The Scoop On "The Keto Diet"
The ketogenic diet (or keto diet) has been practiced for more than nine decades (since the 1920s) and is based upon a solid understanding of physiology and nutrition science.
The ketogenic, low-carb diet takes an entirely different approach to weight loss and health improvements.
It works because it changes the very “fuel source” that the body uses to stay energized: namely, from burning glucose (or sugar) to burning dietary fat instead .
The ketogenic diet is a low carb, moderate protein & high fat diet, that puts the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis.
It was originally designed in the 1920s by researchers working at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, specifically for patients with epilepsy.
Researchers found that fasting / avoiding consumption of all foods for a brief period of time, including those that provide carbohydrates, helped reduce the amount of seizures patients suffered, in addition to having other positive effects on body fat, blood sugar, cholesterol and hunger levels.
A big benefit of the ketogenic diet, for people that suffer from epilepsy, is that it allows them to take fewer medications.
Where does your energy come from?
For most people, the answer is carbohydrates. But followers of the ketogenic diet take a different approach and source their energy from fat.
When your body is in a state of ketosis, the liver produces ketones which become the main energy source for the body.
The ketogenic diet is also referred to as keto (key-toe) diet, low carb diet, and low carb high fat (LCHF).
So why is it so awesome and why is it taking the world by storm?
This "Diet" completely reverses how your body functions (in a good way) along with changing how you view nutrition.
It's based around the premise that your body was designed to run more efficiently as a fat burner than a sugar burner.
I personally tried the Keto diet and to be honest...I have never felt healthier. It's a completely new lifestyle that offers numerous benefits, but...the ketogenic diet isn’t a miracle diet for weight loss or a fix for all health problems.
For certain people (like those with kidney disease), it can be dangerous. And because it’s not a long-term plan, you have to manage your diet carefully after stopping keto.
Most people look into a specific diet to lose weight & the keto diet is one of the most effective ways to lose weight in a healthy manner.
Because the ketogenic diet is using body fat as an energy source, your body will begin to burn the unwanted fat causing obvious weight loss benefits. Many people suffer from diabetes which is caused by your body's inability to handle insulin.
Keto naturally lowers blood sugar levels due to not eating as many carbs so your body can't produce glucose.
Keto has been shown to have huge benefits for people that are pre-diabetic or have Type II diabetes.
Because the ketogenic diet helps you to maintain more consistent blood sugar levels you find that you have more control of your everyday life while on keto.
You've already learned that keto helps your body turn fat into an energy source, but, did you know that this helps to increase your energy levels?
Keto helps to provide your body with a more reliable energy source, allowing you to feel more energized throughout the day.
When eating a diet that is heavy in carbs you can often find yourself hungry and shortly after..exhausted!!
Because fats are more naturally satisfying they end up leaving our bodies in a satiated state for much longer, thereby avoiding those random cravings that leave you feeling like you'll collapse if you don't consume something immediately.
More benefits to this diet:
The ketogenic diet has been known to improve both triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
Less toxic buildup in the arteries, allowing blood to flow as it should throughout your body.
Low carb, high fat diets show a dramatic increase in HDL (good cholesterol) and a decrease in LDL (bad cholesterol).
Studies have shown that low-carb diets show better improvement in blood pressure over other diets.
Because some blood pressure issues are associated with excess weight, the keto diet is an obvious warrior against these issues due to its natural weight loss.
It's important to understand that carbohydrates are not only in the junk foods that you love, but also some of the healthier foods that you enjoy. For example, on keto you need to avoid wheat (bread, pasta, cereals), starch (potatoes, beans, legumes) and fruit.
There are small exceptions like avocado, star fruit, and berries as long as they are consumed in moderation.
Foods you should avoid:
Grains - wheat, corn, rice, cereal
Sugar - honey, agave, maple syrup
Fruit - apples, bananas, oranges
Tubers - potato, yams
Foods you can eat:
Meats - fish, beef, lamb, poultry, egg
Leafy Greens - spinach, kale
Above ground vegetables - broccoli, cauliflower
High fat dairy - hard cheeses, high fat cream, butter
Nuts and seeds - macadamias, walnuts, sunflower seeds
Avocado and berries - raspberries, blackberries, and other low glycemic impact berries
Sweeteners - stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, and other low-carb sweeteners
Other fats - coconut oil, high-fat salad dressing, saturated fats, etc.
Vegetables on a Ketogenic Diet:
Almost all of the vegetables that we consume today contain carbs, so vegetables can be tricky on a ketogenic diet.
If you're looking for more details on Keto and vegetables then check out: 11 Low Carb Vegetables That You Can Safely Eat on the Ketogenic Diet.
Here is a fantastic Keto Shopping list
Wonderful Keto recipes
Grab n Go Keto Snacks recommended by everydayhealth.com
If you think you really need to try the ketogenic diet, first and foremost, check with your primary care physician.
There are many resources online and in texts that are not all peer-reviewed. Use the information carefully, and listen to your body.
Keep the following in mind : this type of diet requires additional understanding of the biochemical processes, it is difficult to follow due to its limitations and potential lack of palatability, and also needs to be limited in duration. Depending on one’s genetics, the diet can yield very different outcomes.
That made clear, there are some clever recipes out there to rival those we have seen in the great Paleo rage.
One standout resource for the ketogenic diet is the Charlie Foundation website, which was founded to provide dietary information for caregivers of young children with uncontrolled epilepsy. It has fantastic recipes too.
Image source: Nik Ingersoll