Low-Carb Weight Loss: Kim Kardashian, Melissa McCarthy Hype Protein, Sports Stars Use Ketogenic Diet

When it comes to celebrity weight loss in 2016, low-carb diets ruled. Kim Kardashian and Melissa McCarthy stunned their fans with their slim-down success, with Kim opting for the Atkins program version of a low-carb diet and Melissa reportedly turning to a similar high-protein, low-carb weight loss plan. As for the world of sports stars, increasingly it's the ketogenic diet that's become the king, according to a new report.

Ketogenic diets, sometimes called low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diets, have been used by a variety of celebrities in the sports world, noted Men's Fitness.

LeBron James cut out carbohydrates and sugar to lose 25 pounds, while Sami Inkinen achieved a record time in rowing with his wife from California to Hawaii, powered by a ketogenic plan. Sami made his voyage to bring awareness to the risks of too much sugar and promote the LCHF way of life.

LeBron James famously lost 25 pounds by cutting out carbohydrates and sugar.
LeBron James famously lost 25 pounds by cutting out carbohydrates and sugar. [Image by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images]

Timothy Noakes, M.D., an emeritus professor in the Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine at the University of Cape Town, has become a celebrity himself because of the knowledge he has about the LCHF lifestyle.

Noakes contends that rather than consuming carbs to fuel their performance, athletes can cause their bodies to burn fat as the main source of fuel, a process called ketosis. Those who aren't athletes but want to win their own game of weight loss can follow a similar high-fat plan, according to Noakes.

Dr. Eric Westman, the director of the Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Duke University, told Time magazine the clinical definition of a ketogenic diet.

"In a clinical setting, a strict ketogenic diet would involve ultra-low carb consumption, like 20 or 30 grams a day."

Translation: One small apple contains approximately that many carbohydrates. However, for those wincing at the thought of sacrificing high-carb foods, Westman has researched what happens to the body on a low-carb diet, and the results indicate that these low-carb, high-fat plans can boost weight loss and reduce the appetite. Although a variety of low-carb diets exist, including the Atkins plan, Time cautions that the ketogenic lifestyle is the "most carb-restrictive" plan.

It's not just carbohydrates that get cut in a true LCHF approach, however. Protein also is restricted, and that means eating much more fat, explains Westman.

"You'd want healthy fats to account for about 80% of your calories, and protein around 20%."

In comparison, the average American reportedly consumes 50 percent of calories from carbohydrates, 15 percent from protein, and 30 percent from fat. However, changing to a ketogenic diet can do more than boost weight loss, according to this expert's research, which also indicates it can help with type 2 diabetes as well as some other conditions. He emphasized that a shift to a ketogenic diet for these individuals, as well as those who are older or are kids, should be attempted only under the supervision of a doctor or dietitian.

Kim Kardashian lost 60 pounds on a low carb high protein diet.
Kim Kardashian lost 60 pounds on a low carb high protein diet. [Image by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]

In contrast to the LCHF diet, Kim Kardashian turned to the high-protein, low-carb Atkins program, reported Self. Kim achieved her 60-pound post-pregnancy weight loss by using a variation called the Atkins 40, revealed Colette Heimowitz, Atkins' vice president of Nutrition & Education and Kardashian's nutritionist.

Kim ate 40 grams of carbohydrates daily, consuming three to four 6-ounce servings of protein each day. Fiber-rich carbohydrates, such as vegetables and certain fruits, also helped Kardashian avoid feeling hungry, and she consumed healthy fats such as nuts and avocado. Heimowitz explained the resulting benefits to Kim's and other Atkins dieters' bodies.

"Your body uses fat as fuel because it doesn't have carbohydrates to turn to, so you end up losing body fat."

Kardashian's nutritionist also noted that because the weight loss program features enough protein, Kim maintained her muscle. A sample day for Kardashian began with eggs, cheese, and vegetables for breakfast. Kim typically ate a mid-morning snack of an Atkins bar.

For lunch, Kardashian consumed grilled salmon with asparagus and a side salad. Guacamole and vegetables served as an afternoon snack for the reality TV star, and Kim often dined on chicken breast with broccoli and a salad with creamy dressing for dinner. Kardashian's calorie total ranges from 1,500 to 1,800 per day.

Like Kim, Melissa McCarthy followed a high-protein plan. But while Kardashian is earning wows for her appearance, Melissa reportedly chose a high-protein, low-carb diet for a different reason than to be Hollywood-standard thin. McCarthy wanted to set a good example for her kids, reported Shape.

A source cited by Shape revealed that Melissa also desired to "stay healthy for her kids, and to live longer."

In Touch Weekly reported that McCarthy has a total weight loss of 75 pounds, citing an insider's revelation that Melissa herself was surprised by her slim-down success.

"Melissa never expected to drop all this weight."

The source shared that although McCarthy "has no intention of losing any more," she won't "complain" if she sheds even more pounds on the same plan.

[Featured Image by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images]