By now, you’ve likely heard about needing to get into the Ketosis stage.
It’s this magical land where your body eats up all your carbs. It just eats them right up.
I kid, it actually can be an effective diet.
Truly, it is when you’ve eaten a Ketogenic (aka low-carb diet) long enough that the body starts relying on fat for energy instead of carbohydrates, thereby burning off unwanted fat. If you are completely unfamiliar with the Ketogenic (Keto) diet, you can learn more about the basics here.
I am not writing today to bash on Ketosis. But I do want to educate if you’re thinking of trying this diet. Because there’s one main reason it works, and it’s the same reason any diet works: calorie deficit.
Ketosis Myth Debunked
First, let’s clear up a myth about Ketosis.
Many people believe it is the insulin that drives fat storage and carbs drive insulin. So by eliminating carbs, you eliminate insulin thereby eliminating fat storage. Not exactly.
Insulin does not only act in response to carbohydrates. Sure, you can see a greater spike to higher sugars and carbs, but that’s only to help regulate your body. Insulin works when you eat protein and just about any meal. Meaning insulin is not to blame in a high carb diet. You can learn more about the function and myths of insulin here.
Instead, it comes down to the body using fat instead of carbs for energy. Even more important, it comes down to calorie deficit.
Because you could eat 2,500 calories a day all low-carb and end up gaining weight. And it wasn’t because of that darn insulin.
Why Ketosis May Not Be Your Best Option
Keto (low-carb diet) diets can and do work. But you still have to be in calorie deficit. The most important part of the diet is that you’re eating foods you can enjoy. If you aren’t a fan of meat or high-protein foods, this may not be the diet for you. If you are, go for it.
Some people feel really good once they have become “fat adapted,” aka Ketosis. Others never adapt to the diet and feel bad and irritable.
You will lose weight faster at first, but it is water weight. Here’s why:
Each gram of Glycogen (stored carbs) will have a minimum of 3-4 grams of water. When you cut the carbs, you deplete your glycogen storage in your muscles and liver. So yes, you will lose weight faster achieving Ketosis, but it will eventually plateau to the same level as other diets.
Studies have shown that if the calories and protein are equal, you end up losing the same weight in the long run. This means, that no matter which diet you choose, as long as you cut the calories, you will be OK.
My suggestion? Pick foods you can stick to in the long run.
Why Ketosis is Hard to Stick to
Maintaining Ketosis tends to be difficult because you are limiting and eliminating a whole macronutrient. And let’s be honest, most of us love carbs. They’re the breads, the pastas, the pizzas and the other many delicious foods you enjoy.
If you deprive yourself, chances are you won’t enjoy the diet. You should be able to enjoy what you eat. Of course, you have to keep it in moderation, but doing so will give you a lasting change with weight loss that will stay lost.
For me, the Keto diet actually works well at times. I love meat, and honestly, am not good at controlling carbs. Once I eat one, I don’t stop. For me, it was best to cut it off and reintroduce slowly.
That doesn’t mean I only do the Ketosis diet. It’s just what I’ve found works for me without losing my sanity and going too far the other way. But there are certainly times where I only cut calories and eat what I want to.
Either way, calorie deficit. That’s what will help, that’s what you focus on. The amount of calories you should consume depends on your height, body weight and activity level.
If you want to know the amount of calories you should consume, call/text me at 480.238.4643 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get your consultation set up.