Have you been following the keto diet and aren’t seeing much progress in the way of fat loss?

We know it can be frustrating when those stubborn areas just won’t seem to budge (especially the pesky love-handle region).

Don’t worry, though!

There are some pretty nifty ways to enhance fat loss on keto that this article will cover.

The best part: these methods are backed by science and evidence.  

Lets take a look…

Evidence-Based Ways to Enhance Fat Loss on Keto

1. Avoid fasted cardio if you want to retain your muscle tissue while leaning out

Many fitness enthusiasts seem to believe that doing long bouts of low-intensity cardio while fasting is the best way to enhance fat loss on the keto diet and get lean.

Recent research, however, actually suggests that doing long bouts of cardio while fasting is actually detrimental to muscle tissue.

Further, it doesn’t improve fat-burning versus those who trained after consuming a protein-based meal.[1] Thus, we suggest that you eat a light meal or drink a protein shake before you hit the treadmill.

2. Acetyl-L-Carnitine: A supplement worth considering

  • L-carnitine is an important compound responsible for transporting fatty acids into the mitochondrial matrix for generation of energy.
  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR) is a highly bioavailable form of L-carnitine and has been studied somewhat extensively in recent years.

It was shown in a study published in “The Journal of Nutrition” to not only improve nutrient partitioning but also increase ATP production, increase mitochondrial protein content and reduce body-fat in rats.[2]

Consider this…

supplement with 1 to 2 grams of ALCAR per day for fat loss on keto.

3. Don’t sit for excessive periods of time

A recent literature review in the journal of “Exercise and Sports Sciences” found that physical inactivity can significantly reduce the activity of lipoprotein lipase (LPL).

  • lipoprotein lipase is an enzyme that your body requires for breaking down triglycerides found in lipoproteins (like cholesterol).[3]

The study suggests that a good way to combat this down regulation of LPL is to incorporate intermittent periods of standing/movement when sitting for long periods at a time (such as when working in an office or at school).

And even better…

If you have the option to stand, or use a standing desk, that would be ideal. 

4. Omega-3s for better health and less body-fat

There has been plenty of literature promoting the anti-inflammatory and cardiac benefits of these fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA.

A study in the journal “Lipids” actually demonstrated that over-fed mice that consumed a high amount of EPA/DHA were less prone to body-fat accumulation than mice who ate less EPA/DHA.[4]

For humans it is generally advised to consume about 2-3 grams of fish oil per day (from food and/or supplements). Preferably, a high proportion of that should be from EPA and DHA.

5. Eat slowly so your brain can catch up with your stomach

Feelings of hunger are tied mainly to a peptide called ghrelin – an appetite-stimulating hormone secreted in cells of the stomach and pancreas. Shortly after you start eating, appetite-reducing hormones are secreted that induce satiety [5].

This is why it is often advised to eat slowly if you’re watching your calorie count and trying to lose fat, as it allows your brain to catch up with your stomach and antagonize the appetite-stimulating pathway.

Moral of the story:

Take your time when you eat, especially when the goal is fat loss.

6. Avoid intake of synthetic trans fat

If you had the chance to read our Guide to Trans Fat on the Keto Diet, you’re already aware that many modern, processed foods contain synthetic trans fatty acids.

These types of fatty acids are made through partial chemical hydrogenation of saturated fats. An example of a product that contains a large amount of trans fat is Crisco (shortening).

Trans fats are so-named because they contain a “trans” double bond in their chemical structure, which causes problems with their digestion.

Evidence so far demonstrates that regular consumption (even in small amounts) of synthetic trans fat can increase the risk of debilitating health conditions, including:

  • type-2 diabetes
  • hypertension
  • cardiovascular disease
  • and more [6]

Even though the keto diet is a high-fat diet, you need to avoid/greatly limit the intake of synthetic trans fat.

If you’re looking for the best fat sources on keto, check out our Ultimate Keto Food List!

7. Spice up your diet with peppers…or just take some capsaicin to be safe

Remember the last time you ate something really spicy and the ensuing sweat that started to drip down your forehead?

You can thank capsaicinoids for that. [unique group of compounds that naturally occur in peppers].

Contemporary findings supported that capsaicin (a specific capsaicinoid) acts to increase metabolic expenditure by stimulating beta-adrenergic receptors [7].

Unfortunately, you will have to eat a rather impractical amount of spicy peppers to reach a clinically effective dose of capsaicinoids.

Instead?…

opt for a capsaicinoid supplement providing at least 2 mg of capsaicin for fat loss on keto.

8. Eat veggies and hi-fiber content foods first in your meals

A study published in “Nutrition Research” found that overweight adults who ate a diet with a high intake of vegetables and fruits were successful at losing weight and keeping it off for the 6-month trial period [8].

It appears that the fiber and water content of these food groups promotes feelings of fullness; thus, the individuals were less likely to overeat.

Therefore, if you are looking for a way to reduce hunger and your calorie intake, start each meal with a non-starchy vegetable or maybe a few slices of keto-friendly fruit. Your stomach and waistline will thank you.

9. Green tea: is there anything it can’t do?

Green tea extract is renowned as one of nature’s most beneficial herbal extracts, primarily for its capacity to increase metabolic rate.

The main compound present in green tea leaves that increases energy expenditure is an antioxidant known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).

Research shows that EGCG increases catecholamine activity throughout the nervous system, which directly impacts fat loss (particularly during exercise) [9].

Among other benefits, EGCG is well-documented to reduce the risk of cancer and provide antioxidant protection throughout the body.

An efficacious dose of green tea extract will vary depending on the concentration of EGCG it has. Generally, anything greater than 150 mg of EGCG will be effective for fat loss on keto.

10. Drink Bulletproof Keto Coffee before you hit the gym

According to contemporary evidence, caffeine bolsters both anaerobic and aerobic performance by reducing the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) [10,11].

In other words…

Consuming caffeine/coffee before exercising will increase your physical (and mental) capacity to perform work. The result is that you can burn more energy (calories) and body fat while working out, producing a greater fat loss on the keto diet.

Moreover, the fat in bulletproof keto coffee is a great source of energy and helps your body produce more ketones.

Not sure how to prepare bulletproof keto coffee? Click here!

Fat Loss on Keto: Importance of Energy Balance

On a final note…

the number one factor that determines whether you will lose weight on keto is your total calorie intake (and calorie expenditure). If you’re not losing fat at a consistent rate, your first line of attack should be to cut calorie intake and/or increase your activity level.

While the tips in this article are certainly useful for enhancing fat loss on keto, they will not make up for excessive calorie intake or lack of activity.

However, in conjunction with proper energy balance for fat loss, these tips are sure to help you scorch some flab fast!

If you’re looking to lose fat and get in shape, be sure to check out our Beginner’s Guide to Keto Dieting for Weight Loss.

References:

  1. Schoenfeld, B. (2011). Does Cardio After an Overnight Fast Maximize Fat Loss?. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 33(1), 23-25.
  2. Lossa, S., Mollica, M. P., Lionetti, L., Crescenzo, R., Botta, M., Barletta, A., & Liverini, G. (2002). Acetyl-L-carnitine supplementation differently influences nutrient partitioning, serum leptin concentration and skeletal muscle mitochondrial respiration in young and old rats. The Journal of nutrition, 132(4), 636-642.
  3. Hamilton, M. T., Hamilton, D. G., & Zderic, T. W. (2004). Exercise physiology versus inactivity physiology: an essential concept for understanding lipoprotein lipase regulation. Exercise and sport sciences reviews, 32(4), 161.
  4. Ruzickova, J., Rossmeisl, M., Prazak, T., Flachs, P., Sponarova, J., Vecka, M., … & Kopecky, J. (2004). Omega-3 PUFA of marine origin limit diet-induced obesity in mice by reducing cellularity of adipose tissue. Lipids, 39(12), 1177-1185.
  5. Kokkinos, A., le Roux, C. W., Alexiadou, K., Tentolouris, N., Vincent, R. P., Kyriaki, D., … & Katsilambros, N. (2010). Eating slowly increases the postprandial response of the anorexigenic gut hormones, peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 95(1), 333-337.
  6. Ascherio, A., Katan, M. B., Zock, P. L., Stampfer, M. J., & Willett, W. C. (1999). Trans fatty acids and coronary heart disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 340, 1994-1998.
  7. The Journal of nutrition, 138(9), 1677-1683.Janssens, P. L., Hursel, R., Martens, E. A., & Westerterp-Plantenga, M. S. (2013). Acute effects of capsaicin on energy expenditure and fat oxidation in negative energy balance. PloS one, 8(7), e67786.
  8. Carter, P., Gray, L. J., Troughton, J., Khunti, K., & Davies, M. J. (2010). Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus: systematic review and meta-analysis. Bmj, 341, c4229.
  9. Bose, M., Lambert, J. D., Ju, J., Reuhl, K. R., Shapses, S. A., & Yang, C. S. (2008). The major green tea polyphenol,(-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate, inhibits obesity, metabolic syndrome, and fatty liver disease in high-fat–fed mice.
  10. Doherty, M., & Smith, P. M. (2005). Effects of caffeine ingestion on rating of perceived exertion during and after exercise: a meta‐analysis. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 15(2), 69-78.
  11. Doherty, M., Smith, P. M., Hughes, M. G., & Davison, R. R. (2004). Caffeine lowers perceptual response and increases power output during high-intensity cycling. Journal of sports sciences, 22(7), 637-643.

 

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Elliot received his BS in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota and has been a freelance writer specializing in nutritional and health sciences for the past 5 years. He is thoroughly passionate about exercise, nutrition, and dietary supplementation, especially how they play a role in human health, longevity, and performance. In his free time you can most likely find him lifting weights at the gym or out hiking through the mountains of Colorado. He will also host the upcoming BioKeto podcast. You can connect with him on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/elliot.reimers) and Instagram (@eazy_ell)

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