Benefits of Ketosis from Medical Weight Loss
In a typical diet, carbohydrates are consumed at levels that far exceed what the body needs to convert them to glucose and use them for energy. This is the case as well as with most diet plans that are intended to induce weight loss. The problem is that if carbs exceed a certain amount, the body will continue to use them for energy and the conversion to using fat as an energy source will never occur. This can result in weight loss if the calories consumed are less than the calories burned, but the weight loss will not target fat and in the presence of inadequate protein, lean muscle mass may be lost as well. The loss of lean muscle mass is a huge problem because it can lead to further health problems and loss of organ proteins too.
Medical weight loss is different. We are targeting fat loss, not body weight loss alone, and not basing our results just on the number on the scale. Free fat mass, visceral fat and total body fat are all incorporated into our analyses to ensure that the weight our dieters lose is fat, not muscle or organ proteins. The way that this is accomplished is by restricting carbohydrates to levels that cause the conversion to ketosis, while providing ideal amounts of protein; not too much, not too little.
Ketosis is the state where the body gets its energy from the fat consumed in the diet and the supplies of body fat. This state has been much maligned in the past primarily due to some of the hyper-protein diets that allow excessive consumption of fat and meat, leading some to experience poorer health. Again, our medical weight loss program is not at hyper-protein diet, we provide the perfect amount of protein, healthy fats and restrict the carbohydrates.
Ketosis is an incredible state to live in! First, the consumption of fat as an energy source is much more effective at generating energy because there are 9 calories per gram of fat produced compared to 4 for carbs and protein. 2nd, ketosis has huge benefits beyond significant fat loss and preservation of lean muscle mass.
The medical literature has extensive references to the benefits of ketosis and they are truly mind-blowing. Some of the earliest studies on the ketogenic diet showed that epileptic seizures are significantly reduced, if not resolved completely, on this type of diet. Children with epilepsy respond incredibly well to the ketogenic diet and the results are phenomenal for improvements in their quality of life. Ketosis also has been shown to have anti-neoplastic effects and may less the spread of malignant cancers.
Ketosis reduces inflammation in the body, largely in part by controlling the insulin produced by the pancreas. This restriction in insulin has many other benefits but the reduction in inflammation is a major factor for our patients who are suffering from painful arthritis or other inflammatory conditions. Ketosis also preserves bone mass and has an effect on aerobic performance in athletes.
Ketosis can reduce the abnormal pancreas cells in the type 2 diabetic patients, resulting in fewer medications, and a complete reversal of the disease in many. Ketosis also improves circulation in diabetic patients and can thus prevent the complications such as amputation and gangrene. Ketosis improves oxygen perfusion in the lungs and can improve aerobic capacity, and improve endurance overall.
One of the incredible events that we record frequently is a stunning drop in high blood pressure. We have several patients whom are taken off of their blood pressure medications by their prescribing doctors in a matter of a few weeks of being on the program, and they also report a reduced resting heart rate, thus improving cardiovascular function overall. The literature has also reported a reduction in atherosclerotic plaques in the coronary arteries with ketosis and thus a reduced likelihood of heart attack. There are also studies that show that patients with traumatic brain injuries respond better to a carbohydrate restricted program than those that follow a high carbohydrate/low fat program.
And, of course, we see tremendous losses of body fat and preservation of lean muscle mass on the ketogenic weight loss program. This results in looking better, feeling better, having more energy and overall improvement in quality of life! So the next time you hear someone espouse the dangers of ketosis, direct them here to set them straight! Ketosis is not dangerous and may be one of the most beneficial states the body can be in!