Will Keto Diet Ruin Your Gains?

Egis R.
4 min readMay 31, 2022
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If I may renew a topic found in my previous post — One Reason You Probably Shouldn’t Do Keto Diet — I have a bit more to say about the keto diet. This time, it’s about its effect on muscle growth. Does the keto diet compromise muscle gain?

Those among you who have a love affair with keto may wish to take a moment here to tighten up those sphincter muscles because the body of the evidence looks rough for the keto diet.

A 2018 study by Vargas et al

Efficacy of ketogenic diet on body composition during resistance training in trained men: a randomized controlled trial
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…evaluated the efficacy of an 8-week keto diet during calorie surplus and resistance training protocol on body composition in trained men.

The subjects with more than 2 years of resistance training experience were randomly assigned to the keto diet group, non-keto diet group, and control group. Here is the macro breakdown for the keto and non-keto diet groups:

Macronutrient distribution for NKD group was about 55% CHO; 20% PRO and 25% FAT. / Macronutrient distribution for KD group was about <10% CHO; 20% PRO and 70% FAT
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During 8 weeks both the keto diet group and non-keto diet group trained 4x/week trying to add some muscle. The whole study can be qualified as a “colossal fuck up” for the keto diet group as it gained no lean body mass:

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The researchers concluded:

“Regarding to lean body mass, an adequate carbohydrate intake (non-ketogenic or conventional dietary approach), in conjunction with a caloric surplus and a higher protein intake, might be the most viable option for inducing muscle hypertrophy after resistance training.”

So no muscle for the folks on the keto diet group.

Now, if you started the keto diet in hopes of building a 0% body fat physique, don’t drive a knife straight through your thigh just yet — maybe it’s just one study and it’s wrong. So let’s see another one.

A 2021 study by Paoli et al. investigated the impact of the keto diet on…

Egis R.

I’m Egis, an online weight loss coach who has heightened BS sensors for fitness & nutrition. Only evidence-based & sustainable fat loss. www.absscience.com