The ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting have been declared as the two most popular diets to date to lose weight. In this article, we will see some basic concepts of a keto diet and how ketosis works.
The Basics of the Ketosis Diet
The defining characteristic of a ketosis diet is extreme carbohydrate restriction. It differs from many other low carbohydrate diets in that daily net carbs are kept extremely low (typically less than 30g). This puts the body into a metabolic state called ketosis where the body burns fat for energy instead of carbs.
The actual maximum number of net carbs allowed to remain in ketosis will differ for each individual based on a variety of factors including size and exercise level.
To balance out the macronutrient intake, a person on the ketosis diet should consume a majority of their calories from fat and a moderate amount of calories from protein.
This type of diet has been used since the early 20th century to treat epilepsy and may prove to be an effective treatment for several other illnesses. Patients on these treatments began to notice the rapid weight and fat loss as a notable side effect.
Therefore, the popularity of carb-restricted diets began growing until they became highly popular in the 1970s. However, due to a lack of peer-reviewed scientific studies, particularly long-term studies, there was some concern about health risks.
There have been a growing number of long-term studies in recent years that suggest that a ketogenic diet is not only safe, but may actually improve overall health, and is the most effective fat-loss diet. For more discussion on health concerns, read Is Ketosis Dangerous.
The standard ketogenic diet (SKD Diet) is a long-term carb reduced diet for individuals that do not perform high-intensity activities such as weightlifting or heavy cardio but would still like to reduce weight and body fat percentage.
Even though this diet alone is extremely effective for initial weight loss, results can be accelerated with the addition of exercise. If you are able to perform weightlifting or intense cardio, an advanced variation of the diet should be used. Athletes, bodybuilders, and those interested in attaining the lean and ripped look of a fitness model should apply either a cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD Diet) or a targeted ketogenic diet (TKD Diet).
Before beginning any diet, it is always important to learn the basics and the scientific principles that provided the basis for the diet. That knowledge will allow you to determine whether or not that specific diet plan is the best for you.
Following a ketogenic diet plan is no different! So, make sure to read through the different articles on this site and make sure you know the rules, potential symptoms and effects of ketosis before you begin.
For detailed instructions to establish a personalized macronutrient profile, read through “How to Set Up a Keto Diet Plan”.
What is Ketosis?
The goal of the keto diet plan and this entire method of weight loss is dependent on the fact that the dieter is able to control their eating and get their body into a state of ketosis. But what exactly is ketosis? Well, read on below to get a more in-depth description of what ketosis is and why it turns your body into a fat-burning machine!
How Our Body Normally Works
In today’s society, our diets are composed of an excess of carbohydrates. When we ingest carbs, our body uses them as the primary source of immediate energy or stores them in the liver and muscles as glycogen. These glycogen stores are saved by your body for extended periods of fasting when you haven’t eaten anything.
So, usually, when people think they are burning fat by crash dieting, they are in fact burning through reserve glycogen stores that your body has saved for exactly this purpose!
What is Ketosis?
Now comes the exciting part! As soon as liver glycogen stores are depleted the body will begin to burn fat through lipolysis and beta-oxidation to produce acetyl-CoA. The molecule acetyl-CoA is then used in the liver to produce ketone bodies.
These ketone bodies are then used as the primary source of energy for your body. In fact, one of the primary signals of entering ketosis is the smell of acetone in your urine. This is due to the fact that the ketone body acetone can’t be processed and is instead excreted through urine. You can read more on how to tell if you are in ketosis by reading the article “Will the signs of ketosis be obvious?”
So, to summarize, once you are in ketosis your body will burn fat to produce ketone bodies for energy. And the longer you force your body to produce ketone bodies, the longer you will be in a fat-burning metabolic state. Once you have reached your target weight, you can return to a moderate carbohydrate diet in order to maintain your ideal weight.
Hopefully, that has shed some light on what is ketosis. Getting into ketosis requires strict dieting and careful carb counting. But, once you have reached this state, your body will become efficient at using fatty acids instead of glucose as energy. And in the end, you will see consistent and steady weight loss like no other diet plan you have ever tried!