The Keto Diet: How It Might Help You Lose Weight

The Keto Diet: How It Might Help You Lose Weight

Talk to ten people and inevitably, the majority, will admit to wanting to lose a few pounds or more. Weight loss is a constant subject with advertisements and articles touting the next best diet to get you into those skinny jeans fast. The problem is that most weight loss regiments are fleeting, especially those that result in weight dropped too fast which have shown to almost always end in future weight gain.

One diet, however, seems to be gaining more popularity. This is the keto diet, (keto is short for ketosis) which works with your body’s ability to burn fat through a “metabolic reset”.

This is not a diet for everyone and some may recommend against it depending on your current health history. It is also a diet capable of dropping weight fast which may result in a yo-yo cycle of weight loss and weight gain. Yet, with professional guidance, proper exercise, and healthy, mindful eating the keto diet might help you lose weight and keep it off.

The Ketosis Effect

Ketosis is described as part of the body’s reaction to low carbohydrate intake. Compounds called ketones form in the bloodstream when blood sugar levels, often spiked by carbohydrates, drop. This is called a state of ketosis which alerts your brain to start burning fat rather than rely on the carbohydrate sugars it is no longer receiving. Some call this ‘carb cycling’.

The keto diet was developed by Dr. Gianfranco Cappello, an associate professor of surgery at the Sapienza University in Rome, Italy. According to Dr. Cappello, 19,000 dieters reported accelerated weight loss. Yet, with few side effects, increased energy and less overall pain most reported that the weight remained off after a year.

Health line reported that,

“…patients lost an average of 10.2 kilograms, or about 22 pounds, after 2.5 cycles of the keto diet [each cycle is 2-7 days depending on body type]. Cappello concluded that the diet was a successful way for overweight and obese people to lose weight, and the few side effects, such as fatigue, are easily managed.”

Turning On Your Keto Switch

There are many levels of the keto diet. It is best to start slow and monitor yourself accordingly (see ‘recognize risks’ below). Overall, your goal is to reduce your carb intake between 25 and 50 carbs per day while adding healthy fats for your body to immediately utilize as fuel.

The approximate keto percentages are:

  • 70% fat
  • 20% protein
  • 10% carbs

Remember, less carbs equals less sugar which results in less fat available for energy use so your body burns stored and consumed fat instead.

Unfortunately, carbs are practically in everything which will certainly open your eyes to the enormous amount you’ve been unnecessarily eating.

For instance, one slice of ‘light’ bread contains about 9 grams of carbs. Subtract the dietary fiber, about 2 grams, and that light bread slice holds 7 grams of carbohydrates. A regular slice of wheat bread is about 21-28 grams per slice which is too much fuel from glucose causing the body to store what isn’t used. This stored sugar turns to fat for future energy. However, your body is unaware that you don’t need that much fat to fuel hunting with a spear all day. Your body still resorts to its primitive wiring which doesn’t connect to your pampered, convenient, low physical activity modern day living.

Time’s ‘Health’ section describes a potential keto diet menu,

“Breakfast might be whole eggs with low-carb veggies and avocado,…Lunch could be a salad generously dressed with EVOO [extra virgin olive oil] and balsamic vinegar, and topped with chicken. A typical snack is nuts or seeds. And dinner might be salmon with veggies sautéed in coconut oil.”

It is important to stay away from fruits, high sugar vegetables and processed foods. As your weight sheds you can eventually incorporate fruits and some carbs back into your diet, but in small amounts.

Recognize the Risks

Like any diet, it all depends on the body type, commitment capability and advice from a medical professional to gain some semblance of success. This also applies to the keto diet because even though lowering your carbohydrate intake may help you lose weight, your body still needs some carbs. Therefore, it is essential to recognize some warning signs you may experience during the keto diet. Sometimes it is your body adjusting to the diet while other times it could be an indicator that you are not following it correctly or it is just not a good fit for your body type.

Some of these warning signs, as posted by Diabetes UK, include:

  • Loss of salts
  • Keto-flu – Brain fog, slow thinking, dizziness, racing heart rate when lying down
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Leg cramps
  • Bad breath
  • Loss of energy
  • Insomnia
  • Cravings

If any of these symptoms persist beyond a few days talk to your doctor about  continueing the keto diet.

An Unexpected Result

Researchers cannot determine why but the keto diet has significantly helped certain children suffering from epileptic seizures. Healthline cites one practitioner’s account,

“Bette Klein, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, has used the keto diet for years to help ease the symptoms of children with epilepsy…[According to Klein] it is particularly effective for children with refractory epilepsy who have not responded well to at least two different drug treatments. Klein said about half of these children who go on the diet see a reduction in the number of seizures they have.”

The keto diet is also recommended for those suffering from diabetes as it is a helpful regulator of healthy insulin production and release. Check with your doctor before changing your diet.

The keto diet may be all you need to reintroduce yourself to clean food rather than processed, packaged products with unrecognizable ingredients. Add in a solid physical activity schedule and the new you might just shine through. The most important thing is to think of the keto diet as a new way of eating rather than a diet. It enables you to reevaluate your relationship with food, finally putting you in the driver’s seat rather than making you a victim to random, unhealthy eating.