Low Carbohydrate Diets
By: Dr. Keith Kantor
The Keto Diet and low carbohydrate diets work for such a high percentage of people because it targets several key, underlying causes of weight gain, including hormonal imbalances, especially insulin resistance, coupled with high blood sugars, especially in those who have type 2 diabetes or hypoglycemia. The common cycle of restricting and “binging” on empty calories due to hunger that so many dieters struggle with is not common with those who adopt the keto lifestyle and the healthy whole foods that are on its food list.
Rather than counting calories, small portion sizes, and excessive exercise, which require unrealistic will power (especially when your energy levels are low due to restriction), the ketogenic diet takes an entirely different approach to weight loss and health improvements. It works because it changes the “fuel source” that the body uses to stay energized. The body goes from burning glucose (or sugar) to dietary fat and fat stores within the body. Combining the keto diet with intermittent fasting can provide long-term results without the starvation or suffering.
The diet was originally designed in the 1920’s to help control seizures of those who had epilepsy. Keto is short for ketosis, this is when the body is using ketones in the blood for energy rather than glucose from foods that contain carbohydrates. Ketosis can only occur when fat is the primary macronutrient consumed to meet daily calorie needs.
The keto diet does not require any calorie counting, the restriction is virtually eliminating all foods that contain sugar and starch (carbohydrates). These carbohydrate dense foods are broken down into sugar (disrupting insulin and glucose) in our blood once we eat them, and if these levels become too high, extra calories are much more easily stored as body fat and results in unwanted weight gain. However, when glucose levels are cut off due to low-carb dieting, the body starts to burn fat instead and produces ketones that can be measured in the blood.
Rather than drawing energy from glucose, a person in ketosis stays fueled off of these circulating ketones or ketone bodies — essentially, burning fat for fuel. This is the principal goal of the ketogenic diet, which can be achieved by adhering to the macronutrient targets. It is important to note that low carbohydrate diets must adhere to a recommended macronutrient targets of 5-10% carbohydrates, 20% protein, and 70-80% fat for optimal results.
This type of dieting produces weight loss and overall improved hormone health. The cons of low carbohydrate diets would be for someone who
Is under doctors orders to be on a specific medical diet that has to be low fat due to a gallbladder or a similar medical issue. This population will need to ask their doctor before trying this type of diet.