Ketogenic Diet – Safe Weight Loss

Women in the age range of 45 -65 years often new to fitness, over-weight, and with deep belly fat, experience great difficulty getting rid of this fat and weight. Their doctors may have advised them of a pre-diabetic condition and the need for weight loss. Health worries and being long past the crash diets phase of their lives, have led middle-aged women to look into more extreme diets such as the ketogenic diet as a temporary solution to getting back on track.

How Ketogenic Diets Work for Getting Rid of Belly Fat & Weight Loss

How do ketogenic diets work, in contrast with traditional low-fat, low-calorie based diets?  Referred to as many different names – ketogenic diet, low carb diet, low carb high fat (LCHF), etc., the Keto diet is well known for being a low carb diet, where the body produces ketones in the liver to be used as energy.

When you eat something high in carbs, your body produces glucose and insulin.

  • Glucoseis the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy, so that it will be chosen over any other energy source.
  • Insulinis produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream by taking it around the body.

When glucose is used as the primary source of energy, fats are not needed and are therefore stored. Typically, on a normal, higher carbohydrate diet, the body uses glucose as the main form of energy.

By lowering the intake of carbs, the body is induced into a state known as ketosis. The end goal of a properly maintained keto diet is to force your body into this metabolic state. We don’t do this through starvation of calories but starvation of carbohydrates. (Campos, 2017)

How Long Can You Safely Stay on a Ketogenic Diet?

Weight loss is the primary reason that women use the ketogenic diet. Previous research shows good evidence of a faster weight loss when patients go on a ketogenic or very low carbohydrate diet compared to participants on a more traditional low-fat diet, or even a Mediterranean diet. However, that difference in weight loss seems to disappear over time.

People can safely stay on the ketogenic diet anywhere from 2 – 7 days, depending on your body type, activity levels, and what you’re eating.

 

The fastest way to get into ketosis is to exercise on an empty stomach, restrict your carbohydrate intake to 20g or less per day[1], and be vigilant with your water intake. (Campos, 2017)

Many experts share that while a low-carb/keto diet can produce short-term results, there can be various health issues related to staying on a low-carb diet. The USDA’s recommendation is that 80% of a person’s food should typically be vegetables, fruits, and grains, and 20% should be protein. Non-protein foods are important for issues like micronutrients, digestion, and so on.

 

It’s generally recommended that people on a low-carb diet “carb up” from time to time. This spike in carbohydrate intake is often 1-2 days per week and sometimes mid-week.

Insulin Resistance Causes Pre-Diabetes & Diabetes

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), It is estimated that 12 million women aged 20 years and older have diabetes, and approximately 27 million have prediabetes.

 

Insulin maintains blood sugar levels, ensuring they are not too high or too low. However, when blood sugar levels are persistently high, the body’s cells stop responding to insulin as effectively. This is known as insulin resistance. When insulin resistance occurs, sugar is unable to enter the cells as successfully, and too much remains in the bloodstream. Higher levels of sugar in the blood place a demand on the pancreas to secrete more insulin. Over time, the pancreas is unable to meet that demand, and too much sugar builds up in the bloodstream, leading to pre-diabetes and diabetes.

 

Insulin resistance and weight have a complicated relationship. Some doctors believe that being overweight can cause insulin resistance. Carrying extra weight around the waist is a particular danger for this reason. (medicalnewstoday/article; Macgill, 2017)

The ketogenic diet naturally lowers blood sugar levels due to the type of foods you eat. Studies even show that the ketogenic diet is a more effective way to manage and prevent diabetes compared to low-calorie diets.

What’s the Bottom Line?

A ketogenic diet can be an exciting alternative to speed up weight loss, reduce belly fat and the risk of pre-diabetes and diabetes. There is no doubt that this is a very difficult diet to follow, as you have to avoid most of the carbohydrates foods you are used to eating, as well as not over-eat red meat and salty foods. Most people can’t eat foods on the keto diet for a long-term, so it is hard to predict its long-term results.

Sensible and life-long lifestyle changes including a regular exercise program are needed to produce weight and fat loss. It is not enough to simply “crash diet” to lose the weight. Overall, a balanced diet, rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, fish, whole grains, olive oil, lean meats, with a lot of water is the perfect fit for a healthier, vibrant, and long life.

While a permanent ketogenic state can result in weight/fat-loss it can also cause some health hazards. For example, some people can go from the long-term state to ketoacidosis. In this state, the blood becomes acidic and the person could risk experiencing major health complications. The people who get this condition tend to be people with a history of diabetes or alcoholism.

Having said that, there are very many people and cultures that go into ketosis and stay there for years and years without any negative effects. It might all boil down to the existing health conditions of your body.

There can be dangers to a ketogenetic diet.

  • High cholesterol
  • Osteoporosis
  • Kidney problems/stones

As with other diets, it’s important to consult your physician before starting the ketogenic diet or planning to stay in it for very long. They’ll be able to determine if there are any precautions you should take due to your general health and fitness level, for example.

 

[1] One slice of whole bread is 50 grams.

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