LeBron James Diet Is Pretty Simple If You Think About It…
LeBron James said his dramatic summer weight loss was due to the Lebron James Diet, also known as a low carb, ketogenic-style Paleo diet that eliminated sugar, dairy and almost all carbs. James, who has since regained some weight, said he followed his strict diet for 67 days as a test of his “mental fortitude” and willpower. Everyone always wants to know what the LeBron James diet is, so we decided to reveal it. Basically it’s way better than diet pills.
LeBron James diet as described by him “I had no sugar, no dairy, no carbs,” LeBron told Sports Illustrated. “All I ate was meat, fish, veggies and fruit. That’s it. For 67 straight days.” James said his diet consisted entirely of meat, fish, vegetables and low-sugar fruit. That is all the LeBron James diet is.
James posted two of his meals on his Instagram account over the summer, that were a part of the LeBron James Diet. One of his lunches was an arugula salad with chicken, strawberries, mangoes and cashews topped with an olive oil/lemon vinaigrette dressing. Another low carb meal was a lobster salad with mango chutney.
LeBron said he “lost a ton of weight” but didn’t confirm exactly how much. He has since has put on a few pounds and looks fuller but is still very lean. ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst, who enjoys unprecedented access to James, had estimated LeBron’s weight loss at 10 to 12 pounds, but it’s may be closer to 20 pounds based on before and after photos.
The 6-foot-8 LeBron, whose weight was listed at 250 pounds last season, actually weighed closer to 270, said Windhorst. James confirmed he now truly weighs about 250 pounds.
On a radio interview, Windhorst said LeBron was inspired by the dramatic transformation of his former Miami Heat teammate Ray Allen, who got super-fit after switching to the low carb Paleo diet in the summer of 2013.
Allen, 39, came back from the summer break in significantly better shape than he was the previous year after adopting a low-carb, sugar-free Paleo diet. The lanky 6-foot-5 Ray said he promptly lost 10 pounds after going Paleo.
While weight loss was not Allen’s goal when he embarked on the Paleo diet, he said the diet gave him better stamina and dramatically improved his post-workout recovery. Ray’s health turnaround also motivated his Miami Heat teammate Dwayne Wade to adopt the Paleo diet.
Dr. Jeff Volek, a dietitian and professor at Ohio State University, told Sports Illustrated he believed James’ weight loss was due to a ketogenic-inspired eating plan. Volek said more athletes are now favoring low carb, high-fat diets such as the ketogenic and Paleo plans to lose weight fast and change their body fat composition.
By drastically reducing carbs, these diets promote weight loss by forcing the body to burn fat for fuel, according to obesity expert Dr. Eric Westman, co-author of Keto Clarity.
While conventional wisdom long preached that athletes follow high-carb, low-fat diets, Volek said the tide may be turning as athletes are realizing that low carb, high-fat diets such as the Paleo and ketogenic diets can enhance stamina, boost performance and aid post-workout recovery.
“There are benefits related to recovery and even cognition and mental clarity [for athletes],” said Volek. “The brain is very efficient at using ketones as a stable fuel source.”
What is a ketogenic diet?
Don’t let its fancy name fool you. A ketogenic diet is, essentially, a low-carb, high-fat diet—albeit one taken to extremes.
“In a clinical setting, a strict ketogenic diet would involve ultra-low carb consumption, like 20 or 30 grams a day,” says Dr. Eric Westman, director of the Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Duke University. That’s about the number of carbohydrates in one small apple.
Westman’s research on carb-restricted dietssuggests they can help reduce appetite, spur weight loss and improve markers of heart disease. His findings aren’t outliers. From Atkins and South Beach to Mediterranean and Zone, low-carb, high-fat diets—or “LCHF” plans—are all the rage, and growing evidence suggests they’re a big improvement on the typical carb-heavy American diet. But the “keto” diet is the most carb-restrictive member of the LCHF gang.
Along with slashing carbs, a ketogenic plan also calls for limiting your protein consumption. If you know your macronutrients, you recognize that cutting carbs and restricting protein means seriously upping your fat intake. And that’s exactly what a true ketogenic diet entails. “You’d want healthy fats to account for about 80% of your calories, and protein around 20%,” Westman says. (For comparison’s sake, the average American gets roughly 50% of her calories from carbs, 15% from protein, and 30% from fat, per the CDC.)
Like the guidance to cut carbs, this advice to reign in protein intake dovetails with some of the latest nutrition science, which suggests limiting protein can lower risk for disease and extend life for people younger than 65.
So what, exactly, does “ketogenic” mean? The name refers to a specific type of energy-carrying molecule, called a ketone. “Most people are always in a state of glucosis, meaning they’re burning glucose from carbohydrates for energy,” Westman says. “But you determine what your body burns for fuel based on what you feed it.” By severely restricting carbs and increasing your fat intake, your body can shift into a state of “ketosis,” which means it’s burning fat instead of glucose. “Ketosis used to be considered abnormal, but it can actually be very healthy,” Westman says.
In fact, ketogenic diets have been used for nearly a century to treat seizures, says Gary Yellen, a professor or neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. “It dates back to studies from the 1920s that found this kind of diet was like a sustainable form of fasting, which we’ve known, supposedly since antiquity, to be beneficial for epilepsy,” he says.
It’s not clear just how a ketogenic diet works for seizures. But Yellen says seizures are like “electrical storms” in the brain. “There are potassium channels in the brain that, when open, seem to have a quieting influence on this electrical excitation,” he says. “We think these channels work better when the brain is using ketones instead of glucose for energy.” Even when epilepsy medications have failed, a ketogenic diet can work wonders, he says.
That’s good news for epileptics. But what about the rest of us?
Westman’s research suggests a ketogenic diet can help treat obesity, type-2 diabetes and fatty liver disease. But for people suffering from those conditions—as well as older adults and kids—Westman says a keto plan can have “huge impacts” on nutrient intakes and health. You’d want to try it only with a doctor or dietitian’s supervision, he says.
“But if you’re a young and healthy adult, I have no safety concerns about removing carbs,” he adds. “It’s really not a radical concept.” You may experience some short-term issues like bad breath, constipation and flu-like symptoms. (Drinking lots of water can help.) But the lasting benefits could range from reduced hunger and increased energy to weight loss. Some preliminary research even hints at memory improvements.
More research is needed to determine whether the kind of extreme carb restriction associated with keto diets is necessary to unlock all these benefits, especially if you’re healthy. “Ketogenic and other very-low-carbohydrate diets can be quite challenging to follow over the long term, and the possibility of adverse effects has not been ruled out,” says Dr. David Ludwig, a professor of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. “Usually, such severe restriction isn’t necessary.” He points out that not all carbs are equal, and that the speed with which a carbohydrate food affects your blood sugar—what’s known as its glycemic index—makes a difference.
One dubious practice of some keto diet adherents is using urine, blood or breath test kits to check their circulating ketone levels. While those kits can tell you if your body is indeed burning ketones instead of glucose, Westman says there’s no good evidence that one ketone level is better than another. “The level of water in a stream doesn’t necessarily tell you how much water is flowing through it,” he says. “In the same way, measuring the level of ketones in the blood doesn’t tell you the whole story.”
Until science sorts out all the ins and outs of balancing carbs, protein and fats for optimal health, going full keto may be overkill. But based on the latest nutrition research, cutting carbs in favor of healthy fats seems sensible.
The Downside Of Ketogenic Diet
- The induction period is hard for some people. You have to really plan ahead, using calorie and cabohydrate calculators (myfitnesspal.com is a godsend). Google “fat bombs” and think about investing in a carb-free protein powder — these make it extremely easy to hit your fat and protein percentages (65% and 30% of calorie intake, if you’re muscled). You will likely experience some digestive issues while your body gets used to it, and some experience temporary loss of energy and/or lightheadedness during the induction phase. Some people find they get bad breath in the beginning — this can be due either to having too much protein and not enough fat, or dehydration.
- And speaking of dehydration. Because carbs are what causes our body to store water, you will find yourself drinking A LOT without them. They say we should drink 8 glasses a day? Try 30, on keto. Minimum. This is probably the most dangerous part of keto. And obviously, this also means killer hangovers. Be sure to drink a minimum of one glass of water between drinks. I drink gin and soda with lime a lot, to offset this a bit… but it’s still the biggest “con” of keto for me, as a very social person and historically heavy drinker.
- You will also have to be very careful about nutrition — without fruit and with such limited carb intake, it’s very easy to get low on things like potassium, magnesium and vitamin C. So take a multivitamin, get some carb-free electrolyte powder, and make sure to eat a lot of broccoli/asparagus/cauliflower/spinach/arugala. Those are the 5 staple veggies to rely on for nutrition.
- You will likely experience massive cravings for carbs and sugar. For me this happened about a week after I started keto, and lasted for about a week. I had higher calorie intake as a result, trying to stave off those cravings — feelings like I would murder just for a slice of sourdough. I still managed a minimum daily deficit of 300 though, with the help of my two favourite indulgences: good liquor and cigars (carb free).
- You will find it harder to build muscle on keto. I did primal for a month before starting to build it up, but there’s been a noticeable (though not huge) drop in the rate at which I increase weight in my resistance workouts. This is mainly due to the fact that carbs help with the absorption of protein into muscle, whereas fat slows it down. The best remedy I’ve found is to have a few carbs immediately after a workout – oats are best.
If you can live with those, keto may be for you. It’s certainly not for everyone. But if you’re up to the challenge of induction, it will change your life in very positive ways. Even the first few days without carbs, it’s like a curtain of fog peels away, and you realize what “energy” really is. I remember when it occurred to me that I hadn’t yawned in a week — it was a joyous fuckin’ realization.
Keto vs Paleo Diet: Which is Better?
Both diets have a number of things that make them a good choice!
With the Paleo Diet, you eat raw, healthy, and cut back on the majority of carbs. You start training your body to crave the healthier, more natural foods, and you can eat as much as you want.
There are a lot of success stories of people meeting their weight loss goals on both a Paleo and Keto Diet. This includes Lebron James, who went on a ketogenic-style Paleo diet that eliminated sugar, dairy and severely reduced carbohydrates. Lebron. told Sports Illustrated “I had no sugar, no dairy, no carbs. All I ate was meat, fish, veggies and fruit. That’s it. For 67 straight days.”
With the Ketogenic Diet, you also eat a lot of raw, healthy foods, but the biggest difference is that the Ketogenic Diet is a LOW-CARB one. This helps to put your body in a better fat-burning state, leading to more effective weight loss in the long run. Best of all, you can still change your eating habits and enjoy your meals, but the results will be visible sooner.
The Ketogenic Diet may be the better option, but don’t jump into it without a full understanding of what it entails. Learn everything you need to know about the Ketogenic Diet, what it is, and how it can help you. Once you know what you’re getting into, you can make the decision of whether or not it’s the diet to help you lose weight efficiently.