Over the years there have been a series of different diet plans that have come in and out of vogue to help people lose weight without exercise. The goal of most of this is to burn fat and thus bring down the body fat levels of a person.
The Ketogenic diet, more commonly known as the keto diet is one such example of a diet that aims to help people lose weight without exercise. Unlike many other such diets, however, this one has had lasting popularity due to the fact that so many people swear by its efficacy. This is in stark contrast to other diets which come and go.
This article, however, will explore the subject in detail from a scientific angle in order to try and answer whether or not a ketogenic diet can help a person lose weight even when they are not actively engaging in exercise on a regular basis.
The short answer
To value your time, here is the short answer: Yes.
A ketogenic diet will indeed help a person lose weight, and especially fat, even if they do not engage in exercise. It is, however, important to note that there are still limitations associated with this diet and it is not a one size fits all solution for everything who is looking to lose fat.
In order to understand how the Keto diet operates and the best ways to take advantage of it, we first need to understand what the keto diet is and how it works.
Fortunately, the rest of this article is dedicated to exploring this question in detail so that you are able to satiate your curiosity and learn if the keto diet is right for you.
What is Keto
First, we must understand what the keto diet is in order to understand how and why it can help someone lose weight.
Essentially, in a Keto diet there are a few different things that happen. Firstly, it is a low carb diet meaning your carbohydrate intake must go down to near zero. You can decrease the carb intake if you eat foods that are suitable for a low carbohydrate diet such as those which are primarily protein or fat based.
Foods that include carbohydrates are very common and usually the foundation of one’s diet. However, for the purposes of weight loss, you must not have them when you are on a keto diet if you want tot lose weight.
Carb-rich foods that cannot be eaten in a keto diet plan include starchy vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, turnips, and other tap roots. Moreover, you cannot eat other sources of sugars such as bread, rice, corn, and any other staple crop.
It is also important to remember that the ketogenic diet also extends to processed foods such as sugary drinks and fast food, all of which contain tremendous amounts of sugar and can hence significantly hamper your progress on losing weight.
Now that you know what not to eat on a Keto diet, it is time to understand what sorts of food are alright during your weight loss journey. Firstly, you are allowed all manner of healthy fats. This includes things like butter, cream, milk, and olive oil.
Moreover, you are also allowed to have high fat foods, as long as they do not contain carbs, this includes nuts such as cashews and hazelnuts which are high in both protein and fat. Thanks to this embrace of fats in the diet, the keto diet is also sometimes referred to as a high fat diet.
This brings us to the second category of things that you can eat, high protein foods. In a keto diet you are allowed to eat protein because your body needs the amino acids to keep properly functioning and to maintain muscle mass.
This can include things such as protein shakes, meat, and vegetarian protein as long as it is low carb or no carb. Food that has both protein and healthy fats will be especially suitable such as tuna, sardine, or mackerel.
Finally you can also consume leafy greens and other above ground vegetables. Most above ground vegetables lack a significant amount of calories, moreover, they are packed full of important nutrients such as vitamins and iron. In the case of your keto diet, you can make exceptional use of foods such as spinach, lettuce, mustard greens and other such items.
Moreover, considering the fact that the keto diet will restrict you from a lot of your regular staple food items. Using more leafy greens in your meal plan has the potential of significantly improving your health by ensuring that you are meeting the nutritional requirements of your body.
With all this said, it is crucial that you understand that the keto diet is a strict diet. And any weakness that causes you to go for carbs can be an issue as it will prevent the proper functioning of the mechanism by which keto works. If you have any strong food preferences or foot sensitivities that would preclude you from closely following the keto diet, then it might not be the right option for your weight loss journey.
How does Keto work
Now that you know how to go on a Keto diet it is important to try and understand how th diet itself helps you lose weight. This is important as a better understanding of the underlying mechanism will allow you to better adjust the diet according to your own individual needs so that your weight loss journey is as effective and convenient as possible.
The first way in which Keto diets cause weight loss is by making your body go into a calorie deficit. The calorie deficit essentially means that you use up more calories than you consume. This caloric deficit is achieved in a keto diet due to the fact that carbohydrates are no longer consumed.
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for human beings, hence by cutting them out, its very easy to reduce the number of calories consumed. By forming this sort of a caloric deficit you are able to prevent weight gain.
This is because in order to gain weight your body needs to have high blood sugar levels and then use the excess calories to form more fat and thus increase your weight and increase the body fat percentage.
Secondly, by having lowered carb levels in your diet and forming a caloric deficit the body starts to engage in certain changes in the wya it gets its energy. Rather than the traditional form of energy through glucose, the body adapts to a new way of acquiring energy. This is called Ketosis.
Ketosis itself is the central part of a Keto diet as it is the most important factor which leads to fat burning effects and thus to weight loss. Without Ketosis, the keto diet would just be a standard diet like any other which may or may not work depending upon the person. Instead, Ketosis is the process by which the Keto diet is able to be effective on whoever commits to it.
Essentially, Ketosis is the process by which the body looks towards alternative sources of energy rather than carbs from food. This makes it change its focus from carbs to fats cells contained within the body itself.
What happens is that the fat is metabolized into ketones which are then turned into energy that is usable by the body. This metabolic state is known as ketosis and it is how the body can produce energy from the fat already contained within it.
Ketosis can lead o significant weight loss as well as a slew of other health benefits, but it is hard to maintain. Any influx of carbs can cause the body to stop metabolizing fat cells and instead turning to carbs.
Hence, eating carbs while in ketosis can actually cause more and severe hunger pangs which run the risk of throwing the entire exercise into question as you may not be able to resist the temptation to eat. If, however, you can maintain the state of ketosis the body composition will start change as you lose weight fast and your fat percentage gets lower and lower.
What if you exercise
Now all this may bring up the question, what happens if you are exercising regularly while on a keto diet. In this regard there are a few things to note.
Firstly, the keto diet relies upon forming a calorie deficit without exercise hence the need to work out is completely optional when you are on this diet and following it properly.
Additionally, working out while undergoing a ketogenic diet can be a somewhat hard thing as you may have lower energy levels while on this diet because the body does not have as much readily available sugar to use as a quick source of energy.
What is important to remember, however, is the fact that working out, will have some slight positive benefits in that it will make you lose weight even faster than the speed at which you are already losing it.
This may bring up the question, why would working out while on a keto diet make you lose weight more quickly. The answer here is relatively simple. Considering the fact that you are already in a caloric deficit the body is having to meet the additional energy requirements from the fat already stored in it.
In the instance that you start exercising you begin to use up more and more energy that needs to be gotten from somewhere, in this case, fat. Hence when you are working out the entire process ends up accelerating.
There are, however, a few risk associated with working out while you are on a ketogenic diet. First and foremost is the fact that the additional exercise may stimulate your appetite to the extent that you end up eating more food than you would normally eat.
This can be harmful as it can undo a lot of the gains that you would have otherwise made as it will make the caloric deficit smaller and hence there will be no point to working out.
Secondly, you also need to make sure that the sort of exercise you are doing is not too intense to the extent that you pass out or suffer from extremely low sugar levels. Low levels of energy have the risk of causing injury when you are engaging in weight training hence you should be very cautious when pursuing this form of exercise whilst you are in a keto diet.
Additional Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
There are a slew of additional benefits not related to weight loss of having a keto diet. For example, the ketogenic diet is a gluten free diet which means that it can help people who suffer from celiac disease and need to avoid gluten in their food.
Moreover, the ketogenic diet can also help people who suffer from insulin resistance and thus need to avoid having too much sugar in the food they consume. By eating a diet where carbs are not included this can be kept in check and hence can prove beneficial.
Finally, there are also dental benefits to not having as much sugar in your diet. This is due to the fact that a high sugar diet can lead to dental rot and other such issues. By not engaging in carbs you can prevent this problem further down the line.
In conclusion then the Keto diet is one of the few diets out there that has the potential to lead to real weight loss. Moreover, the most important matter is the fact that it can bring about this weight loss without exercise.
However, the only difficulty with this diet is forming and then sticking to a proper diet plan in order to make it work. If you deviate from the guidelines of what can and cannot be eaten in a keto diet you risk losing much of your progress.