If you have been engaged in “yo-yo” dieting for quite some time, you may be frustrated at the lack of consistent or stable weight loss results. There are so many weight loss programs that talk about ketosis that it can get confusing. To further compound this confusion, there are many misconceptions about ketosis. Some of those misconceptions are:
Ketosis is achieved by a very high protein intake.
Ketosis is an unnatural process and somehow dangerous.
Ketosis happens only in diabetics when they don’t control their blood sugar.
Ketosis is a fad approach to losing weight.
The misconceptions #1-4 are completely false. Ketosis occurs in our body naturally when we sleep. During the 8 to 9 requisite hours of sleep, our body is depleted of not only carbohydrates, but free circulating fat, and proteins. As a result, the body goes into a state where it utilizes fat stores in our body for energy production to maintain our body function. Any time a fasting state is created, ketosis occurs and stored fat is removed. This is the desired goal of any weight loss. Therefore, any argument that ketosis is a unnatural fad approach to losing weight is completely false.
The assertion that ketosis is dangerous is without merit for this reason: many people are confused about the difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is a process diabetics develop when the body is not able to produce enough insulin to counteract high levels of accumulated blood sugars. As a result, the body begins to break down fat and muscles in the process, and high levels of ketones develop. This is a very unnatural process and one that can be fatal and dangerous. The solution here is once again, adequate protein, and low glycemic (low carbohydrate) index foods to prevent high levels of sugar accumulation.
There are many diet programs out there like the South Beach Diet, Atkins (modified and otherwise), Paleo Diet, and many commercial programs such as Optifast and Medifast Programs, that use high protein concentration to achieve ketosis. In these programs, too much protein or using slow acting proteins will cause issues with weight loss plateaus due to conversion of excess proteins into sugars.
One of the biggest problem with all weight loss programs is that you need to create a caloric imbalance to lose weight. In other words, you must eat less food in calories than your body requires to compel it to burn reserve stores of energy for survival. In high protein diets, the body does not discriminate which energy stores it uses: glycogen (carbohydrate), Protein (muscles), or fat. This is the real problem with high protein diets. You not only lose fat but you also lose muscle mass.
Muscle mass preservation is of utmost importance in any weight loss program. This is because muscle mass is directly related to metabolism. The higher the ratio muscles to fat, the higher your metabolism and the ability to stay lean. Muscles utilize fat for tissue maintenance and rebuilding, especially during sleep. In a typical weight loss program, almost half of the weight loss comes from muscle mass loss and the other half usually comes from fat mass loss. Is it ever a wonder why most ketosis based weight loss programs, and for that matter most any other weight loss programs, that most people gain the weight back and then some within 6 to 12 months? They lost metabolic rate due to muscle mass loss. The next time that same person attempts to lose weight utilizing the same weight loss program, they find that it is even more difficult to lose weight. Indeed, muscle is king for maintaining weight and metabolism.
In order to successfully lose weight, a strategy must be in place that utilizes reserve fat stores while sparing muscle tissues. Ketosis, by definition, is a natural process by which the body burns stored fat for energy when glycogen and carbohydrates are depleted. Using adequate amount of protein results in optimal weight loss. The end result of fat metabolism is ketone body production, and hence the word ketosis. This means that in order to lose weight effectively carbohydrate consumption must decrease and high quality fast acting protein must increase. Therefore the amount and quality of proteins used as well as reduction of carbohydrates play a key role in overall success in weight loss.
To learn more about weight loss, and how you can lose weight safely, and for good, watch our video to learn about our medical managed weight loss clinic.
By: Dr. Brandon Kim CEO | Camelback Health Care