A potent weight loss tool
If your wish has always been to have a metabolism like that of an envied skinny friend or family member that can eat what they want and not get fat, this is it. When you eat carbohydrates, they become your body’s primary source of fuel. Your body will not burn fat as long as carbohydrates are present in your diet. When you limit your carbohydrate intake, your body has to find another type of fuel it can rely upon, a type of fuel we all have enough of but can’t access. Carbohydrates block your body’s ability to use your own body fat as energy, in addition, you end up storing the excess carbohydrates as fat rather than using it if you are Insulin resistant. This will be discussed a little further on.
To explain this point further, If you can imagine eating a Cornetto ice-cream, you will not reach the biscuit part if you have an infinite amount of ice-cream on-top. Similarly, if there is a constant supply of carbohydrates, your body will never utilise fat as fuel.
The Ketogenic diet is a low carbohydrate high fat regimen, and by limiting carbohydrates, you force your body to use fat as fuel instead of storing it. Going back to the ice-cream example, if you cut off the infinite supply of ice cream, you will eventually get to the biscuit part. If you cut off the carbohydrate supply, you will burn your body fat. This is called ketosis and this is where all the magic happens. Ketosis a metabolic state where your body becomes a fat burning machine. How good does that sound? Fats will no longer be stored as fat, instead fat will be converted immediately into energy in the form of ketones, and in periods where you are not eating, you will burn your own FAT stores up as fuel. Whichever way you look at, FAT is no longer stored. How does this help you? It means weight loss, and more accurately, it means fat loss and a lot of it too.
Before the we explain the role of Insulin and carbohydrates in weight gain, we need to understand what carbohydrates are?
What are Carbohydrates?
A large component of the carbohydrates we eat are sugars or are converted to sugars in our body. People are generally confused about what the word "Sugar" really means and assume that sugars from natural foods, like fruit, somehow behave differently in the body compared to something like table sugar (Sucrose). The word “natural sugars” causes misconception because we immediately assume that fruits are not a type of carbohydrate sugar that is bad for us, since they are “natural”, and so in turn they don’t contribute to weight gain. The truth is, the simple sugars in our diets (Glucose, Fructose and Sucrose) all have the same outcomes and all contribute to weight gain in one way or another.
Glucose and Sucrose generally behave in the same way and are used by both the brain and muscles. Excess of these is converted to Glycogen by both the liver and the muscles of the body. As a matter of fact, the type of sugar in fruit is called “fructose” and it is stored in the liver as glycogen. If fructose is not utilised immediately as energy, it is quickly converted to fat. Once fructose goes into liver glycogen stores, it can NOT be reused as energy for muscles or the brain and contributes directly to fat storage. In addition, people are also ignorant to the fact that milk contains a lot of sugar in the form of lactose which is eventually converted to glucose in the body. As a result, people are essentially eating a lot more carbohydrate sugars than they realise, which undoubtedly gets in the way of weight loss. So, what are some foods that contain carbohydrates or sugar?
Milk and yoghurt
Potatoes (including sweet potato)
Cakes, muffins, biscuits
Some vegetables such as corn
Fizzy and sports drinks
Now that we know what carbohydrates are we can discuss why they make you fat.
What is Insulin resistance and how
Are carbohydrates making you fat?
If you are carrying belly fat, chances are you have a disease called Insulin resistance. After you eat a meal filled with carbohydrates or sugars, your blood sugar (glucose) level rises. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that helps remove glucose out of your bloodstream and into cells. In addition, Insulin is a fat storage hormone. When Insulin is working efficiently, it converts your glucose into energy and stores the remaining unused amount in your muscles, fat cells and liver. If you are Insulin resistant (most commonly caused by carrying around excess body fat), Insulin loses its efficiency and instead stores much of the extra unused glucose as FAT.
This is where it gets interesting, if you become insulin resistant, the body will try to produce much larger amounts to try and counteract that resistance. Remember, Insulin is a fat storage hormone, so the more the body secretes, the more fat you store. But at the same time, excess body fat increases Insulin resistance and acts as a barrier to its normal function, not allowing your body to feel the effect of Insulin. Therefore the body has no choice but to make even more Insulin, more Insulin stores more fat, more body fat causes the body to secrete more Insulin and we end up in a vicious cycle of inevitable weight gain.
To clarify this point further, imagine calling a removalist company with 10 workers just to move one couch. What would be more efficient is to only have one worker move that couch to save money. Similarly, this is what happens if you are Insulin resistant, your body throws a great amount of Insulin to control glucose levels, where if Insulin was more efficient, it would only secrete a small amount of it to do the same job and in turn reduce that Insulin dependant weight gain that we talked about previously. To further hammer this point home, if we compare a skinny person to an overweight person, the skinnier person will make much less Insulin to control rising glucose levels verses an overweight person.
Over time, if your Insulin levels remain high (hyperinsulinaemia) you will develop high levels of Insulin resistance, which may in turn lead to diabetes and other serious health problems.
Hyperinsulinaemia (a result of consistently high Insulin levels due to a high level of glucose consumed in the diet) can be associated with the following serious health conditions:
Can Insulin resistance be reversed?
Yes, it can, the less Insulin is being required, the more healing occurs. Insulin needs “time” to heal to work efficiently.
When you reduce your carbohydrate intake and increase your fat on a Ketogenic diet, your blood glucose will drop and become more stable, hence your body will make less Insulin since it’s no longer required in the same quantities when carbohydrates were present. This begins the recovery process to become Insulin SENSITIVE rather than RESISTANT, and immediately the body starts to feel the effect of Insulin and the need for it in large amounts is no longer required. A small amount of Insulin suffices in comparison when you were Insulin resistant. The advantage of being Insulin SENSITIVE is that you store less FAT when you reintroduce C
carbohydrates back into your diet.
How do you get in ketosis?
There are two ways to get into ketosis:
Ketones are made up of beta hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate and acetone. Nutritional ketosis is measured by the amount of beta hydroxybutyrate found in the blood using a dual glucometer. Nutritional ketosis is in the range of 0.5 and 3 mmol/L, where optimum ketosis is between 1.5 and 3 mmol/L.
Nutritional ketosis, where we restrict our carbohydrate to a minimal level, and replace with dietary fat (ketogenic diet).
Starvational ketosis, where not eating for a few days automatically changes bodies’ fuel source to ketones for survival and energy.
There are many studies that suggest that the brain functions better on ketones rather than glucose once in ketosis. Our bodies in certain conditions will naturally be in ketosis. An unborn fetus for example will use up to 40% of its required energy from ketones. In fact, from our research, we found many pregnant and breast feeding women naturally in mild ketosis while eating a large amount of c
So what are macro percentages on a ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet usually initially consists of:
Note: At times these proportions may need to be altered based on the advise of our qualified ketotrainer and according to individual needs and goals.
Ketogenic diet myth? This is NOT a high protein diet!
Why is protein moderate not high?
So why is the protein only 15%? Can we have as much protein as we want? Too much protein can be problematic for ketosis. Too much protein can be anti-ketogenic, meaning excess protein will convert to sugar (glucose) in a process called gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis is when your body breaks down dietary protein and converts it into glucose. Too much protein also forces the body to release some Insulin, thereby stopping your body from burning fat.
The point of the Ketogenic diet is to eliminate sugar from the diet and increasing dietary fats. Having too much protein being converted to sugar while consuming high amounts of fats is disastrous, and will lead to weight gain and high cholesterol. The Ketogenic diet receives a bad rap because it is not done properly. People rely on getting accurate information from Google and it backfires. When done properly, the Ketogenic diet is a great weight loss tool and has many therapeutic benefits.
*Results may vary from person to person, depending on the overall health condition.