Keto vs. Low-Carb Diet
With so many varying ideas being pushed in the diet market, it’s hard to draw your own conclusion about what information is the truth, and what information is only going to send you on a long, spiraling journey without solid results in your weight loss journey.
The ketogenic diet has received a bad rap from many people who still believe that fat is the source of evil when it comes to monitoring intakes and achieving strategic weight loss results. However, this is not the case! Instead of demonizing fat, if people had truly understood the way our bodies respond to fats, proteins, and carbohydrates years ago, the overwhelming message in the media would be highly different. In fact, instead of avoiding healthy fats, they may be the very food source you need to consume more of in order to see great weight loss results.
There are many low-carbohydrate diets on the market, with the leading and most familiar being the Atkins diet, which emerged around 10-15 years ago. The ketogenic diet, however, has some major differences to these low-carb diets.
The ketogenic diet gets its name from a state the body goes through called ketosis. Ketosis is what occurs when the body is deprived of carbohydrates, and instead of using them for fuel, begins to burn fats as its main source of energy instead. When you’re deprived of incoming carbohydrates, your body begins to look for another source and will begin to burn through the previously stored carbohydrates on you in the form of glycogen. We hold carbohydrates in our muscles and glycogen in our livers. The body, when not receiving carbohydrates from incoming food, turns to these, and within 2-5 days as a standard, the body has normally burnt through all of these carbohydrates and will move into the state the ketogenic diet requires: ketosis.
Ketosis is so powerful for weight loss because of the fundamental shift it brings in how your body works through extra fat. Now, instead of converting carbohydrates, your body will begin to convert fat into ketone bodies. Ketones are something the body produces when it’s going through some kind of starvation and creates these as a means for survival. However, this is a process that can be manipulated to your advantage by eating the right types of food at the right time on a targeted ketogenic diet. By doing this, your body will reap the advantages of being in starvation mode, but your muscle will not begin to waste, and there will be no negative cognitive effects.
Whilst some people may hear the words ‘state of starvation’ and get scared away, the reality of the ketogenic diet looks very different. You can easily begin to understand the logic of the approach by asking yourself this question: is my body more effective when it runs on glucose, or when it runs on fats?
From a scientific perspective, when you consume carbohydrates, you’ll receive roughly four calories per gram as a source of energy. Fat, by comparison, holds nine calories per gram. This is the point where those who were conditioned to count their calories will begin to get scared – ‘but aren’t we meant to consume fewer calories for weight loss?’
However, this is not necessarily the case. If you can condition your body to run on those fats instead, then you’re receiving a higher level of energy per gram. You’ll find you need to eat less in order to reach satiation, and will still have more energy throughout the day than you would have by consuming a carbohydrate diet.
If you decide to embark on the ketogenic diet, it’s important to understand the way the brain is wired in relation to our dieting decisions, and specifically, what will change when it’s on a ketogenic diet. Many of us who have been on diets and either succeeded or failed in the past will be able to attest: most of the hard work done when dieting is mental.
The brain normally runs on glucose as its source of ‘brain food’. When you begin a ketogenic diet, you’ll move into ketosis, and your liver will begin the production of ketone bodies. There’s one particular type of ketone called ‘beta hydroxyl butyrate’, and this ketone has a direct influence on the brain and its functionality. It provides more energy per unit of oxygen than glucose is able to supply. What’s marvelous about this for the brain is its ability to boost brainpower, supplying more energy in the same package each time oxygen is circulated throughout the brain. Many people on a ketogenic diet report a euphoric feeling, and science can prove this is related to the changes in their body. A 2004 scientific study of a control group and a group on the ketogenic diet found that ketosis has a direct effect on gene expression in the mitochondria of the hippocampus, and also has a positive impact on the memory and focus parts of the brain. Literally, when the body is in ketosis, the brain cells can grow and expand. Not a bad side effect for a diet designed to lose weight from your body, right?
One of the major differences of a ketogenic diet vs. a low carbohydrate diet is that on a true ketogenic diet when your body is in ketosis and is running on ketones, you’ll feel great throughout your body. However, when you’re just in a low carb diet space, there’s a strong chance you’ll end up feeling nauseous and unwell, as you’re walking a fine line between moving into ketosis and remaining in a starvation mode. Pick wisely!
Some Big Mistakes doing the Ketosis Diet
If you’re new to the ketogenic diet, or even if you’ve been working on this diet for a while but want to ensure you’re on the path to success, there’s a number of key mistakes to keep an eye out for as you journey and progress forward.
Consuming too much fat – guidelines for the ketogenic diet advise that 85% of your calories can come from fat. If you break it down, this is a lot of fat! If you were consuming an average of 2,500 calories a day, that leads to space to consume 220 grams of fat. However, this is too much fat to be taking in, and your body will get stuck just burning this incoming fat rather than burning the fat stored in your own body. A better place to begin would be at 60% of your daily calories coming from fat. It’s best to go slowly when playing with your fat intake levels and to keep an eye on how your body response.
Beginning all at once – a gradual increase is far more effective to ensure your body is able to digest the new fat levels you’re consuming, compared to dumping too much fat on your system all at once. Imagine how your body may feel if you suddenly start consuming high levels of butter and oil with no gradual warning – you’re going to feel more than a little out of sorts! As many people find their appetite is suppressed by the ketogenic diet, let your appetite guide you when it comes to your fat intake. Besides, once your body has truly reached the state of ketosis and is using stored fat to create ketones, you’ll be able to live off the fat reserves from across your body rather than in taking huge amounts of external fat on a daily basis.
3 all time Fat Burning Foods
So, if your goal is to burn fat at a steady and effective rate, what SHOULD you be looking to eat as a part of your everyday diet?
When looking for good sources of food and energy on the ketogenic diet, a key word to remember is satiation. The Oxford English Dictionary defines satiation as the ‘point at which satisfaction of a need or familiarity with a stimulus reduces or ends an organisms’ responsiveness or motivation.’ When you break it down, this is a great way to understand how our bodies respond and have been trained to respond to food. Satiation is what occurs when food is eaten that will satisfy the need and end the organisms’
motivation – so this is food that truly makes you feel, compared to food that will give you a quick burst of energy and leave you rustling around in the refrigerator once more an hour later. Foods that give you a long-burning, slow release source of energy are going to be much more highly effective in helping you lose weight than this quick release, short-lasting energy sources.
Fat Burning Food: Coconut Oil
Coconut Oil is a bit of miracle oil in that many different industries are singing its praises across a wide range of uses. In the diet and health world, it’s widely known that coconut oil is a great source of energy. Because it is a medium-chain triglyceride as opposed to your typical long-chain fatty acids, the way it’s metabolized is what makes it so valuable for those looking to lose weight. The medium chain triglycerides go directly to the liver and are processed immediately, turning into energy right away.
Coconut oil is referred to as brain food because of the way it turns into ketones, which the brain is being trained to run on once you’ve rewired it from running on glucose. When you’re in the midst of converting your body from burning carbohydrates to burning stored fats and entering into a state of ketosis, coconut oil is a fantastic tool that helps to convince your body to run on fat sources instead, as it acts as a fuel primer. If you’re priming your body with medium chain triglycerides, it’ll begin to get used to the idea of running on fats for fuel.
This is another reason coconut oil is so effective because you want your body to begin to get used to this idea from the very first thing in the morning. You can easily add coconut oil into your tea, your coffee, or just swallow a tablespoon whole first thing in the morning to begin to kick start that fat burning mentality both in your mind and in your physical body.
Coconut oil is a highly versatile ingredient and can be included in many different recipes. Try it as a dressing over salads, as a fat source in baking, and as an added ingredient in smoothies to see what works best for your taste buds in order to keep up your coconut oil intake and increase satiety.
Fat Burning Food: Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
Most of us think of sweet, creamy chocolate at the sound of its name, but unsweetened baking chocolate is more bitter than your run of the mill store-bought candy bar. Because of this, our taste buds won’t respond to it in the same manner, and won’t enjoy it to the same extent. However, this is a versatile food source that can be used in a variety of ways.
The reason baking chocolate, or dark chocolate, is promoted as a fat burning food is because it’s able to curb your appetite. It’s a unique fat source, which is synthesized differently in your body in comparison to other fats. It has the ability to positively affect how your body absorbs other fats and carbohydrates after its consumption. For example, it’s able to slow the absorption of carbohydrates, lowering your blood sugar as a direct consequence. This is of great assistance when you’re looking to control your appetite.
Another benefit of eating dark chocolate is its ability to increase your insulin sensitivity and decrease your insulin resistance. This helps in keeping blood sugar levels stabilized, preventing the swings and falls which can lead you to an increased state of hunger in response to crashing blood sugar levels.
On top of this, dark chocolate is also able to lower your ghrelin levels. Leptin is a hormone that your body secretes when you’re full, and ghrelin is a hormone your body sends out when it’s hungry and is known as the hunger hormone. As well as filling you up on a healthy fat, scientific studies have proven dark chocolate’s ability to reduce the level of ghrelin in the body, effectively cutting off the signal from your brain reaching your stomach to tell it to be hungry.
Lastly, dark chocolate is known as a ‘bliss food’ because it releases positive endorphins upon consumption. These highs only last for a matter of moments, but sticking to 100% dark chocolate will allow you to stay on this natural high for longer.
When you’re on a diet, it’s all too tempting to reach for a piece of junk food as a rebellion against what can feel like diet constrictions. Dark chocolate is a great way to stop yourself from self-sabotaging by choosing a healthier option instead. There are many recipes online that can show you how to add sweetness to the dark chocolate taste without using sugar, but you’ll also find that the longer you stay away from junk, the more your taste buds adapt to find the sweetness even in 100% dark chocolate.
Fat Burning Food: The Smoothie
Not all smoothies are created equal, but this plant-based smoothie allows you to enhance your digestion and therefore absorb more protein as the day continues, which will greatly help with your satiation levels and needs being met. This smoothie also allows your body to absorb more nutrients as it continues throughout the day, meaning you’re getting the most amount of benefit possible from your food intake without needing to pile on more calories.
This smoothie involves blending together spinach, unsweetened almond milk, organic agave and some water. It’s a very simple drink but it allows you to benefit from the maximum absorption of powerful greens such as spinach and provide your body with a low glycemic source of energy. This is a great food source to turn to if you’re struggling to feel full, as it’s going to provide your body with slow-releasing energy that will help you make it through to the next meal time without getting very hungry.
There’s a wide range of fat-burning foods and little tips and tricks out there, so if you decide to embark on a ketogenic diet, spend some time familiarizing yourself with the powerful abilities of many foods that will already be sitting on your pantry shelves. In time, you’ll reap the benefits!
How does Inflammation impact weight loss and good health?
Unfortunately, the body has other ways of sabotaging weight loss attempts, so it’s important to go into any new diet with your eyes open and all of the information you need to know how to best position your body for success.
Inflammation is a word that’s thrown around often, but not many people are truly familiar with what it is in reality. Scientific research has been conducted on inflammation for decades and the results are truly staggering. However, there are many corporate and governmental agendas from keeping this information in front of the average consumer, because if we truly knew how bad inflammation really was, our next question would be to look at its causes – and many industries make a lot of money out of the very things that cause inflammation.
To understand what inflammation is, think of a bee sting. Just in the same way as when you’re stung by a bee and your skin gets swollen and inflamed, the same thing can happen internally within our bodies. This is called acute inflammation and often occurs abruptly. On the inside of the body, it’s instead called chronic inflammation, and it’s the immune system’s response to what is occurring in the body that’s the cause. The body has an enzyme called the cyclooxygenase enzyme, and this enzyme is responsible for triggering the release of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are responsible for causing the spark of inflammation across the entire body. They effectively tell your body to be on ‘high alert’ and to be on the lookout for an invader, which causes internal stress to your body as it then becomes weakened and turns into a hotbed for chronic disease to manufacture as a result of the changed environment.
We’re all conditioned to take an aspirin or ibuprofen when we’re in pain. These pills directly work to reduce inflammation, which is how they received their anti-inflammatory label. Now imagine you’re eating foods which instead directly stimulate the enzyme which sends out inflammatory-causing messages to your body – you’re effectively doing the exact opposite to your body of what you should be.
One example of the damage caused by inflammation in the body is found in the intestinal tract. When it becomes inflamed, your body is longer able to absorb the nutrients it needs to from the food it ingests. This leads to joints that are swollen on the inside, causing internal pain as you go about your everyday movements. Although you may be eating enough calories, your body is not able to absorb them. As a result, it goes into starvation mode, telling your body you need to eat more. And if you act on this, you’ll begin piling calories onto your body that cannot be consumed, leading to extra stored fat and to weight gain.
Inflammation is often caused as a result of eating genetically modified foods and the preservatives that reside after pesticides have been sprayed on produce destined for human consumption. When our bodies don’t recognize the food they’re receiving, they send a message to the system that a foreign invader is on the way in, which causes inflammation as the body goes into self-protection mode to fight this invader.
It’s important to explore which foods cause inflammation for you personally, as all of our bodies are wired differently. By removing inflammation-causing foods from your diet, you reduce your chance of developing a chronic disease such as diabetes, chronic fatigue, or even cancer. Find out what causes inflammation in your body and remove those food sources, so your body is able to fully absorb the nutrients you feed it once more and your health can be restored. Your doctor will be able to recommend a course of treatment as to how to test different food intolerances one by one, so you’re able to ascertain clear results as to the culprits of inflammation in your body specifically. This is something that looks different on everyone and it’s important to examine your own body for results, not somebody else’s.
Interesting facts about inflammation
Inflammation is a wide topic that deserves to be fully investigated in order to understand how to avoid it and how to position your body for maximum health. Interesting facts about it include…
The body’s ability to get rid of inflammation is referred to by many as the ‘fire department’ of the body, rushing to put out flames that occur and dangers that present themselves.
We’re able to support this ‘fire-fighting’ work by supplying the body with 90 essential nutrients, the most important of these being selenium.
Antioxidants can be thought of as the water the fire department uses to douse flames – so by consuming food that has high antioxidant properties, you can contribute to the body’s ability to fight these internal battles.
We can reduce our risk of inflammation by looking at the environments we expose our body to. Certain environments encourage the creation of free radicals, such as fried foods. These are detrimental to your health and will cause inflammation, making your body work hard to undo the negative impact that occurs upon consumption and ingestion.
Food intolerance and weight gain
The other area that can cause weight gain where we least expect it is our individual food intolerances. Many of us have different food intolerances, and what our body responds well to and what it’s intolerant to can vary widely from person to person.
Food intolerances lead to nasty side effects and can make day to day life challenging for people who are unknowingly consuming food they’re intolerant to. This food acts as a foreign invader in the intolerant body, launching an attack against its systems. If this is a once off, the body is able to get rid of the invader, but if this happens again and again, the body is going to suffer. You’ll find yourself suffering from joint pain, from constant headaches, and from a whole host of autoimmune diseases that have been triggered by the presence of the food your body is specifically intolerant to.
One of the most common food intolerances is towards gluten, which causes your body to release a protein that makes the gut more permeable. Fructose is another intolerance, and this one actually puts holes in the gut, leading to ongoing and long-term problems until the gut has been fully able to heal itself. It’s sad that our modern eating culture has made it the norm to consume so many foods that can actually be highly damaging, so in order to truly care for your body, the first place to begin is by growing an understanding of what you need to reduce or fully eliminate altogether from your daily diet. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel once your gut has healed.
As well, when people go on diets to reduce the level of inflammation in their body as a result of food intolerance, it’s not uncommon to see five to seven pounds of weight loss in the course of a single week. This weight loss is the result of a reduction of inflammation, and a minimization of bloating levels. As well, inflammation can cause hormonal issues which directly lead to increased weight gain, so by removing these toxic foods from the equation, your body becomes much better equipped to handle incoming and outgoing calories.
Weight loss is a long-term target that requires an informed strategy. Too many people jump on fad diet bandwagons, lured in by false promises and shiny advertisements in the hopes of seeing the pounds fall off of their bodies. However, there truly is hope for those looking for long-term weight loss strategies.
The ketogenic diet presents a wonderful opportunity to not only lose weight but to truly see stored fat begin to burn off. Some of us have been carrying this stored fat around on our hips, waists, and thighs for decades. Imagine how freeing it would be to see your body’s true shape emerge as the fat that’s stored in these areas slips away, and the freedom that comes with knowing your body is functioning on a healthy and long-burning form of energy, in comparison to over-processed and inflammation-causing junk food.
There are many health benefits to be gained beyond weight loss, so it’s best to think of this as a holistic journey towards improved health and a stronger body. Not only will you see weight loss, but you’ll also see reduced inflammation, clearer performances, increased brain function and an improved memory and focusing ability once your body is operating off ketones in comparison to carbohydrate calories. This will not impact your short-term, but your long-term, as you’re able to move forward with a body that’s in tune and strengthened for the environment it’s in.
Everybody’s weight loss journey is different, so make sure you’re very familiar with your own specific goals and desired outcomes. Start slowly and methodically, taking the time to familiarize yourself with the information you need to fully understand what a ketogenic diet is and how it could benefit you. Make a list of all of the foods you can eat on this diet as well as the foods to avoid, and get used to reading labels in supermarkets so you’re not unintentionally consuming foods that are going to cause disruption rather than a benefit.
At the end of the day, weight loss is empowering and freeing. We wish you well on your journey towards a healthier and happier you!