As mentioned in the last chapter, patients with epilepsy followed the ketogenic diet to reduce the frequency of seizures. It had nothing to do with weight-loss initially. Experts say that ketone bodies and decanoic acid (another chemical generated by the diet) reduce or minimize the frequency of epileptic seizures. People following the ketogenic diet noticed a decrease in their overall body weight. Experts conducted further research and clinical trials to understand the ketogenic diet better.
They found that,
– When you eat carbs, your body tends to retain the fluid to store the carbs as a reserve for energy (just in case your body needs it in future)
– Now when you minimize or eliminate the carb intake, this fluid does not have much usage and you get to lose this water weight. People often overeat when they consume a large proportion of carbohydrates. When you follow a high-carb diet, you eat more since you always crave for food.
However, when you consume a high fat diet, you feel full and your cravings reduce. When you are on a ketogenic diet, your body depletes its entire carb reserves and looks for an alternate energy source.
Your body shifts into ketosis and targets the stored fat to produce energy thereby reducing your body weight.
People started to accept this new low-carb high-fat diet because the diet protocol made sense to many. Most people will want to lose some fat from their body to achieve their goal weight and this diet does exactly that by converting the stored fat to a fuel source. What is Ketosis and how does it work?
The Ketogenic diet, commonly known as the keto diet, is a dietary protocol that expects you to focus on increasing your fat intake and eliminating or reducing the carb intake. This will push your body to a certain metabolic state known as ketosis. The moment your body enters into the ketosis state, it converts the stored fat to fuel and burns it to provide energy to your cells. So when you are in ketosis, your body burns the stored and dietary fat for fuel and eventually you get to your goal of losing weight, getting healthy, looking good and feeling lighter! For this to happen, your body should exhaust all the glycogen (stored glucose – sugar) reserves from your body. How do you make this happen?
– You can put your body into the ketosis state when you undergo a complete fast i.e. you do not eat anything at all thereby giving no calories to your body. When this happens, your body does not get any new glucose and therefore turns to its reserve – glycogen (stored glucose). It depletes the entire glucose stores and then starts looking for an alternate energy source. This is when it focuses its attention on the stored fat thereby burning it to produce ketone bodies for fuel.
– Another way to put your body into ketosis is by mimicking fasting. You should deprive your body of glucose by eliminating any food that the body can convert into sugar. This is possible when you increase your fat intake and reduce or eliminate your carb intake. In other words, you are depriving your body of glucose thereby forcing it to look for an alternate energy resource – fat. When you look at a typical American diet, you will find that it has more than 50 percent carbohydrates. This is the reason why more than 60 percent of the country is obese or overweight. When you replace the carbs with another fuel source, you start to burn fat.
Eliminating the carbs or reducing the intake of carbs drastically can make this happen! A ketogenic diet implies a dietary approach, which is high in fat, moderate in protein intake and has minimal to no intake of carbohydrates. How do you turn your body into a fat-burning machine? When you practice fasting for an extended period or when you consume foods that adhere to the ketogenic diet protocol, your body gets into ketosis thereby forcing it to burn all the stored fats for fuel. One more important thing is when you eat carb-rich foods your body produces insulin to manage the glucose (sugar) increase in your bloodstream. So naturally, when you reduce the consumption of carbs, the insulin production reduces making your body more insulin sensitive. This comes with a series of health benefits. So, when your body shifts into ketosis, you not only lose weight, but also experience, – Lower insulin levels – Increased energy – More physical potential – Increased cognitive ability and brain function