I do very well on low carb diet but wonder where you stand on Dr. Atkins viewpoint that as long as you are in ketosis calories dont matter as you cant help but burn fat in ketosis. your thoughts on calories while on ketogenic diet do they count? thanks in advance.
A: Ahh, I’m glad someone finally asked this question (kept me from having to make it up, ha ha ha). Arguably the biggest misconception about the Atkins Diet (which is a vey low carb ketogenic diet) is that you can consume unlimited calories and still lose weight/bodyfat. This implies that somehow basic thermodynamics (energy in vs. energy out) is being affected somehow. That ketosis somehow increases calorie expenditure to compensate for caloric intake.
The thing is that Atkins NEVER said that this would happen (although I have a feeling that he wanted people to read what he said that way, as a marketing gimmick). What he said was that, as long as you ate less than 30 grams of carbs, you could eat as much protein and fat as you *liked* and still lose weight, which is not the same as an unlimited quantity. He was basing this on studies done in the 60’s and 70’s showing the following fact: When individuals remove all carbohydrates from their diet, but are told to eat ‘unlimited’ protein and fat, they will generally reduce their caloric intake to between 1400-2100 calories/day. This creates a caloric deficit and weight is lost.
That is, there’s no magical fact of ketosis that allows weight/fat (not counting the water loss that occurs) to be lost while eating above maintenance (or even maintenance calories), you still have to have a caloric deficit for fat loss to occur. Strangely, and I havewn’t been able to find an answer to this, many people have reported that they can eat many more calories while in ketosis and not GAIN weight. It *may* be that excess fat is converted to ketones and excreted without being stored but I’m not 100% sure so take this with a grain of salt. But they don’t lose without a deficit.
So you may ask why bother with a ketogenic diet? The difference between a ketogenic diet and a non-ketogenic diet *may* be in the proportions of fat and muscle lost for a given caloric deficit. That is, ketogneic diets *may* cause more fat and less muscle to be lost compared to a non-ketogenic diet for the same deficit. But the deficit MUST exist.