Now that obesity and associated metabolic disease are massive global health issues, it’s more important than ever to investigate the safest and most effective weight loss diets. Plenty of advertising was provided free-of-charge by film actors in Hollywood who used the fat-inclusive keto diet to slim down quickly for lucrative film roles! But was the weight-loss due to the keto diet, or was it because studios provided strict personal trainers to get the necessary weight loss?
Let’s take a look at the evidence to decide if it’s true that ketogenic diets can help you lose weight!
The clinical proof is vital
Although there are new slimming diets being advertised all around us almost every day, the fact is that not many of them have clinically-proved, hard evidence to support their efficiency. On the other hand, the benefits of the keto diet are supported by a wealth of scientific studies, dating back to 1920, when it was found that a strict keto diet helped children and adults reduce their number of epileptic seizures.
How does the keto slimming diet work?
Simply put, the keto diet switches your body’s energy source from glucose-sugar to the ‘ketones’ extracted from fat. This fat includes both your personal stores of body fat and the fat you eat on the keto diet. So instead of eating lots of carbs, such as those found in tempting sweets, cakes, rice, beans, grains, potatoes, cereals, fruits, high-carb veg and milk, you cut most of those foods out.
But you switch to fatty foods that are satisfying to your stomach and give a more constant supply of energy, without the disastrous ups and downs provoked by using sugar-energy. And these include staples like cheese, double-cream, butter, eggs, fish, avocados, oils, nuts, seeds and low-carbohydrate veg. The results are that on a diet that’s high in fat, moderate in protein and very low in carbs, your body uses up all that extra weight as body-fuel!
Keto lowers insulin levels
So keto lowers insulin levels, produces ‘ketones’ from fat and stops food cravings and hunger pangs many people suffer on a traditional slimming diet. Of course, you need to stay on the keto diet for the weight-loss effects to continue. But a standard keto diet also has strong anti-inflammatory effects that target belly fat and helps reduce it, without having to do long periods of cardio exercise.
Additional benefits to keto diets
Additional benefits are that keto diets tend to increase mental agility and powers of concentration, which is something everyone would be glad to get! And it helps your body to retain muscle mass, which is especially important for body-builders and seniors who may be losing their muscles owing to the ageing process. Many scientific studies have equated a keto diet with the widely recommended low-fat diet, although they approach the process of weight-loss from almost opposite directions. In fact, research studies have shown that even when participants eat the same number of calories, some on a low-fat diet and others on a keto diet, the keto dieters lose more weight!
Scientific studies on keto
In one study*a randomized trial compared a very low carb diet with a calorie restricted diet that was low in fat and calories. And their results showed that participants on a keto diet lost more than double the amount of body weight than individuals following a low-fat, low-calorie diet. And the additional benefit of lower triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels also happened with the keto diet group.
A second scientific study ** compared the Diabetes U.K. diet guidelines to a popular, low-carbohydrate diet. And they reported that over the three months of the trial, the low-fat group lost 4.6 lbs./2.1 kgs., but the low-carb participants lost a hefty 15.2 lbs./6.9 kgs. So the ketogenic diet produced weight loss of 3 times more than the low-carb diet.
Therefore, the keto diet is a good alternative to calorie-counting diets and you can start eating some of the foods most of us love, to compensate for cutting right down on carbs. All carbs are just converted to sugar once you’ve eaten them, whereas when you have reached a state of ‘ketosis’ all fat produces ketones, which actually do burn fat as an energy source.
Opponents of keto dieting
It’s important to state that a keto diet isn’t suitable for everyone and that there are several different keto diet variations, tailored to get the best health results from people with different health conditions and fitness goals. And we must take into account the opponents of keto dieting who believe that the higher weight loss is achieved owing to the higher intake of protein. Whilst other scientists and dieticians consider that the keto diet does ‘speed-up’ your metabolism and process food for energy in a better way than glucose-sugar fuel.
Unrestricted food intake
And finally, there are also keto diet studies that report that participants whose food intake is totally unrestricted, and they can eat as much as they want, also lose fat! This is an efficient way to judge a weight loss diet in the everyday world, where we control our food intake without scientists supervising us.
Consult your doctor
This article is intended as guidance only and should not be taken as medical advice. Many people are not suited to following a keto diet and you should always consult your doctor before embarking on any new weight-loss diet.
*A randomized trial comparing a very low carbohydrate diet and a calorie-restricted low fat diet on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors in healthy women