The amount of information circulating about keto on the internet, social media, in bookstores, etc. is insane! There are so many different ‘experts’ out there telling you how to follow a ‘proper’ keto diet, why you need to do it this way or that way, or giving you 100 different reasons why you’re not seeing results.
I get it - trust me. Even after years of following a ketogenic lifestyle, I still get overwhelmed by all the information out there and have to reel myself back in when it comes to focusing on the specific goal at hand.
Here’s the thing...keto is powerful for so many different reasons. Heck there’s new research coming out daily on the benefits of keto for brain health, disease prevention and treatment, anti-aging, fertility, cancer prevention and treatment...the list goes on. These benefits are extremely important and are the main reasons I personally strive to live a fat-fueled, ketogenic lifestyle.
BUT...huge BUT here…
If you’re implementing a ketogenic diet for the main goal of losing weight (or more importantly, losing body fat), then you have to understand that keto is NOT a ‘magic weight loss pill’ and I’m sorry to break it to you, but...
Ketones themselves are not the cause of fat loss, they are simply the result of fat metabolism.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking...then why would I follow a keto diet if my main goal is to lose weight?
Well, it’s simple. Following a low-carb, keto diet (and being in ketosis) can make it EASIER to lose weight for several reasons. I’ll break 'em down for ya real quick...
Trying to lose weight + constantly hungry throughout the day = recipe for disaster.
Controlling appetite is the #1 step in any successful weight loss protocol. If we’re hungry all day long, how the heck can we expect to follow through with sustaining a diet?
By stabilizing and improving blood sugar and hormonal regulation, it allows for reduced cravings, increased satiety, and also makes it easier to go longer periods of time without eating [*].
Keto is very powerful at training your body (and mind) to be able to fast for longer periods during meals. It’s literally a ‘fast-mimicking diet’ in the sense that it mimics the benefits of fasting while still eating tasty, nutritious foods.
Once you get passed the first few days of restricting carbohydrates and start to produce ketones, you begin to feel the effects of what I like to call ‘keto euphoria.’
Because fat and ketones provide a readily available source of energy, and keto helps stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels in your body, you don’t have those constant dips and spikes in these levels throughout the day. This leads to not only appetite regulation as discussed above, but also a higher, more stable energy level, increased focus, and enhanced mood all day long [*].
Being in a state of ketosis allows your brain to function at its most optimal level. The human brain is made up of nearly 60% fat, so it’s no surprise that our brains actually prefer and thrive off of ketones.
I don’t know about you, but feeling good both mentally and physically throughout the day makes adhering to any diet protocol much more attainable.
When we feel good, we tend to do better at any task or challenge presented to us -- that’s just human nature.
In reality, ‘weight loss’ is actually much less important than actual ‘fat loss’ and body recomposition.
Do you really just want to lose weight? Or do you want to lose body fat, feel lean and ‘toned,’ look great in your clothes (and naked), age gracefully, be strong and resilient, etc.?
Achieving the above comes down to body recomposition not weight loss, per se.
Ultimately, changing your body composition entails two primary goals -- gaining lean body mass (particularly muscle mass) and losing body fat.
Gaining lean body mass occurs in response to proper resistance training (discussed here) and sufficient intake of dietary protein.
The cool thing about keto is that research has shown that ketones can actually be muscle sparing or anticatabolic (protect muscle mass in the body from being broken down) through mechanisms such as:
Being keto-adapted and consuming sufficient amounts of protein puts your body at a metabolic advantage -- you can lose body fat while preserving (and even potentially gaining) muscle. I actually showed this in my own study on the implementation of keto in non-elite CrossFit athletes.
When you allow your body to experience being in ‘a state of ketosis,’ you become less reliant on burning sugar and carbs all day, every day. Instead, you start to train your body to use fat and ketones for fuel.
Why is this important? Because it puts you on the fast track to becoming more metabolically flexible.
In my opinion, metabolic flexibility is the ultimate goal we should all be striving for, especially when it comes to successfully maintaining weight loss while still living in the real world and benefiting from ketones while also consuming more carbohydrates.
I chat all about metabolic flexibility in this blog post if you’re interested in learning more.
I could dive deeper into all of these benefits and also continue to chat about several others, but I don’t want to be one of those people who contributes to the ‘information overload’ we all tend to experience.
With all that being said, I DO NOT believe there is 'one-way' that works for everyone and this is the core of what I teach in my fat loss programs.
If you're interested in learning more about the benefits of keto, and more importantly, incorporating a plan and strategy that fits into YOUR specific lifestyle, check out more details about my programs HERE.