The basics of Weight Loss with Keto
If you want the long-form, Ketogenic or Keto has been around for a while. It was popular in Sweden in the late 2000s. Ketogenic or Keto is a very low carb, high fat, and low protein eating plan. Most external sources will define it as ‘low carb,’ but from my experience, to get anywhere close to ketosis, you need to eat very minimal carbs. Eating very few cards is how weight loss with Keto works. The primary energy source for your body is glucose. Everything from your organs, brain, and muscles relie on glucose. However, glucose is easily broken down, mainly by carbohydrates, then released into the blood, only to be consumed as food.
If you strip your body of carbohydrates, the liver breaks down fats. This process creates an alternate form of fuel called ketone bodies. This process is called ketosis. These ketone bodies are then used instead of glucose. This process is the basis of weight loss with Keto. Ketones are critical for the brain. The brain consumes about 20% of the calories we consume every day. However, it’s only two percent of our total body mass. Much of our body, including our muscles, can run straight from fats. However, the brain can only refuel on either glucose or ketones.
When the body is fueling itself using ketones and fat in place of glucose, your insulin levels also fall—insulin stores fat. When your insulin levels go down, your fat burning goes up. In turn, it helps with weight loss. Many people find that they are often less hungry and have extra energy. Some studies have shown that weight loss with Keto is more significant than low-fat diets. In addition, Keto also has a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Here is a list of fats to try on your Keto Diet.
Nutritional Ketosis and Ketones
- Ketone Bodies. These are water-soluble molecules produced in the liver due to free fatty acid oxidation. They can be oxidized in the mitochondria to produce adenosine triphosphate (APT). Ketone Bodies are non-storable in the body. Ketone Bodies are also known as Ketones for short.
- Ketosis. A state of carbohydrate depletion where the liver manufactures ketone bodies to meet the energy demands that free fatty acid oxidation cannot support.
- Ketogenesis. The formation of ketone bodies from nonfat sources, such as certain amino acids.
- Exogenous Ketones. These are isolated ketone bodies usually consumed in supplement form.
- Ketoacidosis. Metabolic acidosis is induced by very high levels of ketone bodies, such as type 1 diabetes or severe insulin resistance.
I have written lots more on Ketones and the benefits of Nutritional Ketosis in this quick guide.
Making Weight Loss with Keto Work
Getting into ketosis requires monitoring your intake with a significant amount of detail. The ratio that most health professionals recommend is as follows.
- Five to ten percent Carbohydrates.
- Seventy-Five percent Fats.
- Fifteen to twenty percent Proteins.
One reason for focusing on fat over protein is that your body can convert excess protein to sugar in the blood. Most plans don’t monitor calories. Just make sure the ratios are correct. Consuming so little carbohydrates will be challenging, so monitoring your intake is critical.
Which Fats Should you Eat?
If you have decided to try weight loss with Keto, which fats should you consume?
- Unsaturated fats. These have long been seen as healthy. Olives, avocados, and nuts are great—omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, flaxseeds, and chia seeds are also a great fat source.
- Saturated fats. Here focus on whole-food sources such as eggs, dairy, and grass-fed beef. All will help with weight loss with Keto.
Not all Carbs are bad.
For weight loss with Keto to work, you have to reduce your carb intake to close to 5%. However, not all carbs are wrong; you can also benefit from the nutrients in produce like cabbage and lettuce. Stick with vegetables that grow above the ground: lettuce, asparagus, spinach, eggplant. These all tend to be lower in cards and best for weight loss with Keto.
Some Good Foods for Weight Loss with Keto Eating
Some popular foods are high fat, moderate proteins, and low carbohydrates. Far from an inclusive list, many excellent resources can provide great ideas for nutrition and recipes. But this should give a good overview.
Fish is protein-rich and carb-free. It also contains potassium, lots of B vitamins, and selenium. For example, mackerel, salmon, albacore tuna, sardines, and other fatty fish boast high levels of omega-3 fats lower blood sugar levels. Try to consume at least two 3-4 ounce servings of fatty fish weekly for weight loss with Keto.
Cheese has no carbs and is high in fats and rich in calcium, making it an excellent fit for weight loss with Keto. However, it can also be rich in protein and can skew your ratios, going over the five to ten percent mark. That said, cheese can be great for weight loss with Keto in moderation.
Meat is an excellent source of lean protein and is ideal for weight loss with Keto. The best sources are beef, chicken, lamb, and pork. Bacon and sausage are allowed on Keto, but they aren’t the best. So make sure to limit those.
A couple of eggs contain an even dozen grams of healthy proteins and no carbs. Eggs are high in minerals, B vitamins, and antioxidants and great for Keto weight loss. The number of ways to cook eggs makes such an excellent food source when eating for Keto.
Half a medium avocado contains 9 grams of total sugars and 7 grams of fiber. Replacing animal fats with avocados can improve cholesterol and even triglyceride levels—perfect for weight loss with Keto.
Seeds and Nuts
Seeds and Nuts are full of healthy fats, fiber, and proteins, making them great for weight loss with Keto. They are also low in carbs and full of fiber. As a result, they are easy to consume and great for snacking on.
What to avoid when Eating for Keto?
Here are some of the most prominent foods to avoid while eating for weight loss with Keto.
- Starchy Veggies
- Baked goods
- Chips and any processed foods
Problems with the lack of fiber
One key challenge with eating for weight loss with Keto is the lack of fiber. This is because Keto doesn’t allow for beans, legumes, and grains, a key source of fiber. Of course, it doesn’t help that meat and high-fat dairy don’t provide any either.
Fiber is essential while on Keto to help prevent constipation when you start a higher fat, lower carb eating plan. However, research has shown that eating more fiber can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer, and cardiovascular-related death.
What foods provide Keto-approved fiber? Here are some of the favorites from experts:
- Jerusalem artichokes
- Dandelion greens
- Green leafy vegetables
- Brussels sprouts
- Flax seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Chia seeds
Many health professionals will also recommend a probiotic supplement with Lactobacillus GG to help with digestion.
Should I try weight loss with Keto?
When I look at the list of foods that work for weight loss with Keto, none of them would be a problem for me to eat. However, I typically don’t eat much cheese, maybe as an occasional treat. But the rest are very much part of our everyday eating plan.
The list of the ones to avoid would be much more challenging. I love fruits, grains, and starchy veggies. Of course, there is also beer and wine, which would be extremely hard to give up.
After much thought, I decided to try this weight loss with Keto. I knew that it would make no sense over the holidays. Then the first week of January we had a birthday to celebrate. So I started it 2nd week of January. I decided to commit to two months and see how things were in the second week of March. I’m going to call it my Keto Experiment. One of my first learnings was that I needed to kick start my breakfast with this super quick Keto breakfast.
Here is my go-to Ketogenic food list and what to buy.