Ketosis Diet for Weight Loss

Ketosis Diet for Weight Loss

by Kelley Herring on April 13, 2015

Looking for information on the benefits of a ketosis diet? Read on!

Are you following a “paleo” diet… and yet still find that you haven’t lost all the weight you’d like to? If so, you’re not alone.

While following an ancestral diet is a powerful way to provide your body with more disease-fighting nutrients and eliminate many of the inflammatory compounds in common foods, many people find the Paleo diet alone can’t provide the metabolic shift required to melt excess fat.

The reason? Many Paleo diets include high carbohydrate foods like sweet potatoes, rutabagas, tapioca, arrowroot, fruits (high in fat-storing fructose) and many more. And while these foods are fine in moderation, especially for those who are active, they can keep blood sugar and insulin levels high… and fat cells pleasantly plump.

Enter the Paleo Ketosis Diet.

By maintaining the beneficial framework of the Paleo diet, while strictly limiting dietary carbohydrates, your body can enter a state of nutritional ketosis, where fat burning dramatically accelerates. So how does it work?

The Effects of the Ketosis Diet on the Body

Ketosis Diet for Fat Loss

Following a ketogenic diet shifts your metabolism from “sugar burner” to “fat burner”.

As you reduce daily carbohydrates to less than 50 grams, the body has very little glucose available for use as an energy source. As a matter of survival, your metabolism shifts to utilize fat as your primary source of energy.

It is this shift – from sugar burner to fat burner – that makes the ketosis diet so powerfully effective.  

As the availability of glucose dwindles, the body begins turning dietary and body fat into compounds called ketones. Ketones are a very clean source of fuel. Their transformation into energy does not produce damaging metabolic byproducts. They also act as cellular detoxifiers, actually helping to remove toxins and damaged proteins that impair cellular function (learn about how a ketogenic diet fights Alzheimer’s here).

Eating More Fat and Losing Weight

It may seem counter intuitive that a diet predicated on consuming high amounts of dietary fat can actually increase your body’s ability to burn fat.

How does this happen?

Contrary to conventional wisdom, all calories aren’t created equal. The source of calories provides information about how they should be used by the body. For example, when your blood sugar levels rise (as a result of consuming carbohydrate-rich foods), the body secretes insulin to reduce glucose in the bloodstream. Without insulin, we would die from an overload of blood sugar – even from a relatively small intake of dietary carbohydrate. But insulin also has a dark side. High insulin levels promote the storage and accumulation of body fat, primarily in the most dangerous place: The belly.

Belly fat – technically known as visceral fat – doesn’t just look ugly. It has been associated with nearly every chronic disease including diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, PCOS, and many more.

By strictly limiting carbohydrates with a ketogenic diet, we greatly reduce insulin levels. Our body shifts from burning carbohydrates and storing the excess as fat… to primarily burning fat for fuel – even without exercise.

A ketosis diet has also been found to reduce hunger, boost energy levels, increase antioxidant capacity of the blood and reduce the risk of chronic diseases including cancer!

The Evidence: Reprogramming Your Metabolism to Torch Fat, Reduce Heart Disease and Stop Diabetes

A meta-analysis recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition evaluated thirteen studies for the effects of a ketogenic diet for long term weight loss. This very low carbohydrate diet was compared to the results of a low fat diet. In addition achieving significantly greater and more sustainable weight loss, the researchers found that those on the ketogenic diet experienced improvements in three of the most important risk factors related to heart disease:

  • Decreased triglycerides
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Increased HDL cholesterol

Another study, published in the journal Nutrition, evaluated 363 overweight and obese participants over 24 weeks. More than a hundred of these subjects were also diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The participants followed either a low-calorie diet (LCD) or a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet (LCKD). The researchers evaluated the subjects’ weight, BMI, waist circumference, blood sugar levels, A1C, cholesterol, triglycerides, as well as uric acid, urea and creatinine secretion.

The low-calorie diet (LCD) and the low-carb ketogenic diet (LCKD) both benefited all of the parameters evaluated. However, those on the ketogenic diet enjoyed greater improvements. In fact, the LCKD was so effective at reducing blood sugar that the diabetic participants were able to reduce or eliminate their diabetic medication early in the trial!

In another study published in Nutrition, researchers state:

“Dietary carbohydrate restriction reliably reduces high blood glucose, does not require weight loss (although is still best for weight loss), and leads to the reduction or elimination of medication. It has never shown side effects comparable with those seen in many drugs.”

Similarly, the Journal of Nutrition recently found that a low carbohydrate diet reduced both visceral fat (belly fat) and intramuscular fat while boosting insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes.

Get Lean with a Ketosis Diet

Is a Ketosis Diet Dangerous?

Some of the arguments against a ketogenic diet are focused on potentially negative health effects that may occur as a result of ketosis.

But the truth is, most people following a ketogenic diet are more likely to experience improved overall health without any short term or long term negative effects from this dietary plan.

According to Dr. Michael S Duchowny, MD who evaluated the ketogenic diet:

“Most complications of the ketogenic diet are transient and can be managed easily with various conservative treatments.”

As always, major dietary modifications should be discussed with your health care provider – especially for those with diabetes or other chronic disease, and those on medications.

The Ketogenic Diet: The Ancestral Plan for Effortless Weight Loss and Disease Prevention

Following a ketogenic diet has been shown to be an effective way to reduce body fat, improve waist-to- hip ratio, as well as improve insulin sensitivity, control blood sugar, reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol ratios – all key factors associated with diabetes and heart disease.

And while the ketogenic diet has gained considerable press lately, it is not a “new” diet. In fact, our ancestors were naturally in and of out of ketosis as they hunted and gathered, fasted intermittently, and typically had limited access to carbohydrate-rich foods.

By following this truly ancestral way of eating, we can not only sculpt a leaner, healthier physique, but also help to reduce chronic illnesses and improve quality of life.

Have you tried a ketosis diet? If so, what did you experience?

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About The Author

Kelley Herring, founder of Healing Gourmet, is a natural nutrition enthusiast with a background in biochemistry. Her passion is educating on how foods promote health and protect against disease and creating simple and delicious recipes for vibrant health and enjoyment.

Kelley Herring – who has written posts on Healing Gourmet.


References 
Antonio Paoli. Ketogenic Diet for Obesity: Friend or Foe? Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014 Feb; 11(2): 2092–2107. Published online 2014 Feb 19. doi: 10.3390/ijerph110202092 Hussain TA1, Mathew TC, Dashti AA, Asfar S, Al-Zaid N, Dashti HM. Effect of low-calorie versus low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet in type 2 diabetes. Nutrition. 2012 Oct;28(10):1016-21. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2012.01.016. Epub 2012 Jun 5 Bueno NB1, de Melo IS, de Oliveira SL, da Rocha Ataide T. Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br J Nutr. 2013 Oct;110(7):1178-87. doi: 10.1017/S0007114513000548. Epub 2013 May 7. Gower BA1, Goss AM2. A lower-carbohydrate, higher-fat diet reduces abdominal and intermuscular fat and increases insulin sensitivity in adults at risk of type 2 diabetes. J Nutr. 2015 Jan;145(1):177S-83S. doi: 10.3945/jn.114.195065. Epub 2014 Dec 3. Alexandra M Johnstone, Graham W Horgan, Sandra D Murison, David M Bremner, and Gerald E Lobley. Effects of a high-protein ketogenic diet on hunger, appetite, and weight loss in obese men feeding ad libitum 1,2,3. Am J Clin Nutr January 2008 vol. 87 no. 1 44-55 Gibson AA1, Seimon RV, Lee CM, Ayre J, Franklin J, Markovic TP, Caterson ID, Sainsbury A. Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2015 Jan;16(1):64-76. doi: 10.1111/obr.12230. Epub 2014 Nov 17. Sumithran P1, Prendergast LA, Delbridge E, Purcell K, Shulkes A, Kriketos A, Proietto J. Ketosis and appetite-mediating nutrients and hormones after weight loss. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Jul;67(7):759-64. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2013.90. Epub 2013 May 1 Rhyu HS1, Cho SY2, Roh HT3. The effects of ketogenic diet on oxidative stress and antioxidative capacity markers of Taekwondo athletes. J Exerc Rehabil. 2014 Dec 31;10(6):362-6. doi: 10.12965/jer.140178. eCollection 20 Paoli A1, Canato M, Toniolo L, Bargossi AM, Neri M, Mediati M, Alesso D, Sanna G, Grimaldi KA, Fazzari AL, Bianco A. [The ketogenic diet: an underappreciated therapeutic option?]. Clin Ter. 2011;162(5):e145-53. Feinman RD1, Pogozelski WK2, Astrup A3, Bernstein RK4, Fine EJ5, Westman EC6, Accurso A7, Frassetto L8, Gower BA9, McFarlane SI10, Nielsen JV11, Krarup T12, Saslow L13, Roth KS14, Vernon MC15, Volek JS16, Wilshire GB17, Dahlqvist A18, Sundberg R19, Childers A20, Morrison K21, Manninen AH22, Dashti HM23, Wood RJ24, Wortman J25, Worm N26. Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management: critical review and evidence base. Nutrition. 2015 Jan;31(1):1-13. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2014.06.011. Epub 2014 Jul 16. Emily Deans, M.D .Your Brain On Ketones. How a high-fat diet can help the brain work better. Published on April 18, 2011. Evolutionary Psychiatry. Patrick F. Finn, J. Fred Dice. Ketone Bodies Stimulate Chaperone-mediated Autophagy. July 8, 2005 The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 280, 25864-25870. Micheal R. Eades. MD. Ketosis cleans our cells. Michael S Duchowny, MD. Food for Thought: The Ketogenic Diet and Adverse Effects in Children. Epilepsy Curr. 2005 Jul; 5(4): 152–154. Volek JS1, Westman EC. Very-low-carbohydrate weight-loss diets revisited. Cleve Clin J Med. 2002 Nov;69(11):849, 853, 856-8 passim. JS Volek,corresponding author1 MJ Sharman,1 AL Gómez,1 DA Judelson,1 MR Rubin,1 G Watson,1 B Sokmen,1 R Silvestre,1 DN French,1 and WJ Kraemer1. Comparison of energy-restricted very low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets on weight loss and body composition in overweight men and women. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2004; 1: 13.

Comments

  1. Phillip E Peck says:

    I used a ketosis diet 15-20 years ago (Atkins) and did quite well on it!! I lost a lot of weight, felt better, and looked better.

  2. Florence Wheeler says:

    My husband and I both used the ketosis (Atkins) diet about 20 years ago, and had fabulous success, both with weight loss and improved health and energy. It was an interesting situation because we went on a cruise about a week after starting the diet! I explained to the waiters that we were on a diabetes prevention diet, and they went out of their way to be helpful, including bringing a huge plate of jumbo shrimp instead of the 2 that everyone else at the table had! The buffets were hard, but the success gave us the strength to pick yummies that were legal. Our biggest problems with it were our daughters’ worry about our health with such a “radical” diet (with little scientific backup at the time) and finding a balance as we transitioned back into a mainline diet months later.

    • Kelley Herring says:

      Hi Florence,
      What a great story. You and your husband have a lot of willpower to have stuck with it on a cruise – a veritable floating carb feast!

      It is refreshing that so much research has brought to light the benefits of a “radical” ketosis diet and that more and more people are questioning our existing USDA recommendations.

      Be Well,
      Kelley

  3. Alessandra Abdala says:

    Every time I start intermitent fasting or getting too low on carbs, my sleep goes down the toillet. I guess I won’t try it anymore, cause what’s the point? If you don’t sleep your weight won’t go down anyway… but that is just me, I know a lot of people feel great on it

  4. I love that there is so much more information out there nowadays on the ketogenic diet. It has literally changed my life, not just how I look physically but how I am mentally with food too. I was scared of trying it for so long having been brought up low fat and high carb. I only wish I’d found out about it earlier! I’ve cured hormonal acne, emotional and binge eating, mood swings and lost a lot of excess fat. Also the food is so delicious. I just can’t rave about it enough!

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