Looking for the best diet for fat loss? You’re not alone. Let me explain why the keto diet rules.
Nearly 65% of people in the UK are overweight, that’s around 1 in 4 adults and even more worrying, 1 in 5 children. More than half of those people who are overweight, admit they’d like to lose weight.
Being overweight can be a big problem, not only for your physical health but for your mental health too. If you’re struggling with your weight you’re more likely to feel depressed, self-conscious and embarrassed.
Being overweight increases your risk of diseases including heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, stroke and even Alzheimers.
Whilst you might be overweight and not have any symptoms or health issues, that doesn’t mean that your body is healthy. Being overweight increases systemic inflammation, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, which are the precursors to most diseases.
That’s why many people who have had COVID-19 who are overweight or obese have been badly affected by the virus. Researchers have shown a direct link between being overweight or obese with an increased rate of hospitalisation, intensive care need and mortality.
So why the obesity epidemic?
Why Most Diets Don’t Work
There’s no shortage of diet options out there all claiming to be “the best diet for fat loss”.
Most commercial diets over the last 70 years have been designed around the low fat and low-calorie concept. The classic low-calorie diet requires you to restrict the number of calories you consume, whilst the low-fat diet means you avoid high-fat content foods. Weight Watchers and Slimming World were designed around these concepts.
You might have tried the juicing diet where you consume nothing but vegetable juice and even the cabbage soup diet where – yep you guessed it – you eat nothing but cabbage soup!
With so many diets to choose from, why are people still struggling to lose weight?
The honest answer is that most diets don’t work – or if they do, they work very very slowly and the person dieting loses motivation! Or they manage to get their goal weight, only to revert back to the eating habits that made them fat in the first place. This results in them regaining all the lost weight plus some extra pounds with each weight loss attempt.
Dieting is hard. Changing your habits and denying yourself some of your favourite things requires self-control, determination and willpower. Add hunger pangs and cravings into the mix and you’ve got the perfect storm. If the results don’t show fast then you can soon fall off the wagon and find yourself scoffing a bag of crisps and a chocolate bar and promising yourself that you’ll “start again on Monday”.
But there is another solution.
Imagine a diet that was easy to do, didn’t leave you feeling hungry, killed all cravings and caused fast, visible fat loss!
Sounds too good to be true right? But it’s not. Introducing the Keto Diet – hands down the best diet for fat loss.
What Is The Keto Diet?
The Keto Diet is a fat loss diet that falls into the “low carb” category of diets. With the defining factor being how many carbohydrates you consume each day.
The average man and woman in the Uk consume around 250g and 200g (respectively) of carbohydrates each day. As I mentioned earlier, 1 in 4 adults is classed as overweight or obese. It’s not difficult to add 2 and 2 together to see where the problem is coming from.
The typical keto diet is made up of low carb, high fat and moderate protein foods and meals. This would normally look like 5-10% Carbs, 15-30% Protein and 60-75% Fat.
There are tweaks you can make such as the protein-sparing version of keto. This is perfect if you are wanting to build muscle whilst losing fat. In fact, keto is the only diet that is proven to help you build muscle and loos fat at the same time.
The keto diet mimics our evolutionary way of eating. Before humans learnt to farm the land, their diet consisted mostly of protein from animal meats and fish. This would be supplemented with vegetables, nuts, fruits and tubers that were in season throughout the year.
Become a Fat Burner
Reducing your carbohydrate intake causes your body to shift from burning sugar to burning fat. When you stop eating sugar your body starts creating ketones from the metabolism of fat. Your body then uses ketones as it’s energy source.
On a low carb diet, you reduce your carb intake to below 150g per day. It’s great for stabilising energy and blood sugar, improving the management of type 2 diabetes and definitely helps with weight loss, but it’s not the best diet for fat loss out there.
With the Keto Diet, you have to be a little stricter, keeping your carb count below 50g a day. But don’t let that put you off! If you’re imagining spending your day’s craving carbs and feeling hungry you are very much mistaken.
Because of how Keto works, there’s literally zero cravings. Most people find they can actually eat MORE calories than normal. They stay satiated throughout the day and still lose a ton of weight. More importantly, you lose unwanted, unhealthy body fat and maintain your lean muscle mass.
Which leads us on to the next question…
How Does The Keto Diet Work?
It’s quite simple really.
As you already know, your body needs energy to function. The food we eat gives our body the energy to do the things it needs to do such as breathing, keeping your heart pumping, thinking, moving etc
Following a typical UK diet, your body usually burns carbohydrates for energy. Carbs come from foods such as bread, pasta, potatoes, fruit and cereals. As well as cakes, biscuits, chocolate and sugary drinks. These foods are all high in carbs and give you a quick energy hit. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into the sugar molecule, glucose. This is what your body uses for energy.
Your body can also store carbohydrate as readily available energy in your liver and muscles. This is called glycogen and it equates to around 2000 calories. Any excess glucose that isn’t burnt as energy or stored as glycogen is converted into fatty acids and then stored as fat. Normally, right in the places you don’t want, like your stomach, hips or thighs.
As we get fatter this can lead to a dangerous accumulation of fat around your internal organs. This is called visceral fat and it is dangerous because it can increase your risk of developing diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
But what happens when you don’t eat many carbs?
Your body has another plan: ketosis.
When you restrict the number of carbohydrates you eat, first of all, your body will use up your glycogen stores. Once these have depleted, your body starts to convert dietary fat and your stored fat into energy. This is called lipolysis.
We have almost an infinite amount of energy stored in our fat cells. Even someone who is slim or athletic has thousands of calories stored in their fat cells.
FACT – Did you know the longest fast on record, was for 382 days? That’s more than a year! This was completed by an overweight American man in 1971. He survived on water and supplements and went from 456lbs to 180lbs.
The Lipolysis Process
The lipolysis process breaks down fat and produces a by-product called ketones which are chemicals made in your liver. Your body uses ketones as an alternative energy source when glucose is not available. This is called ketosis.
When you are in a ketogenic state, it means that your body is readily burning fat to create ketones which your body uses as energy. And if you’re breaking down your fat deposits to use as energy, then you’re losing fat!
Ketosis is the most natural process your body knows. It is completely safe to be in ketosis. Ketosis is a normal physiological process. Babies in the womb use ketones for energy, if you were breastfed then you would have remained in ketosis during your early months. Our ancestors lived mostly in a state of ketosis until they discovered grains and how to farm them. Many ketogenic experts say that it ketosis our body’s preferred energy state.
The keto diet is natural, safe and very effective. That’s why its the best diet for fat loss.
The Benefits of the Keto Diet
The Keto diet has a lot going for it. Not only does it cause fast, visible and substantial fat loss, but it’s safe and healthy too. In fact, many people choose to go on a keto diet for the health benefits alone. In fact, a ketogenic diet can cure type 2 diabetes!
Studies show that the Keto Diet can
- Reverse type 2 diabetes
- Reduce systemic inflammation
- Reverse PCOS
- Improve Auto-Immune conditions such as Hashimoto’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, MS and Chron’s Disease
- Reverse Fatty liver disease
- Improve blood cholesterol levels
- Improve symptoms of M.E, CFS and Fibromyalgia
- Treat Epilepsy
- Improve digestion and relieve digestive disorders like IBS and SIBO
- Relieve depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions
- Improve skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis and rosacea
- Increase mental performance and cognitive function
- Improve physical endurance
Many people report having more energy, feeling healthier overall and an improvement in their mood stability.
Is the Keto Diet hard to do?
It’s all about your mindset. I’m not going to lie, yes you do have to make BIG changes to your normal diet. You do have to be focused on the food choices you make. To achieve ketosis you need to decrease your carb intake to 50g or less per day and for many women, this might need to stay closer to 20-30g per day.
NEWSFLASH – you will never achieve the slim, healthy body you want if you don’t commit to a dietary and lifestyle change.
Sticking to 20-50g of carbs per day isn’t as hard as it sounds. Once you have made the commitment to change and adopted the keto diet you will find that your sugar cravings are a distant memory.
You see, cravings occur when your blood sugar levels dip and your body signals that it’s time to eat some more quick-fix energy foods. This causes your blood sugars to peak and fall like a rollercoaster throughout the day. When this happens you feel intense food cravings, hunger, irritability and trouble sleeping. With the Keto diet, you don’t get these energy dips caused by the consumption of carbs and sugar. This means no blood sugar crashes and no cravings!
Once you become fat-adapted, which means your body is used to burning fat and creating ketones, you will experience freedom from food like never before!
Just imagine, not being ruled by food and cravings. Going 5, 8, or even 12 hours without feeling hungry. Have you ever heard your slim friend tell you she forgot to eat lunch and you thought how on earth can she forget? Well, that could be you, forgetting to eat because the keto diet is so satiating. This is what the keto diet is the best diet for fat loss.
What Can you Eat?
You may be thinking that the keto diet sounds a lot like the Atkins Diet. It’s true that the concept of achieving ketosis is similar to the Atkins Diet, but the focus on food quality was completely missing from Atkins.
The quality of the foods you consume is so important, not just for weight loss but to overall health and wellbeing. What you fuel your body with is extremely important. Think fresh, whole, unprocessed, natural foods. The less processed your food is, the better it is for your body. Focus on eating from the land and the sea.
One thing you will be surprised with on the keto diet is the high fat intake. Unfortunately, fat has been vilified since the 1960’s and since then we have been brainwashed to believe fat is bad for us. This is untrue. In fact, many studies have been published debunking the dangers of consuming fat. Read this and this. Your body needs fat for 1000’s of functions that it performs each and every day.
Stick to Natural Whole Foods
Animal fats and fat from nuts, fish, coconuts, avocados and olives are super healthy and should be consumed daily.
You will be shocked to learn that next to trans fat, which are carcinogenic, the second most damaging types of fat, which should be avoided are polyunsaturated fats (PUFA). PUFAs include vegetable and seed oils such as canola oil, sunflower oil, vegetable fat, rapeseed oil and other seed oils. These fat are directly linked to increased inflammation and disease. Read HERE.
My advice – focus on what you can have rather than what you can’t. There is a huge choice of delicious, flavourful foods and meals that you CAN have.
Example of foods you can eat on keto:
Meat and Fish
- Red meat – beef, lamb, pork, venison, bacon
- White meat – chicken, turkey, other poultry
- Fish & Shellfish – salmon, tuna, sardines cod, sea bass, prawns, lobster
- Offal – Liver, kidney
Don’t be afraid of eating fattier cuts of meat, like ribeye steak, chicken thighs and pork belly. Feel free to eat the fat on the meat and the skin on your chicken or turkey.
- Green Veg – broccoli, spinach, cabbage, asparagus, chard, lettuce, kale, cucumber, celery, green beans, sprouts
- Coloured Veg – tomatoes, peppers, aubergine, radish
- Berries – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries,
- Lemons and limes
Nuts and Seeds
- Nuts – macadamia, pecans, brazils, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds
- Seeds – flax, chia, sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, sesame, pine nuts
Fats and Oils
- Animal fats – dripping, tall, lard, bacon grease, duck fat
- Olive Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Coconut Oil
- MCT Oil
- Cocoa butter
- Butter and ghee
- Cheese – all hard and soft cheeses
Warning – Be careful with dairy intake. Many are intolerant to dairy, causing inflammation and stalled weight loss. Many people do better by avoiding dairy.
So it’s safe, effective and easy to do – but what really makes it the best fat loss diet out there is the results: Keto causes visible fat loss and it does it FAST.
The Downside of Keto
Sound too good to be true? While I am a HUGE Keto fan and think it really is the best diet for fat loss available, you should be aware of a couple of downsides.
You need to commit
This goes for any weight loss programme. You do need to commit wholeheartedly. It’s not a flexible diet – meaning you can’t half-ass it if you want it to work.
You have to keep your carbs low enough to achieve ketosis – if you “cheat” and sneak a crumpet or two then you won’t see the same results. You’ll kick yourself out of ketosis this will cause unstable blood sugars and you will struggle with food cravings.
Although once you get going your cravings disappear and you get all the benefits I told you about earlier, the first few days or weeks can be tough.
It tasks time for your body to become fat-adapted and efficient at making ketones. Plus you can suffer from dehydration and an imbalance of electrolytes as your body moves into ketosis. This can cause some side effects commonly known as “keto flu.
Symptoms of Keto Flu:
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Brain fog
- Aches and pains
- Muscle cramps
- Changes to bowel habits
What causes keto flu?
One of the biggest causes of keto flu is dehydration and lack of electrolytes. This is because when you start the keto diet, in your first week your body releases a lot of stored water.
Remember I said that your body stores glycogen? Well as your body uses up the stored carbohydrate for energy it lets go of water. This is because for every 1g of stored carbohydrate, your body stores 3g of water. This explains why you typically see a big weight loss in your first week on most diets.
The processed foods that you eat on a standard UK diet contain a lot of hidden salt. So when you cut out all the processed foods and you factor in the loss of water from your glycogen stores, its normal for your electrolytes can get out of whack.
Transitioning from being a “sugar burner” to being a “fat burner” takes a little while. Adopting keto is a big change for your body and it probably hasn’t had to make a ton of ketones for many years. Be patient and give your body time to become fat-adapted.
Another reason for “keto flu” can also be caused by the detoxification effect that keto has on your body. Whilst this is a hugely positive process you might find that the detox effects are intense. This could involve the die-off of bad bacteria who have colonised in your gut and feed on carbohydrates, such as candida. As the bacteria dies it can cause a whole host of intense symptoms including bloating, stomach cramps, a fever, constipation or diarrhoea.
To avoid “keto flu”
Fortunately, Keto flu doesn’t last forever. Typically you might experience some symptoms for about a week. Everyone’s keto journey is different. Some people aren’t affected by keto flu at all, whilst a small number of people may have intense symptoms that could last a few weeks.
The best way to avoid keto flu is to:
- Drink 2-2.5 litres water per day
- Take an electrolyte supplement
- Liberally salt your food
- Eat more fat and protein, don’t consciously restrict calories
- Avoid strenuous exercise for 2 weeks, stick with gentle exercises like walking or yoga
- Get plenty of sleep, aim for 8-9 hours every night
- Avoid alcohol
You’ve got to be able to stick it out at the start and then you’ll start to see just how easy it can be. Once you are fat-adapted and deep into ketosis you will start to reap all the benefits mentioned earlier, such as easy fat loss, improved mental clarity, increased energy and stamina.
And finally, just like any diet, there’s a good way to do Keto and a bad way.
Some processed foods, such as processed meats or cheeses, can be Keto friendly – but that doesn’t make them healthy! Same with diet pop. Just because there are no carbs doesn’t make it a healthy food choice.
Over the last 12 months there are lots of “keto-friendly” sweets, snacks, bread and so on, come on the market but I would urge you to beware! Food manufacturing companies are quick to jump on the bandwagon creating new keto products which look fantastic. But in reality, they most likely contain poor-quality artificial sweeteners and ingredients you can’t even pronounce.
My advice is to always read the food labels. Products with 5 or fewer natural, whole ingredients are possibly healthier.
Keep your diet varied, eat natural foods from the land and sea, stay well hydrated and supplement with electrolytes and you won’t go far wrong.
Is Keto Right For You?
Hopefully, that gives you the basics of the keto diet and why I think its the best diet for fat loss. But how do you know if it’s the best diet for fat loss for you? You have to give it a go.
I’ve been Keto since November 2017, I absolutely love it and I’m sure you will too.
If you would like to learn more about how we can help you find the right weight loss approach for your body, contact us for a chat.
Other Resources that will teach you about the keto diet include:
As I mentioned, there are a lot of bad keto products on the market, claiming they are keto-friendly. Here are my go-to keto-approved and keto-friendly products.