Useful Stuff to Know » article » How to Lose Body Fat Quickly Using a Low Calorie Keto Diet » Oct 27, 05:34 AM

How to Lose Body Fat Quickly Using a Low Calorie Keto Diet

How do you burn body fat, retain muscle, and do it as quickly as possible without exercise?

There’s only one way, and that’s by switching your body into ketosis.


Ketosis is where the body has run out of glucose-based energy (glycogen) that’s normally stored in the liver and muscles. It then has no choice but to turn to body fat for energy.

That’s why body fat exists in the first place. Your body stores tens if not hundreds of thousands of calories in the form of fat. It’s there for survival reasons in case you run out of food. But the body doesn’t like to dip into that if it doesn’t have to. So you make it have to.

In ketosis, fat is turned into “ketones” which is an alternate form of energy that’s actually more energizing and efficient than glucose. Your brain runs better on ketones than glucose, so once you enter ketosis you will feel clearer and more energized than on a normal diet.

How to Get Into Ketosis

There are two ways to enter ketosis.

1. Not eating carbs. No potatoes, rice, oats, fruits, pasta, cookies, cakes, candy, soda, sugar, etc. Just protein and fat. That means meat, eggs, fish, green veggies, nuts, butter, and oil.

2. Fasting (eating nothing) for at least 30 hours. That’s what ketosis is really meant for. That’s the fastest and most natural way to induce ketosis.

In either case, it takes about 30-36 hours on average for glycogen to run out and for ketosis to begin. You can buy keto indicator strips that you pee on and watch the color change on the strips to show you how deep into ketosis you are.

As your glucose levels decrease, insulin drops (insulin is what your pancreas secretes to help the body deal with excessive blood sugar levels). Insulin below a certain point is what triggers ketones to be made from body fat.

So whether you go no carb, or fast, you’ll be running out of glycogen within a day or two and body will switch over to ketosis.

During this “keto induction” phase, you may feel like utter crap — low energy, hungry, tired, cold, mentally losing it. That’s the price of admission to ultra fat burning mode. But a point comes when that all lifts and you feel amazing. The keto indicator strips will show a change of color in proportion to how great you feel.

How Low Calorie?

Now, once you are in ketosis, you can go on a low calorie keto diet.

How low calorie? You calculate it via this formula:

Daily Calories to Eat = Base Metabolic Rate – (30 x Weight x Body Fat Percentage / 100)

There are online BMR calculators if you need to figure that out.

For example, if you weigh 170 lbs, and BMR is 1800 calories per day, and you’re at 20% body fat:

Daily Calories to Eat = 1800 – (30 × 170 × 20/100) = 1800 – 1020 = 780 calories.

Only 780 calories per day? Sounds insane, right? But it’s not “actually” 780, because your body is tapping into another 1020 calories from body fat deposits per day.

So energy-wise, you’ll feel like you’re doing a normal 1800 calorie diet in this example, even though you’re only consuming 780 of those calories through the mouth. The rest comes from the body, as it should.

If you go below 780 in this example, your body will start breaking down muscle to make up the rest of the calorie needs. That’s bad.

At a 1020 calorie deficit per day, you’ll lose 8.5lbs of fat per month. That’s decent. The scale weight will show more (closer to 10-12 pounds lost) due to water being lost when in ketosis, and some muscle (not to mention your bowels will hold less food).

You can lose more fat if you eat less of throw in some fasting days, but then you’ll also lose more muscle over time. It’s your call if you want to risk that. If you go too low in calories (like say 300 per day, consistently) you will have trouble sleeping, cortisol will shoot through the roof, heart feels weird, and other danger symptoms. I’m not talking about the ‘feeling like crap’ during keto induction, but actual dangerous symptoms that happen if you go too far below your Daily Calories on this diet.

Also, you simply cannot do this type of thing in non-keto (like a low calorie bread and rice diet) unless you want to look like a concentration camp victim before long. That’s because carbs keep you out of ketosis, and if you’re not in ketosis, you’re not really sparing muscle or dipping heavily into body fat, so the muscle gets eaten first to provide glucose the body needs in non-keto mode.

Protein and Muscle

In a low calorie keto diet, you still need protein though. 40-60 grams of protein per day. Eat enough fat to meet your calorie goals, typically 60-90 grams of fat per day in addition to the 40-60 grams of protein. Whatever approximates the “Daily Calories to Eat” in the above equation.

No need to work out during this, other than walking or house chores or yard work if you want (keep heart rate below 120 bpm, as there’s a limit to how fast body fat can be converted into energy).

Ketosis is pretty sparing of the muscles. If you try to do a low calorie diet without ketosis, the body is in glucose-burning mode and when it’s low on glucose from carbs it will break down muscle to turn into glucose to power itself. That’s why a non-ketogenic low calorie low protein diet is the fastest way to lose muscle, even faster than not eating at all because at least when fasting you’re in ketosis which preserves muscle.

The reason ketosis preserves muscle is because the body prefers ketones for energy and has all that body fat to draw from, so the muscles are left alone for the most part. The reason I say “most part” is because certain organs of the body need glucose regardless, even in ketosis, and muscles will break down to feed them unless you eat enough protein. 40-60 grams of protein per day, when not working out, is sufficient.

The issue with protein is that it raises insulin as much as an equal amount of carbs does. That’s why after eating 4-6 oz of meat your insulin goes up and ketone levels go down for several hours. During that time, you may feel not as clear or energized. Fat burning will slow during that time too. But that’s what you have to do if you want to preserve muscles on a low calorie ketogenic diet.

Insulin Resistance and Keto Success

Some people actually go into ketosis very easily, enter it deeply, and can eat more protein without affecting ketones too much.

Other people have a tough time inducing ketosis, and anything beyond 4 oz of meat at a time knocks them out of it for many hours. They have to be ultra careful about what they eat.

Why the difference? It has to do with how insulin sensitive or resistant they are, which depends on genetics and hormones and lifestyle. People who are insulin resistant are diabetic or on their way to being diabetic. Or they might have metabolic disorders, thyroid issues, low testosterone, super high cortisol levels, and so on.

If you accumulate fat easily, especially around the mid section, you may be of the latter category. In that case, you’ll just have to be more strict about avoiding carbs and limiting your protein intake to 4oz or less per meal or snack.

If in doubt, during the first day or two (if you’re not fasting) eat just veggies (lettuce, avocado, celery, cucumber, broccoli, green onions), olive oil, egg yolks, and fatty nuts like walnuts and macadamia nuts.

By limiting protein during the keto induction phase, you won’t screw it up. There’s nothing worse than staying in that limbo state between non-keto and keto and endlessly feeling like crap by keeping yourself from fully flipping over.

Ideal Ketone Range

Now, the keto indicator strips can tell you what ketone range you’re in. You want to aim to be somewhere in the middle of the scale, somewhere between 2.0 and 5.0 — if it’s higher (darker color) feel free to eat more protein to bring it down. If it’s in the none, trace, or small range then cut back on the protein and check that you’re not consuming hidden carbs, or just fast more often. Some veggies like carrots and tomatoes have too many sugars that can add up if overeaten.

Mineral Deficiency

Because you’re eating less and losing stored water (glucose in muscles helps it store water… less glucose = less water in body) you’ll be losing minerals and may become low on sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. You can supplement or create your own electrolyte fluid with this recipe:

Keto Juice Version 1.0

2L of water
1/2 tsp magnesium chloride
1 tsp potassium chloride
1 tsp sodium chloride (table salt)
1 tsp calcium carbonate

This is a modification of the “Snake Juice” recipe given by Cole of Snake Diet fame. Let’s call it “Keto Juice Version 1.0” — It has a better form of magnesium, includes calcium carbonate since increased magnesium absorption can decrease calcium levels, and omits the baking soda since calcium carbonate is a PH buffer already. Or you can just follow Cole’s recipe and take a calcium pill on the side, but just keep in mind that magnesium sulfate in that recipe is not absorbable and probably functions more as an anti-constipation element.

This is an electrolyte fluid that can be consumed while fasting to prevent muscle cramps and other common mineral-deficiency symptoms. For example, acute calcium deficiency can cause numbness and tingling in the extremities and face, which can happen with the original Snake Juice recipe. Calcium carbonate solves that problem.

Eat Nutritiously

Lastly, because you’re eating less, it’s important to eat more nutritious foods. Specifically, for proteins that would be egg yolks, chicken livers, and salmon. For vegetables that includes asparagus, broccoli, peppers, and green onions. These are just some examples. Be sure to include these among what else you’re eating. You’ll be peeing out sodium more than normal, so feel free to add more salt to your foods.

You can research Keto Diet and Snake Diet for more tips and ideas. The above is not strictly those, but has various improvements learned from a lot of experimentation and research.