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Losing weight is the number one reason that people begin a keto diet. It only makes sense, because a keto diet revs up your metabolism rather than slowing it down. That alone is a great reason for choosing a keto diet to lose weight.
But that is not all. Knowing how your body loses weight on a keto diet will help you in the weight loss process, and it will help you understand just how a keto diet prepares you to shift seamlessly into a Mediterranean-keto lifestyle.
The goal is to have a healthy lifestyle that you can enjoy while keeping the weight off. That is the end goal for every dieter. This is a win-win, and everyone likes that.
When people say "macros," they are talking about the main food groups or macronutrients, such as carbs, proteins, and fats, that we consume on a daily basis. All food has these macros, just in different proportions.
The typical Western or American diet looks about like this:
- 50 percent carbs
- 34 percent fats
- 16 percent proteins
On a pretty strict keto diet, where you are trying to lose weight or overcome a sickness or disease, it usually looks something like this:
- 75 percent fats
- 20 percent proteins
- 5 percent carbs
The more relaxed Mediterranean-keto lifestyle looks like this:
- 50-55 percent fats
- 20-25 percent proteins
- 20-25 percent carbs
You can easily see the differences. You can see where you might have been (the typical American diet), where you may need to go (a keto diet), and where you want to go after you have achieved a healthy weight (the Mediterranean-keto lifestyle).
The two biggest changes at the macro level between the typical American diet and a strict keto diet are the drastic decrease in carbs and the drastic increase in healthy fats.
How a Keto Diet Works
Our bodies typically burn sugar (glucose) for energy, and on a high-carb diet (45-65 percent, as is recommended by the US dietary guidelines), there is more than enough glucose to burn. Unfortunately, any extra glucose is usually stored as fat, and the stored fat rarely burns off because the cells' energy factories (mitochondria) always burn glucose before they burn fat.
But there is plenty of glucose on hand, so the fat doesn't get a chance to be burned as fuel. And the cycle continues, year after year, pound after pound. In other words, the typical American high-carb diet is a weight-gaining and fat-gaining diet and never a fat-loss diet. It is simply almost impossible to burn fat for energy when sugars, carbs, and starches are consumed in excess. Because the body burns carbs preferentially (it is much easier and faster to metabolize a carb than a protein or fat), shifting the macros from a high-carb to a low-carb diet is the only way to break the cycle.
On a keto diet, you can't help but notice how different the macros are. And it's on purpose. You see, the low-carb, high-fat, moderate-protein diet eventually shifts your metabolism from burning sugars as fuel to burning fat as fuel.
Can protein be the energy source? Interestingly, the body turns excessive proteins into sugar, which is why a high-protein diet cannot work. If you eat too much protein, the body converts it to sugar, and you are back to where you started, only with protein as the source rather than carbs. Only a keto diet with its high-fat content can keep the body burning fat rather than reverting back to burning glucose for energy.
Technically what happens on a keto diet is that when your glucose levels, glycogen levels, and insulin levels get low enough, your body naturally shifts from burning sugar as fuel to burning fats and ketones as fuels, similar to a hybrid car that shifts from burning gasoline to using electric energy stored in batteries. During this ketosis process, because there is less glucose around, ketones and fats are burned as energy.
The preceding was excerpted from chapter 7 of Dr. Don Colbert's book, Beyond Keto. For more information on Beyond Keto, check out DrColbertBooks.com. You can also order the book at mycharismashop.com.
Don Colbert, MD, has been a board-certified family practice doctor for over twenty-five years in Orlando, Florida, and most recently in Dallas, Texas. He is also board certified in antiaging medicine through the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and has received extensive training in nutritional and preventive medicine. He is the author of three New York Times best-selling books: Dr. Colbert's Keto Zone Diet, The Seven Pillars of Health and Dr. Colbert's "I Can Do This" Diet, along with best sellers Toxic Relief, the Bible Cure series, Living in Divine Health and Stress Less. He has sold more than ten million books and treated over fifty thousand patients in his years of practicing medicine.
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