Low-carb, high-fat, adequate protein diets are not a new idea or a weight loss fad. Low carb dieting first became popular in the mainstream weight loss industry in the 1990’s following the release of Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution, however Dr. Robert Atkins himself originally published his low carb diet concept in 1972, after he discovered the benefits of ketosis for weight loss when treating overweight heart patients in the 60’s. Since the nineties, the ketogenic diet has remained popular, and has become ever easier to follow as more and more restaurants and stores offer low carb options.
The reason for the enduring popularity of following a ketogenic diet for weight loss is that it is a highly effective way to use the body’s natural behavior to burn off excess body fat, without feeling hungry, experiencing cravings, or suffering from the negative effects of an insufficient caloric intake. It is also possible to lose weight on a ketogenic diet without exercising (though if you are able to exercise you will get better, faster results and see additional health benefits if you do), which makes it great for people who are severely obese, or people with disabilities or injuries that prevent them from participating in regular exercise.
How does the ketogenic diet help with weight loss?
Ketosis, the cause of weight loss on a ketogenic diet, is a natural state where the body uses fat as its source of fuel. Humans are designed to be able to use either carbohydrate or fat for energy. Generally, when you eat carbohydrates, the body stores them for a while in your muscles as a substance called glycogen, which your body uses as its first choice for fuel. Any which isn’t used is eventually stored as fat, leading to weight gain. If there is no glycogen present, the body will switch to using its reserve, long term fuel source – fat. Forcing your body to go into ketosis by strictly limiting the amount of carbohydrate you eat, means that you are always burning fat, not just to power your conscious activity but also the functions your body is performing all the time. This makes weight loss not only easy, but inevitable. It is almost impossible not to lose weight if your body is in ketosis.
A low carb diet also helps to regulate your blood sugar, because all sugars are carbs and all carbs eventually break down to sugars. With your blood sugar levels stable, you won’t experience cravings for sugary foods, or experience the highs and crashes associated with fluctuating blood sugar (or more serious problems such as diabetes). People who follow a ketogenic diet generally feel consistently energetic and healthy, and have smaller appetites than before, meaning they eat less without even thinking about it, which also helps them lose weight.
A ketogenic diet works with your body, optimizing its ability to burn its own fat reserves, as well as providing these other benefits. It is easy to follow, because you can eat fresh, whole foods you can find in any store and most restaurants, rather than expensive, specialist diet products, and because your diet is largely based around fat and protein the foods you can eat are high in flavor and satisfying to eat.