I Eat Fat to Lose Fat By Way of the Ketogenic Diet
Sounds counter intuitive does’t it? But it’s not! For years, I, like many of you, were fooled by the FDA and the big food companies. I jumped on the “fat is bad”, “fat free, “low fat” bandwagon quite quickly. Heck, I was even influenced by the commercials with ‘Jared’ the Subway Sub Guy! Now he has gone from pitchman to prison. I ate Subway Sub for years until I knew better. Did you know Subway’s footlong Big Philly Cheesesteak (my old favourite), has approximately 1,000 calories and 2560g sodium which is almost double calories as found in the McDonald’s Big Mac (my other old favourite)?
Healthy eating, like the ketogenic diet, involves consuming adequate fats, vitamins, minerals, protein and carbohydrates. Unhealthy eating, in contrast, involves too much trans fats, sodium, processed ingredients, added sugars, cholesterol and too few nutrients, a lot of which can be found in the fast food restaurants and the grocery store isles with names on the boxes such as “fat free”, “low fat”. This poor nutrient-to-calorie ratio, leads to weight gain and many other health related issues such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, sleep apnea, infertility and the list goes on and on.
Being in optimum state mentally and physically is owed largely to the food we allow ourselves to put into our body. I wanted to be conscious of what I ate but I never wanted to be calorie counter. I didn’t want to read a menu and try to figure out the calories in the meal options in front of me. Besides; fats, carbs, proteins do not have the same amount of calories per gram. Then there is obviously good calories and bad calories. I simply educated myself and changed eating habits. I did this because I wanted to finally get rid of the ‘feeling’ I often had after consuming lunch and dinner; upset stomach, bloated, tired, brain fog, gassy.
Many books and experimentations later I decided to go against the grain (no pun intended) and I started slowly in the ketogenic diet. I increased my healthy fat intake. The ketogenic diets involves eating roughly 70% healthy fats, 25% proteins, and 5% carbs (mostly from vegetables, nuts and dairy) and I avoid the used-to-be-favourites like wheat (breads, pastas and cereals), starches (fries, white potatoes, beans, legumes) and some fruit.
Eating healthy fats provides better and more reliable energy for your mind and body. You will feel more energized throughout your day. Healthy fats are shown to be the most effective molecule to burn as fuel. Weight loss is just a natural progression when in Ketosis. Your body will be using your fat stores as an energy source instead of glucose.
An Easy In-depth Look At the Ketogenic Diet
Weight loss is a topic that has become synonymous with the word “diet”. For some, weight loss is a dream while for others, a struggle. Losing weight has become the catalyst that spurred many diet fads and while some weren’t exactly what you would call “healthy”, there are those who have shown promising results not just for weight loss but when it comes to developing overall fitness.
One of those diets is what they call the Ketogenic diet, a low-carb, high fat diet that has shown promising results when it comes to weight loss.
What is a Ketogenic Diet?
Originally used to treat epilepsy, a Ketogenic diet is a type of diet that revolves around a low-carb, high-fat type of nutritional sustenance. The science behind the ketogenic diet begins with how the body readily takes its energy from carbohydrates among other types of food. While this may seem okay, today’s world is simply filled with too many people eating too much carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates, among other things, aren’t readily metabolized as energy and often stored as fat first. This “inefficiency” or added step can snowball and end up making the person inevitably fatter and heavier. Not to mention how carbohydrates aren’t exactly filling to begin with so a normal person ends up eating more than they should.
Take sugar for example. Sugar is the most popular carbohydrate on earth. Whether for added taste to food preservation, sugar is used in just about everything we eat. Most people wonder how something so small and easily dissolved turns to layers of fat in the body. While sugar itself isn’t exactly bad for you, added or too much sugar is, and unfortunately, most people take a lot more than they really should, what with all the kinds of sweets, drinks, sauces, and desserts that’s been popping up everywhere.
When your body consumes sugar, it converts it to glucose as fuel but if the body consumes too much sugar, your body then produces too much glucose. Anytime the body makes too much glucose than it really needs, and it’s too easy to have so much, the liver’s sugar storage is exceeded. When the liver has too much sugar it converts it into fatty acids (yes, fat!) and then returned to the bloodstream and stored wherever your body tends to store fat cells such as the arms, hips, butt, and of course the belly.
But it doesn’t end there. When you have too much fat in those areas, the fatty acids begin to spread over into your internal organs like the heart, kidneys, and liver. This makes your organs have a reduced function, elevates blood pressure, weakens the immune system, and slows down the metabolism.
You must be thinking “Alright, I get the low-carb part but what about high-fat? Isn’t fat supposed to be bad for you?”
For the longest time, people have demonized diets like this due to how they once feared fat in their food and some still do to this very day. You can’t blame them; mainstream media has been flooding us with foods labeled as “fat-free” or “low-fat” and it didn’t help when doctors started telling their patients to go with those type of foods. But recent studies show how fat, specially saturated fat, may not be so bad for you after all.
In fact, a low-fat diet isn’t effective when it comes to weight loss and evidence suggests that it may even contribute to promote unnecessary weight gain.
Fat won’t make you fat
Contrary to popular belief, fat doesn’t exactly make you “fat”. It’s in the name but it’s not how it functions. A Ketogenic diet promotes consumption of healthy fat since fat is is a good source of energy for the body. Remember how we said excess carbohydrates are stored as fat? A Ketogenic diet promotes a “shortcut” when it comes to energy consumption.
What happens is that when the body feels like it’s out of carbohydrates, it goes into a metabolic state known as ketosis, a process the body undergoes that enables the liver to produce ketones from the breakdown of fats to convert them into energy. This reduces unhealthy weight gain and improves the body’s metabolism at the same time.
5 Benefits of Ketosis
Achieving a state of Ketosis will provide your body multiple benefits including the following:
Ability to utilize fat as fuel
When the body senses the lack of carbohydrates for fuel, the main “go-to” source of energy, it will then use its fat stores in a more efficient rate. It helps clear the excess fat in the body as fat is often treated as “reserved” energy that is only utilized when an emergency arises.
Spares your protein
Being in a Ketogenic ensures the body prefers ketones over glucose when it comes to energy. Since the body has more than enough fat to utilize, there is no longer a need to oxidize protein to generate glucose through gluconeogenesis.
Improves weight loss
Studies have confirmed that a high-fat diet is capable of suppressing hunger while a high-carbohydrate diet does the opposite. It has to do with how fat naturally provides a satiating effect which lasts longer than when you eat carbs even if they have the same amount of calories. On top of that, ketosis also reduces the chances of your body storing too much fat and therefore helps with overall weight loss.
Helps treat Type II Diabetes
Insulin resistance is a condition where the body fails to recognize insulin, the body’s main “sugar regulator”. Insulin is in charge of converting blood sugar to glucose so the body can burn or store it. When a person has insulin resistance, the blood sugar elevates into toxic levels which can lead to Type II Diabetes.
In a ketogenic diet, you only consume just enough carbs to get by and this not only improves blood sugar and insulin levels but also helps prevent the onset of Type II Diabetes.
Reduction of epileptic seizures
As mentioned earlier, ketogenic diets were often used as treatment for epilepsy particularly in patients who don’t respond well to drug treatment. Ketogenic diets were shown to not only reduce seizures but also help cure children of epilepsy.
The Take Away
The Ketogenic Diet:
- You will be amazed at how much mental and physical energy you will have throughout the day
- Clearer thinking
- Choosing the best nourishment for your body is a much healthier food focus than counting calories
- You don’t need to count calories but you should make all your calories count
- Will help prevent unhealthy weight gain and improves the body’s metabolism at the same time providing one of the most effective ways to lose weight
- Will help promote increased levels of HDL (the “good”) Cholesterol.
- Low-carb intake is known as an effective way to reduce blood pressure
- Helps prevent the onset of Type II diabetes
- Used as one of the treatments for epilepsy
Indulge in healthy fats for many health related benefits such as mental and physical energy and Unleash Your Optimal Self!