Obesity is a growing health epidemic, especially with the rise of diseases associated with being overweight, including type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease. As a result, many diets have popped up, each promising that theirs would be the next best thing to help people lose weight and keep it off.
The ketogenic diet weight loss plan is a relatively new style of eating that is catching the attention of some physicians and researchers for its effectiveness.
People who are on the ketogenic diet for weight loss eat a diet that is high in fat, very low in carbohydrates and moderate in protein. The goal is to reach a state of ketosis.
Ordinarily, the body burns sugar molecules, from carbohydrates in the diet, to fuel the body’s metabolic processes. When eating a very low carbohydrate and high fat diet, the body starts burning fats, and other molecules known as ketones, for fuel instead of sugar. This is known as ketosis, or being in a ketogenic state.
Unlike many other diets, some early research backs it up. A study published in December 2014 compared the effectiveness a very low calorie ketogenic diet to a standard low calorie diet. The researchers found that people following the ketogenic diet lost more weight without losing muscle mass, making it significantly more effective than the standard low calorie diet. The researchers also found that the side effects were weren’t permanent and mostly tolerable.
Another study published found the same conclusions: people who followed the very low calorie ketogenic diet lost more weight, kept more weight off, and lost more fat tissue.
In addition to weight loss, ketosis can have several other benefits, including:
It is important to speak with your doctor before beginning a very low carbohydrate diet like this. While this diet may be beneficial for many people, it’s not for everyone. People who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet may find that it is difficult to find enough to eat, as the main staples of ketosis are meats, eggs, fish and dairy products.
In addition, there can sometimes be side effects when transitioning to a very low carbohydrate diet. Many people report feeling fatigued, cranky, hungry and/or having stomach issues. The symptoms tend to go away after a little while, once you adapt to the diet.
The ketogenic weight loss diet can be quite strict. Keep the total number of carbohydrates under 30 grams per day, and increase intake of fats and proteins. Staple foods to include are:
Achieving ketosis can alter your electrolyte levels, particularly your magnesium level, which means that you should salt your food or take a mineral or magnesium supplement, Using ketone salt supplements, MCT oil or coconut oil can help to boost ketosis.
Mawer, Rudy. A ketogenic diet to lose weight and fight disease. Retrieved from https://authoritynutrition.com/ketogenic-diet-and-weight-loss/
Moreno, B., Bellido, D., Sajoux, I. et al. Comparison of a very low-calorie-ketogenic diet with a standard low-calorie diet in the treatment of obesity. (2014). Endocrine. 47: 793. doi:10.1007/s12020-014-0192-3
Moreno, B, Crujeiras, AB, Bellido, D, Sajoux, I, Casanueva, FF. Obesity treatment by very low-calorie-ketogenic diet at two years: Reduction in visceral fat and on the burden of disease. (December 2016). Endocrine. 54(3): 681-690.