Why you’re not losing weight on Keto
Every year there’s a new diet craze and I’m sure you’ve already heard, tried or currently doing the ketogenic diet.
It’s the high fat, low carb diet that everyone’s talking about.
But, as you might expect from my writings, the ketogenic diet, or any “diet” for that matter isn’t worth pursuing.
While you might experience “weight loss” on the keto diet, that weight won’t be fat and as I’m going to discuss, the bad outweighs the good.
What is the ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet was first introduced in the 1920’s as a way of treating epilepsy and then fell out of popularity with anti-seizure drugs.
The goal of keto is to get the body into a state where it uses fat for energy instead of carbs. When the body is deprived of carbs, it must turn to ketone bodies as a fuel source.
But, what a lot of people don’t understand is cutting out carbs and increasing fat changes the way your body uses fuel.
Ask any dietician and they’ll explain it’s not a recommended solution for weight loss and I’m of the same opinion.
Here’s just a few of the reasons that ketogenic diets should be avoided for weight loss:
- No one knows the long-term effects
- We don’t know the effects on the body, 10, 20 or even 30 years down the road
- You will regain the weight as soon as you return to “normal” eating
- You will suffer negative health consequences
When your body enters a state of ketosis you’ll experience side effects such as fatigue, dizziness and light headiness.
The side effects experienced, are what’s known as “keto flu” and are also accompanied by poor sleep, difficulty exercising and constipation, all stemming from lack of carbohydrates.
Now in my opinion, no weight loss diet is worth feeling ill over, especially when there are far better and sustainable ways to long term weight loss.
Interferes with hydration
When on a keto diet, it’s extremely important to stay hydrated, when you limit carbs, your body produces less insulin and glycogen stores (how carbs are stored in the muscles and liver).
For every gram of glycogen that’s depleted, you lose approximately 3 grams of water causing the kidneys to flush out more water and electrolytes.
This includes magnesium, calcium, sodium and potassium. Imbalanced electrolytes lead to more problems in the body, including:
- Muscle cramps
- Irregular heartbeat
Just that reason alone, is good enough to stay away from this diet.
Most of the weight loss is water
One of the main reasons people think keto works is when your body flushes out water the scale drops. I wish people would realise that most of the weight loss they experience on this diet is largely due to water loss.
Simply put, you’re NOT losing fat, but water!
This weight loss will come back once you start eating carbs again and be totally honest with yourself, are you never going to eat carbs again?
It’s also one of the reasons I urge people to get a true picture of their body composition i.e. body fat percentage, not just scale weight.
Simply losing scale weight doesn’t mean you’re on the right track to a lean body, you could be losing just as much muscle as fat, or even more muscle than fat, giving you a vastly different appearance than what you truly want.
When the body goes into a state of ketosis, it’s very common for your breath to start smelling like acetone because of the breakdown of acetoacetic acid.
Acetone is a chemical that gives nail polish it’s smell, not great for a night out with your partner!
As expected, your brain functions on glucose, a simple form of carbs and when you cut them out, your body must “make carbs” from breaking down other parts of the body, this results in what I’d like to call “hungry brain.”
You’ll experience slower cognition, memory loss, headaches and confusion and if you suffer from anxiety and depression, you might have higher periods of not eating carbs on a regular basis.
Lack of fruit and vegetables
As you’re probably already aware, fruit and veg is essential for the body to function at it’s best and it’s true that a lot of healthy foods are not allowed on the ketogenic diet.
But a lot of these foods are health protectors and contain fibre, vitamins and minerals. Fibre is protective against gastrointestinal cancers, it’s also helpful in keeping you feeling full and contributes to weight loss.
Your bodies preferred source of fuel is carbohydrates and when that’s taken away you’re not going to perform at your best.
This is one of the reasons I never recommend limiting one of the important macronutrients, carbs, protein or fats as it can quickly become obsessive and even dangerous.
Ketogenic diets can trigger negative emotions around food, imagine going out with family and friends only to avoid most foods that are presented to you.
It’s not sustainable, meaning you can’t stick with it for more than a few months and when you don’t succeed and return to your usual eating habits, it can cause feelings of guilt and failure.
Let’s be honest, people love eating carbs!
I for one, love eating carbs and cutting them out would drive me insane. Life is much better with carbs.
That doesn’t mean I’ll chow down pizza, cupcakes and other “junk” carbs every day but it does mean I’ll include a lot of potatoes, whole grain pasta, oats, fruits and vegetables with my eating plan.
The thought of not being able to eat your favourite foods can become daunting.
Food is a big part of our lives and eating in a restrictive way can be socially isolating. You might end up avoiding parties and other gatherings because you worry about food and what will be available for you.
Being limited increases anxiety and stress, who doesn’t want to enjoy a beer with a friend or piece of cake on your birthday?
Emotional well-being and physical health are closely linked, which is why choosing foods that make you feel good physically and mentally is very important.
A much more effective lean eating strategy
Through my website and courses, I teach men over 40 how to lose fat in the quickest and most sustainable manner possible.
If you’re ready to learn how to lean down without neglecting carbohydrates, protein or fats then you’re going to love the dietary advice in my Abs Over 40 Course.
The nutrition section of my Abs Over 40 Course will show you how to calculate your daily macros so that you consistently lose fat without feeling starved or neglected.