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In a normal diet, the body runs on fuel provided by carbohydrates, fats and proteins. In Ketogenic diet, which is now being deemed the best diet for weight loss, the body is deprived of carbohydrates which reduces overall weight and also corrects several underlying hormonal issues. In this guide, we will consider factors due t which people gain weight as well as the reasons why carbohydrates are so bad for us. Finally, we will touch base on what makes the Ketogenic diet plan the best diet for weight loss as well as how it can positively aid in muscle gain and bulking up.
Why do we gain excess weight?
Most people think that they gain excess weight mainly due to their lack of motivation to exercise as well as their tendency to overeat. In reality, the real reason behind excess weight gain is almost always an underlying hormonal imbalance. Failure to correct this imbalance is usually the number one reason why people find their weight loss efforts not showing results.
To add to these hormonal imbalances there is the body’s insulin level imbalance. When we think of insulin, we only tend to think of it in terms of diabetes. This is true to an extent and we will shortly see in detail how the entire insulin cycle is related to blood sugar as well as a plethora of other health issues. The point we wish to make here is: insulin also plays an important role in how the body performs fat metabolism. And this is precisely where the Ketogenic diet comes into picture. Keto, it is believed, and numerous tests have also shown, is the best weight loss diet since it helps manage blood insulin levels. Many studies have now proven that compared to several other low fat diets, the ketogenic low carbohydrate diet can help imporve insulin sensitivity in subjects who follow it.
Why does the body store fat? Why, with all the fat content, does an obese person still experience hunger?
This is where the hormonal theory of insulin can help answer these questions. The insulin in our blood helps partition the energy into fat stores. Thus, it can be said that insulin actually ‘locks in’ the energy in the fat store.
When you eat carbs, the insulin levels in the blood increase; at the same time they (the carbohydrates) also inhibit burning of fat. So, your body starts to store greater amounts of fat. When we eat all those sugary foods, (which most of us do) the serum glucose levels of the blood also increase. Starches (contained in food items such as breads and pasta) also convert and breakdown into glucose to raise the serum glucose levels. By restricting carbohydrates, on the other hand, the total glucose levels can be lowered. This, in turn, lowers the insulin. Since insulin is a potent stimulator of lipogenesis (fat storage) and inhibitor of lipolysis , lowering of insulin can help individuals use up all the stored fat. By continuing the Ketogenic/low carb diet, the body experiences depleted fat levels and, ultimately, weight loss.
Assumptions about food intake that contribute to fat storage
There are many myths and assumptions that humans tend to make regarding diets in general. These are:
- We have to eat 120g of carbohydrates everyday
- A low carb ketogenic diet cannot lead to weight loss since it is not ‘calorie-restricted’.
- Low carb ketogenic diets can lead to harmful Ketosis
- These diets are hard to follow
- The low carb diet can lead to cardiometabolic disorders.
Research has also shown that following essential nutrients are the only things needed for humans to have healthy weight:
- Minerals like Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulphur, sodium etc and trace minerals like Iron, zinc, iodine, selenium, copper, molybdenum and tin.
- Amino acids- Isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, tyrosine, valine.
- Essential fatty acids and fatty acids like linoleic acid.
- Water and fat soluble vitamins and others like Inositol, Choline and Carnitine etc.
Thus, the requirement of carbohydrates on a daily basis is Zero, provided one takes adequate amounts of fat and protein. The Ketogenic diet does not completely inhibit carbs but limits them sufficiently to show excellent weight loss results.
What makes carbs so bad?
Irrespective of whether you consume good carbs or bad carbs (simple or complex carbs) they are ultimately converted into glucose. Both these categories of food groups are responsible for raising the blood sugar levels.
How they work: carbohydrate increases the insulin levels to help move the blood sugar to the cells to provide them with energy for doing tasks. At one point, thanks to bombardment of carbohydrates, the body keeps on making insulin and carrying un-required and huge amounts of sugar to the cells which do not even want all that sugar. The cells therefore start to “shut down their entry gates” to the blood sugar. In scientific terms, the name given for this phenomenon is developing “resistance to insulin”. Next, the insulin tries to dump its excess quota of sugar on the fat cells; a strategy which does not work. The fat cells also reject the sugar due to which the blood sugar levels rise.
In people who experience this excess blood sugar, a variety of symptoms might be seen including:
- weight gain,
- higher levels of cholesterol and triglycerides,
- Elevated blood pressure and so on.
Additionally, since the blood sugar is also high, the doctor puts him/her on diabetes treatment plan as well.
Naturally the best weight loss diet is the one that not just reduces blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity but also brings with it a reduction in triglycerides, cholesterol and blood pressure.
And that is why the ketogenic diet works above all other diets.
It is a low carb diet so the cells are no longer bombarded with all that blood sugar and they also become sensitive to insulin. Hunger pangs are naturally reduced since the high protein and high fat diet keeps one full longer. Additionally, hormonal balance is achieved by the diet. The cells also continue to use up fats for energy therefore; the body no longer stores fat. Not only do you lose weight; you are more likely to feel highly energetic and active all day long. People who follow this diet religiously for a few weeks also find that exercise is no longer a chore, but a fun and pleasure inducing activity.
Bodybuilding with Ketogenic diet
When following this diet you can also combine it with high intensity exercise. The result: the stored glucose in muscles also gets used up as an energy source. As a result, the cells in the muscles become even more sensitive to insulin. Thus, a good weight loss program will be the one that has low carbohydrate intake along with high intensity workout. People who wish to bulk up and build a muscular body often find that fat also gets stored in different ‘pockets’ or areas of the body. To reduce this fat accumulation, bodybuilders can also follow the ketogenic diet since the diet allows them to build muscle without accumulated fat. Likewise, people looking to cut fat do not lose muscle in the process and they can also induce serum anabolic hormones (testosterone, insulin like growth factors and other growth hormones) in their blood without the requirement for additional supplements. The result is that you achieve a leaner look without fatty bulk.
Thus, whether you are looking to lose weight or bulk up with no fat storage and pure muscles, the ketogenic diet is the best diet plan there is.