When we talk about losing weight, we often think about which diet plans worked best for our favorite celebrities. These days it’s not uncommon to hear about the Atkins diet, Mediterranean diet, or even intermittent fasting.
Among these diets are the Paleo and Ketogenic diets. It’s a common misconception that these two are one and the same, and following the essence that they both help you lose weight, sure. But one of this includes simply eliminating certain food groups while the other purposely modify your intake for carbs, proteins, and fat.
First, let’s take a look at the paleo diet:
Basically, paleo is about removing unhealthy, “negative” components of our diets that hunter-gatherers never even consumed in the first place. We’re talking about processed meat, legumes, dairy, and grains.
These are the types of foods that are new to us and therefore present health problems. When you think about it, the most common foods that we’re allergic to are usually a type of grain or dairy (think celiac disease).
Of course, through the decades our bodies and our genes have adapted to these foods so we can consume them. There’s no universal rule to this though — when you think about it, people in other communities whose diets largely involve dairy and gluten are healthy.
One thing’s for sure though: our health begins to decline when we consume these highly processed foods more than healthy, home cooked meals that are more akin to traditional diets.
More than anything, this diet plan is all about re-introducing the diet that the hunter-gatherers used to live off of. The paleo diet was not arranged by any nutritionist for the purpose of losing weight, but rather the concept was borne out of the simple observation that humans in the hunter-gatherer groups did not suffer from the degenerative diseases that most people go through today.
We’re talking about autoimmune diseases, obesity, neurodegeneration, and type 2 diabetes. These were health complications that simply didn’t exist among these humans. Of course, they were plagued by injury, experienced difficult pregnancies and infectious diseases. However, it’s important to note that these things are what science and modern medicine are good at.
But obesity and diabetes? These people were free from them. So what’s the secret? Today, scientists wonder if advancements in food technology are actually contradictory to how our ancient genes are made.
FOODS YOU CAN EAT: Seafood, lean meat, healthy fats, nuts and seeds, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
FOODS TO AVOID: Grains, dairy, legumes, highly processed foods, alcohol, and starch.
These days, the ketogenic diet actually promises rapid weight loss by eliminating carbs (which is what you burn for energy) until the body goes into a state of ketosis. But more on that in a bit.
First, a little background on how the ketogenic diet came to be.
It was originally employed by researchers in the 1900s to help treat epilepsy. Researchers had observed that patients with severe epilepsy had significantly lower instances of having seizures when they were fasting.
Long story short, these scientists made use of the data that supported the undeniable link between fasting and reducing the risk of seizures for patients with epilepsy. However, when their fasts ended and they began to consume their usual food again, their seizures would come back.
So of course, people had to find a way to make the seizures stop without starving the patients to death — and came up with a diet that would make the body mimic the nature of fasting. This was done by reducing dramatically reducing carbohydrates, maintaining protein intake at moderate levels, and upping fat consumption.
That’s what we call the ketogenic diet. Evidence for weight loss came later on, after further research. When we fast, we use up all the liver glycogen, a type of stored carbohydrate, and cause our bodies to go into ketosis. When this happens, the body will scramble for another energy source — ketone bodies, which are produced from fat.
The brain has the capacity to shift its dependence on glucose to ketones instead, which are readily available in the body and are just as effective in providing the body energy.
A keto diet is usually employed by people competing in bodybuilding contests, and individuals who want to experience weight loss at a rapid pace.
For the keto diet to work, your plate is going to have to look like this:
By eliminating carbohydrates, you can actually get rid of bloating and flush out the excess water stored in the body, which contributes to further weight loss.
It’s also not uncommon for those doing the ketogenic diet to take supplements that will allow them to stay in ketosis. Among these are supplements that contain caffeine, or MCT oil or coconut oil.
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