When I first began looking into Biochemistry to try and figure out once and for all what the truth was about losing body fat and growing muscle, my initial introduction to the state of ketosis led me to believe that the body did not store fat while being in ketosis.
A ketogenic diet is viewed by most medical professionals as a state of starvation or a starvation diet. The majority of medical doctors do not study how you can thrive while being on a ketogenic diet. This makes it harder to find the information on some of these things at time and I finally was able to answer the question that had been nagging at me for months.
If your insulin is in the dirt and you are on a ketogenic diet, is the body able to store body fat?
To put it simply, YES!
I’m the type of guy that if I am told I can eat anything I want I will eat until I run out of food.
For me to lean out I need to count calories once I hit 12% body fat if I want to go any lower.
Then there’s the whole body weight set point or stalling issue that I will talk about in a week or two!
So how does the body store fat while in ketosis. It does it with the use of acylation-stimulating protein which I will call ASP from now on. ASP stores fat without the use of insulin. If you eat more than your body needs then ASP is used to store the unneeded fat even while your insulin level is in the dirt. The human body operates with the goal of survival and if you give it unneeded calories it will attempt to hold onto them for later use. The benefit of a low-carb/ketogenic diet is it’s ability to lower insulin, increase leptin sensitivity which causes better management of your hunger levels. This system works great with lower insulin until you get pretty lean. That’s when the body tells you to eat more due to lowered leptin levels.
What is the problem with a high carb diet for most people? They get hungry! They begin to obsess about food because the insulin interferes with leptin signalling so they get REALLY hungry. Then they binge! And the high insulin levels increase ASP three fold in the body making you more likely to store any fat consumed as body fat.
This is the point where I have to disagree with Gary Taubes, calories do matter! They are not the end all be all for weight management though. If you do not have an energy deficit then you will not lose weight. A low carb or ketogenic diet decreases hunger level which in turn causes you to eat less. Your body does not signal that you are hungry because there is sufficient body fat pumping out leptin and being used for energy.
While I do not propose people count calories, if you want to lean out then calories is where you’ll need to look if you are not obese. Eating a low carb or ketogenic diet is a good way to gain control over your hunger level while also keeping the primary fat storage hormones low.