In todays weight loss world, we are trying to find that easy plan, diet or pill to help in our everyday struggles to lose weight. Unfortunately, their are no quick fix solutions out there and all diets and workout plans have their very own sacrifices required to be successful. This article is not for persuasion but for making those who are on a “caloric deficit” type diet more aware of possible adjustments that could be made in the amount of calories you consume in a day. I have been on a Ketogenic diet for two years now and my experience and knowledge base is circled around that. If you are on another diet, you may want to do further research and reading to possibly incorporate information given.
So I hear all the time calories in must be less than that of calories going out. Meaning the “eat less and do more” theory. Although, this is a common practice and generally works on many different style of diets out there, it does have its deficiencies. The main one is satiety (fullness). It is hard to keep that hungry feeling from coming back so rapidly or in many cases never feeling full leaving the table. This is an unsustainable way of living. It drives your metabolism through the floor and makes you stay in a constant state of “hangriness” (being hungry and angry at the day time). On the Keto diet I have found this to be less of the case. Because, I generally do not have a limit of food. A limit of types of food? Yes but quantity, no. This does not mean I am promoting bacon and sausage everyday all day but when appropriately performed, the amount of calories will take care of itself. Over time you will find yourself less hungry for longer and ultimately eating less calories than earlier days and far more less hangry moments. Let me explain:
Fats varying in fatty acid chain lengths are metabolized differently after ingestion. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) which contain 6–12 carbon fatty acids, differ from long-chain triglycerides (LCT), which have 12 or more fatty acids carbons. Therefore, they are absorbed directly into the portal circulation and transported to the liver for rapid oxidation (breakdown in to ketone bodies).
LCT, on the other hand has to be transported via chylomicrons into the lymphatic system, allowing for extensive uptake into adipose tissue.
Ultimately the body will rapidly use the MCT’s for metabolism and energy production for the cells. In Human trials MCT has show to faster satiety (hunger) because of MCTs decrease deposition into adipose tissue. In short, MCT’s are less like to be store as future fat energy in fat cells like the Long Chain Triglycerides.
Nonetheless, the keto diet is not a just do it kind of diet. It requires time, monitoring and will power to do successful but you stay satisfied much more. The weight when performed accordingly will soon just effortlessly fall of. Not to mention if you incorporate exercise along with the diet, wow!
Hope this nutshell information helps a little. Again, I am not promoting or discrediting other weight loss diets or plans, as I feel they all work in some degree but what is more sustainable for your long term goals is clearly up to you to decided.
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As I have mentioned in a prior post, I have been participating in the Ketogenic life style for 9 months now. I started this journey in the mid-month of June 2017. The person responsible for my involvement in Keto is a buddy of mine, Jake Cofield “The Keto Nurse” (I encourage you to check out and follow Jake and see his amazing results and keto post). When Jake and I first met we were on an assignment together in the deep south. I am sure between the both of us, we pretty much tested the waters of quite a few fad diets in our time. None, of which had long lasting results. Jake being more of a mix between a Mesomorph/ Endomorph, where I am more of a mix between Ectomorph/ Endomorph, giving us (I believe) mixed views to what was best way to lose weight, remain healthy and most of all retain muscle mass. After splitting ways once our contracts ended and taking on different assignment locations elsewhere, one day out of the blue Jake got in contact with me. He wanted to let me know of this awesome and proven weight loss diet or life style he was experiencing called the Ketogenic Diet. Of course, skeptical and thinking he has run upon a new fad diet, I decided to take what he told me and do my own internet diving and YouTube searching regarding the Keto diet (don’t laugh you do it too). Low and behold after much reading and clinical studies read, I was ready. Since June I have lost 24 pounds and most of all kept it off. In November of 2017 I got down to 173 pounds and felt that I was losing weight at an unacceptable rate. Therefore, I decided to modify my diet for a short time to help put on a little more weight and focus on muscle gains during this phase. I will explain this modification in a later post. But for now, let’s get to the meat of the Post.
The Ketogenic Diet is the nutritional consumption of foods mostly comprised of fat. Your daily macros are divided up into the following percentage: 70-75% Fat, 20-25% Protein, and 5-10% Carbohydrates. Now, the breakdown of macros can be split up a little differently depending the therapy at hand, but for the more practical weight loss purpose this is the standard. The basic idea or principle here is to convert your body from being primarily sugar burning for energy to ketone burning for energy. The analogy thrown around a lot for this is the equivalent of going from a gas burning car to more of an electric burning car such as the Tesla.
So how does this work? In a prior post I spoke a little about insulin and its job within the body. Just a little refresher, insulin is the hormone that regulates the blood sugar within our body. When the blood sugar becomes high from the foods that we eat the Beta cells of the pancreas goes to work and signal for the production and secretion of insulin into the blood stream to combat this current problem at hand. In order to get the glucose/sugar levels back to a tolerable level the insulin signals the cells of the body to absorb glucose from the blood. Therefore, insulin will unlock these cells primarily of the liver and muscles and start packing them with this excess glucose along with other things (in which I will cover in a later post). But for the purpose of this post we are focused on the glucose/sugar. Throughout the day the cells of the liver and muscle will store and release glucose or glycogen for the bodies need, keeping homeostasis of the glucose level within the blood. The liver which is an insulin-guided organ plus the muscle cells will take the glucose from the blood and go into a process of glycogenesis. This process will package this glucose and store it in the form of glycogen, basically becoming a warehouse for excess glucose. The cells of the liver and muscle will use the glycogen in times of low blood sugar within the blood, which does occur during fasting, exercise or the lack of future carb consumption. When the blood glucose/sugar drops below an acceptable level in the blood the pancreas by way of the alpha cells will produce a peptide hormone called glucagon. It will enter the blood stream telling the liver (first) to raise the level of the blood glucose and convert the glycogen to glucose and secondly the muscle cells will follow suit if needed. Once the liver and muscles cells receive this signal they will liquidate or release its assets from storage back into the blood, a process known as glycogenolysis. So, what happens if the liver and muscle cells become full? The insulin will then unlock the fats cells for storage. Much like your garbage bag in the kitchen, once it is packed and full you need to get another bag out for the remaining trash. The fat cells are no different regarding storage. Once full, more fat cells are made to handle the load. Please understand that once the body reaches this point of storage you must deplete the Liver and muscle storage of glycogen first before you can withdrawal fat as a source of energy. As long as you are producing insulin you will never use fat as energy as insulin prevents the utilization of fat. Think about it, insulin is the key which opens the cells for storage, right? So, if you are producing insulin you are in storage mode not burning mode. What about type II diabetics? Wow, they are in double trouble, right? Once the production of insulin decreases or the cells of the body become insulin resistant, the pancreas continues to be signaled to produce more and more insulin to try and combat the glucose crisis.
Now what is the deal with Keto? Keto for short is the state of Ketosis. This is when the utilization of glycogen from the liver and muscles have been depleted and used for energy. Now the body needs to go into its next level of storage for energy, which is the fat storage. In order for the body to use its fat for energy it needs to be broken down first into glycerol and fatty acids a process known as lipolysis. Once broken down into the blood and making its way to the liver for conversion into what is known as ketone bodies. There are three ketone bodies produced by the liver. The three ketone bodies are Acetoacetate, β-Hydroxybutyrate and Acetone. This of course is the nut shell version of the breakdown process but good enough for now just to get my point across. Once you get into the state of ketosis you are fully using fat for energy. Not to say your body does not have any insulin or carbs floating around because it does. The body, especially the brain does need some level of glucose to correctly function therefore, the body will find ways of producing what it needs. Outside of weight loss you are probably asking, how else does this benefit the body? Well, I just list a few things for you:
*Originally designed for Epilepsy
*High Blood Pressure
*Type II Diabetes/High Blood sugars
*Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Also, people have experienced better brain function and cognition. Increase energy levels and an improved body composition.
Now with all that said, this diet although good for those who want to lose weight and enjoy the food that they eat, this diet is not tailored for everyone. Those who are type 1 diabetics for example should not participate in this practice. Those who have minimal body fat and those who are looking to pack on large amounts of muscle mass, this may not a diet for you either.
Of course, there is a lot more to the diet than what is mentioned. It is a complex process that your body needs to go through and it is not an easy conversion for many. This process of change can take anywhere from 3-10 days on average. Most will experience what is known as the Keto Flu. This is when the body is actually making needed changes to begin the conversion from glucose to ketones. Unfortunately, the body will flush a lot of fluid in the beginning consequently depleting or unbalancing the electrolytes within the body. Therefore, electrolyte replacement and hydration are a must. There is thing you can do to combat the Keto Flu symptoms which I can follow up with if you are interested in later post. Keep in mind there are many resources you can read online and videos to watch that can help you with this diet. My favorite sources are once again Jake Cofield “the keto Nurse”, Thomas Delauer, Dr. Eric Berg, Jason Whitrock, Goody Beats, and high intensity health just to name a few.
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I have been in the medical profession for over 20 years and participated in some level of physical training may it be by way of recreational sports or weight training since the early age of 9. As the years have passed, I have read countless magazines articles and books on how to gain muscle, become fit or lose weight. It seems that nothing really stood out or ever really worked or was that game changer, at least not for me. I did have some younger years around 16-22 where I could not really gain any significant weight and was lean. Regardless of how much I ate or trained I did not have any significant gains to save my life. But once I did, oh nelly watch out, my life went into a 180 spin with the weight.
Although I do feel that I had some high points in training much like some of you out there, Like flat pressing 350+, squatting 450+ in my 20-30’s and filling out a tee shirt like I was all that and a bag of chips. But in reality, and in most situations, I was well over the 20% body fat range and I was never satisfied with where I was in my fitness, looks, or strength. Then there were the times when I felt the need to lose weight and get “lean” but the strength went along with it, which of course grappled continuously with my psyche. At the end of the day I never really got that fitness magazine cover look that a lot of us seemed to chase.
Anyway, as we move into 2018 and I am much older and (hopefully) wiser, I have come to realize along with thousands of other serious fitness practitioners that we were looking at this fitness process completely wrong. Yeah, I remember the days of eating every two hours and banging down the protein shakes religiously. High protein, High protein, High protein, Carb up, Carb up etc.… It’s exhausting just thinking about it. As much as the commercial industries do not want to admit it but the high fat diets are where it is truly at. For decades we were told in order to be healthy and lean we need to eat low fat, moderate protein and fruits and veggies, with a larger portion given to carb intake. When in truth the nutritional pyramid needed to be flipped on its head. That’s right, diets such as the Ketogenic, paleo and Adkins now hold supreme (within reason). I myself have been practicing the Ketogenic diet now for 9 months. I started my diet weighing in at an unhealthy 209 pounds June 2017, at 5’10” in height. Only working out intermittently due to work, injuries and excuses I was really spiraling out of control. As of this articles creation I am weighing in at 183. I did hit the 173-pound mark back in November of 2017 but decided to make some adjustments and add a few pounds, which we will discuss in another article later.
Let me just say, please do not get this article wrong, I am not trying to sell you on any particular diet here but make you aware of the main culprit (which I will get to in a second) of most fat gains in today’s highly obese society and the purpose of this article. Let’s spit the facts out my friends, today 1 in 3 of the adult population is Obese. People, I don’t mean just over weight but OBESE. Some studies suggest that the overweight population % is hovering around the 70 mark.
Now, on to the purpose of this article and star of the show “INSULIN”.
Yep, Insulin. Before you surf the internet and try and pick ‘N chose that next great diet that is going to put you in the spot light of envy amongst your family and friends know about this hormone first. Then you can make a more knowledgeable decision on what will be best for you and your life style.
So, let’s dig into this evil but yet awesome hormone. Insulin which is produced by the pancreas is said to be the main “anabolic” hormone in the body. In other word insulin is responsible for building up organs and tissues of the body. It promotes protein synthesis within the cells and muscle growth. If that is not enough responsibility for one hormone, insulin is also responsible for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Insulin is required for the absorption of carbs, proteins and fats (plus and especially glucose) into the liver by way of the vascular system, as well as, absorption into the skeletal muscles and fat stores. Most of us were taught that insulin was for the checks and balance of the glucose/sugar within our body. Although this is true, but it is far deeper than that. For starters, know that the average person holds approximately 1 teaspoon of glucose within the vascular system. If we consume high glucose/sugar contributing foods such as pasta, rice, breads and even fruits and your glucose level begins to exceed this 1 teaspoon intravascularly, the pancreas goes to work, and Insulin is produced and secreted. One would naturally assume that once the insulin goes into the blood stream that it goes to battle with the glucose molecules and prevails as victor and the glucose goes away. Cute, although that makes for a great story ending that is not how it works. You see, the insulins job is to clean house and put things into the bodies vacant compartments, so we can maintain the homeostasis of 1 teaspoon of glucose allowed. So, as that gatekeeper it unlocks the cells of the Liver and muscles first, storing this excess sugars/glucose as glycogen by way of glycogenesis. This is the storage to be released first when the body has a drop in the blood glucose of the 1 teaspoon. Kind of in the reverse process I am explaining. The drop in one’s blood sugar can be by way of many reasons. May it be from fasting, exercising or from a low carb diet just to name a few.
Now, here is the bad part. Once the storage space is full within the liver and muscles the next location of storage is the tissue. Yep, that is your fat compartments. This is done by way of lipogenesis. Once the current fat storage (cells) are full and the need for more storage is required, more fat cells are made to handle the load (no pun intended). With all that said, keep in mind that you would have to deplete the current storage of glycagon from the liver and muscles first before you start breaking down fat for energy known as Ketosis (which will come in a later article). Therefore, if you are not burning through the sugars consumed from your earlier meals and you are already refueling again or eating every two to four hours that’s a lot of storage needed daily.
Now, before I get hammered from all those who say, “you cannot build muscle without carbs”, yeah, I know and get your thought on that.
BUT, it is not a definitive and absolute science on if you can or cannot gain muscle on a low carb diet, yes, it is true that it is more difficult or much slower process than that of a standard carb loading regimen, but the body will convert even protein ingested into glucose as needed which will stimulate some insulin production. This article is not for those looking to hit the stage and pose down amungst the Arnolds out there, but for those who want awareness of the process of how fat is accumulated, stored and burned.
Again, new muscle growth may not be at the level of carb loading but at a smaller level can be achieved. Yes, it is a fact that insulin is needed for the absorption of amino acids which is the building blocks of muscle growth and some electrolytes.
The main point that I am trying to get across with this article is if you are constantly fueling your body of carbs and causing insulin to spill, as long as there is insulin at work it will prevent you from burning your current fat storage. You will not burn fat period. In order for you to burn your current fat storage, one must burn through the glucose in the blood, then the glycogen from the liver and muscles and then your body will go into temporary ketosis and start converting fat into ketones by way of the liver. If one chooses to maintain a low carb intake and remain in Ketosis they then become a fat burning machine. Insulin also retains sodium and if you know what sodium does, it retains water.
Now I could carry on and on about the ketogenic process but that is not the intent of this article. I will write on Ketosis and the Ketogenic diet on a later article. This is just a nut shell of information. If you would like for me to do a video or further explain insulin and its roll played in weight gain please shoot me an email at email@example.com Plus, I would love to offer help and talk about my mistakes and what I feel helps in order to be successful. Thanks for reading