Four Steps for Improving Your Ability To Burn Fat

The ketogenic diet has become popular as one of the most effective ways to burn extra fat and lose weight quickly and healthily. However, is this true?
Four Steps for Improving Your Ability To Burn Fat
Elisa Morales Lupayante

Reviewed and approved by the pedagogue in physical education and nutritionist Elisa Morales Lupayante.

Written by Okairy Zuñiga

Last update: 26 August, 2022

There are several ways to burn fat. One of them is with a ketogenic diet. It means you stop eating carbohydrates. This forces your body to start a metabolic process called ketosis.

During ketosis, your body is forced to burn fat as a source of energy. This could either be the fat that’s stored in your body, or the fat that you eat.

When this happens, your liver starts to produce ketone bodies. They’re responsible for providing energy to your heart and brain.

1. Reduce the carbohydrates you eat

According to an article written by Harvard T.H. Chan, the first step to burning extra fat as recommended by the ketogenic diet is to minimize carbohydrate intake in order to induce ketosis. The general recommendation is not to exceed twenty grams a day.

Dr. Dominic D’Agostino, Ph.D., is a specialist in the ketogenic diet. He believes that the ideal ratio is four amounts of fat and protein to one carbohydrate. This means the body can’t use glucose or sugar as a source of energy but looks for it in fatty acids and accumulated fats instead.

Glycogen, which is the glucose stored in the liver and muscles, is no longer a reserve and becomes the main source of energy for carrying out daily activities.

As the body is used to consuming carbohydrates, to start with, it’s common to feel tired and irritable. This is part of the adaptation to a low intake of carbohydrates.

You might also like to read: Are Carbohydrates Important in Your Diet?

2. Include coconut oil in your diet to burn extra fat

The second recommendation for burning extra fat through ketosis is to add coconut oil to your daily diet. That’s because this oil contains fats called medium chain triglycerides, which are quickly absorbed. The liver converts these fats into ketones, which are a good source of energy.

It should be noted that this oil contains lauric acid. In a 2008 clinical trial, this substance was administered to children with epilepsy. It proved to be effective in bringing about ketosis without the need to reduce the children’s carbohydrate intake.

3. Add healthy fats to your diet

Another step to burn extra fat is to include healthy fats in your daily diet, such as olive oil, avocado, and coconut oil, among other options.

If you follow this advice, do so in moderation. That’s because eating an excess of fats, even when they’re healthy, would mean an increase in your daily calorie consumption. In addition, it’s important that you opt for healthy fats, containing the least amount of chemicals possible.

4. Increase the amount of protein in your diet

These protein foods can help you burn fat

Ketonic diet experts suggest that it’s important to maintain a normal to high protein intake to burn extra fat. During the protein digestion process, the liver obtains the amino acids it needs to produce the glucose required to use ketones for energy fuel.

Also, protein is vital for muscle replenishment which occurs when you lose weight. This is because, in the process of burning off the extra fat, you may also lose some muscle mass.

Advantages of ketosis

Kristen Mancinelli, MS, RD, author of The Ketogenic Diet: A Scientifically Proven Approach to Fast, Healthy Weight Loss notes that rapid weight loss and decreased hunger are the most obvious benefits of this diet.

Below, we’ll also detail other benefits, as indicated in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

  • You lose weight quickly. However, the difference isn’t particularly marked when compared to a low-carbohydrate diet, as can be deduced from the results presented in the article, ‘Ketogenic Diets in the Treatment of Overweight and Obesity’.
  • It helps to better metabolize carbohydrates when they’re gradually reintroduced into the diet.
  • With ketosis, the body uses fat more efficiently. This effect can be maintained over time.
  • The ketogenic diet has a satiating effect. Furthermore, the anxiety that causes you to overeat decreases since more healthy fats are included in your daily diet.
  • A study published in the Latin American Archives of Nutrition indicates that the ketogenic diet promotes lower blood pressure, decreases insulin resistance, and allows you to eliminate fat. Therefore, it’s recommended for cardiovascular health.

You also might like to read: 13 Foods That Are High in Carbohydrates

Secondary effects of burning fat with the ketogenic diet

Although burning extra fat may be causing you concern, you should bear in mind that every diet comes with certain risks. Consequently, the ketogenic diet could cause side effects, due to the dietary changes it entails.

Some entities, such as Canadian Family Physician, have conducted research in which they observed that there was an increase in mortality among those who followed the ketogenic diet. However, the data isn’t conclusive.

Among the most common side effects are:

  • Dizziness and headaches. They can happen from the third day onwards. They ocur because the brain needs glycogen to carry out its processes. While ketones will allow it to work, in the adaptation process there may be dizziness when standing up or moving quickly.
  • Bad breath or metallic taste in the mouth. This is due to the high presence of ketone bodies when trying to burn extra fat.
  • Urine with a strong odor. This is due to the release of ketones in the urine.
  • Excessive sweating: The body also eliminates ketone bodies through sweat.
  • Calcium loss: It’s believed that there’s a relationship between high protein intake and calcium loss through the urine. This is due to the number of acids needed to digest proteins, as bone stability is sensitive to the body’s acid-base balance. To avoid the problem, your doctor may recommend that you include a calcium supplement.

Seek professional advice if you want to burn fat

The ketogenic diet has become well-known as an option for losing weight quickly. However, like any dietary change, it can cause problems for some people.

In any case, you should always visit your doctor if you want to lose weight. Only a professional can guide you in the best way to achieve your goal in a healthy way and adapted to your own personal needs.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • The ketogenic diet: one decade later. (2007)
    John M. Freeman Pediatric Epilepsy Center, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD 21287-7247
  • A review of low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets. Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center. (2003). 476-83.
  • Effects of a high-protein ketogenic diet on hunger, appetite, and weight loss in obese men feeding ad libitum.
    Division of Obesity and Metabolic Health and Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland, Rowett Research Institute. 2008 Jan;87(1):44-55
  • Archivos Latinoamericanos de Nutrición, versión impresa ISSN 0004-0622. ALAN v.58 n.4 Caracas dic. 2008. Las dietas cetogénicas: beneficios adicionales a la pérdida de peso y efectos secundarios infundados.
  • Nutrición Clínica y Dietética Hospitalaria. Dietas cetogénicas en el tratamiento del sobrepeso y la obesidad.
  • Lancet Neurol. 2008 Jun;7(6):500-6. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(08)70092-9. Epub 2008 May 2.
  • The ketogenic diet for the treatment of childhood epilepsy: a randomised controlled trial.
  • Harvard T.H. Chan. Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss.
  • Curr Treat Options Neurol. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2010 Jul 7. Published in final edited form as: Curr Treat Options Neurol. 2008 Nov; 10(6): 410–419.The Ketogenic Diet: Uses in Epilepsy and Other Neurologic Illnesses. doi: 10.1007/s11940-008-0043-8
  • The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 85, Issue 1, January 2007, Pages 238–239, Benefits of ketogenic diets.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.