The high-fat and low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet has proven to help many people lose weight, and has, therefore, become extremely popular over the past few years.
This diet is especially helpful for fat loss. Many people wonder if following a ketogenic diet is the ticket to burn belly fat, which is a common problem area for people trying to shed pounds.
The Keto Diet and Weight Loss
If you choose to follow a keto diet, your carbohydrate intake will be very low. Instead, you’ll eat a high amount of fat and a moderate amount of protein. Restricting carbohydrates is key to shifting your body’s source of energy from glucose (which comes from carbohydrates) to fat.
First, your body will burn through glycogen stores to provide glucose to the areas of the body that need it most. When those stores are emptied, your body will turn to fat from the diet.
Fatty acids are broken down into triglycerides, and then converted to ketones that can be used for energy.
Finally, when the body burns through the fatty acids you’re consuming, it will turn to body fat for energy. This is when your body enters ketosis, and when weight loss can be fairly rapid around your belly as well all over the body.
Types of Belly Fat
Before we get into whether or not ketosis specifically burns belly fat, it’s important to note that there are two types of belly fat: visceral and subcutaneous.
Subcutaneous belly fat
Subcutaneous fat is the type of belly fat directly under the skin that accounts for about 90% of the fat in your body. It’s fairly harmless to your health.
Visceral belly fat
However, visceral belly fat is a little different. This type of fat is located under and around the vital organs in your abdomen, and having too much of it can be extremely dangerous for your health.
In fact, visceral fat can lead to conditions such as:
- Decreased insulin sensitivity
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
It’s not as easy to see visceral fat as subcutaneous fat because it’s stored deep in the abdominal cavity. You can usually estimate that 10% of your total body fat is visceral fat.
Having a waist measurement of 40 inches or more for men and 35 inches or more for women is another indicator that visceral fat may be too high.
Will I lose belly fat on keto?
Fat is the primary source of fuel in ketosis, which we know leads to rapid weight loss.
But what about belly fat? For some, this is the most stubborn area to see noticeable fat loss.
When your body needs to use stored fatty acids for fuel, it’s going to get them wherever possible. However, genetics could play a role in where you tend to lose fat first and what areas tend to hold onto fat.
Although visceral fat is usually more difficult to shed than subcutaneous fat, some studies have shown that a low carb or ketogenic diet are effective for visceral fat loss.
How Quickly Does Ketosis Burn Belly Fat?
Once your body is in ketosis, weight loss and fat loss could be rapid for some people and a little slower for others.
Keep in mind that losing around 1-2 pounds per week is ideal for weight loss that can be maintained long-term.
Rather than obsessing over the scale, consider tracking body measurements and progress pictures to track your results.
Key Factors For Fat Loss on Keto
As always, an overall healthy lifestyle will give you the best results for weight loss, and especially fat loss.
Following a keto diet without the right foods, plenty of exercise, and adequate sleep, will slow your fat loss progress.
You’ll also feel more sluggish and uncomfortable, which will make it harder to maintain your diet in the long run.
To set yourself up for success, consider these factors.
Keto Foods to Promote Fat Loss
A high-fat diet doesn’t necessarily mean it’s best to just eat whatever fatty foods you want. Instead of filling your fat needs with foods high in saturated fat and sodium such as bacon and hot dogs, go for sources of healthy fats like:
- Nuts and seeds
- Coconut and olive oil
Our keto fat bombs with MCT oil and other healthy fats will keep you on track for your keto macros, and help you progress towards your health and wellness goals on the ketogenic diet.
For a comprehensive guide on what to eat, and avoid, check out our keto foods list.
Also, remember to pay close attention to your exact carbohydrate intake and overall calorie intake.
The amount of carbohydrate restriction to reach ketosis is pretty severe, making it easy to eat too many and slow your fat loss. If you’re eating more calories than you’re burning, you won’t get the results you want.
Sometimes people assume that a keto diet is so effective that consistent exercise isn’t really necessary. Although you may lose weight without exercising at first, there’s a good chance that you will plateau at some point without exercise.
Adding exercise to keto will make a huge difference in your body composition and maximize fat loss while you’re in ketosis.
If you don’t already, start making sleep a priority. Lack of sleep can slow down weight loss on any diet, including the keto diet.
Sleep is important for regulating hunger hormones, meaning you may feel more hungry and less satisfied when you’re running on fumes. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep each night to feel your best and keep seeing results.
Following a ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose fat, including belly fat. However, there are things to consider before jumping into ketosis.
First, a keto diet is strict and requires a lot of discipline. It may not be a sustainable diet for everyone.
Second, it’s important to remember that other healthy lifestyle factors like nutrition, exercise, and sleep are still a priority to get the best results from a keto diet.
But if you can stick to it, a keto diet can improve your body composition and reduce harmful visceral fat, which will improve your overall health.