The science behind the Cyclic Ketogenic Diet is simple. Carbohydrates in the diet cause an insulin (a “storage” hormone) output in the pancreas. It is used to store glycogen, amino acids into muscles, while causing excess calories to be stored as fat. So common sense asks me, “How can one try to break down fat, when your body is in a storage-type mode?” Difficult to do, indeed. That is why it makes perfect sense for step one to be cutting carbs.
The next thing that happens in your body is the rise in catecholamines (a “fat mobilizing” hormone), cortisol (a “breakdown” hormone), and growth hormone. Now your body realizes there’s no more carbs to burn for energy, so it must find another energy source: fat.
This usually happens during a metabolic condition called “ketosis.” This is when your liver is out of glycogen and starts to produce ketones (by-products of fatty acids). You can check your status of whether or not you are in ketosis with urinalysis strips you can pick up at any local drug store called “Ketostix.” Just urinate and see if it turns color. If so, you have ketones in the urine.
When the body is fed fat and protein, it will use dietary fat along with bodyfat for energy with protein going towards repair.
As a side note, there is another reason why this diet makes the most sense to use while keeping muscle. When one follows a high carbohydrate, low-fat, reduced-calorie diet, there’s a point when some bodyfat is burned, but when the body is still in a carbohydrate burning metabolism while trying to lose “weight,” it will strip down precious body protein to convert to glucose for energy.
On the other hand, during fat metabolism, protein cannot be converted into free-fatty acids for energy. Although there is no scientific research done on this, there have been reports from followers that there truly is a “protein-sparing” effect. It makes sense doesn’t it? Where else would the body look for fat energy when all dietary fat is burned? Bodyfat.