I know there are thousands of articles about losing fat and there are lots of ways, too! Here I want to present you what is in my opinion the best way to efficiently lose fat while saving muscle or even build some.
The ketogenic diet
The ketogenic diet or keto diet is a low carb diet. Actually so low carb that your body will use fat as predominant energy source. Your body will produce ketones out of fat to provide you with energy. These ketones are also produced when you're not on a low carb diet and have extreme energy needs like when you workout. When your glykogen is depleted and you have enough fat (body or nutrition) you get into "ketosis" and now ketones fuel you without the need of carbs.
Like most people you probably have eaten carbs since you were a child.
So your body is very adapted to
A a very powerful drug - yes, sugars and starches, which are longer sugar chains, are highly addictive
B to get fresh energy from carbs every few hours
When you cut out all the carbs it can happen that you feel like you were sick. These withdrawal symptoms happen but when you get adapted to a fat metabolism you will feel great.
Your new food choices
Fat and protein from animal sources are the most natural and nutritious foods. Make sure you eat fatty meat and eggs. Dairy products are allowed, too, especially butter and ghee, but I want to mention that the protein in dairy (not in Butter or Ghee) is probably the best anabolic protein and therefore has wonderful muscle building properties, but also inhibits fat loss to some extent.
Your meals should always contain one of these protein/fat sources:
meat, eggs or cheese - organs are very healthy, when you don't have good access to fatty meat you can add butter or other fat to lean meat.
The foods below are not necessary but possible (without them you're on the carnivore diet)
vegetables, fruits - most guides about the ketogenic diet say that some vegetables are not allowed because of their carb content. In my opinion you can eat any vegetable even carrots or potatoes but you should be aware of their amount of carbs and not overeat.
nuts, seeds, plant oils - I'm not a fan of nuts, seeds and oils but you can add them in small amounts. Coconut is the best choice.
drinks - you can drink coffee, tea, water. Everything without carbs (please do not drink sugar free coke or shit like this)
So actually a meal can be very simple.
- Fatty mincemeat with one cup of broccoli
- Raw or cooked eggs
- Cottage cheese with almonds
- Chicken with butter and one carrot
when you have sugar cravings you can eat a yoghurt or quark with stevia or another non-toxic sweetener and maybe some berries.
How to start
To get fast into ketosis and make the withdrawal as short as possible I have some metabolism enhancing suggestions:
1. your last carb containing meal was at 6pm or earlier
2. when you're a coffee drinker drink one or two cups of black coffee with a little bit of cream/butter or coconut oil between morning and noon. Green tea works also.
3. you go to the gym and do a heavy workout like squatting or deadlifting without breakfast. After the workout you can have your first meal. When you have no time in the morning you can have a breakfast and do the workout later.
4. you eat no carbs on the first day (~5g)
5. on the second day you do a light workout with weights or HIIT or steady state cardio, you can now add small amounts of vegetables or even fruits and nuts.
How many carbs can I eat?
Most guides talk about 30-50g carbs per day. For fat loss it's good to be in that range. But it can vary from person to person. When you're lazy and don't have much muscle mass you should eat less. When you workout frequently and have an active lifestyle (which I of course recommend) you can have more carbs while staying in ketosis.
When you're cheating and want to eat a bigger load of carbs have them in the afternoon or evening, not in the morning.
How do I know that I'm in ketosis?
You can buy Ketostix in your local pharmacy and piss on it or you just smell it. One metabolite of ketones is acetone which has a special odor that now comes out of your pores, lunges and urine. If you had a carb withdrawal you will feel much better when you entered ketosis.
Is the ketogenic diet dangerous?
Some people tend to label the ketogenic diet as unhealthy because of the lack of some foods. Others like Dr. Eric Berg or Dr. Ken Berry (on Youtube - great content) even recommend it for health reasons.
I've eaten like this for a long period of time and was so excited about it that I write an article now ;)
When you have Diabetes Type 2 the ketogenic diet can be very beneficial.
For type 1 there is the danger of ketoacidosis which is life threatening.
So if you want to try this diet and have diabetes talk to a good doctor first.