The Ketogenic Diet: How and Why

Diets in General

Diets in general have a bad rep. Everyone looks for the new fads and ways to lose weight while doing the least amount of work. I completely understand that and have been there myself, but let’s get real for a second.

A “diet” is merely a prescribed plan of eating. Just like we have plans for work, vacation, etc, a “diet” is just a word for the foods I am going to eat. Don’t let that word get a bad rep in your head. There are tons of diets. Popular ones include:

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Paleo
  • Low fat
  • High protein
  • All natural
  • Etc.

These are just roadmaps to tell you how to eat. I have tried various forms of a diet, and I have had varied success. Diets are VERY person dependent. For instance, after trying many, many different things, I have finally come to the conclusion (with the help of a nutritionist) that I simply do not metabolize carbs and things through my liver quickly. I tend to take a long time get my blood sugar levels back to normal, when I drink I stay buzzed longer because the alcohol won’t metabolize out of my body, and I just have a hard time when I eat high carbs (this is also because of their addicting nature).

So one thing I have recently been using to great success is the Ketogenic diet. Let me tell you why I love it.

The Ketogenic Diet

This diet (again, plan of eating) is a high fat, low carb, medium protein diet. I eat approximately the following percentages and calories based off my plan of 2350 Calories per day (a deficit to currently cut weight):

  • 70% fat (1645 Calories, ~182g)
  • 25% protein (588¬†Calories, ~147g)
  • 5% carbs (117 Calories, ~29g)

I have gotten the “are you kidding me?!” from many people on this. However, this diet has been proven safe. The fats that I eat are all natural, good for you fats like nuts, seeds, coconut/olive oils, and other like dairy and animal fat (preferably from grass fed animals). There is much information out there about why fats are actually good for you (I won’t explain it all here), but fats are ESSENTIAL to your diet for two main reasons:

  1. They are needed to transport vitamins A, D, K and E which are necessary for hormonal functions. If you’re not eating fat, these will simply not be in sufficient levels in your body.
  2. Fats support brain health and are necessary if you want optimal cognitive function. See this video from Dr. Perlmutter who is an expert on the subject.

That’s enough for me, but in addition you might be interested to know that fat also helps regulate caffeine in our system, so if you’re drinking coffee you may want to consider adding some healthy fats to optimize your buzz!

Now onto what’s so great about this diet. For me PERSONALLY, I feel better on this because I don’t metabolize carbohydrates as well as the other nutrients; they simply lock up my liver like a dam if I eat them too much and I can literally feel soreness in my liver (Thanksgiving will be rough). What happens when you eat fats as your main energy source? Aren’t our bodies designed to run on glucose?

They are primarily, but in the lack of glucose, our body enters into mode of energy number two called¬†Ketosis. In this mode of energy production, the body uses ketones, which are the energy form from fats, to fuel our bodies. This allows the body to much more easily regulate our glucose and insulin levels, which is important to me so that mine aren’t out of control. Others who may like this are diabetics, people who seem to really have trouble with sugar, and people trying to lose weight very fast.

The next part of the story is understanding that the fat cells under our skin are simply the stored versions of the fats we eat. So when we are in a calorie deficit, the body burns what it can to make fuel. In ketosis, the body is already in a favorable fat burning mode (rather than burn muscle or use excess glucose stores in the muscles and liver) and so it just starts burning that fat away at a very rapid pace.

The important thing to note is that you HAVE TO WATCH YOUR CALORIES STILL. Calories in still must be less than Calories out; that’s basic thermodynamics of the body. But when you’re in the deficit and in ketosis, your fat starts melting away. I was able to lose about 10 pounds in under a couple weeks. It’s just that you have to be very on point with not getting too many carbs or protein. Why no excess protein? Protein actually breaks down into glucose in the end as well if you don’t need any more of the amino acids, which then raises your blood sugar levels and exits you out of ketosis. It’s a delicate balance.

So read more about this diet and try it out for yourself; you may find it gives you very positive results!