Keto, calories and other diets:

What is Keto? When you ask “am I allowed ” please consider this. 

The reality is that “keto” is simply keeping the carbohydrates you eat to less than 20g to put the body into ketosis which in turn allows the body to use fat(including body fat) for fuel.  

It has the added benefit of reducing the appetite.  Simple, yes? 

Here’s the thing:

Plenty of people will be hugely successful eating anything they want within that  20g limit   for a while, maybe forever but what we see, over and over again is Keto turning into yet another low calorie, highly processed food diet. 

Our ethos is to work on not just keto, but also good nutritional practice. For example we don’t work to a calorie deficit because they are proven not to work long term. We discuss studies on artificial sweeteners, soy, peanuts,  protein for optimum health, seed oils and numerous other things, sometimes testing on ourselves to help YOU make better choices.  

We would encourage anyone to keep their diet as inclusive as possible within the realms of REAL food. However,  

 IF your losses slow, 

 IF you still experience joint pain,  

IF you are having cravings and keep falling off the “wagon”,  

IF you experience hair loss,  

IF your mental health is poor etc. 

Then you may need to go cleaner. Real food cooked from scratch,   none of the inflammatory foods mentioned above, limited alcohol and most importantly no calorie deficit to encourage healing.  

 And just another word on calories 😟 

We get a lot of grief because there is so much conflicting advice out there.  Almost all apps and charts online expect you to choose a calorie deficit to lose weight, and you WILL!! 

We advise no deficit here because we  want you to lose weight AND KEEP IT OFF. 

Every long term experiment ever done proves that the less you eat, the less your body uses in calorific energy. Every calorie deficit diet leaves your body without the resources to heal yourself efficiently, lower heart rate, blood pressure maintenance, brain function, physical weakness and production of hair and nails to name but a few. 

This is why you ALWAYS return to eating more or off plan after a deficit because you cannot fight the needs of your very clever body long term. 

Keto DEMANDS  calories between base metabolic rate  and total daily energy expenditure  to heal metabolism from previous calorie deficit diets. 

It uses hormones to allow weight loss WITHOUT a calorie deficit. Fat does not instigate an insulin response SO NO FAT STORAGE! Protein can instigate insulin response in some circumstances ( see the file on metabolism) and carbs do instigate an insulin response.  

If you come to keto and get all your fat sources from dairy,  chances are you will stall somewhere down the line and need to exclude it to continue losing.  If however,  you mix your fats up from day one and have no more than half from dairy,  your chances are better. Obviously this is just a helpful hint and won’t apply in every case but group experience is definitely showing a trend to this effect.   

We see over and over again advice like “you don’t need to hit your fat macro” however, without the fat macro you are eating to a calorie deficit.  If you just want another quick fix,  another low calorie diet, another short term success then by all means use a calorie deficit or a high protein version .  When you are ready to finally heal your metabolism,  stop dieting forever and understand how the body works, we are here to help you.  

Long term success depends on a few caveats. 

Choose your fats wisely 

Don’t combine fat and sweeteners 

Don’t eat a calorie deficit  

Use the scale sparingly 

Balance your electrolytes  

Make this way of eating fit your life!! 

Every other diet, and most of the online calculators will tell you to eat to a calorie deficit. They say eat less and do more or use more calories than you consume and you will lose weight.

Okay. So why are so many people still overweight and desperately unhappy? Does every single one of them lack willpower? Of course not.

The law of physics states that “in a closed system, in thermal equilibrium, energy can neither be created nor destroyed” however not only is the human body not a closed system, it also is not in thermal equilibrium. The calories from fat, protein and carbohydrates react very differently in the human body. Not all calories are equal…

Most people need 1500 calories per day just for basic function. To assume reducing that by 500 calories a day will allow your body to release 500 calories worth of fat is absurd. The body will simply cut back on maintenance for the day, meaning cell repair and building bone density will be put off because you haven’t fuelled your body sufficiently. Do this consistently with low calorie but high carbohydrate foods and you will find yourself overweight and undernourished.

Here’s the thing – food is becoming increasingly less like food and more of a marketing strategy to encourage everyone to fill their cupboards with highly processed, nutrient deficient, cheap to make (but not to consume) Franken foods.

If you eat a high carb “healthy” snack with only 100 calories, but no actual macronutrients or even micronutrients that can be utilised by your body those calories can only be used for energy or stored as fat. There is nothing else the body can do with carbohydrates.

If you eat a steak or an avocado those calories and amino acid in the proteins and fats can be utilised for cell repair, hair and nail growth, or fighting infection etc. Furthermore,  you will be satisfied for a much longer period of time, because your body will be taking the time to break down all the goodness in those foods and put them to good use doing all the good things that real food does to feed your body and brain.

All calories are NOT created equal. Do you find yourself gorging on fennel or celery? Did you fry that egg and realise you had to go back for another 6 because it was so moreish? Is that avocado  calling to you from the fridge even though you just ate? No of course not, but the cake did, and the crisps do, and biscuits are far too easy to overeat.

When they told us that fat had more calories than carbs or protein gram for gram and that we should cut back on fat, we did. This, and the removal of fat and addition of sugar to almost everything in the supermarket has led to the world’s obesity crisis.

When I started out on a low carb high fat diet, before it was called keto, I ate easily 3000 calories a day most of which came from fat, and the weight dropped off me. Yes really. Nearly 4 stone in 6 months.

Nothing else had changed except the composition of the food I was eating.  Then after a couple of weeks my appetite decreased naturally, and I found a nice level of around 1800 calories a day was ample to ensure that I wasn’t fighting hunger (as I had on every other diet I have ever tried) and that I was able to listen to the signals my body was sending me regarding when to eat, what to eat and how much to eat.

The whole point of keto is not to deprive your body of (the right) food.  To eat between your basal metabolic rate and daily energy expenditure and NOT cut calories. When you understand this, a low carbohydrate, moderate protein and high fat diet will become the best thing you could do for your health.