A friend of mine has had great success in the last few months following what is called a ‘ketogenic diet’. I remember how dubious she was before she started – it seems like a crazy diet when you start reading about it. And she was also concerned about whether it would work for women. She found a couple of good programs though and decided to jump in and try it out.
Over 6 months she has lost 20lbs and has cleared up some acne that she’s pretty much had trouble with all her life. She was one of those unfortunates who carried on having teenage acne well into her 30’s! Not just little pimples either, those big cystic acne things which look truly painful and last forever. Anyway, I digress.
The ketogenic diet is based around eating macros that are something like this: 80% fat, 15% protein and 5% carbs. I know! That’s a crazy amount of fat!! Also you aren’t supposed to drop your calories, primarily because you want to be eating as closed to 200g of fat a day. At first I couldn’t picture how much that was, and then I remembered that a typical block of butter is 250g.
So yes, you’re eating almost a whole block of butter or its equivalent a day.
The whole point of this is to get your body to start burning fats for fuel instead of carbs – or glucose.
When you eat carbs or sugars, your body has to release insulin to make sure that your blood sugar levels are not too high. And what I was amazed to find out was that the highest amount of sugar you can have in your blood without it being life threatening, is 1 teaspoon! Yikes. That really is a tiny amount.
So if you’re eating carbs throughout the day, your body is continually having to pump out insulin in order to keep your blood sugar levels at a normal amount.
And here’s the rub. Insulin stimulates your body’s fat storing mechanism. That’s right. So whenever you’ve got insulin pumping around your body, you are in fat storing mode. On the other hand, when your body learns to use fat for energy instead of glucose, suddenly there are 40,000 kcal available to it at any one time. (This is the average amount of potential energy stored as fat on someone’s body on average).
This leads to a steady stream of energy; no slumps in the afternoon or needing to take a nap halfway through the day. And it also means that when you are not eating your body is happily burning away your fat stores. And this is certainly what happened to my friend. After the first month or so (the adaptation phase) the weight just started to melt off her!
Needless to say, I am just about to jump into the ketogenic lifestyle myself. As a woman who has been eating a life of carbs up til now, this should be pretty interesting. I will keep you updated! Oh and if you want to go and check out my friend’s blog and read about her journey you can find her at ketogenicdietforwomen.com or hook up with her on facebook.