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Last Updated on December 16, 2020

Does Keto Weight Loss Diet Plan Actually Work?

Does Keto Weight Loss Diet Plan Actually Work?

In the past few years, more and more people have started to suffer from obesity, with associated heart and metabolic problems. If you are struggling to keep your weight under control, you are also probably worrying about additional problems such as hypertension and diabetes.

People who fight weight gain have indeed a genetic predisposition, but they also need to make a few lifestyle changes, especially with regard to their lifestyle and caloric intake. It has been demonstrated that regular physical activity, as well as dietary habits can promote weight loss and allow one to maintain the same weight on a regular basis.

In this article, we will look into the commonly known keto weight loss diet and explain to you whether it works or not.

What Is the Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic diet has been presented as one of the most effective approaches for quick weight loss.[1] Indeed, this nutritional approach has a solid basis, allowing one to lose excess pounds and return to a healthy figure. And as you will see for yourself, it can even improve cardiovascular health.

The main idea behind this diet is to drastically reduce the carb intake, so the body begins to use the ketone bodies produced by the liver as energy. As the glucose levels decrease and the fuel for the body changes, significant weight loss will occur.

This condition was first noticed in individuals who were fasting; at the beginning, the ketogenic diet was used for those who suffered from epilepsy. It was only recently that researchers began to recommend it for weight loss purposes.

Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet

It has been confirmed that this dietary approach can help one fight obesity, as well as high cholesterol levels. It can improve cardiovascular risk factors, protecting one against stroke and atherosclerosis.

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You might not be aware of this for a fact but the ketogenic diet can suppress the appetite. This is related to the fact that one consumes more proteins, which have a higher satiety effect.

It is also worth mentioning that such changes can keep the appetite control hormones in check. Proteins have a thermal effect, contributing to the activation of the metabolism.

Ketone bodies cause a number of changes within the body, contributing to the suppression of the appetite in a direct manner. They prevent the body from storing fat, while activating the metabolism and promoting the fat-burning process. Thus, one experiences a higher metabolic efficiency, consuming more calories in the process.

When formulating the best diet plan, you have to consider the ketogenic diet among your first options.[2] Keep in mind that this diet can help you lose excess weight and offer a wide range of other benefits.

For example, the ketone bodies produced in the liver can provide protection against cognitive impairment (associated with weight gain and obesity in general). The dietary approach can reduce the risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy.

It can even be of use to those who suffer from Parkinson’s disease and it facilitates recovery in patients diagnosed with brain injuries. The ketogenic diet does wonders for those with polycystic ovary syndrome and acne; this is related to the reduction in insulin levels.

The Physiological Changes Associated with This Diet

What happens is that, upon reducing the carb intake, a metabolic condition known as physiological ketosis occurs.[3] This is when the body runs out of glucose, using ketone bodies (resulted through ketogenesis). When these began to be used as energy, weight loss occurs as a natural consequence.

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As the glycemic level begins to stabilize, the weight loss process occurs. The risk of metabolic syndrome is reduced, which increases the life expectancy for the person in question. The bad cholesterol level is reduced and so is the one of triglycerides (associated risk of cardiovascular disease).

The metabolic rate is altered and physiological changes occur. While the lean body mass is preserved, the fat mass begins to be consumed and weight loss is no longer difficult. Interestingly, all of these changes do not have a negative effect on the metabolism of glucose (eliminating of insulin resistance).

What Happens When You Consume Carbs in High Quantities

Unfortunately, the modern diet is associated with a high consumption of carbs. The rates of obesity have increased only in the past few years, when more and more people have fallen prey into the trap of carbs.

The excessive intake of carbohydrates can lead to weight gain and obesity in most cases. A diet rich in carbs has a negative influence on the insulin resistance. Moreover, it increases glucose levels and reduces the level of good cholesterol.

All of these changes translate into a higher risk of diabetes and heart problems, as the metabolism is disturbed.

How It Feels to Follow the Keto Approach

The reduction of carb intake, associated with a higher consumption of proteins, has proven to be quite beneficial (both physically and mentally). The sensation of lethargy, normally caused by the increased carb intake, disappears and the mood improves.

At the beginning, one might have difficulties reducing the carb intake. However, as the body accustoms to these dietary changes, the sensation of hunger disappears and one is less tempted to give into cravings. As the fat metabolism is improved, one begins to notice the weight difference and feel better overall.

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Tips for Successful Weight Loss

When it comes to weight loss tips to remember, this is the most important one:[4]

You need to make sure that your daily carb intake does not exceed 20 grams, regardless of how much fat or proteins you plan on consuming that day. The intake of carbs should not be influenced by the total caloric intake.

The transition from your regular diet to the ketogenic approach should not take place all of a sudden. You need to take a gradual approach, so that your body has the necessary amount of time to adapt to the new diet.

In order to facilitate this transition, you can opt for meals that mimic regular, carb-rich foods. These will help you stay on the diet and achieve your weight loss goals, without too much effort.

What Foods Are Allowed to Eat?

If you have decided to go on the ketogenic diet, you need to up your protein intake. You are allowed to consume lean meat, such chicken, eggs and dairy products, such as full-fat cheese. Fatty fish, such as tuna and sardines, as well as seafood is allowed.

You can also consume olive oil and flax seed oil as these deliver beneficial fats to the body. Vegetables such as spinach, cucumber, lettuce, celery, cauliflower, eggplants and carrots are allowed. As for fruits, you can consume berries of various kinds, citrus fruits, tomatoes and avocados.

Do not be afraid to consume olive oil of good quality as this is one of the best food products for someone who is on a weight loss diet. In the Mediterranean area, olive oil is eaten in generous quantities and the people here do not suffer from obesity (also have a reduced risk of heart problems).

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What Foods Are Restricted?

Simply put, you need to drastically reduce the carb intake. This means that you should eat white flour products, potatoes and pasta as little as possible. The same goes for bread and rice.

It is important to be aware of the fact that carbs are found in other food products, especially in sweets. Stay away from sweets, cakes and other similar items that are rich in sugar. Of course, fruit juices and soft drinks are on the no list.

The Truth: Does the Ketogenic Diet Actually Promote Weight Loss?

In the introduction, we have talked about obesity and the risks associated with weight gain. The ketogenic diet can reverse such changes, allowing one to keep the hunger sensation under control and reduce the intake of food.

Proteins are a big part of this dietary approach, offering a prolonged satiety sensation. On the other hand, both carbs and fat are less filling, causing one to feel hungry quicker.

As one begins to consume more proteins, the sensation of hunger appears at longer intervals. The ketogenic diet will not cause one to feel hungry all the time, presented a higher success rate than other dietary approaches.

As the carb intake is reduced to the lowest possible level, the ketogenic state will occur and the body will no longer rely on glucose for fuel. The ketone bodies produced in the liver, from the fat reserves, will act as fuel.

It is important to understand that the body needs time to adapt to the state of ketosis. You need to pursue the dietary approach and not be satisfied with the initial weight loss, which is due to the diuresis process. Soon, you will see that your body has begun to burn fat efficiently, allowing you to return to a healthy figure.

The ketogenic diet presents a number of advantages, starting with the fact that you have plenty of allowed foods to organize your daily meals. Moreover, you can follow this diet, without having to count calories or keep track of how much food you have eaten.

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Featured photo credit: Khamkhor via unsplash.com

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Evlin Symon

Evlin Symon is a health and wellness expert specialized in fitness, weight loss, pregnancy, nutrition and beauty.

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Published on January 14, 2021

How to Create a Healthy Meal Plan for the Week

How to Create a Healthy Meal Plan for the Week

Meal plans are a great way to cut down waste, make shopping for food quicker and easier, and help you to stick to healthy choices. But where do you start? What makes a healthy meal plan for the week, and how do you know what to include?

Firstly, there is no healthy meal plan that works for everyone. At different stages of your life, you will need different levels of nutrients, but there are some general principles that you can follow, and then adjust as necessary. Here’s how to create a healthy meal plan for the week.

The Backbone of Your Healthy Meal Plan

For the vast majority of adults, these practical tips should be the backbone of your meal plan:

  • A range of fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grain carbohydrates (brown rice, brown bread, millet, bulgar wheat, etc)
  • Fermented food such as kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut
  • Unsaturated fats such as extra virgin olive oil, rapeseed oil, avocados, and nuts
  • Two portions of oily fish such as salmon per week (or nuts and seeds if you don’t eat fish)
  • A handful of nuts and seeds a day
  • Aim for 30g of fiber a day
  • Eat a range of beans and pulses (such as chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, and lentils)
  • Drink approximately 8 glasses of water a day[1]

Calorie Counting

A calorie is the energy required to raise the temperature of 1g water from 14.5 to 15.5°Celsius. This is calculated in a laboratory, by burning the food. However, the food is not “burnt” in our bodies, and people’s metabolism and energy expenditure vary, so it’s a very rough estimate.

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The absorption and, therefore, how much energy is available for you to use, is also affected by how the food is processed. An example of this is sweetcorn. If you grind it down into a powder and make a tortilla, you will absorb far more calories than if you eat whole sweetcorn kernels. Instead, you will see most of the kernels untouched, in the toilet!

Another concern with calories is that instead of thinking about nutrient quality, it promotes prioritizing quantity. For example, there is a huge difference in the number of nutrients you could consume in 500 calories of fruit and vegetables, versus 500 calories of ice cream.

Also the number of calories you need varies according to so many factors, such as age, gender, lifestyle, and activity level, that it is hard to accurately predict exactly how many you need. Instead, I prefer to recommend a general principle of how to balance your plate and a reminder to eat mindfully when you are physically hungry, not because of an emotional trigger.

How to Balance Your Plate

When thinking of your healthy meal plan, for each meal your plate should contain approximately:

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  • Fruit and vegetables (1/2 plate)
  • Whole grains (1/4 plate)
  • Lean protein (1/4 plate)
  • A spoon of unsaturated oil

This will help you when you think of each meal to work out what to include and approximate portion sizes.

An Example Day

Breakfast

  • Overnight oats, with chia seeds, quinoa and milk or fortified plant based milk
  • A piece of fruit

Snack

  • A handful of mixed nuts

Lunch

  • Grilled tofu with a mixed salad and bulgar wheat
  • A piece of fruit

Snack

  • Apple slices with nut butter

Dinner

  • Chicken / tofu / salmon with miso brown rice and spring greens
  • OR vegetable curry, daal, and brown rice
  • OR stuffed aubergine with mixed vegetables and millet or quinoa
  • A piece of fruit

How to Adjust Your Meal Plan

There are certain phases when more or less nutrients are needed, so it is important to consider your changing needs.

When You’re Pregnant

During your pregnancy, you should limit oily fish to once a week, and only 2 tuna steaks or 4 medium sized cans of tuna per week, because of the risk of pollution.

You should also avoid the following food groups:

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  • Raw or undercooked eggs
  • Unpasteurized cheese
  • Raw or undercooked meat
  • Pâté
  • Swordfish, shark, and marlin
  • Homemade ice-cream with raw egg
  • Soft-serve ice cream from vans or kiosks
  • Vitamin A supplements
  • Liquorice root
  • Alcohol

When You’re Breastfeeding

While you are breastfeeding, your body needs more calcium (1250mg), selenium (70mcg), and iodine (200mcg). Ensure that you include these in your meal plan.

When Going Through Menopause

Menopause

changes your long-term risk of disease, so it is important to focus on items that help support bone and heart health. The framework above already sets out a diet to support long term heart health, but for bone health aim for:

  • 1200mg calcium per day
  • High-quality protein at every meal
  • Foods rich in vitamin K
  • Foods rich in phosphorus
  • Foods rich in magnesium

Organizing Your Shopping

Once you have completed your healthy meal plan for the week, you can save the ingredients that you regularly need to an online shopping list, in order to make repeat ordering simpler. Some recipe books also now have a QR code so that you can easily synchronize the ingredients needed with your online shopping.

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Try to eat seasonal fruit and vegetables where possible, but canned beans, frozen, dried, and freeze dried fruit make great substitutes for fresh, retaining most of the nutrients.

Final Thoughts

Creating a healthy meal plan for the week may be daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll become a fun addition to your weekly planning, and one that will ultimately improve your overall lifestyle. Try to use the general feedback above and adapt it to your own specific needs. Enjoy looking for new and exciting recipes to include in your plan!

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Featured photo credit: Ello via unsplash.com

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