Over the last couple of years, the ketogenic diet has made the headlines of magazines and the spotlight of media attention as a front running method of weight loss. I’ve encountered so many people who have all tried the keto diet and I’m quite sure that your readers know at least one person who has tried this method of fat loss dieting.

It’s a dieting strategy that has received great acclaim while at the same time being infamous for being a dietary method that some have said is a fad or scam. Most people who have given keto a fair shot have lost significant amounts of weight. However, some have managed to keep it off while some have regained all their previously lost weight and then some.

So, what’s the deal with keto? Does it work or not?

Let’s take a look at it and find out if it works and, if so, how it works.

Ok, what is Keto actually and how does it work?

In layman’s terms, the ketogenic diet is a diet that involves drastically reducing the number of carbohydrates (and by drastic we mean eating around 50g or less of carbohydrates a day) a person will consume on a daily basis and essentially replacing it with fat. Due to this energy source exchange, an increase in substances known as ketones (a substance that allows your body to use fat as primary energy and fuel source) is formed by your body in response. This metabolic state that your body shifts into is what we know and call ketosis.

When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain. Additionally, ketogenic diets can cause massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels.

But basic biology says that your body needs glucose to function.

Yes, this is true. Your body needs, on average, around 120g of glucose a day just to function. Moreover, certain parts of the body almost only exclusively work with glucose as an energy source. These parts include the brain, red blood cells, the central nervous system and anaerobic functions of your muscles.

However, your body has a mechanism that allows it to produce carbohydrates through the conversion of non-carbohydrate substrates in the liver. This process is known as Gluconeogenesis. In other words, your body will make glucose from the converted carbohydrates it creates in the liver using your fats and/or proteins. This, in turn, allows your body to perform all the necessary functions it needs to by making the substances it needs to operate efficiently.

Wait, so if your body can make its own carbs…

There are two ways to take the information previously:

1. Carbs are obsolete and your body doesn’t need them to function

2. If your body will use carbohydrates anyways by making THEM, THAT makes the keto diet obsolete.

With regards to the first point: no, your body won’t starve or lose any sort of functionality as a result of it going into a state of ketosis.

Now a lot of you may be thinking that since your body doesn’t need carbs, insulin sensitivity and resistance must be a real thing and carbs are the enemy. Therefore, if we avoid carbs, we won’t lose the abilities of any critical bodily functions and we can stave off insulin resistance thus creating the insulin sensitivity needed for additional and faster fat loss. True, insulin sensitivity goes up but… and pay attention to this: insulin isn’t the only mechanism the body has of storing fat. That’s right, your body can store fat quite efficiently even in ketosis.

But surely fat metabolism increases in a ketogenic state and with insulin resistance being low and insulin sensitivity high, we can lose way more fat?

Wrong again!

Fat digestion happens by being packaged in chylomicrons (fat vehicles, if you will), are dumped in the bloodstream and are transported to areas of the body that burn fatty acids. However, an additional area of this transportation destination is adipose tissue which, simply put, are tissue areas that hold and store body fat. Now when you ingest more fat, your body creates more chylomicrons to send to areas that will burn it off as energy. However, you also store more fat as a result. So sure, your fat metabolism might increase but your fat storage increases as well and keep in mind, this can happen without the presence of insulin. The net balance of fat storage to fat usage is what determines whether you store body fat or not.

As for my second point: No, the keto diet is not obsolete. It plays its role for select individuals who have chronic illnesses that impose dietary restrictions on them and there are even the odd groups of people who actually find ketosis sustainable and enjoyable. The body will produce the glucose it needs to function anyways and these people will have a sustainable method of fat loss if they’re eating in a deficit.

So, the underlying theme of keto is this: It works by placing people in a caloric deficit. People who generally transition to keto diets are individuals who were previously eating scores of carbohydrate-dense meals that all just disappear when they start eating in keto fashion. The result is that their overall calories decrease and fat loss occurs. These individuals are people who generally don’t track their food intake and by chance, happen to fall into a deficit once they remove their calorie-dense food choices. This is why a large majority of them also pick up fat really quickly once they reintroduce carbs (and the additional excess calories) back into their daily lives.

Therefore, deciding on whether you should jump onto keto or not is a matter of you deciding whether being in deficit with keto restrictive foods is a sustainable course of action for you or not. The key is tracking your food. Remember that.



SUGGESTED SUPPLEMENTS

Nutrex Lipo 6 Black Keto

LIPO-6 Black Keto utilizes a potent exogenous ketone source that can help get you into ketosis faster and remain there longer.


NOW Foods Sports MCT Oil

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are fats that are naturally found in coconut and palm kernel oils. They’re more easily and rapidly digested than other types of fats. MCTs are readily absorbed from the GI tract and are metabolized very quickly by the liver, where they are reported to encourage the use of fat for energy rather than for storage.


Ketone Test Strips

Urine test strips yield clear and accurate results in less than 30-40 seconds. Results can be interpreted using visual comparison of the reagent pads to the colour chart. Nutritional Ketosis is generally considered when ketones of 0.5 – 3 mmol is observed in urine.

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