Thursday, 24 August 2017

Ketosis: The Latest Weight Loss Trend You Need to Know About

With every new month comes a new diet fad, from Atkins to the raw food movement, we can't help but feel we've gone full circle in the weight wars. As tempting as it is to ignore the trends and stick to the good old 'meat and two veg', the latest trend has science on its side, is loved by nutritionists and is hailed by our favourite food bloggers. We couldn't veto this one

Ketosis: What it is?

Ketosis is a natural state entered by the body when it is almost completely fuelled by fat. This normally happens when fasting or on a strict low carb diet. When blood sugar levels are low the body use alternate fuels known as 'ketones'.

The quickest way to put the body into ketosis is by fasting (not eating anything at all), however this isn't always safe and can have negative effects on health and mood. It's also not sustainable to fast for long periods of time. A low carb diet or 'keto' diet is a safe and efficient way at achieving ketosis and maintaining it longer term.

Whilst consuming this low carb diet, you will begin to notice some key symptoms to identify that ketosis is taking place.Suppressed appetite is one of the most commonly reported symptoms. Due to most peoples goal of 'weight loss' this is normally a welcomed effect and is thought to be down to increased protein consumption and a shift in the hunger hormone.

Okay, so this one may be a little unwelcome but don't go writing it off just yet. Bad breath is a temporary side effect caused by the acetone released by ketones in the body. This is also passed out through urine. Some people find chewing on sugar free gum or brushing their teeth throughout the day can help.When first starting ketosis it is commonly reported to feel fuzzy, confused and low on energy. Again, this is only short term. Ketosis is actually proven to increase brain function and energy. This is due to the brain feeding from 'ketones' as opposed to glucose from carbohydrates. Ketones are a power packed source of fuel and have been proven to help with brain disease and memory loss.

We asked one of our fabulous clients and self-proclaimed yo-yo dieter Alicia Redgrave to tell us about her personal journey on ketosis.

How would you describe your relationship with food? Would you describe yourself as a 'yoyo' dieter?

I have been a yo-yo dieter since the age of 15. I have tried many diets over the years but quite often, I would give up a few weeks in and put the weight back on or at least most of it.

Why did you choose to enrol in ketosis?

I decided to try a ketosis weight loss plan as I started to work for a company who specialised in this kind of weight loss and I was able to see the results that so many clients were able to achieve fairly quickly.

What was your goal when beginning ketosis?

My goal was get back down to my pre baby weight. I wanted something quick and easy that would fit in with my busy schedule.

Did you suffer any side effects?

Within the first few days, I did experience slight headaches and a little bit of dizziness but these side effects soon subsided.

Did you notice any negative effects in your skin whilst undergoing a strict diet regime?

I didn't notice any changes in my skin whilst in ketosis.

How easy was it to adapt into your lifestyle?

It was quite easy during the week as I could eat on the go and I didn't need to worry about counting calories. I had pre-prepared calorie controlled food packs, which were very easy to make or eat whilst in the car travelling from one meeting to the next. The weekends were more challenging but as I could see the weight coming off, it motivated me to carry on. I also gave myself small rewards each week for sticking to the weight loss programme.

Did you suffer any cravings by taking part in a restrictive diet?

I had cravings initially as I was so hungry at the start but those soon went away as once I went into ketosis as I felt full.

Did you achieve your weight loss goals?

Yes I did and I have maintained within 1-2 lbs for 4 years now.

How have you managed to maintain the results of your ketosis?

I knew that to keep my weight off, I would need to change my eating habits for good so I was very mindful about portion control; I measured my portions, checked calories and the fat content in pretty much everything. I now stick to a 1,600 calorie diet 5 days per week and I fast for 2 days each week and have 600 calories on each of those days. I do allow treats every now and again though.

Would you consider doing ketosis again?

Yes, it really helped me to change my eating habits.

And if you still need some convincing, we've asked nutritional expert and founder of Skin Formulas, Miguel Mateas, on his thoughts

Is it safe?

Being in a mild ketogenic state is different from being in metabolic acidosis, which is dangerous. There's a generalised misconception that they're both the same, and this is absolutely not right. When you fast overnight or do intermittent fasting, you're already producing ketone bodies. These are molecules that your body produces naturally when it runs out of glucose to use as fuel. Some organs, particularly the brain, are prepared to use ketones as fuel and this can actually be a really good, regenerative process when done sensibly.

Do you recommend it?

Yes, with a pinch of salt. Not to everyone. I base my recommendations on individual needs. But to those looking to optimise their brain/cognitive function, yes.

Is it beneficial for weight loss?

It can be if done properly, but it takes a while to become adapted to a way of eating that strips off most refined, processed carbohydrate, and some people can't get used to it. Some other people think that being in ketosis means eating a whole load of fatty foods all day long. To their horror, they might find they end up putting on weight, particularly if they mess around with it and end up eating processed carbs alongside the high protein/high fat bulk of their diet. This can be very dangerous metabolically and they can end up with all sorts of biochemical imbalances that will alarm their GP.

Is it maintainable? 

If done properly, absolutely. I myself am in borderline ketosis (normally anything over trace when checking my urine with urinalysis sticks first thing in the morning) and have been for months. Many of my clients are as well and do very well on it. I believe in moderation in all realms of life, and so I am also a moderate practitioner. I do not advocate for extreme diet changes overnight and like to educate my clients about intuitive eating and how they should listen to their bodies more readily. I would always advise anyone interested in changing their diet to seek the advice of a reputable nutrition practitioner.

Miguel is an experienced nutrition practitioner and clinical neuroscientist known for his human, moderate and individualised touch and his ability to translate complex science into plain English clinical pearls. In his clinics Miguel specialises on the relationship between food, the gut and the brain. Miguel was awarded a Santander Bank scholarship to complete his doctorate at Middlesex University's Institute for Work-Based Learning where his research topic is nutrition and mild cognitive impairment. For more details please visit

For more information on weight loss and nutrition, call our clinic on 0113 282 3300.

Written for you by: Emily, Face the Future

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