IS KETO DIET THE BEST DIET EVER FOR FAT LOSS?
==KETO - THE BEST DIET EVER??== Let's see... In the war against fat, you have a choice of using many kinds of weapons. While some people swear by the results of boiled food with zero fat, some people will swear by the magical power of butter and ghee in their coffee. Keyboard wars are not very uncommon when it comes to backing up one’s belief on a certain diet and when it comes to achieving results, people on all kinds of diet will tell you that they have got results. So the question of the era is, “Which is the best diet?”. And I won’t tell you that there’s no specific answer. But to find out, you’ll have to read it all. Ready? Here we go! What is the basic concept of fat loss? Why and how does it happen? Imagine you have a bucket with an inlet pipe that brings water into the bucket, and an outlet pipe that draws water out of it. Say the water goes into the bucket and comes out at the same rate. What happens then? Well, of course the level of the water would remain the same in the bucket, no matter what the rate of the water flow is. Now imagine what happens if the inlet is more than the outlet? The level will rise, and after a while, the bucket overflows. What if the outlet is more than the inlet? The water level starts going down. Now read the last paragraph again with these replacements - the bucket is your body, the water level is your weight, the inlet pipe is your food intake and the outlet pipe is the energy you spend through the day. And that my friend, is calorie balance. Eat more than you spend, and you gain, eat lesser and you lose. That’s a very crude representation where I have removed many other variables which determine the quality of your weight loss or your metabolism, but that’s the crux of how weight loss happens. What that means is that the quantity of food eaten (in terms of calories) and the energy spent (again, in terms of calories) determines how well you do in your weight loss journey. And that quantity is the basis of every diet you follow that gives you results. The specific nature of the diet has very less to do with your actual results. Now whether you follow keto, paleo or low carb, or high carb, or low fat, or just any diet is all about personal preference as long as you stick to the basics. Adequate protein intake to sustain your muscle mass, adequate fat intake to sustain your hormonal functions - these are the two things that are important from a quality and health perspective. Apart from this, no other factor really matters much. After meeting these conditions, if you eat fats to complete your required calories in coffee, food or anywhere, or whether you have rice or wheat late at night - none of those factors matter as long as the calories are the same and the basic protein and fat requirement is maintained. For the newcomers here, let’s understand what keto is - Ketogenic diet is a kind of diet where all your carbohydrate sources are removed, protein is kept fixed at a certain quantity and the rest of your calorie intake is completed with fats. So there’s a lot of butter, ghee, coconut oil, avocado, cheese, eggs etc as a source of your fat intake. You limit your body from using carbs as a source of energy (which is the easiest source of fuel for your body, just like taking the car is for you instead of walking or running). The body is smart. In absence of carbs, it looks for a second fuel source to use to run your body - Fats. And this fat can come either in your diet, or can come from your stored fat deposits in your body. So in an ideal case of calorie deficit (when the inlet is lesser than the outlet), the body fulfils its energy requirement by using the fat in the diet first and the remaining amount of required energy is generated by using your body fat. The body enters a state called ketosis where the fat is metabolized by the body to produce ketones. These ketones can be used by the body and the brain also partly uses it to fuel itself. That’s how your body works in ketosis. All this sounds great, convincing enough to tell you that unless the body enters ketosis, it cannot use its fat deposit as a source of energy. Here’s the basic logic that people miss out on - Even if you are eating carbs, if there is a calorie deficit, the body will HAVE to look for a source of energy. Now if the food is less, there is only one energy source the body can fall back upon - the fat deposits. So even without entering a continuous phase of ketosis, your body CAN use the body fat as a source of energy, since the body can use fatty acids directly even without the need for excess ketones. But then, how do you lose kilos of weight right in the first week of keto? Isn’t that what gives it an advantage? Here’s the thing - Your body stores carbs in the form of glycogen in your liver and muscles. When you deprive your body from carbs, it uses these glycogen deposits first for energy. Every gram of this glycogen stores 3 grams of water with it. It’s like the buffer fuel in your car or bike, and this is what you rapidly lose in the first few days of keto. Keep in mind - This is just a temporary thing and you WILL re-store this “additional” weight once you get back on proper diet with carbs. Does that mean carbs are bad? No. That’s just how your body is made to function. Researches have shown that isocaloric diets (different kinds of diet with same calories) all give same results in terms of fat loss. So here’s the answer you were waiting for - No, keto is not really the best diet as believed by many. So how should you decide your diet? It all comes down to personal preference. The deciding factor should be “What kind of diet would I best adhere to?”. Do you do better when there are carbs in your diet? Then eat carbs. Do you do better without carbs and it gives you a sense of absolute discipline? Then remove it. But frankly speaking, it doesn’t make much of a difference. Just for your information, staying for a long time without carbs has shown to deteriorate thyroid levels in the past and omitting an entire food group is not the wisest decision to make. For a short period of time, it’s fine, but do not do it for a long time. This applies not only to ketogenic diet, but calorie deficit as a whole. Be in periods of maintenance or surplus between your periods of deficit. Here’s the takeaway - You can enjoy your potatoes, rice, wheat, oats, bread or fruits if you want to and still get the same result that you’d get with a ketogenic diet. Just have enough discipline to stick to your diet and for fat loss, exercise more and be in a deficit. There’s no need to deprive yourself from your carbs. You can pick any weapon in your war of fitness. Keto is just another weapon like many others, there’s nothing “extra special” about it. I write more such articles on Fitmag Magazine - www.fitmag.in. Do follow. Cheers!