Ok, so you put on a few kilos over the winter. As the weather warms up and the layers of clothes come off, you might be considering losing some inches. Read on to learn how to go about losing excess unhealthy fat whilst maintaining your muscle mass and increasing your health and fitness level.
There are a multitude of diet programs and products available, with plenty of conflicting advice in the media. Most concentrate on the calories in:calories out equation which is far from the complete story. It takes no consideration of the biology of weight balance, including hormones and the gut microbiota.
Your body uses glucose for energy. This comes from the food you eat and from limited carbohydrate stores in your body. Sugar is rapidly converted to energy in the body, making it ideal for this purpose.
Consume more sugar or carbohydrate than you need, however, and your body will store excess calories, as fat. Fat is more energy dense, more stable, and easier to store in the body. It is less efficient though, when it comes to converting to energy.
On the other hand, if you consume insufficient carbohydrates, the body will drain the small amount of carbohydrate stored in the body. Once those stores are depleted, the body is forced to find other sources of energy.
The two alternative sources of fuel in the body are protein (eg muscle) and fat. This has been the source of disappointment of many diet programs. If the body has not adapted to burn fat, it will consume protein, or muscle. As a result the amount of energy required to maintain the body (the metabolism), is reduced. Return to a normal diet following loss of muscle mass will result in further fat gain.
On a ketogenic diet program, you train your body to adapt to burning fat. This is the most important factor determining the success of ketogenic programs in reducing excess body fat.
By reducing dietary carbohydrate intake, the body is able to adjust to these changes within a few days and take up to 3 weeks to completely adapt.
Interestingly, marathon runners and endurance athletes are finding ketogenic programs give them the staying power required in competition. These athletes train their bodies to use fat as an energy source. They no longer hit ‘the wall’ which occurs when the body, dependant on glucose as a fuel source, has depleted the carbohydrate stored in the muscles.
When reducing your food intake, it is important to maintain adequate levels of essential nutrients including amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Nutritional supplements are available which do not conflict with the low carbohydrate program.
Once the body has adapted to the Ketogenic process of using fat as it’s primary energy source, you will benefit from increased stamina, bypass hunger pangs typical of most diet plans and feel better than you thought possible.