We explore the benefits of a ketogenic diet and why it can be your ticket to sustainable fat loss!
So what is the ketogenic diet?
Otherwise known as a low-carb-high-fat (LCHF) diet, it involves limiting your daily carbohydrate intake to 50g or less. The well documented benefits of a ketogenic approach to eating are many and varied, including a reduction in excess body fat, better heart health, lower insulin levels, lower blood pressure, and even an improvement in mood and mental performance. You can also achieve the Holy Grail of decreasing body fat while increasing muscle when combined with an appropriately tailored training plan, which we detail in the THR1VE Protocol. There are many, many more benefits than we’ve listed here – when a ketogenic diet is followed correctly and consistently – read, as a lifestyle rather than a quick fix.
But above all, for our immediate focus, the ketogenic diet is by far the best option for kick starting a smart fat loss plan. Why?
Firstly, it curbs your appetite. In the Best. Way. Possible.
The eternal hunger and resulting internal struggle that most people associate with dieting is probably not only the worst side effect but the aspect most likely to cause “failure”. With a ketogenic diet, this isn’t an issue. One of the greatest features of a low carb high-fat diet is its ability to curb hunger. How? Because with the decrease in carbohydrates comes an increase in high fibre and nutrient dense non-starchy vegetables and highly satiating healthy fats and proteins. The empty calories are eliminated, and you feel fuller for longer.
You will lose fat, not “weight”
By ‘going keto’, you up-regulate ketone production in the liver, whereby stored body fat is converted into fuel for energy. Rather than losing “weight”, where a great deal of the mass you shed come from water weight and muscle mass, you will lose excess body-fat. Studies show that people who take on a low-carb approach to eating lost 2-3 more times the body-fat of those on a low-fat diet, without the increased hunger the low-fat dieters experienced due to calorie restriction, (see Frederick et al., 2003). And by combining the keto approach to nutrition with short and intense training, you will further support fat loss, while maintaining health promoting (and aesthetically pleasing!) functional muscle.
You will also lose organ fat.
You read that right. And this is potentially the most important takeaway from a low-carb diet when it comes to your long term health and wellbeing. Excess consumption of energy, and especially easily stored carbohydrate based energy, leads to excess subcutaneous (under the skin) and visceral (around the organs) fat. When fat builds up around your organs, it directly increases the chances of major health concerns such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. On top of this, visceral fat aggravates systemic inflammation, insulin resistance, and other metabolic conditions (See Johnstone et al. 2008).
It lowers your insulin & blood sugar levels
Concerns about chronically elevated blood sugar and insulin levels should not merely be reserved for those with diabetes. By habitually consuming more carbohydrates than you need for immediate energy production, you not only store the excess energy in fat cells, you also run the risk of creating what is known as ‘insulin resistance’, whereby more and more insulin is needed to do the job. This can lead directly to pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes over time, but also more immediately leads to systemic inflammation, and a host of negative effects on your health and well-being. A ketogenic diet shifts the emphasis from insulin spiking carbohydrates to healthy fats and quality proteins, greatly reducing blood sugar and insulin levels over time. In fact the ketogenic diet has even been shown to reverse Type 2 diabetes, without the use of injected insulin. (See Westman et al. 2008).
It can chill you out
The ketogenic diet has been shown to act as a mood and energy stabiliser, due to the ready and ongoing availability of fuel via stored body fat. Most people report a much more consistent and even level of energy throughout the day. And a 2001 article in “Medical Hypotheses” suggested that ketosis can even help in stabilising moods of those with bipolar disorder. One of the effects of ketosis was seen to be the “expected… decrease [in] intracellular sodium concentrations, a common property of all effective mood stabilisers” (AMERMAN, 2015) . The impact on mental clarity, creativity and productivity, is one of our favourite benefits of the keto diet.
It works!So, if you want to effortlessly and rapidly transform how you look, feel and perform, the ketogenic diet is absolutely worth a try. We suggest you commit to a minimum two weeks, and approach it strictly, to really get a sense of just how powerfully impactful it can be. The decision to either continue in full time ketogenesis, or alternatively transition to the cyclic low carb approach to cycling keto, is completely up to you, based on your unique situation, objectives and progress. Once you experience it for yourself, we are betting you will at the very least utilise it periodically, because it works. Plain and simple.
For a full nutrition guide and training plan, detailing how to go keto for two weeks with a synergistic exercise program, check out the THR1VE Protocol.