How Does Our Body Lose Weight Without the Ketogenic Diet?


The more i read about keto the more it confuses me to how the hell people lose weight without it? I was never too big but I lost the 30 lbs i wanted to in about 30 days when I started keto. It was almost too easy compared to diets / workout habits I tried before. Pork belly and eggs or Bulletproof Coffee for breakfast and fatty ground beef and greens for dinner, no working out,

I mean losing weight the normal way seems doomed to fail. S.A.D. (is a joke), caloric restriction (hormone balance is a huge factor), metabolism (slows with exercise and other factors), Krebs Cycle, Glycogen storage (inhibits utilizing our fat storage).

I know that people do lose weigh without keto but does anyone have some easy science on it?

(Tom Seest) #2

You can lose weight by oxidizing or burning fat which can occur if you essentially starve yourself.

You can also have it surgically removed.

There are probably other ways.


I would expect not everyone overweight is insulin resistant.

But, if there is a calorie deficit you will lose weight. Been there done that gained it all back.


I think I was less insulin resistant when I was younger. The things that used to work back in the day stopped working.

(Derek I. Batting) #5

Before keto adapting, I spent ages trying deep calorie deficits and exercise and basically juggled the same 7-10 pounds up and down for years. Everything I lost always came back. “Yay! I lost 7 pouunds!” … “I’m a failure. I gained it back…” over and over.


I understand all this, basically
(in a hormonal vacuum)
kcal eaten - kcal burned from RMR + kcal burned from exercise
2000kcal - 1500kcal + 500kcal = 0g weight lost

but I guess I’m actually looking for is the science on how body fat storage burns for humans on a SAD, whether its somewhat parallel with glycogen stores (liver muscle) or 100% sequential.


Various activities are more or less glycolic than others. Your brain, for example, uses glucose exclusively on SAD. Muscles use both glucose and fat, depending on the type and intensity of exercise and the muscle fibers involved.

I’ll dig up some links later. Gotta go shopping now…


Ok, I found a chart comparing exercise and fat utilization pre and post keto. I believe it’s from one of Peter Attia’s n=1 experiments.

Also, the FASTER study quantifies this. I believe @ianrobo has a link to it. (Still shopping…)

(Richard Morris) #9

This is a study that did a 6 year followup of 14 contestants of the Biggest loser.

#Before the show
body weight (avg): 148.9 ± 40.5 kg
Body Fat: 73.4 ± 22.6 kg
LBM: 75.5 ± 21.1 kg
RMR: 2,607 ± 649 kCal/d
Exercise: 5.6 ± 1.8 kCal/kg/d

They spent 30 weeks eating less (but still insulinogenic food) and moving more

#After 30 weeks of eat less, move more
Weight: 90.6 ± 24.5 kg
Body Fat: 26.2 ± 13.6 kg
LBM 64.4 ± 15.5 kg
RMR: 1,996 ± 358 kCal/d
Exercise: 10.0 ± 4.6 kCal/kg/d

#6 years later
Weight: 131.6 ± 45.3 kg
Body Fat: 61.4 ± 30 kg
LBM 70.2 ± 18.3 kg
RMR: 1,903 ± 466 kCal/d
Exercise: 10.1 ± 4.0 kCal/kg/d

So on the show they almost doubled their exercise from 5.6 to 10.0 kCal/kg/day. Over the 30 days they lost an average of 58.3 kgs, 47.2 kg of that was fat and 11.1 kgs lean body mass, and their resting metabolic rate dropped from 2607 kCal/day to 1996.kCal/day.

6 years later they were still exercising 10.1 kCal/kg/day but now they had gained back 41 kg of the weight they had lost, and only put back on half of the lean body mass that they lost during the show. The tragedy was that their metabolic rate was even lower after 6 years than it was at the end of the show.

This is what happens when you follow the strategy of reducing calories in: and increasing calories out. If you don’t lower insulin, your body tries to preserve it’s stored energy so your body goes looking for energy savings (reducing your resting metabolic rate), making you hungry (which thanks to the prize money they were apparently able to ignore) and burning energy sources OTHER than fat … namely lean body mass. They also burned a lot of fat too but all the way that high insulin level was fighting them.

At the end of the show they kept up everything they had learned, kept up exercising, kept eating insulinogenic foods but now the prize money wasn’t dangled in front of them … hunger contributed to them eating just enough calories to put on some of that weight again but because they were still fighting insulin their metabolic rate remained depressed.

One interesting aside to this study that no-one has spoken about was that they tracked their respiratory quotient which tells you what energy substrates they were using for energy. 1.0 is carbohydrate, 0.8 is protein and 0.7 is fat.

At the start of the competition their RQ was 0.77 (mostly fat and a little carbohydrates and protein)
At the end of the competition their RQ was 0.75 (even more fat, a little less carbohydrates and protein)
6 years later their RQ was 0.81 (mostly protein, equal amounts fat, and carbohydrates)

This is why it is bad to restrict calories below satiation. That lowers your metabolic rate and that stays low until you put back on all the body fat that your body wants at your insulin level. Meanwhile your body goes looking for energy sources and it will use sources of protein not required for immediate survival.

This is why people on a ketogenic diet who stall and decided now is the time to restrict calories and go hungry … end up losing lean body mass unless they dramatically increase their protein intake. They stall because they reach their level on insulin resistance, restricting calories lowers their MBR and goes looking for protein to burn (extra dietary protein defrays that) but if they are insulin resistant that protein raises insulin and fights further weight loss even harder.

As soon as they are tired of slow MBR and constant hunger they yo-yo back up to the body fat level their insulin has set for them.

(ianrobo) #10

someone should do the biggest loser - Keto style, imagine the success

Moderate exercise I think we all agree it is not CICO but actually just good for the mind and soul
Keto meals

So show them sitting there in front of the TV eating bacon and fried eggs all the time and see the weight drop off …

imagine the impact

(Richard Morris) #11

Yeah no kidding :slight_smile:

Yeah it’s not about increasing the energy being used, but putting circulating insulin to work to replete muscle glycogen by driving glucose into muscles that have just done a little work.

(ianrobo) #12

yep because remeber Humans evolved to walk for a reason, we need to walk to get our systems to work …

Should we start a crowd source to raise the money to make it ha ha


Does Carl have aTV studio you can borrow? :wink:

(ianrobo) #14

It is not a bad idea, take two or three at the start of their Keto journey, support them, record them, take the bloods etc. A bit ike what @richarddid with @carlbut document it through video’s blog etc to show people.

(Genevieve Biggs) #15

We also discussed this topic here:

(Kathy Meyer) #16

I used to track my food and exercise for weeks. I was at a calorie deficit every single day. I was never a big eater and always active, so was probably at a calorie deficit for most of my adult life. And yet still became morbidly obese. No amount of calorie restriction (unless you are ketogenic, fat adapted, or fasting) makes up for insulin resistance in many of us.