Why Am I Gaining Weight on a Ketogenic Diet?

By: Joe Martinez
Contributor: Stephanie Wu

PHOTO CREDIT: Bare Performance Nutrition

The ketogenic diet sounds like the best thing since sliced bread! Well…that is without the bread. The ketogenic diet (a.k.a. the keto diet) is a low carb, moderate protein, and high fat diet. Consuming this regimen of food puts the body into a state of ketosis–where your liver produces ketones, as an energy source.

The idea is that eating something high in fat, rather than high in sugar will keep you feeling fuller longer and snacking less.

For example, although the sugar cookie that you ate at lunch will turn into glucose that your body can use for energy, keep in mind that your body can use and then only store so much glucose.  What the body doesn’t use, it turns into fat. In contrast, eating something high in fat, like bacon, redirects your body to break down the fat instead of the glucose.

So basically, reducing sugar intake reduces insulin production, and reducing insulin production allows for increased fat breakdown. All things considered, the keto diet sounds like the “fix” to all our weight problems.  If this is the case, then why are some keto-dieters gaining weight?

While there are various reasons, the biggest is the over-eating of calories. Believe it or not, all calories are not equal. Fat contains more than twice as many calories per gram as carbohydrates and protein combined. Being on the keto diet doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want.

Look at it this way: one pound of fat contains 3,500 calories. Overeating your fat calories could unintentionally make you gain weight rather than lose it. It’s important when keeping track of your diet that you note how many grams of fat you are actually taking in.

Another big reason you may be gaining weight on the keto diet rather than losing it, are those sneaky carbohydrates that find their way into your diet without you realizing it.

Certain vegetables, nuts, and dairy products that are keto-approved might also contain carbohydrates.

Bottom line: eat dairy and nuts with keto-caution. Over do it on these foods, and your carb level could increase quickly without warning.

For example, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and cabbage actually contain more carbohydrates than you think. Vegetables with a higher sugar content like tomatoes, squash, and onions also contain higher levels of carbs.  

The key to success when going on the keto-diet is to still moderate each food item in every meal.

Also, remember when grocery shopping to look for the freshest options that your local grocery store or farmers market has to offer. Eating foods in its most natural state as possible is always better than their processed counterparts.

To help you on your way, try these delicious meals from Healthy Meals Supreme:

* Always check with your doctor or healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.

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