Does Keto Diet Help BJJ Grapplers?

Does Keto Diet Help BJJ Grapplers?

The Keto diet is formally known as the “ketogenic diet” and aims to attain more calories from protein and fats and utilize fewer carbohydrates to make your body fit. The Keto diet's purpose is to reduce body fat and decrease muscle mass for grappling sports practitioners. You have to reduce carbs by cutting food that is easy to digest like carbonated sodas, white bread, and bakery items.

1. Keto Diet for BJJ Grapplers

According to the expert, MS William Jarosh

"The ketogenic diet severely limits carbohydrates to force the body to burn fat. However, carbohydrates are limited so much on this diet that veggies and fruits are restricted, experts agree on limiting fiber and nutrients. Plus, instant restriction often promotes long-term weight gain".

A big benefit of the keto diet is that it can turn fat into muscle mass during intense training. An increase in muscle-to-fat ratio improves the amount of oxygen in your body. The reduction of carbs intake triggers ketosis, which means your body starts producing ketone bodies from the stored fat to carry on its working.

The Keto diet gained popularity when professional athletes followed the diet for weight loss and weight maintenance, ultimately it improved their performance. Studies show that excess carbohydrate storage limits the performance of physical activities.

Carbohydrates are stored in muscle tissues, liver tissues, and the bloodstream. The higher amount of carbohydrates compromises athletic agility. Training with low muscle glycogen promotes positive changes at the molecular level thus enhancing the endurance capacity of BJJ grapplers.

Moreover, a ketogenic diet with an exercise routine resists lactate accumulation resulting in a fast recovery process. This shows that a decreased amount of carbohydrates through ketosis produce beneficial results for athletes.

2. How Keto Diet Works for BJJ Grapplers?

Note: Image needs little editing. Add some more sources of protein and fats in the image. Replace orange background with some other appealing color. Add some good texture to the image. Remove “very well”

The keto diet is effective when we cut 5-10 % of daily carbohydrate intake. The science behind the keto diet is to replace carbs with highly-fat saturated foods like coconuts, avocados, red meat, and seeds.

The amount of protein intake is increased by 30-40%. With a restricted diet, insulin levels are low in your body. As insulin regulates the number of carbs, protein, and fats in your body, with less insulin, there is less glycogen production and less absorption in muscles. At that time your body will enter into a ketosis state and it will start burning body fat.

In the ketosis state, keto rapidly affects body retention and weight loss procedures.

2.1. Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is also an effective procedure for weight loss and cutting weight. Cutting weight refers to losing weight in a short span of time and is often adopted by fighters while preparing for a specific weight category. It helps the body to enter into the ketosis state faster. Some people opt for 24 hours of intermittent fasting. There are many variations in intermittent fasting but the most common schedule is 8/16, Eight hours eating and 16 hours fasting. Consult with your coach before starting intermittent fasting.

2.2. Symptoms For Entering In Ketosis State

There are certain symptoms that show that your body has entered a ketosis state. It includes

  • Thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Frequent urination
  • No appetite

3. Ketogenic Diet: Variations

There are several variations in the ketogenic diet.

Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)

This diet aims to be low carb with moderate protein and high fats.

Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD)

This diet involves intervals of low and high carbs. After every five ketogenic days follow two high carb days.

Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)

TKD aims to add carbs during BJJ workouts

High Protein Ketogenic Diet

In a high protein ketogenic diet, the amount of proteins is slightly high.  

4. Does Keto Diet Have Any Side Effects?

When the body enters the ketosis state, BJJ athletes have reported symptoms of dizziness, headaches, and gastrointestinal issues but after one to two weeks of the keto diet, everything normalizes. When you feel these symptoms you can increase your carbs intake until the symptoms fade away, then slowly restart cutting carbs. Other side effects include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Bad breath
  • Irritability
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Sugar cravings
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Decreased bone density

Research revealed that keto diets can cause changes in libido.

According to the bariatric doctor,  Dr. Nancy P. Rahnama:

“The ketogenic diet can definitely result in a drop in libido when starting the diet, as the dieter will be experiencing symptoms of carb withdrawal and potentially the keto flu”. “Once the withdrawal and flu-like symptoms have passed, and the dieter has adapted to the lower-carb lifestyle, the libido will most likely reset and potentially be better than prior as a result of weight loss”.

But according to Stephanie McKercher, the research studies are still limited and extensive research is required to talk about the side effects of the keto diet.

4.1. Keto Flu

When you are following a keto diet, ketones are produced. It shows the low production of glycogen in your body. This decreased production is caused by less intake of carbs and sugars. In the ketosis state, the body burns ketones found in the human blood instead of glucose or glycogen for the consumption of energy.

According to the researcher Rehnama:

“during ketosis, the body consumes the fat deposits stored in it instead of sugar and this fat breaking process produces ketones. Excess fat is drained through frequent and increased urination”.

When you are following a keto diet plan your water intake should be enough as water will help to remove excess fat and toxins from the body. Water will also save you from dehydration. Otherwise, you may experience fatigue, mood swings, dizziness, flu or cold-like symptoms, and muscle stiffness.

Your body may crave sugary items. You find difficulty in concentrating on your mundane chores. Brain fog is a common symptom you may experience during ketosis. But all these symptoms last for one to two weeks.

4.2. Keto Diet Effects on Kidney and Heart

When the amount of electrolytes are low in the body, most of the nutrients like sodium, magnesium, and potassium are lost during urination.

According to Dr. Nancy P. Rahnama:

“Dehydration is serious and may result in lightheadedness, kidney injury, or kidney stones”.

The adequate concentration of electrolytes is essential for the normal working of the human heart.

She added:

“Electrolyte deficiencies are serious and may result in an irregular heartbeat, which can be deadly”.

4.3. Fluctuating Diet Routines

Around 40-50% of people following restrictive diets, have difficulty maintaining them for a long time. This may cause adverse effects on the human body.

4.4. Nutritional Concerns with Keto Diet

Weight loss procedures and data are often confusing for medical practitioners. It is evident that long-term use of highly saturated fats causes a high risk to health. But this doesn't happen when a heavy-weight person loses weight resulting in better blood lipids and improved blood sugar circulation.

The Keto diet is restrictive to some leafy vegetables and fruits. You have to take a low amount of fiber and certain important nutrients.

According to Sharon Palmer:

“Hundreds of studies suggested that diets rich in vegetables are linked with significantly lower chances of diseases such as Osteoporosis, Alzheimer, heart diseases, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

5. Foods to Avoid During Ketogenic Diet

Following high-carb foods should be avoided during the ketogenic diet

Food Items
Sugary Foods Carbonated drinks, bakery items, ice cream,
sweets, candies, and fruit juices
Starch Rich Foods Rice, pasta,
cereal, wheat, bread
Fruits All fruits except berries and avocados
Beans and Pulses Peas, red and
white kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas
Root Vegetables,
and Tubers
Underground vegetables include potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips
Diet products or low-fat products Low-fat mayonnaise and salad dressings
Sauces and
Barbeque sauce, honey mustard, teriyaki sauce, Ketchup and peri-peri sauce
Unhealthy Fats Processed vegetable oil and Mayonnaise
Alcohol Any alcoholic or mixed drinks
Sugar-Free Diet Foods Candies, pastries, sweets, sweeteners, syrups, and puddings

6. Foods To Eat During Ketogenic Diet

During a ketogenic diet, add these foods to your meal plan for weight loss.

Foods Items
Meat White meat, red meat, sausages
Fatty Fish Salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel
Eggs Organic eggs
Butter and Cream Grass-fed butter and heavy cream
Cheese Unprocessed cheese like cheddar, cream obtained from goat milk, organic blue or naturally prepared mozzarella
Nuts and Seeds Nuts enriched with Omega-3 fatty acids like almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds
Healthy Oils Cold pressed olive, almond and avocado oil
Avocadoes Make fresh guacamole
Low carb Veggies Tomatoes, onions, any kind of peppers and green veggies are low carb.
Seasoning Natural herbs and spices

7. Healthy Keto Snacks for Jiu-Jitsu Athletes

In case you get hungry between meals you can eat the following healthy snacks for your keto diet.

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Berries ( Any kind of berries are healthy for your gut)
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Boiled Eggs
  • Avocado Roll
  • Dry Fruits
  • Beef Stick
  • Chicken Bites

8. Useful Supplements for a Keto Diet

Following are the useful supplements that can help BJJ athletes in their keto diet with training.

Supplements Benefits
MCT Oil Add to drinks or yogurt:
  • It provides energy
  • Increases ketone levels in blood
Minerals Add to drinks and yogurt:
  • Raises your energy and ketone levels 
  • Provides energy
  • Reduces fat
  • Improves performance
Exogenous Ketones Raises ketone levels in blood
Creatine Creatine improves athletes performance if combined with a ketogenic diet and training
Whey Add half a scoop of whey in shakes or yogurt

9. Keto Side Effects For Women

Womens can follow a keto diet plan safely to reduce weight at any age.

10. Keto Diet Plan for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Athletes

Follow a one-week keto diet plan to cut weight.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Raw vegetables, Egg or avocado, muffins with tomato sauce A bowl of boiled chicken cooked in olive oil, cottage cheese, and olives. Salmon or mackerel + Asparagus (saute in butter)
Omelet (Eggs, spinach, cheese, basil, tomato, spices) Stevia milkshake + strawberry slices  or almond milk + peanut butter + spinach + chocolate powder. Cheese rich tacos with tomato sauce
Prepare a chia pudding in nuts milk. Top with blackberries and coconut Shrimps salad with cheese Chicken thighs with parmesan cheese + salad (Broccoli and Olives)
Omelete ( Eggs, avocado, salsa, pepper, onion spices ) A cup of nuts + celery sticks + guacamole and salsa Chicken stuffed with pesto and cream cheese + grilled zucchini
Greek yogurt with peanut butter + berries  Wrap tacos ( ground beef + bell peppers ) Mix vegetables
Cream cheese pancakes with blueberries + grilled mushrooms Zucchini + noodles cooked with beetroot. Salmon or mackerel with green vegetable and pine nuts
Fried eggs with mushrooms Air fry sesame chicken with zucchini Spaghetti squash bolognese

11. Conclusion

Our body reserves a large amount of energy in the form of fat. If the BJJ grapplers follow the ketogenic diet they can easily perform longer training sessions at maximum energy levels. This will allow them to gain maximum exercise benefits with accelerated recovery time.

Take useful supplements regularly and follow a healthy keto diet plan which not only fulfills your daily caloric needs but helps you to build muscles and maintain your energy levels.

Related Readings

Reading next

Bruno Malfacine - Rooster Weight BJJ King
Are BJJ Seminars Worth The Time?

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.