About 2 months ago I stumbled onto the Reddit group /r/keto. After reading story after story like this one, from people who lost a huge amount of weight in a fairly short time (6 – 12 months) following the keto diet, I did some research of my own and decided to give it a go.
What is the keto diet? Read this.
Now, I’m not a massive guy, but I’m still about 20 – 30 kgs heavier than I should be. I’m 186cms and was about 106kgs (233lbs).
In the first 30 days, I lost 10kg and 10 cms off my waist. That’s 10% of my body weight for those of you not great at maths.
In the second month, I’ve stabilised, which I’m not complaining about, but I still want to lose more, so I’ve been learning more about the diet.
Last night I finished reading a book called “Why We Get Fat” by Gary Taubes, a respected science journalist. Taubes believes that our whole approach to weight control since the 1960s has been fundamentally flawed. The food pyramid is broken.
Essentially, Taubes argues that the science demonstrates overwhelmingly that what makes us fat is eating sugar and carbohydrates (rice, pasta, bread, flour, etc). The cure? Stop eating sugars and carbs. Get most of your calories from fat and protein.
Sounds crazy, I know. But that’s how I lost 10kgs in 30 days. It’s how many people on /r/keto have lost 30 – 50kgs in a year. It’s similar to the Atkins and Paleo diets (which I knew nothing about before I started this).
Taubes’ book explains the science and history of obesity in great detail and it’s pretty compelling. I won’t go into it here in any depth, but basically it breaks down like this:
1. When we eat carbs and sugar, our bodies produce insulin.
2. Insulin tells your cells to store most of the calories that you’ve just eaten for later as fat and to burn what’s left to provide the body with energy.
3. Unfortunately, because most of the calories we’ve just eaten get stored as fat, we get hungry again quickly – and we eat more carbs. The cycle continues. More fat gets stored, we get hungry, rinse and repeat.
4. Exercise is good for you – but has little to do with losing weight. It’s mostly about hormones and carbs.
The solution, according to Taubes and /r/keto, is to eat a low-carb, high fat diet. Basically cut your carbs and sugars back to 20 – 50 grams a day from all sources – which equates to making carbs responsible for about 5% of your calories. The rest of your diet should be fat, protein and leafy greens. Think: eggs, bacon, steak, cheese, cream (instead of milk) and green veggies (lettuce, cabbage, celery, broccoli, etc).
This kind of diet will no doubt be old news to many of you but, for me, it’s already made a huge difference. I’m 10% lighter, have more energy to burn, fitting into old clothes, etc. If you’re the kind of person who struggles to lose weight, I suggest you look into it.
Everyone will have questions about nutrition and health, but Taubes deals with them all in the book. If you’re at all interested, either buy his book, spend ten minutes reading through /r/keto, or watch the first ten minutes of this video interview with Taubes.