As a coach and nutritionist, one of the most common questions I am asked is, “Which diet works the best to lose weight?” And my answer without hesitation has to be the Ketogenic diet. As someone who has tried almost every diet imaginable (vegetarian, vegan, raw vegan, fruitarian, paleo, Atkins, etc.), I can honestly say that if you are truly looking to lose some weight, then nothing burns fat faster than being on a keto diet.
What is the ketogenic diet?
Simply put, it is when you get your source of energy from fat rather than carbohydrates. When your body is able to convert fat as energy rather than carbs, this is what is called “being in ketosis”. Your daily caloric intake will look something like this:
70% – fat
20% – protein
10% – carbs
But most importantly, your carbs will mostly come from vegetables and non-starchy or sugar sources because the goal is to not spike your insulin. Your daily diet looks something like this:
Now you might notice that the title of this article does not say “diet” but rather “style” and here is why…
As someone who was in ketosis and enjoyed many benefits of being on a strict ketogenic diet for almost one year, I will say that over time, it is pretty limiting and does not allow you to enjoy the spices of life. While I consider myself a healthy person, I have always subscribed to the idea of “being in balance” and sometimes, I just like to enjoy some ice cream, pasta, burgers, pizza, etc.
I am not militant when it comes to eating. I truly believe that if 90 to 95% of your eating habits are spot on, you should have no problems splurging from time to time. Most people who find themselves having to be so strict with themselves usually do so because they were on the opposite side of the spectrum where they lacked self discipline and will-power and were not eating healthy for a long period of time.
With that said, here are five reasons you should consider eating a keto “style” diet and are all things I personally experienced first hand:
1. Cognitive Function
I cannot begin to tell you how clear my thinking is when I am not consuming carbs and spiking my insulin. Our brains LOVE fats and oils (this is why fish oil is so popular). When you keep your starchy carb intake low, your brain can function at a higher level.
2. More Energy
Our bodies love burning fat as fuel rather than carbs as it is a cleaner source of energy. When your body does not have to work hard to break down the carbs, it runs much smoother and you will have a tremendous amount of energy. My biggest challenge when I first started was that I had a hard time going to sleep because I had so much energy. Eventually my body adjusted.
3. Less Hassle
If you look at the food I listed above, its pretty minimal in terms of what you are eating. Some may find this too restricting. But in most cases, I found it quite freeing. I no longer had to spend too much time thinking about what I was going to eat each day. It was pretty simple and made my life a lot easier.
4. Lowers Inflammation
Inflammation has to be one of the biggest causes of why so many of us are sick. From cancer to gut health, inflammation is running amuck in our systems and what is causing a lot of it is sugar and carbs (especially the processed stuff). Once I cut out carbs from my diet, all the skin issues I would have from time to time was gone. My candida was gone. My skin got so much cleaner I was in total shock.
5. Improves Digestive Health
So many people are having issues with IBS, IBD, crohns, colitis, acid refulx, and way too many digestive disorders to mention. This will completely fix those issues. I have worked with over 100 clients who all suffered from these issues and were on medications and once I got them on a good probiotic and on the keto diet, it fixed it all up within a couple of months.
Since I have transitioned from a strict keto diet to a “keto style”, I have noticed that I am still able to experience some of these benefits even though I am no longer in ketosis. Basically I eat this way about five days a week and then have two carb days. So you could say I am carb cycling. Most of my carbs come from fruit or sweet potatoes which does not spike your insulin. And once every two weeks I have a “cheat day” where I just enjoy myself.
As someone who has tried almost every diet and eating approach imaginable, I can honestly say this approach has worked the best for me because it allows me to eat clean and healthy while still being able to enjoy myself and not be too restrictive.