Is taking this popular supplement crucial when on the keto diet?
As active individuals and bodybuilders always looking to get ahead when it comes to our overall goals and gains, choosing the right bodybuilding supplements and working to nail down an effective diet are essential in helping us get there. When it comes to the most popular supplements or fad diets, too often do we fall into the trap of following in those footsteps. With many people online touting the benefits and effectiveness of various supplements and diets, it can be hard to weed through all the nonsense, so knowing exactly what will work for you is key. For those on the ketogenic diet, a popular question arises if using creatine on keto is necessary.
Creatine is a popular and widely used supplement, for the research on it is extensive in terms of effectiveness and safety. For those on the ketogenic diet, making sure you take a quality multivitamin and other supplements is important to continue to enhance your goals. Taking creatine on a ketogenic diet is an often asked question and for good reason. Since keto requires low carb intake, creatine can essentially come in and help with certain things like muscle growth and cramping, which can be a problem when first starting a low carb diet.
Let’s take a look at the debate on creatine and keto to give you the best information on how to continue your bodybuilding process while also staying as healthy as you can overall. While both are effective ways to get you to where you want to be, together they may just boost you to that next level.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a very popular and widely used supplement that is actually found in the muscle cells of our body. How creatine works is that after you eat protein, your kidneys and liver work to create their own creatine supply which is then converted into creatine phosphate in your muscles. From there, it becomes adenosine triphosphate which is optimal for energy use. With similarities to amino acids, creatine can boost growth and enhance recovery for your bodybuilding needs (1).
The benefits of creatine include:
- Promote strength: Can cause your cells to inflate for better pumps and increase blood flow.
- Increase athletic performance: Increases strength and power output, refuel energy stores and promote explosivity.
- Boost metabolism: Helps improve your insulin sensitivity and glycemic control.
- Improve mental capacity: Boost memory and processing speed and work to eliminate fatigue (2).
Check out our list of the Best Creatine Supplements here!
What Is The Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet, or keto diet, is a low carb, high fat diet that can help with weight loss and a host of other health benefits. What this diet does is it reduces your carb intake and relies on replacing it with fat, putting your body into ketosis, a metabolic state where your body becomes very efficient at burning fat. With many different forms of keto diets and highly researched studies to back them up, keto has become a popular diet among many athletes, gym-goers, and everyday folks looking to improve their body composition and overall lifestyle as well (3).
The benefits of the keto diet are:
- Lead to weight loss: Kicks you into ketosis to burn fat more efficiently.
- Increase levels of good cholesterol: By raising your levels of HDL cholesterol you help with many important health issues, like reducing your risk of heart disease.
- Better brain focus: Your brain will use ketones as a fuel source to stay focused for long periods of time.
- Increased energy: Your body has plenty of fat to burn for continued energy throughout the day.
Do You Need Creatine While On Keto?
When deciding on whether or not to use creatine while on keto, it is important to look at the potential complications that may arise where one would hurt the other. Let’s start with ketosis. In order for keto to effectively work, ketosis needs to take place constantly as you will continue to burn fat for energy, as well as that desired physique. Creatine doesn’t affect your blood sugar in a way where ketosis would stop (4), so taking creatine in this regard may actually help, for your exercise performance will increase to have longer and harder workouts while on keto.
When first starting on keto, there are a few drawbacks as your body begins to adapt to your new diet. You may experience mental fog and start to notice your workouts may be lacking. That is simply your body adjusting to a low carb diet and working on the transition of using fat for fuel. Creatine works to boost mental capacity and can work against cramping, so taking creatine at the start of keto may potentially reverse some of the initial drawbacks.
As you begin to drop fat with keto, your workouts will be fueled with more energy, and you’ll start to feel great about the progress being made. Creatine can help advance your strength gains by working to build muscle and continue to keep that lean muscle on while also giving your body a great explosive boost in terms of overall strength and power output.
When it comes to taking creatine on keto, it really is for you to experiment. If you choose to go this route, potentially look into creatine monohydrate for those products are the most pure form. This will ensure no artificial fillers or added nonsense ruin your product and also your gains. It seems that creatine and keto work well together as a pairing when looking to enhance your bodybuilding goals, but you should always read labels and the directions, as well as doing some additional research. At the end of the day, it is your body and you know what your body needs most. Taking advantage of what is available is a huge benefit in this day and age, especially when it comes to your health. Look into creatine, look into keto, and really think about what you want most out of your bodybuilding goals.
*Images courtesy of Envato
- Kreider, Richard B. (2003). “Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations”. (source)
- Avgerinos, Konstantinos I.; Spyrou, Nikolaos; Bougioukas, Konsantinos I.; Kapogiannis, Dimitrios (2018). “Effects of creatine supplementation on cognitive function of healthy individuals: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials”. (source)
- O’Neill, Blair; Raggi, Paolo (2020). “The ketogenic diet: Pros and cons”. (source)
- Gualano, Bruno; Painneli, Vitor; Roschel, Hamilton; Artioli, Guilherme G.; et al. (2011). “Creatine in type 2 diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial”. (source)