Keto, calories and other diets:

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.