The keto diet is not a new concept
The low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet is best known for its effect on helping people lose weight. In fact, it was discovered almost 150 years ago that if you took carbohydrates (sugars and starches) out of the diet, you would lose weight. It was first called the Banting diet. They didn’t know at the time that what was happening is that the body starts using its own fat for fuel. Your body can choose between sugars and starches (carbs) or fat for energy. You can choose what your body uses for energy by what you choose to eat.
Reducing carbohydrates is key
When you eliminate carbohydrates or reduce them quite a bit in the diet, your body will automatically start burning fat. It starts looking around and notices its fat stores and starts to burn fat. That’s why this is known as a weight loss or fat loss type of diet.
Genetics affect weight gain
You might be wondering why everyone doesn’t gain weight. That has to do with genetics. Some people can eat carbohydrates and it doesn’t elicit the same response. You may have heard of insulin resistance or carbohydrate intolerance – these are the same terms for the metabolic change that happens after eating carbohydrates that raise insulin levels. Blood sugar raises insulin levels and if you have a genetic predisposition to insulin resistance, this increase in insulin level is what is fattening. It’s not fat in food that’s fattening, it’s the food that raises the blood sugar and insulin levels.
Fat is not the culprit
We’ve all been taught the wrong thing – that fat in the food was what was making us fat. It’s actually the carbohydrates in the food that do it. They raise the blood sugar and then in response to the blood sugar, the insulin goes up. Fat can become fat in your body, but only when you’re eating carbohydrates at the same time. This has been the difficult truth that’s been hard to embrace in the traditional way of thinking. This is one reason why a keto or low-carb, high-fat approach has not been accepted. It was thought to break the rules about how our bodies work when, in fact, you can eat fat and lose weight – but you have to keep the carbohydrates low.
The low-carb keto diet is well known for its effects on weight loss and insulin because of the insulin reduction. I have no problem if you change your food to eliminate sugars and starches and eat real foods like meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, a few leafy greens and vegetables, a little bit of cheese, cream, mayonnaise, things like that. That’s the simple way to do a low-carb keto diet – using real food and just keeping the carbohydrates very low.
Be cautious before starting the diet
As with any dietary approach and lifestyle change, if you have medical problems and you’re taking medications, especially for diabetes or high blood pressure, please be careful. This is a very strong and therapeutic approach. If you have those conditions, you need monitoring to get off those medications safely.
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