In a recent issue of Applied Metabolics, I discussed the best diet to achieve an ultra-low body fat level of 5%. The diet I described in that article goes under various names, such as the "Anabolic diet," and the "Metabolic Diet," but the most common name and the most scientifically accurate name for it is the ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet consists of an average carbohydrate intake of 5% carbs or less, with moderate to high amounts of protein that range from 1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight to 2.2 grams per kilogram of body weight. But perhaps the most controversial feature of ketogenic diets is the often higher fat content of the diet, which can range as high as 70% of total caloric intake. This is controversial because according to many self-styled "experts" fat is by far the most fattening of all nutrients. On paper, this makes sense because fat is the densest source of calories at 9 per gram compared to the 4 per gram found in protein and carbohydrates. As such, according to the "experts" consuming a 70% fat diet should make you fat as the proverbial house, or about as muscularly defined as comedian Louie Anderson.
Yet, as I pointed out in that recent 5% body fat article, the ketogenic diet is the surest path for the majority of people to attain very low body fat levels. How can that be with such a high dietary fat intake, as is common with ketogenic diets? The answer is something I've written for over 35 years and based on both science and personal observation of why people get obese. While there are many reasons to explain obesity, from a dietary point of view, the majority of those with higher body fat levels get that way from a combination of little or no physical activity or exercise combined with a particular style of eating. That style involves overeating both fat and carbohydrates, especially high glycemic index or simple carbs. Simple carbs are rapidly absorbed into the body because they lack dietary fiber, which would slow down that absorption. When that happens, you get a large release of insulin from the beta cells of the pancreas, which is needed to process the ingested carbs. The problem with that is that when insulin is released, fat is either stored (when excess calories are consumed) or fat oxidation is blocked. Indeed, control of insulin is the entire basis of all low carbohydrate diets.
But people get obese from eating excessive amounts of fat and carbs because carbs are the preferred energy source of the body since they are metabolized far more rapidly compared to dietary fat. So what happens when you consume an abundance of both simple carbs and large amounts of dietary fat is that the carbs are used for energy, while the fat is shunted directly into fat cells. This raises the . . .