“How to lose belly fat on Keto?” is just some of the questions that come up from family and friends who find out about the Ketogenic diet.
We’ll tackle more questions later in this article but first, “can you lose belly fat on Keto?”
You most absolutely can lose belly fat by eating fats: lots of it. Sounds wrong? Let’s dig deeper into the strange but effective type of diet, the Ketogenic diet.
How does the Ketogenic diet make you lose belly fat?
When you are on a Ketogenic diet, you are replacing your body’s primary fuel source (carbohydrates), with an alternative—fats.
We have fats in abundance; I know I do. When your body switches to using fats as the primary source, your body enters Ketosis.
To further elaborate, let’s explore the research done on the Ketogenic diet.
We need to know the formula and its secrets. And why do many actors use this?
Fact: Halle Berry uses the Ketogenic diet. Not to maintain her impressive tight body, but to keep her Diabetes in check.
When she was 22, she became ill and went into a coma for one week. She got diagnosed with Diabetes type 1.
Doctors changed their initial diagnosis of type 1 Diabetes to type 2 because she would have been dependent on insulin if she was a type 1 Diabetic.
In a Halle interview, she reveals she uses the Ketogenic diet to help wean off her Diabetes.
What is a Ketogenic diet?
So what is a Ketogenic diet? Short for Keto, this diet named by Dr. Russel M. Wilder. In 1921, the Ketogenic diet was used to treat epilepsy for almost a decade.
After the advent of antiepileptic drugs, the popularity of this treatment has dwindled and almost forgotten.
Its regained following comes from its effectiveness, but probably more so from Hollywood advocates.
A typical Ketogenic diet consists of plenty of fats, moderate amounts of protein, and little to no carbs.
In a numbers perspective, 55% to 60% of it is fat, 30% to 35% of it is protein, and 5% to 10% of it is carbohydrates.
To give clarity of how much carbs you can consume: in a 2000 kcal per day diet, it works out to be 20 grams to 50 grams.
How it works
Our body’s primary source of fuel is carbohydrates. What Keto diet does is replacing the source from carbohydrates to fat.
So instead of burning carbohydrates for energy to run our body, it switches to fat. It achieves this via the following:
- Firstly, depriving the body of carbs by having 50 grams or less will put the body through 2 metabolic changes, 1 is gluconeogenesis and Ketogenesis.
- When the body is not getting enough carbohydrates, our body endogenously starts producing more, especially in the liver. When lactic acid, glycerol, and amino acids, alanine, and glutamine combine, it becomes glucose (carbohydrates). Thus aptly naming this process, gluconeogenesis.
- The second changes the body goes through in a continued state of carbohydrates deprivation is called Ketogenesis. Our body can only make so much glucose, and when it cannot keep up, it has no choice but to use energy from Ketones. What are Ketones? Well, Ketones are straightforward compounds made of hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen. I hope you remember your chemistry classes. These get produced when the body breaks down fat — in turn, giving our body the much-needed energy. Ketones replace glucose as the primary source of energy.
While our body is in the state of Ketosis, our sugar blood level is at a minimum, reducing the need for insulin. Being able to maintain a low but safe glucose level is how they help type 2 Diabetes patients.
Hence you see Halle Berry advocating the Ketogenic diet. Many celebrities have tried Keto and loved it.
To name a few are Vanessa Hudgens, Kourtney Kardashian, Al Roker, and more.
But I would like to take a stab at Jillian Michaels’ criticism with this diet. To give you context, she says Ketogenic diet takes a tremendous toll on your liver, thyroid, and other organs. She goes on to say that there are better ways to lose fat.
After doing Keto myself for three months, I actively support its efficacy on weight loss. I did experience some of the Keto flu (showing flu symptoms), but briefly.
My overall experience with the Ketogenic diet is good. The best part of being in Ketosis is that you hardly get hungry.
I compared eating a large bowl of oats to 2 eggs and avocado. The large bowl had me insatiable for 3 hours; after that, I was ravenous like a meat deprived wolf. While the two eggs and avocado lasted me 7 hours, and even then, I was only a little hungry.
There are thousands, if not millions of Keto dieters who support its effectiveness, not only with weight loss but with Diabetes and some cancers.
Disparaging the Keto community will only bring malice from advocates.
I cannot entirely agree with Jillian Michael’s point of view because there are no data in the long term use of Keto. The short term use of Keto should always be under medical supervision as I always advise for anyone starting any diet. However, Keto side effects usually pass by after a week or two.
There are reports of people going under medical care due to Keto, but these people are uninformed.
The primary cause of complications is when people blindly follow diets that work for someone else. It would be best if you never assumed a diet would work on you because there are variables you need to take into account.
If you care for your health, reduce your risk of going to the E.R.: you need to seek guidance from a health professional.
Uncertainties with Keto
More studies are needed regarding the long term use of Keto: more than two years. After the two year mark, the efficacy, safety, tolerability, and prognosis after stopping the diet are blurry.
The general guideline on practicing Keto is a minimum of 2 weeks to a maximum of 6 – 12 months.
My guideline would be three months max then go back to a calorie-restricted diet. Also, always, always, always seek medical advice before doing any diet.
I know I sound like a broken record, but this is crucial. You may have underlying health problems that prevent you from losing weight and may worsen your condition.
Although very effective against obesity short term, there are many studies on Keto that contribute to many difficulties. Including a trip to the emergency room, admissions for dehydration, and hypoglycemia.
Many types of diseases may not be suitable for a Ketogenic diet — conditions such as gall-bladder. A person without a gall-bladder will have a hard time breaking down fat.
However, some jump straight into this diet without educating themselves. It is very effective against weight loss after all without lifting any weight or cardio. To some, that is a dream; it is all people see.
Types of belly fat (1 will kill you)
You have two types of fat around your belly. One is called subcutaneous fat and visceral fat.
The main difference between the two is, one will make you aesthetically displeasing while the other can kill you.
Subcutaneous fat does not pose any potential danger to your health. Visceral though is the fat that may put you in an early grave if you do not do something about it.
Visceral fat attaches itself to your organs and slowly releases toxic substances that increase your susceptibility to diseases and cancers.
Some examples of diseases are Diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. The types of cancer you risk of getting are cancer in the colon, breast, and prostate.
Thus, recognizing the danger of this type of fat is imperative to your well being. It would be best if you burned it off as soon as possible.
I wrote an article about what causes belly fat if you need to know more.
Does Ketosis burn visceral fat
One of the great things about going on a Keto diet is how it burns visceral fat without even doing long cardio.
You know, cardio, the long, tedious way to lose fat involving lots of sweat.
Well, in a study to measure the efficacy of the Ketogenic diet, they tested 24 healthy men.
These 24 men were put on a Ketogenic diet while performing resistance training for eight weeks.
They created three groups, K.D. (Ketogenic diet) group, NKD (none Ketogenic diet) group, and a control group.
After the eight weeks, there was a significant visceral fat and overall fat mass loss in the Ketogenic diet group.
There was not much change in the non-Ketogenic diet group. The controlled group showed little to no change.
Although Ketogenic is excellent for losing overall body fat with a combined strength training regimen. It’s important to note that there was no increase in lean body mass after the eight weeks program.
[source: Efficacy of Ketogenic diet on body composition during resistance training in trained men: a randomized controlled trial]
So, if you don’t mind lifting weights, but dread cardio, combining your strength training with a Ketogenic diet can make you lose visceral fat. All the while, losing overall body fat mass and looking sexy.
Keto-friendly recipes to lose your jelly belly
Here are a few Keto-friendly recipes you can include in your daily cooking. Having done the Ketogenic diet for three months, I found that the food you eat is limited. After two weeks of eating the same food, needless to say, I went out of my mind.
So, like a good foodie, I made a recipe book. You can find the link here in one of my websites.
If you don’t want to spend anything on your health, below are some new recipes not included in the book. They are quick and straightforward to prepare; but most of all, they are yummy.
Turmeric chicken and pork adobo
You can eat this simple but yum recipe within 30 minutes of cooking.
It combines a good helping of turmeric. Turmeric help cleanse the liver, reduce cholesterol, and osteoarthritis. Also, it helps you recover from your rigorous workout.
[source: Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health]
Ginger is also one of the ingredients which have been proven to have healing effects. It also helps improve your metabolism.
[source: The Amazing and Mighty Ginger]
- 300 grams of chicken breast
- 300 grams of pork belly
- 1-inch turmeric root or use one teaspoon of dried turmeric powder, you can increase the amount if you like the taste
- Four tablespoons of soy sauce
- Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- One onion
- Five cloves of garlic
- Three coriander
- ground pepper to taste
- Slice chicken breast and pork belly in small pieces, so it’s easier to cook,
- Cut onion whatever way you want, just not so thick,
- Cut garlic, same as above
- Cut the ginger and turmeric in small pieces
- Mix soy sauce and apple cider vinegar in a bowl
- Heat the pan and add oil
- Once the oil is smoking toss in your chicken breast
- Caramelize (brown) both the chicken and pork then add the onion
- Once the onion is translucent and soft, add soy sauce and vinegar
- Mix mix
- 2 minutes before the chicken is cooked add the turmeric and ginger
- Once you cooked the meat, take it off the heat and put it on a plate
- Grab a small pot and add oil enough to deep fry the garlic
- Once the oil is boiling, toss in the garlic.
- When the garlic turns brown, not black, oversee this step, the garlic will burn quickly, put it on top of the chicken adobo
- Slice the coriander and sprinkle it all over the chicken adobo
The freshness of the coriander gives your palate a break from the pungent barrage of turmeric and ginger. The pork belly will provide you with the fats you need to power through the day. Cook the chicken breast just right and it will be tender. Eat!
I will be updating this recipe as soon as I can. If you haven’t seen an update in a while, I may have forgotten about it. Contact me if so. Alternatively, you can acquire more recipes in my book.
To summarize, you can lose belly fat using the Ketogenic diet. By changing your body’s source of energy to fat, it is only a matter of time before your six-pack reveals itself.
Albeit, Keto has proven its effectiveness against obesity short term. For long term applications, we need more research to draw a better conclusion.
There have also been significant reports of emergency room visits due to short side effects of Ketosis and lack of medical advice.
You must seek your doctor’s opinion before initiating any diet regimen. Doing so will keep you from unnecessary risk. Everyone is different, after all. What’s good for others may be detrimental to you.
There are also two types of fat in your belly, and one is of importance to get rid of—visceral fat.
Studies have shown that the Ketogenic diet, coupled with strength training, helps reduce visceral fat.