The ketogenic diet – simply referred to as keto – has been gaining a cult following lately, and for a very good reason: it’s extremely effective for weight loss! Unlike most restrictive diets, keto also makes you feel good, including:
- Less hunger-related cravings
- Effortless reduction in calorie intake
- Improved self-control
- More energy for sustained physical activity
However, it doesn’t mean that simply jumping on any keto regime you will experience rapid weight loss. Without sufficient knowledge and diligent tracking, keto diet isn’t going to become a magic pathway to your body composition goals. The good news is, however, is that once you’ve gotten a hang of the keto ways, the rest is easy.
But how does keto work?
Good question – it wouldn’t be very responsible to jump on a new diet regime without understanding the underlying mechanisms!
In a nutshell, keto helps your body achieve and maintain the state of ketosis, which is a metabolic state enabling your body to use fat rather than glucose as a primary fuel source. To achieve that, it is essential to restrict the supply of carbohydrates to the body, which at first depletes the glucose storages (also known as glycogen). When those stores are depleted, the body starts to look for alternative sources of fuel – and the primary choice here is fat, as intended by nature’s backup mechanism.
The resulting changes in the body are not limited to weight loss. In fact, the ketogenic diet was originally invented as a treatment for epilepsy, and there have been reports of positive effects in other conditions such as diabetes.
When the fat is burned, the body produces ketones – hence, the name ketosis. In conclusion, the ketogenic diet is aimed at promoting and sustaining ketone production.
Speaking of ketones…
So, what are ketones, and are they safe?
Ketones are the only alternative source of energy your brain will accept, in addition to glucose (we called it a nature’s backup for this reason earlier!)
In ancient times, having such a backup system was essential for survival, as our ancestors were going through regular periods of fasting, determined by food availability. During certain periods, carbohydrate supply was scarce, which is when ketosis served as an alternative source of energy. Of course, today we seldom have to worry about the lack of carbs (it’s quite the opposite, really) – however, the mechanism still works extremely well, enabling us to use keto to our advantage.
The amazing benefits of ketosis
As the ketones are used as an alternative energy source, you also experience lowered glucose levels and reduced levels of insulin. The benefits of maintaining this state include:
- Accelerated fat tissue burning
- Improved focus and mental clarity
- More energy
- Suppressed hunger – foods high in fat are more filling, so you won’t feel deprived
- Steady blood sugar levels
- Possible acne reduction in cases where it caused by sugar-thriving bacteria
- Improved “good” cholesterol levels
- Improved hormonal balance (bye-bye, PMS!)
- And more!
So it’s not all about weight loss, as you can see – in fact, many of those going on keto to shed some pounds stay on some form of it permanently due to the amazing physical and mental health benefits they’re experiencing!
However, the question remains…
Why is keto so great for weight management?
Amazing weight loss results are attributable to ketogenic diets mostly due to the dramatic decrease in carbohydrate intake.
Of course, the result aren’t the same for everyone due to individual differences in starting body composition, insulin resistance and overall metabolism. However, whilst the dynamic of weight loss may vary, the end result is ultimately the same – steady reduction in body fat storages! Best of all, adherence to the ketogenic diet helps preserve lean body mass – in other words, there is minimal risk of losing muscle mass, which is why variations of keto are so extremely popular among bodybuilders.
Speaking of exercise, it’s worth noting that whilst keto alone can be a highly effective weight loss tool, a combined approach with exercise can lead to even better result, leading to even more favourable body composition changes.
But what about the bad effects of eating too much fat?
Many people wonder whether going keto is going to jeopardize their health, as for way too long it’s been hammered into us as consumers that fat is “bad”, unhealthy – and, well, fattening.
However, this couldn’t be further from the truth!
In fact, healthy fats – exactly the ones used in keto diet plans – are very good for you! From protective effects on the heart to sustained energy levels, good fats are basically your best friends.
In addition, after being on keto for a while, the body becomes amazingly efficient at metabolising fats, so they definitely can’t be fattening in that case. And by producing more ketones, your body supplies all organs and systems with long-lasting energy, improving mood and focus, as well as leading to better exercise performance.
In summary, the aim of the ketogenic diet is to induce ketosis by limiting carbohydrate intake, so your body starts using fat as primary fuel.
While on keto, you will be enjoying wholesome foods our ancestors indulged in, feel better – and lose the stubborn excess weight! And whilst maintaining ketosis requires some fiddling to find proper balance of nutrients for your body, the amazing results are very much worth it.
Your results will be unique to you depending on your metabolism – but they will definitely be amazing! So, don’t get discouraged if your progress seems a bit slow, stick with it, and you will reap the amazing benefits shortly.