A general concept that most people have is that sugar is the primary source of energy in the body. However, a more efficient source does exist in the form of ketones, which is rarely utilized. Ketogenic diet weight loss works through utilization of these alternative energy sources in the body. Nowadays, a lot of people opt for the diet for the numerous benefits it offers, including weight loss. So, what is keto and how does the diet work?
The body produces ketones when it metabolizes fat. These ketones are then used by cells for powering the standard functionality. The metabolic state of having ketones in the body is known as ketosis. The main aim of ketogenic diet is eating in a manner that the body is induced into this metabolic state. The diet primarily consists of high-fat content along with adequate protein and low carbohydrates.
The metabolic process of the body wherein fat is utilized primarily for energy over carbohydrates is known as ketosis. During this process, the body directly breaks down its fat stores for energy. It doesn’t convert muscle and fat cells slowly into glucose for energy. Your body enters this state when it does not have adequate availability of glucose. Understanding of this process gives you the answer to the question of what is keto.
When the body breaks down fat for energy, ketones are produced as the by-products. This only occurs when the intake of carbohydrates is low. Whenever you ask what is the keto diet, you will come to know that it is a low carb diet. Hence, the diet induces production of ketones.
How does it work?
You might come to know what is the keto diet. Still, you might be curious as to how it actually works. Primarily, ketogenic diet works through:
- Cutting down on carbs: The diet incorporates an extremely low level of carbohydrate intake, which results in insufficient glucose levels within the body. When that happens along with depleted levels of glycogen, insulin and blood sugar levels also decrease. The body then starts looking for an alternative fuel source. That is when ketogenic diet weight loss starts working.
- Breaking down fats: With the lack of carbs in the body, the body starts breaking down fats for energy. The process is called beta-oxidation. In this process, there is an increase in acetyl-CoA. The acetyl-CoA then turns into acetoacetate, which then turns to beta-hydroxybutyrate. This ketone body floats around in the blood for providing energy to the brain and the body. This is perhaps the best explanation you can get for what is keto.
Why does the body need ketones?
The human body has always relied on ketones upon scarcity of glucose sources. Ketosis weight loss takes advantage of this phenomenon. Although it is a healthy state of metabolism, people’s bodies rarely utilize it due to the abundance of carbohydrate. As a result, it is now very much a dormant metabolic process. However, ketogenic diet forces the body to utilize this amazing metabolic pathway. It enables the body to burn ketones for fuelling bodily processes.
The numerous benefits of the diet
As far as benefits of incorporating the diet is concerned, ketosis weight loss is the most obvious and popular one. However, the benefits vary from individual to individual. Considering what is keto, it is only natural that different people experience different benefits. However, most people experience benefits like decreased body fat, better physical performance, improved insulin sensitivity, mental focus and memory. With such advantages, people incorporate ketosis diet for:
- Losing weight: You naturally lose more weight when your body directly uses fat as energy source. Since your body turns to its stores of fat instead of sugar, you tend to lose weight more readily. This is why ketogenic diet works so well.
- Improving levels of energy: When you only incorporate ketogenic recipes in your diet, your body tends to have more consistent levels of energy. This is because there are no surges of glucose, resulting in your body fat being utilized.
- Improving physical performance: You think of weight loss whenever you consider what is keto. However, the diet also improves your physical performance by helping the body utilize oxygen more efficiently. Your body also avoids physical crashes because of low blood sugar.
- Increasing focus: The brain prefers fat as it is more consistent as a source of energy. This means that your levels of focus don’t fluctuate a lot during keto diet.
- Disease prevention: Ketogenic recipes are also beneficial for specific diseases. The diet is considered to benefit people with diabetes and cancer patients. It also shows a decrease in Alzheimer’s and Inflammation.
How does it help with weight loss?
If you want to know what is keto, you are likely searching for a diet that helps with weight loss. It is indeed one of the most effective diets that help you in losing weight. Numerous factors come into play for weight loss. Keto diet uses these factors to help you shed the extra weight.
- Increased oxidation of fat: When you maintain a proper ketogenic diet, your body gets into a state in which the fat is oxidized readily. The increased fat oxidation means you start shedding unnecessary fat.
- Regulation of hormone: Ketosis diet also helps in sustaining weight loss since it regulates the hormones affecting weight. Incorporating the diet decreases the cravings for unhealthy foods. This considerably reduces your chances of gaining weight again.
- Regulation of appetite: With this diet, you are required to eat food with high content of healthy fat. This means that you feel full, even though you are on a keto diet for weight loss. You end up having a more controlled appetite, which is extremely helpful for sustaining weight loss.
- Regulation of blood sugar: Weight loss diets including high carbs tend to create spikes in blood sugar levels. As a result, you feel hungry soon after eating. You also feel unfocused and tired. This doesn’t happen with ketogenic diet as it is based on low intake of carbs.
Perhaps this is why people opt for the keto diet, and you should try too! Get your desired fitness and don your favourite slim tops and jeans now!
One woman lost almost a quarter of her body weight in a matter of months…
Step aside, 5:2 diet… Make way for the ketogenic diet!
Haven’t heard of the keto diet works? Well, basically, it comprises of eating very small amounts of carbohydrates and medium amounts of protein (most of your daily kilojoule intake would come from eating fats). And while it was originally used as a treatment for children with epilepsy, now many people – celebrities like Kim Kardashian, included – have adopted it as a weight loss method.
And while experts warn that adopting the ketogenic diet for weight loss will give you short-term results, the key to making those results stick is maintaining a healthy eating pattern that is sustainable over time.
For example, dietary recommendations impact each individual differently; everyone is unique, and what works for one person, may not work for another. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
But in the case of these keto diet before-and-after shots, it seems that this diet plan has given these women the results they were after, starting with these keto Instagrammers…
@sharon__sandhu has been on her keto journey since late last year and her transformation is astounding. “My journey through keto started on October 1, 2017 at 78kg. Now eight months down, over 18kg lighter at 59kg. A healthy outside starts with the inside – you are what you eat!” she says.
@carbfreekayla says that the picture on the left shows her former self: a woman who had persistent bloating, skin breakouts and stretch marks. On the right? Well, two years later and in her own words…
“[The woman on the right] is a happy and healthy 22-year-old who has eliminated bloating, does intermittent fasting & keto and has naturally erased stretch marks with proper eating habits. I always feel vulnerable posting pics like this but I post to remind myself how far I’ve come and hopefully I can inspire someone else to change for the good!”
@ketoxmermaid, a mum of two from Southern California, has been on the ketogenic diet since this time last year. In that time, she has lost 11.33kg – and has the pictures to prove it.
@ketohilary has been on her ketogenic diet journey for more than a year-and-a-half, and in that time, she has 22.5kg – and counting! “Keto worked for me! But it will only work for you if you are ready and done with where you are,” she says.
@is 47 years old and suffered from “a lot of hormonal issues” before she started on the keto diet in January. Now, she says she feels like things have “normalized [sic]”. “I am no longer controlled by my cravings. I may be losing slowly on the scale but I’m totally okay with that,” she says.
According to @lexj94’s, her before-and-after pics are down to her dedication to the keto diet and eating keto foods. And while she is only 1kg off her 9kg weight loss target, she is still beyond proud of her progress.
“I remember trying on this dress feeling horrible about myself, not wanting to take pictures,” she says. “This morning I tried it on and it fit PERFECT for the first time. This is only the beginning!”
“I remember being on a trip to Buffalo/Niagara Falls and hating every single picture taken of me and being so incredibly uncomfortable in my own skin. Like unbearably uncomfortable,” Katy reveals of what made her try the keto diet a little over a year ago. Katy also says that she has “truly enjoyed” this food journey and there’s no sign of her turning back!
If you want to change your diet in any way, or would like to learn more about the ketogenic diet and it’s right for you, contact your GP and a nutritionist today.
The keto diet is a diet that is high in fat and low in carbs. It’s used to manage type 2 diabetes but is commonly followed to aid in weight loss. Nutrition scientist Catherine Metzgar, PhD, RD, who is on the clinical team at Virta Health, created an exclusive keto meal plan for POPSUGAR.
The daily protein target is set at 14 ounces (determined by our demographic, which is women 18-35). You’ll find that serving sizes have been included for all proteins except eggs, because they’re generally one ounce per egg. Catherine advised eating five servings of nonstarchy vegetables to help achieve nutritional ketosis.
Disclaimer: Consult a doctor before making any dietary changes. If you are on antihypertensive/blood glucose lowering medications, please seek medical supervision before beginning this meal plan.
Ketogenic diets are low carb, high-fat eating plans
Don’t do keto until you read these studies…
The ketogenic diet is currently extremely popular – with lots of people trying it out in as a way to drop pounds fast.
It involves consuming large amounts of fat and very few carbs, in a bid to get the body into ketosis – a state where it is burning fat for energy when it doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn. These diets are often high in animal products, though some people adopt vegan ketogenic diets.
In this exclusive Plant Based News video, PBN Founder Klaus Mitchell talks to top medical professionals, who talk through some essential reading for any keto enthusiasts.
Here are the nine studies you should read before eating an animal product-heavy keto diet.
1. A low-fat vegan diet and a conventional diabetes diet in the treatment of type 2 diabetes: a randomized, controlled, 74-wk clinical trial
Director of Nutritional Education at PCRM, Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., says: “Here at the Physician’s Committee, Dr. Neal Barnard led a team of researchers, dieticians, physicians, who walked about 99 people through a diet intervention.”
During this study, researchers compared the effects of a low-fat vegan diet and conventional diabetes diet recommendations on glycemia, weight, and plasma lipids.
They concluded that: “Both diets were associated with sustained reductions in weight and plasma lipid concentrations. In an analysis controlling for medication changes, a low-fat vegan diet appeared to improve glycemia and plasma lipids more than did conventional diabetes diet recommendations.”
2. Low-carbohydrate diets and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies
Cardiologist Dr. Joel Khan told Plant Based News: “Patients come to me all the time, saying ‘doc, I want to do that low carb thing, I see athletes doing it, I see Hollywood people doing it… can jump into that low carb, high-fat diet, I’d like to drop some weight’.
“What I bring up is this key study you need to be aware of.”
The objective of this study was to ‘elucidate the long-term effects of low carb diets on mortality and cardiovascular disease incidence [CVD]’.
After systematically reviewing all pertinent data, scientists concluded: “Low-carbohydrate diets were associated with a significantly higher risk of all-cause mortality and they were not significantly associated with a risk of CVD mortality and incidence.”
3. The effect of a plant-based low-carbohydrate (“Eco-Atkins”) diet on body weight and blood lipid concentrations in hyperlipidemic subjects
According to General Practitioner Dr. Gemma Newman: “One of the problems with a conventional low carb high-fat diet, is that a third of people who do it notice an increase in their cholesterol levels.
“This study showed that a plant-based low carb high-fat diet – the so-called ‘eco Atkins’ diet – then you have the potential to reduce your cholesterol even more than what you can achieve with a wholefood plant-based diet.
“If you’re going for low carb high-fat, always make it plant-based.”
As the study concluded: “A low-carbohydrate plant-based diet has lipid-lowering advantages over a high-carbohydrate, low-fat weight-loss diet in improving heart disease risk factors not seen with conventional low-fat diets with animal products.”
4. Intensive lifestyle changes for reversal of coronary heart disease
This seminal paper led by leading plant-based medic Dr. Dean Ornish looked at how ‘intensive lifestyle changes may lead to regression of coronary atherosclerosis after one year’.
During the study, 48 patients with moderate to severe coronary heart disease were either treated with usual-care or asked to undertake a number of intensive lifestyle changes. These included following a low-fat whole foods plant-based diet, aerobic exercise, stress management training, smoking cessation, and group psychosocial support.
According to PCRM’s Susan Levin: “After about a year, what he found was amazing. The plaque in the control group [who were undergoing standard medical care] actually worsened…whereas the people on the intervention trial – the low fat plant-based diet – their plaque started to disappear. 82 percent of them had plaque formation that was going away. Chest pain diminished almost immediately, and their cholesterol dropped as well.”
Essential viewing for anyone interested in the keto diet. Subscribe to PBN’s YouTube Channel here
5. A way to reverse CAD?
This study led by leading plant-based surgeon Dr. Esselstyn looked at the potential of a plant-based diet to reverse coronary artery disease [CAD]. While a smaller study had shown arrest and reversal of the condition, Esselstyn wanted to conduct this follow-up in order to overcome skepticism. Researchers followed 198 consecutive patients.
Top plant-based physician Dr. Neal Barnard says: “Dr. Esselstyn brought in people who had heart disease, who were at risk of death, who were on a list of medications as long as your arm. He said ‘let’s go to the cause’ – the cholesterol, the animal fat that’s in meat, dairy products and fish. He threw those off the plate completely. This was a completely vegan diet.”
Cholesterol improved, blood pressure fell, and the patients lost weight as they enjoyed saturated fat-free healthy vegan foods. Dr. Barnard adds: “The arteries were starting to open up again, their chest pain melted away…they were really living again.”
The study concluded: “Plant-based nutrition has the potential for a large effect on the CVD epidemic.”
6. Animal and plant protein intake and all-cause and cause-specific mortality: results from two prospective US cohort studies
“There’s so many questions about protein, protein, protein,” says cardiologist Dr. Joel Kahn. “The idea that we need chicken to be a weightlifter…that we’re putting our health at risk if we’re not eating lots of animal protein. We’re seeing that disappear as we see world-class athletes on a whole food plant-based diet…There’s science behind this.”
Some of the science can be found in this study, which examines the associations of animal and plant protein intake with risk of mortality. Researchers analyzed the diets of 85,013 women and 46,329 men over three decades, linking what they ate to their health and mortality.
The study concluded: “Higher animal protein intake was positively, whereas plant protein was inversely, associated with mortality, especially among individuals with at least one lifestyle risk factors. Substitution of plant protein for animal protein, especially from processed red meat, was associated with lower mortality, suggesting the importance of protein source.”
7. Vegetarian diets and blood pressure among white subjects: results from the Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2)
Director of Nutritional Education at PCRM, Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., says: “An important group that has been studied over the decades is the Seventh Day Adventists. This is a very health-conscious group of people because they are asked to do things like avoid caffeine, avoid alcohol, and avoid meat. Interestingly most of them stick to those first two criteria but the last one – avoiding meat – some do some don’t. For researchers this sets up a very natural experiment to see what meat-eating does to health outcomes.”
Researchers found an incremental increase in diabetes risk as participants increased their intake of animal products. In addition, those who abstained from animal products had, on average, lower body mass. Only the vegans were in the healthy weight category, with all others – vegetarians, pescetarians, and meat eaters increasing in weight (in that order) and all in the overweight categories.
The study concluded: “Vegetarians, especially vegans, with otherwise diverse characteristics but stable diets, do have lower systolic and diastolic BP and less hypertension than omnivores. This is only partly due to their lower body mass.”
8. Intensive lifestyle changes may affect the progression of prostate cancer
This study, led by Dr. Dean Ornish, took a group of participants and divided them into two groups: a control group taking standard medical advice, and a group employing lifestyle changes including a healthy vegan diet.
According to Dr. Neal Barnard: “What he found, was that among the people who were in the control group, about six of them couldn’t wait anymore, they had to go ahead and have surgery or radiation before the study was over because the cancer was progressing too quickly.
“In the vegan group, nobody needed treatment in this year-long study because they were tracking their blood tests, their prostate-specific antigen [PSA] showed that their cancer wasn’t progressing. In fact, for them, their PSA levels actually dropped by about four percent overall, over the course of the year.”
The study concluded: “Intensive lifestyle changes may affect the progression of early, low grade prostate cancer in men. Further studies and longer term followup are warranted.”
9. Diet, lifestyle, and the etiology of coronary artery disease: the Cornell China study
“This study provided a foundation for the mountain of evidence we now have that a whole food plant-based diet is optimal for our health,”says General Practitioner Dr. Gemma Newman.
“Some of the primary findings that help us in his study are that nutrition is the primary foundation for health, that we don’t need as much protein as we think we need, and that if we have a low animal protein diet we are far less likely to suffer from things like heart disease, several forms of cancer, and diabetes – compared to if we have a high animal protein diet.”
Speaking about low carb, high-fat diets which contain animal fat, plant-based physician Dr. Anthony Hadj adds: “Ketogenic diets can aid in weight loss, but they are not sustainable in the long term, they are not sustainable for the planet from an environmental perspective, and they unfortunately do not have the outcomes that we hoped for.
“They drive disease. They don’t deny it.”