, exercise, or food manipulation tactics/hacks given that history...

    You're kind of leaving one foot wedged in the eating disorder door... very easy to remain permanently in 'quasi'-recovery and never really get fully over it when that happens.
    The power of carbs compels me!
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    Originally Posted by AdamWW View Post
    I'd tread carefully in becoming too focused/"interested" in weight, exercise, or food manipulation tactics/hacks given that history...

    You're kind of leaving one foot wedged in the eating disorder door... very easy to remain permanently in 'quasi'-recovery and never really get fully over it when that happens.
    I love learning about all things related to human health
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  28. #28
    team ketchup AdamWW's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by zatanoa View Post
    I love learning about all things related to human health

    I understand, I come from a disordered eating past too, but I also realize much of my interest is a result of previously being SUPER-obsessed with nutrition and hyper-vigilance around what I'm putting into my body...

    I'm not saying you have that issue, I'm just saying it's a good idea to check in with yourself routinely to make sure the 'interest' isn't becoming obsessive, because for many (if not MOST) people with super-restrictive eating experiences, keeping those elements of food and exercise in the forefront of your mind can really hinder progress toward a normalized eating and fitness pattern.

    I mean I find the concepts of optimization fascinating too, but I'm also not striving every day to hit those specific criteria 100%... IMO it's even more important for folks 'like us' to learn to just have 'fun' with food as opposed to turning it into a science experiment.
    The power of carbs compels me!
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  29. #29
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    Originally Posted by AdamWW View Post
    I understand, I come from a disordered eating past too, but I also realize much of my interest is a result of previously being SUPER-obsessed with nutrition and hyper-vigilance around what I'm putting into my body...

    I'm not saying you have that issue, I'm just saying it's a good idea to check in with yourself routinely to make sure the 'interest' isn't becoming obsessive, because for many (if not MOST) people with super-restrictive eating experiences, keeping those elements of food and exercise in the forefront of your mind can really hinder progress toward a normalized eating and fitness pattern.

    I mean I find the concepts of optimization fascinating too, but I'm also not striving every day to hit those specific criteria 100%... IMO it's even more important for folks 'like us' to learn to just have 'fun' with food as opposed to turning it into a science experiment.
    Oh don't worry I have that too

    My goal is to start studying nutrition next year and eventually be able to help others with their owm problems, both physical and mental, with real advice and help for their own needs (whether that be more loosened up advice on health or a specific issue such as gut dysbiosis) and for that I have a ton of learning to do
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  30. #30
    team ketchup AdamWW's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by zatanoa View Post
    Oh don't worry I have that too

    My goal is to start studying nutrition next year and eventually be able to help others with their owm problems, both physical and mental, with real advice and help for their own needs (whether that be more loosened up advice on health or a specific issue such as gut dysbiosis) and for that I have a ton of learning to do
    That's a very noble goal... I don't do that as a profession, but I do think I might write a book at some point detailing my journey, etc.

    Just make sure that, before you dive deeper and deeper into this, that you're actually mentally prepared.

    Again, it's a VERY slippery slope for people with the genetic predispositions for eating disorders. Even when we 'think' we're done with it, it can sit there waiting to be triggered again, then we relapse, and the cycle starts again. It's happened to me many times before... and in order to start making real progress, I had to eliminate so many controls I became accustomed to.
    The power of carbs compels me!
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