What Is It?
The ketogenic diet, better known as the keto diet, is often promoted for its fat-burning, health-boosting powers. By lowering your carbohydrate intake, consuming moderate amounts of protein and increasing the amount of fat you eat, you can force your body into a metabolic state of ketosis, ultimately making your body burn a different source of fuel: it will chip away at the fat from your diet or from existing fat stores.
When in ketosis, your body is really good at burning fat quickly and effectively, so you can lose weight without having to feel hungry. More than this, it helps turn fat into ketones inside the liver. Ketones aid in supplying energy to the brain. Other benefits include: lowering your blood sugar, reducing insulin levels, increasing your ketones and weight loss. A keto diet may even help conditions such as diabetes
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Ketones are small molecules of fuel that our bodies produce naturally. They’re an alternative source of energy that our bodies rely on when glucose (sugar) is in short supply. When your body is lacking in carbs/calories, your liver will make ketones from fat instead. These ketones will then become a primary source of fuel to efficiently food our energy-hungry brains, as they can’t run on fat alone. It is effective as a diet because your body will rely on fat as its main source of energy, which means that fat is burnt constantly whilst you’re in a keto state. A keto diet is also arguably easier to maintain because you can cut out the hunger pangs and reduced functionality that often occur as a result of general low-cal diets.
It’s really important to monitor your intake levels, however the ratio is really dependent on an individual’s needs. You’ll need to eat less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day- ideally less than 20. The fewer carbs, the quicker you can reach a state of ketosis. Reaching a state of ketosis can take up to a week, and you won’t reap the benefits unless you maintain it. You should also avoid eating too much protein, because this can inhibit your results and ketosis maintenance.
What Should I Consume?
Typical foods you should eat during a keto diet are as follows:
– Natural fats such as butters and mct oils
– Meats that are high in saturated fat, e.g red meat and bacon
– Fish and seafood
– Cheese and other dairy products
– Some vegetables such as avocados, broccoli, tomatoes (particularly vegetables that grow above ground)
What Shouldn’t I Consume?
During a keto diet, your main no-gos are high-carb foods. High-carb foods contain lots of sugar and/or lots of starch. Here are some examples:
– Fruit (particularly high-energy fruits such as bananas)
– Potatoes and other vegetables that grow below ground
– Beer and sweet wine
– Highly-processed foods
– Juice and fizzy drinks
In most cases and with most individuals, keto diets are safe and can even be medically advised. However, like with everything, they can come with risks. By limiting the fruit and vegetables you eat, you can deprive your body of a lot of vitamins and nutrients. It also means that you’re consuming small amounts of fibre, which can lead to constipation. For reasons such as these, keto diets are not ideal for breast-feeding or pregnant women, whilst large amounts of saturated fats are not ideal for people with type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure. A keto diet can also put a strain on your kidney and liver, which is something you should consider if you have underlying health issues that are associated with your vital organs.
What Is Keto Flu?
As with most diets and sizable lifestyle changes, the keto diet can induce some side effects whilst your body adjusts and adapts. This is often referred to as the keto flu, and in most cases you will make a full recovery in just a few days. Some effects of keto flu are as follows: reduced mental and bodily function, digestive discomfort, decreased exercise performance, nausea and sleep issues. To minimize the effects of keto flu, try easing your body into the diet by trying a regular low-carb diet first. It is also advisable to take mineral supplements and/or vitamins such as electrolytes, magnesium and MCT oil