How to Lose Weight Fast on the Keto Diet (And Why Fat Isn’t the Enemy)
Eat less. Keep everything in moderation. And try to avoid fat as much as you can. That’s the kind of advice you often read online on how to lose weight.
It’s the kind of generic advice that makes me want to reach through the computer screen and give someone a good shakedown.
Now, I know that sounds harsh.
Thankfully, there’s abundant research now that, not only are fats not bad for you – they are an essential part of a person’s diet, especially for someone trying to lose weight.
Most of all? They aren’t the enemy.
Sorry, But Fat Isn’t the Reason You’re Swinging That Gut Around
In other words, it’s not that easy to just say that fat is the bad guy, and it’s one of the things you should avoid.
Indigenous diets are often high in fat, and the populations rarely show signs of diabetes, heart disease, or the associated increase in cancer risk.
The !Kung for example, are hunter-gatherer tribes in the Sahara desert who consume a high protein and high fat diet, based on what’s available.
This largely includes animal protein and a particular high-fat nut known as mongongo. One study found that their diet is comprised of up to 70% fat, and yet, they don’t show (even close) similar rates of diabetes, obesity and disease. Plus, they’re lean.
In your own experience, how many times have you tried a low-fat (also known as “low on flavor”) diet? How well did that work for you?
If you’re like most of my clients, you probably:
(1) Felt deprived and hungry all the time,
(2) Couldn’t think straight
(3) Didn’t see any lasting result in terms of weight loss.
When you go on a low-fat diet, you dramatically decrease the amount of fat that you consume – naturally, that leads to an increase in something else. That something else is usually carbohydrates.
That’s when trouble begins.
It seems counter-intuitive, but going on a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet leads to overeating. When you eat a high-carb meal, your insulin spikes and your blood sugar goes down.
Worse, it makes you want to eat more carbs, the very thing that makes you gain weight. The worst part? Feeling moody and resentful about your very strict (and low on taste) diet.
So what then should you do to lose weight?
The answer is simple: Eat more fats.
By now, this should be old news to you, as various studies support the idea that eating a high-fat and low-carb diet is beneficial.
When Did Fat Become the Bad Guy, Anyway?
In 1977, the American Heart Association released its guidelines on dietary fat. During this time, heart disease claimed more American lives than any other “disease.”
The size of your waist is a pretty good determinant of whether you’re a likely candidate for heart disease.
The idea proposed by the guideline was to trim down fat to less than 30% of the total daily calories.
It doesn’t seem that big of a change. After all, 30% is still a good amount of fat, considering you still have other food groups to occupy your plate.
However, a study published on the Open Heart states that the advice seems to be arbitrary. Where did the 30% come from? Apparently, nobody knows.
It appears that much of the content of the guidelines wasn’t supported by hard evidence. Even so, doctors followed the guidelines as they were endorsed by so-called health experts.
Moreover, the guidelines contradicted the results of a study where men, who were fed high-fat foods, did not show alarmingly high levels of blood cholesterol. This must suggest that fat from food is not strongly correlated with the cholesterol that’s already being produced inside the body.
Because of these new findings, the American Heart Association (AHA) changed its stance on fat consumption. While the AHA still warns the public to watch their intake of saturated fat (the kind of fat that you want to avoid), it encourages people to include more lean meats and fish in their diets.
(Note: In 2002, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies issued an Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) for fats. Prior to this, the idea of cutting down on fats to less than 30% did not have a clear basis.)
What’s The Real Enemy of Your Heart and Waistline? Sugar.
Not all fats are created equal. Good fats (like the ones you get from avocados, almonds, and fatty fish such as salmon and tuna) help decrease the levels of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol. According to research, this type of fat lowers insulin and blood sugar levels, as well as the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The ones to avoid are refined fats that get from processed foods and are in most fast-food items. Also equally important, is to avoid sugar. And this is not limited to candies and sodas.
“Sugar” is present in the form of carbohydrates , in the seemingly harmless foods that you eat like bread and pasta. They’re also present in beer. (Is there any surprise here that people who consume beer have a large mid-section?).
What’s the solution?
Eat more fat. Here’s a beginner plan and what the research says on trying a strict ketogenic diet.
How to Lose Weight Fast on the Keto Diet – A Simple Solution You Can Try Out For The Next 30 Days
So you already know that not all fats are bad (you just need to avoid the bad ones like trans fats). And that carbohydrates are converted to sugar, which can contribute to weight gain in excess (not just by themselves).
But you still have that lingering question in mind: What should I do next?
The simple answer is eat more fats.
The ketogenic diet, which was initially developed for epileptic children, could help you lose more weight fast.
In a normal diet where fats and carbohydrates are of nearly equal amounts, the body burns carbohydrates first for energy. Carbs are turned into glucose, which the body turns to as its preferred source of energy.
The ketogenic diet is actually a low-carb, high-fat diet. When you lower your carbs intake, your body will use fat as fuel.
This state is called ketosis, a normal body process where the liver turns fatty acids in the body into ketones. So when your body is starved of carbohydrates, it has nothing else to turn to but the fat stores in the body.
Research has shown numerous times that the keto diet is effective in helping people lose weight quickly.
According to a study of 83 obese patients, the keto diet significantly decreased the weight and body mass index (BMI) of the participants within 24 weeks. Furthermore, their cholesterol levels also drastically changed, as well as the level of blood glucose and triglycerides.
In an outpatient research clinic, 120 overweight participants were divided into two groups and took a low-carb, ketogenic diet and low-fat diet. The low-carb group showed greater weight loss and greater decrease in serum triglyceride levels than those in the low-fat group.
Furthermore, there was a study on the effects of the keto diet on mood and hunger. Among the 119 overweight participants, more patients in the keto group experienced an improvement in mood and hunger.
It also appears that the keto diet is not just good for weight loss and curbing the appetite. Eighty-four volunteers with obesity and Type 2 diabetes were randomly grouped to take either the low-carb keto diet or a low-glycemic, reduced-calorie diet. The keto group showed greater improvement in glycemic control and medication reduction than those who took the low glycemic index diet.
Is the Keto Diet Safe to Do Long-Term?
While there is not enough evidence to support that keto is something to do “forever,” there’s plenty of evidence that shows how effective it is in weight loss, mood regulation, and improving health.
In a ketogenic diet, there’s often rapid weight loss in the beginning, but not the kind that’s alarming or unhealthy. Like with most diets, keto will have different results for people (and your mileage may vary). But one thing is certain–the keto diet works well in losing weight quickly.
How about you? Have you tried the keto diet? What was it like for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.