The benefits of the keto diet.
The keto diet plan (weight loss) is an amazing, well researched method for healthy and long lasting weight loss.
For this reason it is now super popular as more people become aware of all the benefits of the keto low carb way of eating.
Not only is the diet great for weight loss, it has numerous other health benefits.
You can read more about the health benefits here heath benefits of keto diet
The keto diet plan (weight loss) way of eating is designed just for quick and long lasting weight loss. It is similar, but not exactly the same as the plan for the health benefits alone.
For those who want to improve their health, or to reverse an existing health problem, there are a few changes.
How to reverse type 2 diabetes with diet explains the benefits for people with this serious condition.
Keto and weight loss
When using the keto diet for weight loss, you’ll need to make sure you’re eating enough.
With keto, you should not try to deprive yourself of calories. There is evidence that this is not healthy, nor necessary for sucessful weight loss.
Calories do not need to be counted. There is a strong case for saying that the old calories in/ calories out model of weight loss is outdated and just plain wrong.
See here for why the old calorie in/calorie out model will let you down.
Eat until you feel full, but don’t overeat. There is no need, and the diet itself will help you to stay full for longer. You’ll feel less hungry and more able to control your appetite.
Reduce carbohydrates to just 20g net carbs each day.
Carbohydrates are kept below 20g per day and just 5% of your daily intake.
This very low carb intake will cause your body to switch it’s metabolic pathway to meet your energy needs.
After several days of low carb eating your body will change from burning glycogen for energy to burning fat.
At this point you will be in ketosis and you’re now ready to achieve all the weight loss benefits of your new diet.
There are now numerous scientific studies to show that eating a keto diet can and will lead to fast weight loss while preserving muscle mass and improving health.
Weight loss is kept off and your appetite will be reduced.
Further, you will feel more alert and energetic as your body enjoys all the benefits of being in ketosis.
What foods can you eat on the keto diet
The keto diet is divided into the three main food groups of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
These are known as your macros. You should aim to have this macro balance:
- High fat ( about 70% -75% of your intake)
- Medium protein (approx 0.8g per pound of body weight)
- Low carb, about 5% of daily intake, and always less than 20g per day.
Take note that the carb allowance is 20g of net carbs. That’s the total carb count minus any grams of fiber.
You can ignore the fiber carb count as it’s not absorbed by your body.
To discover your personal macros use this calculator.
Base your meals on these foods:
- Grass fed meats
- Wild fish, especially oily fish such as tuna or salmon.
- Above ground vegetables
- Full fat cream
- Natural fats such as olive oil, lard, butter and coconut oil
- Cheese, especially hard cheeses
The role of insulin and why it’s important to keto dieters
It is now understood that the type of food you eat causes changes in your hormones.
It’s not simply a case of how many calories you consume.
Any food you eat is turned into glucose to supply your body’s energy requirements. However, different types of food have differing effects on insulin.
When you eat carbohydrate heavy food your levels of blood/glucose quickly rise.
In response to the quick increase in blood/ glucose levels, insulin levels shoot upwards.
Big suppliers of carbs to your body are grains, potatoes and starchy vegetables.
Dairy products also contain some carbs, but meat, fish and eggs contain no carbs or very few.
When carbs are eaten your body converts them to glucose. This glucose is then sent to your bloodstream where it can be used to meet your body’s energy needs.
Insulin is produced to help this glucose pass through the various cells walls and keep your body fueled at all times.
However, there is only so much glucose that your body needs. Excess glucose is turned into glycogen and is stored in your muscles and liver.
Once your muscles and liver have all the glycogen they can store, the rest is stored as fat.
This storage system made sense thousands of years ago.
That mammoth we just caught and cooked enabled us all to pig out for a few days, but it didn’t last forever.
When it was gone we had to go hunting for another one. Its possible that people went days between their meals.
For this reason, we’ve evolved to lay down fat when times are good .
Due to this ability we don’t die of hunger within days of going hungry.
The trouble is most of us no longer live in caves although we still have our cavemen bodies. It’s a rare day now that we are unable to find anything to eat at all.
We are surrounded by supermarkets, 24/7 stores, fridges, restaurants and take away places.
We seldom are so hungry that we need to call on those fat supplies, and so we continue to gain weight.
Moreover, fat storage isn’t the only problem caused by insulin.
Insulin is also an issue for dieters as it quickly causes blood/glucose levels to fall . This fall in blood/glucose levels will make us feel hungry again within a few hours of eating.
This happens even after we have had a big meal and we’ve eaten until we’re full ( and sometimes past that point). After a short time we feel hungry again.
Are we just plain greedy? No, not at all. People who are overweight are simply responding to the carbs in the type of foods they eat.
The basic problem is not that they are overeating but WHY they are overeating.
Chances are that you have found this out already. You know that time and time again you feel hungry when realistically your body doesn’t need more food.
Due to eating a carb heavy diet, insulin can cause too much fat storage, and also make us feel hungry.
So why is this happening?
The old calories in/ calories out model stated that you are simply eating more each day than your body needs for its daily energy requirements.
Studies now show us that the science of losing weight isn’t that simple.
I bet you’ve already tried cutting calories, and I bet you were hungry most of the time.
You were probably so hungry that you tried it for a while and then went right back to your old way of eating.
This is because in the past, people have focused on the amount of food we need to eat each day, and not the type of food.
You need the right amount of protein for your weight, and as much fat as you need to feel full.
These macro nutrients of fat and protein won’t cause the big insulin spikes that carbs do. They will reduce your need to over eat.
Protein and fats are also the nutrients that are not often binged on.
Sure you can over eat on anything, but be honest: What would tempt you to overeat the most? A plateful of eggs or a plateful of donuts?
The people who make donuts know that the mix of sweet and fat is irresistible to us – it’s our old caveman traits making life hard for us again.
So if you’ve tried cutting your calories you’ll know how hard this is.
A low calorie diet will leave you feeling hungry, deprived and miserable.
You might be able to put up with the pain for a few days or even a few months if you’re made of very stern stuff. But why suffer?
Eventually that burger/pizza/ice cream will shout your name and you won’t be able to resist.
The chances are you’ve asked yourself why you eventually give in. You’ve probably decided something along the lines of:
“I’m just too greedy”, “I don’t have any will power”, “I’m addicted to food”.
All of which are guaranteed to make you feel bad and ready to throw in the towel.
And probably go on a food eating event that could win you prizes.
Now here’s the good news!
This endless diet breaking behaviour is not happening to you because you are weak and greedy.
It’s happening to you because you are eating the wrong type of foods and those foods are setting up a cycle of overeating and fat storage in your body.
This is no surprise. We are all bombarded every single day with advertisments for just the sort of carb filled foods that cause this problem.
Too many carbohydrates are not good for your weight or your health. They aren’t even essential for health. They should be rationed, as in the keto diet.
Protein is your friend, and fats are your best friends!
Further, sugar should be avoided at all costs.
Walk away from the sugar !
When you eat sugar you send insulin levels in your blood very high.
This signals your body to go into storage mode.
Your body converts all the carbohydrates you eat into glucose and sugar is 100% carbohydrate!
The spare glucose all ends up stored as fat.
This is what happens when you eat a suger filled food:
You’ve just had a sugar topped donut. It contained 200 calories .You figured that it would fit in well with your diet of 2000 calories a day.
Hell, you could eat nothing else all day and enjoy ten of them right?
When you eat so much sugar at once, your body reacts quickly to this surge of blood/glucose.
That donut, aka a high carb snack, will play havoc with your insulin levels and you are going to pay the price.
For all the reasons that we’ve already discussed,soon after eating that donut you’re going to be feeling pretty rough.
Plus now your muscles and liver have topped up their glycogen stores to capacity.
Remember the cavemen? This store of glycogen is what they used when the mammoth had been eaten and it would be days before they caught another one.
So, if you’re not a caveman, those donuts (now glycogen) will end up stored as fat in your fat cells.
Those are the cells that are making your clothes too tight, and might even be (probably already are ) causing you some health issues.
And here’s the thing: The feel good factor that you get with a carb hit is very short lived. Before you’ve even finished digesting your snack you’ll feel sluggish, tired or thirsty.
Without a doubt, you’ll be ready to eat all over again within a few hours.
Ever notice how one donut makes you want another? This is part of the reason why.
The other reason is that we are programmed to go after sugar. There was a time when sugar was really only around when it was summer and fruits were ripe on the trees.
Time to do a bit of fat storing for the rough winter ahead, so we are designed to go after that fruit and eat what we could. Yeah I know, times have changed…
Read here for a 100% natural and tasty alternative to sugar Erythritol sweetener – reviews and uses 2019
Was that donut worth it?
Sugar produces the brain chemical dopamine. The exact same chemical hit that heroin users get.
See why that second donut was forcing you to eat it? Just plain greedy? I don’t think so.
Sugar can be every bit as addictive as hard drugs. Now you’ve eaten that donut and possibly the entire box, you will be feeling the effect.
Sugar is all around us, in sweets and baked goods. In almost all ready meals and processed meat. In drinks and even in bread.
Sugar is in the obvious things, and hidden inside the types of food that you’d imagine to be sugar free.
You need to avoid all sugar if you want to follow the keto diet. This review for the natural sweetener Erythritol is a good place to start.
It can be hard to resist, but sugar is damaging to our bodies, causes obesity and causes dangerous inflammation . This has been implicated in the development of a long list of serious diseases.
Too many carbohydrates are not good for you
Even foods that aren’t 100% carbohydrate (such as sugar) can still deliver a glucose load to your body that is way too much for you to be able to use for energy needs alone.
Just like the carbs from a donut, the excess glucose from all carb heavy foods ends up as fat and extra weight.
Grains, and I’m talking about bread, potatoes, starchy vegetables, legumes and pasta, all contain way too many carbs for your body to use unless you’re really eating a very tiny amount and who wants to do that?
For this reason those foods are not on the list of foods you can eat on the keto diet.
The aim of the keto diet is to limit the amount of carbohydrates your body gets.
By doing this you lower the amount of glucose produced and stop the storage of glycogen as fat.
When you are following the keto diet your body has insufficient glycogen to store as fat. It also does not have enough glucose to use for your daily energy requirements.
Therefore, when you begin the keto diet, your body will first of all use up all the glycogen that you have stored in your liver.
Once this has been depleted the body will switch over to it’s second metabolic pathway: burning fat for fuel.
This switch over can take from a few days to a week.
Your body begins to use either the fat you eat, or the fat you have stored, for fuel.
This second metabolic pathway is completely natural but is seldom if ever used if we eat too many carbs.
Once your body has made the switch you’ll start using your fat stores for energy. By doing this, you will be losing weight even as you continue to eat sufficient food.
Your liver works hard at metabolizing your fat (fatty acids) into acetyl-CoA. Thus giving your body the ketones which give the keto diet it’s name.
Eating the low carbohydrate keto way forces your body to run on fat.
Not only will you lose weight but fat is a very stable supply of energy . For this reason you won’t experience the highs and slumps or hunger of a high carb diet.
This is because ketosis causes a decrease in your appetite. This is the result of having stable blood/glucose levels all the time. b
The high intake of fat also tends to make you feel more satiated than other types of food.
This is why calorie restricted diets don’t work
So you can see the problem with focusing just on calories.
The real problem is too many carbs, not too many calories.
Binge on carbs and you are setting yourself up to fail on a cycle of dopamine hits. Your blood sugar levels will be swinging from high and low and you’ll be feeling hungry every few hours.
Stop beating yourself up about failing on this sort of diet.
A low calorie diet will cause you to lose weight, but will also be very difficult to keep to and does not ensure that you are eating a nutritious diet that is good for your body.
How the keto diet can help you loose weight
When you shift your focus to eating the keto diet way, you will be concentrating on getting nutrient rich foods.
Plenty of healthy fats and no more that 20g of carbohydrates each day.
Forget about the “low fat” diet treats in the store.
These are filled with sugar and processed unhealthy fats. Their carb count is high.
Read the label and see how many carbs are in a single tiny pot. Worry if there are a lot of ingredients that you can’t even pronounce, let alone should be putting into your body.
Sadly, the food industry is still turning out ever more of these “low fat” treats, all of which will play havoc with your blood sugar levels and/or be giving you a lot of unhealthy processed foods.
Everywhere the idea is pushed that the basis of a healthy diet is carbohydrates. It’s way over due to look at the science and say that isn’t true.
Our bodies do require a small amount of carbs each day, but nothing like the 200 plus grams per day in the standard western diet.
What we need is fresh whole food.
As your motivation for starting the keto diet plan is weight loss you will want to eat until you’re feeling full, no more no less.
Make sure that the food you eat is fresh and nutrient rich. Become a friend of fat, fatty cuts of meat, fatty fish (salmon is great for your omega 3 fatty acids too) butter on your steak, olive oil on your salads.
Egg mayonnaise, and yes..as you probably have already heard, you can eat bacon. Don’t over do it though, bacon is processed and so not the best choice although it is allowed on the keto diet.
After your first week weigh yourself. Note that most of your weight loss is probably going to be water.
Those fat cells that are getting emptied for energy contain a lot of water. You might have noticed that you’re going to the bathroom much more often than normal.
Note your new weight and then carry on for another week and weigh yourself again.
This will give you a much more accurate idea of the amount of weight you are loosing each week. If you have lost too much increase your intake of foods, especially fats which your body is now loving.
If you don’t see a weight loss it’s possible you’ve been enjoying your fats just a bit too much! Cut back a little until you see the weight loss you’re hoping for.
Don’t cut back on the other food macros of proteins and carbs. With a little trial and error, you will find the right amount for you.
Each person has a slightly different metabolism, starting weight and activity level so amounts needed are always approximate.
Start with the amounts suggested but know that you will have a little wriggle room to find out just what is right for you.
Keto is an amazing way of eating, and done correctly your weight issues will be a thing of the past.
You will be losing weight and finding this plan easier to keep to than you ever thought possible.
If you’re vegetarian this will interest you vegetarian keto diet plan
Vegans can get some more information here vegan keto diet plan
Good luck as you start your keto weight loss journey.