The Ketogenic Diet: Ultimate Low Carb Diet For Weight Loss (And Much More)

Quick Summary

  • A ketogenic diet reduces chronic inflammation, helps prevent leaky gut syndrome, and helps keep you away from dangerous genetically modified grains.
  • It is scientifically proven to produce better weight loss results.
  • It also reduces your overall hunger levels.
  • Performance and muscle mass can be increased on a ketogenic diet.
  • In addition, this diet is linked to correcting multiple diseases, including type 2 diabetes.

ketogenic diet

The Ketogenic Concept

The ketogenic diet has a continuously mounting pile of scientific research showing how beneficial a low carbohydrate diet can be.

It’s particularly popular in weight loss circles, and becoming increasingly popular in athletic and sports circles.

A typical ketogenic diet is comprised of :

  • 70% high quality fats – nuts, eggs, avocados, butter, cheese, ghee, oils, bacon, seeds.
  • 25% high quality protein – meats, whey isolate, fish, nuts.
  • 5% incidental carbs from – rich, low starch vegetables like greens, broccoli, sprouts, eggplant, onions, etc, and the incidental carbs you get from your fats and meats. 1)Sisson, Mark. The New Primal Blueprint. Oxnard: Primal Blueprint Publishing, 2017. Print. 2)Volek, Phinney. The Art and Science Of Low Carbohydrate Performance. Beyond Obesity, 2012. Print. 3)https://articles.mercola.com/ketogenic-diet.aspx  4)https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ketogenic-diet-101#section8

The standard american diet creates a dependency on carbohydrates for energy.

Limiting yourself to 50 grams of carbs per day forces the body to seek for an energy source other than carbohydrates.

Given enough time in this state, usually between 7 and 30 days, your body will efficiently begin using fat as energy and produce ketones, another energy source. 5)https://articles.mercola.com/ketogenic-diet.aspx

This production of ketones is called ketosis, hence the name of the ketogenic diet.

Ketosis helps mobilize stored fat cells and releases them to be used as an immediate energy source. This is one of the reasons the ketogenic diet is so effective for weight loss.

It takes each person a different length of time to adapt to a ketogenic diet.

It only took me four days to transition from a carbohydrate dependency and into ketosis. 

But I largely attribute that to the fact that sugar had long been removed from my diet when I decided to make the switch.

As a result, I didn’t have to withstand sugar any withdrawals or wait for my body to make such a radical adjustment as someone who is acclimated to processing lots of sugar.

 

How This Low Carb Diet Differs From The Rest

While limiting you to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day (30 grams of net carbs, if that’s your thing), the ketogenic diet a bit more carb restrictive than paleo or primal diets.

But that makes sense, since they all have slightly different objectives. To oversimplify the three big low carb diets differ in the following ways:

  1. A ketogenic diet’s main purpose is to place the user in a state of ketosis, where fat becomes the main source of fuel for the body.

    This means that, when fat adapted, the body can more efficiently use stored body fat for energy.

    This decreases stored body fat, keeps you from experiencing strong hunger pangs, and is generally a great choice for an overweight person attempting to lose weight. 6)https://articles.mercola.com/ketogenic-diet.aspxIf you’re a fitness enthusiast, you can also build muscle and burn fat at the same (more on that in a bit). 
  2. A paleo diet is centered around overall health and naturalism. It gets its name from the Paleolithic era.

    You make your food decisions based on whether or not people in the Paleolithic era had access to that food or not.Tuber? Sure. Blueberries? Sure. Fresh meat? Sure. Taco Bell? Not so much.

    This method of food selection keeps the user away from processed food, excess sugars, and generally unhealthy choices. 7)https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/paleo-diet-meal-plan-and-menu

  3. The primal diet is similar to paleo and strives to counteract the barrage of common “knowledge” in the health and fitness industries by engaging in practices used by primal ancestors.

    It centers around a lifestyle that includes a proper selection of foods, simple fitness, easy sleep habits, fun, and as much enjoyability as possible.

    Long term, sustaining vitality is the goal of the primal lifestyle. 8)Sisson, Mark. The New Primal Blueprint. Oxnard: Primal Blueprint Publishing, 2017. Print.

    I love that the creator of the primal diet does an incredible job practicing what he preaches in both his business and personal life.

These three popular diets do have something in common, however. And for good reason.

All of them are anti-grain.

And that leads me to the first (and fantastic) benefit of the ketogenic diet.

 

The Ketogenic Diet and Inflammation

Harvested grains are a relatively new development in modern society that allow large groups of people to live together without running out of food.

But they (like most carbohydrates) serve no necessary function to the body other than energy, which you can also get from fats and proteins.

The bottom like is that grains cause inflammation inside the body.

This is partially because many grains contain some level of a weak poison called lectin, a chemical that plants use to deter animals from eating its seeds. 9)https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-lectins

The highest levels of lectin are found in the seed portion of the plant.

And, of course, seeds are the portion of the plant that we so readily harvest to make much of the food we consume.

Unfortunately, we can’t digest lectins. So the lectins become an irritant, which causes inflammation, and body has to dispatch antibodies to deal with them. 10)https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/about-inflammation#1

 

Chronic Inflammation Can Cause Leaky Gut Syndrome

Dave Asprey, Bulletproof CEO and author of Headstrong, describes it perfectly in an article on his website:

“An unhealthy gut microbiome can give you leaky gut, which is just what it sounds like — a condition where holes develop in the walls of your gut allowing intestinal contents to “leak” through into the bloodstream.” 11)https://blog.bulletproof.com/how-to-own-your-gut-bacteria-and-fix-leaky-gut-syndrome/

He goes on to include that…

“Once they leak out, they can impact other organs like the liver, kidneys, and heart, causing widespread inflammation and disease.” 12)https://blog.bulletproof.com/how-to-own-your-gut-bacteria-and-fix-leaky-gut-syndrome/

In other words, abusing the inflammation response leads to leaky gut syndrome, which allows inflammation to migrate to other parts of the body.

Chronic inflammation, which is technically a state of chronic emergency response, can prematurely wear your body over time. 13)https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-you-should-pay-attention-to-chronic-inflammation/

The bottom line is this:

  • Normal inflammation is good. It’s how the body marks, locates, and dispatches help to repairs things that are broken or to fight foreign bacteria causing infections.
  • Chronic inflammation is bad. A constant state of emergency inside your body is very unhealthy and leads to all kinds of unwanted issues.

The ketogenic diet eliminates grains from your diet and helps stop necessary chronic inflammation.

 

But Aren’t Whole Grains Better?

You may have heard that whole grains are a healthier option then processed or refined grains. Don’t be too quick to endorse this line of thought.

It’s when grains are altered that more problems begin to arise.

Andrew Weil, MD, explains more about altered grains and their inflammatory effect.

“But when grains are milled into flour, the starch they contain becomes a high-glycemic-load food. That means it rapidly converts to glucose, causing rapid rises in blood sugar that promote the formation of AGEs – advanced glycation end products, and these combinations of sugars and protein are pro-inflammatory.” 14)https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/nutrition/can-grains-cause-inflammation/

But even whole grains are a gamble.

With the amount of genetically modified grains used to make our food, a large percentage of grains, even whole ones, are considered potentially dangerous.

These crops include wheat, corn, soy, meat (because they’re fed modified grains), rice, flax, and many others. 15)https://www.nongmoproject.org/gmo-facts/what-is-gmo/

In my opinion (alongside many experts), it’s simply better to stay away. You don’t need grains for any sort of nutritional benefit anyway.

This is a big win for the ketogenic diet.

 

The Ketogenic Diet and Weight Loss

The most popular advantage of the ketogenic diet seems to be its weight loss superiority.

There are many studies that conclusively show that a ketogenic diet is more effective for weight loss than a traditional, calorie restricted diet.

For instance, this study compared two groups of opposing food intake strategies: a ketogenic, low carbohydrate group, and a traditional, low fat group.

The ketogenic diet group showed weight loss that was “significantly greater” at both the third and sixth month markers.

“The amount of weight lost was significantly greater in the very low carbohydrate group compared with the low fat group, whether analyzed as intention to treat with all randomized subjects in the analysis (P < 0.001 at 3 and 6 months) or with only the subjects who completed the trial (Fig. 3; P < 0.001 at 3 and 6 months).” 16)https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1038/oby.2004.278

The most interesting part of the study was that the ketogenic diet group wasn’t given a specified caloric intake restriction.

The traditional, low fat diet group, on the other hand, followed a standard intake restriction with specific caloric limits macronutrient ratios.

And yet, even without a caloric goal or limit, the ketogenic diet group still had better weight loss results.

More studies readily show that the ketogenic diet can be used as a long term solution, as opposed to many fad diets that aren’t sustainable.

“Moreover, this study demonstrates that low carbohydrate diet is safe to use for a longer period of time in obese subjects with a high total cholesterol level and those with normocholesterolemia.” 17)https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11010-005-9001-x

Yet another study showed similar results where the low carb group had better results than the low fat group. 18)http://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/717451/low-carbohydrate-ketogenic-diet-versus-low-fat-diet-treat-obesity

This particular study is also interesting because, in addition to greater weight loss results, the low carb group had better participant retention.

Which leads me to believe…

 

The Ketogenic Diet Is More Satiating And Satisfying

These combinations of higher rates of completion and fewer caloric restrictions seems to show that the ketogenic diet is more satisfying, satiating, and doesn’t leave users hungry and unhappy.

Hungry and unhappy are common reasons that users give up on dieting and return to old habits.

There’s plenty of research to support this as well.

Another study concludes that eating a high fat ketogenic diet may be more satiating. 19)https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/88/4/1617/2845298

A different four week study showed that hunger was significantly lower and weight loss significantly greater in their low carbohydrate group, compared to the traditional group. 

“Over the 4-wk period, hunger was significantly lower (P = 0.014; SED: 1.76) and weight loss was significantly greater (P = 0.006; SED: 0.62) with the LC diet (6.34 kg) than with the MC diet (4.35 kg).” 20)https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/87/1/44/4633256

And similar results continuing pouring in…

“Regardless of diet, participants experienced significant improvement in a broad range of symptoms. Symptoms of negative affect and hunger improved to a greater degree in patients following an LCKD [low carb ketogenic diet] compared with those following an LFD [low fat diet].” 21)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17228046

It’s safe to conclude that one of the reasons a ketogenic diet is so powerful and successful is because users don’t feel hungry or restricted.

This is a massive advantage for the ketogenic diet when compared to restrictive diets that require little more than a strong will to get you through your hunger.

 

The Ketogenic Diet And Physical Performance

There’s a reason that superstars like Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and Tom Brady use the ketogenic diet to crush their opponents.

That reason is better performance.

I recently wrote about building muscle and lowering body fat simultaneously in another post, so I won’t go into great depth here.

But I will include one additional study that shows the ketogenic diet giving equal strength results to a traditional western diet, along with increased fat loss, AND muscle mass, AND power to weight ratios.

“No significant differences were detected between VLCKD and WD in all strength tests. Significant differences were found in body weight and body composition: after VLCKD there was a decrease in body weight (from 69.6 ± 7.3 Kg to 68.0 ± 7.5 Kg) and fat mass (from 5.3 ± 1.3 Kg to 3.4 ± 0.8 Kg p < 0.001) with a non-significant increase in muscle mass.” 22)https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-9-34


For now (until you go read the ketogenic muscle building post I mentioned, science included) just know that even though the entire fitness industry says you need carbs to increase muscle size and strength – you don’t.

You also don’t need to worry about glycogen stores, pre-workout carb loading, post-postwork carb loading, or anything else related to carbs when using the ketogenic diet.

Remember the empirical evidence. If Kobe, Lebron, and Brady (and many others) are doing it, you know it probably works.

(I also want to include pertinent notes about muscle recovery and adequate sleep, both of which have profound effects on performance at a professional athletic level.)

 

The Ketogenic Diet And Diabetes

You’re probably starting to get the point already, but I want to continue with just one more relevant section.

The ketogenic diet has been linked with totally negating or reversing some very serious conditions.

One common condition here in the states (aside from obesity and the need for weight loss, which we covered early in this post) is type 2 diabetes – the result of long term abuse of insulin release.

Multiple studies show that a ketogenic diet can rapidly assist those with diabetes. 23)https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11010-007-9448-z 24)https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-7075-5-36?wptouch_preview_theme=enabled 25)https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-7075-2-34

This is because diabetes is caused by abusing the release of insulin, eventually causing insulin resistance.

Since insulin is directly responsible for lowering blood glucose levels (from all those carbs that are turned to glucose and used as energy), diabetics are left with potentially dangerous levels of blood sugar that can’t be regulated.

The ketogenic diet can play a turnaround role in diabetes by eliminating almost all glucose intake (by restricting almost all carbohydrates).

Many studies that analyze the relationship between a ketogenic diet and diabetes result in a reduction or total stoppage to medication requirements in their participants. 26)https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-7075-2-34

Rather than relying on medication to fix their problems, many patients simply resort to a proper diet that allows them to control their blood glucose levels in a natural way.

 

The Ketogenic Diet Summary

Personally I’m a huge fan of the ketogenic diet. It has completely changed the way I look at long term health.

After making the switch I now have more energy, more strength and muscle size, and less body fat. (I also only go to the gym once a week now.)

To top it all off, I very rarely feel hungry or restricted.

I eat bacon whenever I want, eat delicious cuts of local meats, I have lots of butter in my coffee and on my vegetables, and never feel overly full, bloated, or de-energized after meals.

I don’t even count calories anymore.

The ketogenic diet makes my life easy, delicious, and much more enjoyable.

I don’t even feel like I’m using a program, system, or regimen.

Does it get any better than that?

I know I covered a lot in this post, so just remember these key points:

  • A ketogenic diet reduces chronic inflammation, stops leaky gut syndrome, and helps keep you away from dangerous genetically modified grains.
  • It is scientifically proven to produce better weight loss results.
  • It also reduces your overall hunger levels.
  • Performance and muscle mass can be increased on a ketogenic diet.
  • In addition, this diet is linked to correcting multiple diseases, including type 2 diabetes.

I had a lot of questions when I first started hearing about the ketogenic diet, and I’d love to help with yours.

You can always leave a quick comment below or send me an email to matt@covertbody.com.

Either way, I’d love to meet you!

Chat soon.

-Matt

 

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