The ketogenic diet or keto, for short, has become super popular over the years.
You’ve probably seen the success stories and weight loss transformation hashtags roaming the web. But is it right for you?
What Is the Ketogenic Diet
The keto diet utilizes a very low carbohydrate approach, similar to the Atkins diet, which pushes the body into a metabolic state, known as nutritional ketosis.
Basically, your body is forced to run primarily on fats instead of sugars, which it normally runs on—the fat that you eat, and the fat that you already have hanging around.
Ketone Bodies- Science Behind the Ketogenic Diet
Your liver becomes your best friend as it is responsible for letting fatty acids into your bloodstream and converting them into something called ketone bodies.
Ketone bodies are a type of fat molecule which is used to give energy to cells, not only the cells within the body but also within the brain. And this is where keto gets its name ketone bodies and the state of your body known as ketosis.
The Ketogenic Diet Vs. Other Diets
Most other diets just say “lower your calorie count” or “eat carrots and leaves.” These often leave a person dissatisfied, and he or she ends up “relapsing” as fast as the opportunity presents itself.
The keto diet leaves you more satisfied and less stressed. You should always be searching for a “diet” that fits you, and that is sustainable. Think of it as more of a lifestyle change because if you don’t, the “diet” will drift away along with your weight goals.
Weight Loss Is Much Faster
And not just any weight loss, FAT LOSS, which is what we all care about.
The keto diet also has positive effects on hunger, meaning that it causes you to be less hungry.
Some people think because the diet is high in fat, it automatically is high in calories, and this is because there are nine calories per gram of fat, as opposed to four calories per gram of protein or carbohydrates, but here’s the thing.
People on keto tend to eat fewer calories per day without counting calories, as opposed to people who are on a low fat, low-calorie diet, who are counting calories.
Why Carbs Won’t Fill You up Like the Keto Diet
Think of it like this. Have you ever eat a whole bag of Barbeque Chips? And I’m not talking about one of those little subway bags. I’m talking about the big Party-Sized bags of Chips.
It’s relatively easy to do so without self-restraint. And guess what? You’ve successfully gone through oh… about 2500 calories!!! That’s more than what most people should have in a day (especially if you are trying to lose weight).
Now instead of doing that, if you eat 4 serving sizes of steak (3.5 oz per serving size), you’re looking at around 830 calories. And guess what? You are left more satisfied (as long as you’re cooking it right). This leads to weight loss.
The Ketogenic Diet Breakdown- What you need for Ketosis to Work
A strategic ketogenic diet causes significant weight loss in most individuals, by keeping dietary carbohydrates very low.
This diet keeps insulin levels very low and keeps glucose levels high. It also pushes your body into the fat-burning mode as opposed to fat storage
mode; it’s almost like a light switch going on to off.
A well-formulated ketogenic diet has about 5% carbohydrates, 20% protein, and about 75% fat.
What to do About Carbs
Healthy carbohydrate options include non-starchy vegetables, including broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, and many more; for the most part, fruits are off-limits. Still, you can eat avocados, and you can also eat a limited amount of berries, you’re also going to find carbohydrates in some nuts, and you’re going to find a few carbs in the dairy that you eat such as cheese.
Otherwise, fill your day with your allotted carbs. Ideally, these should be natural foods- But do what works for you.
Keep your Proteins Moderate
Protein is kept traditionally moderate on a ketogenic diet, as was said before about 20% of your dietary intake. You need to eat enough protein to replace the protein turnover in your body, as well as to prevent muscle wasting with too much protein; It can increase insulin and ultra-ketone formation, so overdoing your protein isn’t a good idea.
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Downsides to the Ketogenic Diet
The Keto diet is excellent for a lot of people, but there are some downsides that you should consider before committing to it.
As with most diets, the beginning is the hardest part.
Side effects that can occur the first week are often referred to as the “keto flu.”
Your body is adapting to the “cold turkey” change in consumption, so you sometimes experience headaches, muscle aches, dizziness, decreased exercise performance, GI problems, and some people even claim hair loss.
Keep in mind that not everyone experiences these symptoms, but we are making you aware of them beforehand. For some people, they experience them at the beginning, and then as they progress, the symptoms fade away. Always consult a health care professional before starting any diet.
Top Keto Beginner Tips
The Keto Diet can be great, but you don’t want to overdo it or make common mistakes.
Don’t force fats if you’re not hungry.
This is one of the major pitfalls that I’m seeing people who start the ketogenic diet, who end up having trouble losing weight. They’re trying to force down fats; just to fit their macros, dietary fat should be a limit, not a goal.
Eat the Right Fats
Dietary fat should be used to make your food taste good, and keep you full for longer.
You shouldn’t be trying to consume fats just because they are fats. When we’re talking about fat, we’re talking about healthy fats. But what exactly are healthy fats?
Traditionally, saturated fats from animal meats and coconut oil have been demonized to cause heart disease- but recent evidence proves that when they are consumed the right way, they can be beneficial to your health.
Definitely stay away from any type of trans fats. Trans fats are known to cause vascular damage and heart disease, and trans fats are commonly found in deep-fried food, margarine, things like that. You also want to stay away from processed, refined oils. This includes things like vegetable oil, soybean oil, sunflower seed oil, etc.
These have a high ratio of omega-six to omega-three fatty acids.
This means that they’re more likely to be inflammatory to the body. You really should try to get your fats from natural sources, yes from animal sources including dairy, but also coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, you can also try ketogenic coffee.
Consult a Doctor Before Starting
Even if you think you don’t need to, it is always good to have a chat with a health care professional -preferably someone that knows you- in order to clear up any questions you may have about a particular diet.
If you have a particular condition, such as diabetes, you should ALWAYS talk to a doctor beforehand.
Avoiding alcohol and controlled substances is also a no-brainer in order to get proper weight loss results from dieting.
The ketogenic diet has great potential, but it’s not for everyone.
No one diet fits all, and the best diet for weight loss is the one that you’ll actually stick to for life.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you have an idea of it the ketogenic diet is right for you.
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