The most common diets currently, are low carb. Some are low-carb/low-fat, some are low-carb/hi-fat and many variations of the two. Reducing carbs and fat at the same time causes the body to turn to its own muscle for energy. Yes, eventually your body will turn to its own fat for energy, but it doesn’t do so without complaining. This makes you “hangry”, tired and suffer from cravings, headaches, tummy troubles.
The struggle is real, and if you have dieted, you have experienced it. This is why people struggle to stay on a weight loss diet.
Which diet is better for you? Current research shows that a Low-Carb/Hi-Fat diet is the best way to maintain great health, enjoy long lasting energy and experience longevity. I mean who doesn’t want to live longer, and be healthy and vibrant while doing it? I know I do!
The Mediterranean diet, Paleo Diet and Ketogenic Diet all offer higher fat, and lower carbs, but how do you know which one to use? The two most common diets for low carb are Paleo and Keto. The question is “Do you want to be a sugar burner or a fat burner?” Ask anyone who has been successful at following a ketogenic diet for any period of time and they will tell you it makes you feel amazing, but it can be difficult to maintain. The biggest difference in the two diets are the amount of carbohydrates. Keto diets create fat burners and paleo diets, although lower in carbohydrates (sugar) than most diets, do still allow enough carbs to keep you from being a true fat burner. Let’s talk about some lies you have been led to believe about sugar.
Lie # 1 The Human Body Needs SUGAR to Survive
Since my keto conversion a couple of years ago I have heard so many people say that the human body can not live without dietary sugar. WRONG! The human body does need glucose (sugar/carbs) for some of its functions, but due to a process called gluconeogenesis the body can make its necessary glucose from its own body stores.
Without getting too technical.. the human body can make its own glucose. So… eating moderate to high levels sugar and carbohydrates are not necessary for survival. (for those of you who need some additional evidence I’ll attach a couple additional articles on this topic below for you) Keep in mind that vegetables and fruits all have a certain amount of carbohydrates, and they are necessary for good health. Is it necessary to reduce carbohydrates? Absolutely, and the amount you should eat varies depending on who you ask and what your health goals are.
Have you ever wondered why when you go on a diet… you get more hungry? Almost starving, and can eat anything in your path?
Lie #2 The Brain Operates Solely on Glucose
The brain does operate on glucose and it can operate on ketones such as beta-hydroxybutyrate if glucose is not available, but much like an addict… the brain loves glucose. To make it even more clear, the body gets spoiled to using glucose for energy because it’s very simple to use. The liver has to make ketones from fat in order to become a fat burner. If you are not keto adapted (able to produce ketones on demand) it can be a struggle for the brain and other cells of the body to switch from a sugar burning metabolism to a fat burning metabolism. This is why most diets fail. Converting your body from sugar dependent to fat burning can be a grueling process. Ever heard of Keto-Flu?
So.. which diet is right for the human body? Lets compare the two most common low carb diets.
Paleo and Ketogenic Diets in comparison
The paleo diet and the Keto diet do both require that you restrict things like sugar, and low fiber carbohydrates, but differ greatly in sugar content. In order for your body to make its own ketones, you must reduce protein and sugar enough to initiate ketosis. The Paleo diet doesn’t really meet this requirement so it technically keeps you in a sugar dependent state. Due to the fact that the body can convert protein to glucose, eating too much protein can in fact cause you to fail at ketosis.
The keto diet, or modified keto diet with PTK allows you to reach a state of ketosis, and break the body’s addiction to sugar.
As you can see in these pie charts. The Paleo Diet allows more protein than the Keto Diet or Modified Keto Diet. The Modified Keto Diet does allow for more carbs in the form of dark green leafy vegetables, and other nutritious vegetables and berries. It also avoids high sugar fruits like bananas, which the Paleo Diet encourages. The Paleo Diet recommends glucose usage at approximately 600 calories a day out of 2000 (20% = 400 calories from carbs, 200 from gluconeogenesis). The problem here is that gluconeogenesis can result in muscle loss.
I love being a fat burner, and most people know I have a little help with some PTK to keep me in ketosis when I am not eating as much fat as I should. You can use diet and exercise to induce and maintain nutritional ketosis, but the true ketogenic diet lifestyle can be challenging because the percentage of macros need to be 80-85% fat, 10-15% protein and 5% carbs. My modified keto diet is more like 65% fat, 20% carbs and 15% protein. Of course these numbers vary depending who you ask, and each person does have some flexibility based on their genetic makeup.
Longevity is definitely related to calorie restriction, and the type of calories you consume affect quality of life as well as quantity of life. The Ketogenic Diet and Modified Ketogenic Diet both encourage caloric restriction, as well as intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is basically eating all of your calories in a small window of time during the day and avoiding food for about 14-16 hours a day. Of course, 8 of those hours you are sleeping. Check out my post on Intermittent Fasting.
So in short, the reason your diet fails over and over again is because you are not reaching true ketosis (fat burning) and your body is still craving glucose for energy. Once you get yourself to a state where you can switch to ketosis easily (keto adapted) you will be healthier, happier, have more long lasting energy, sleep better and maintain a healthier weight.
Here are a couple of other articles on Ketosis that you can read if you like.