Over the past few years, the ketogenic diet has skyrocketed in popularity. Thousands of people swear by it as one of the best ways of losing weight. In the past, this diet would have been unimaginable. The very theory behind it is contradictory.
To simplify things, the keto diet works on a very basic principle – most of the calories you consume will need to come from foods that are high in fat. Your consumption of protein will be moderate, while your carb intake will be very low. 75 to 80 percent of your calories will need to be fat. 20 to 25 percent will need to be protein. Your carb intake should hover between 20 to 50 grams.
The idea of eating fat to lose fat may seem ironic. The common misconception is that one should avoid fatty foods in order to lose weight. Yet, the reason the ketogenic diet works is because when you consume a lot of fat, your body realizes that it always has access to ample fat.
It doesn’t see a need to cling on to the fat stores in your body. You’ll find it much easier to shed the stubborn pounds when you’re on a keto diet because the body burns off your fat more easily.
The average person who tries to lose weight does it by restricting his or her calories. While this is one way to do it, the body still uses glycogen and carbs for fuel, instead of fat. The fat burning process is slower.
With the keto diet, since carb intake is low, your glycogen reserves and the insulin in your body will be low too. It’ll be easy to deplete those, and your body will have no choice but to burn the fat for its energy needs.
The body will produce ketones for energy when your carb consumption is low. Your liver uses the fat in your body to produce the ketones. Since you’re consuming lots of fat, the body doesn’t try to cling on to the fat stores. It quickly uses them to create ketones.
The Atkins diet tries to achieve the same goal by reducing carb intake. However, with the Atkins diet, your body is not primed to burn fat, like it is with the keto diet. So, once you come off the Atkins diet, your body goes back to burning carbs for fuel and you slowly gain back the weight you’ve lost.
While the keto diet is highly effective, the core principles of weight loss remain the same. You must be at a caloric deficit to lose weight. Even if most of your diet is comprised of fat, the total calories that you consume for the day should be about 500 calories below maintenance.
You can check your calorie numbers here. There are also sample diet plans for various calorie levels.
What makes the keto diet so effective compared to other diets is that it trains your body to use its fat stores. Almost all diets advocate not consuming sugar, refined foods, processed foods, etc. But most of them do not ‘teach’ your body to burn fat directly.
The fat burning is an afterthought. It’s assumed that if you’re eating fewer calories than you expend, you will lose weight… and that is true. But the keto diet aims to get you to lose as much weight as possible by burning fat, instead of burning carbs first and then using fat for the rest of the body’s needs.
If you wish to lose weight fast and you’re willing to change your diet, it would be a great idea to give the keto diet a try. It’s relatively easy to follow once you get the hang of it.