The Keto diet is one of the latest diet trends everyone seems to be talking about. It is a low carbohydrate, high fat diet that also goes by the names LCHF diet, low carb diet, and ketogenic diet. The keto diet is primarily for weight loss and according to new studies, it can lower health risks such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s.
The Keto diet works by putting your body in a metabolic state called ketosis. Humans evolved ketosis to help us survive when food is scarce. While your body is in ketosis it begins using ketone bodies for energy, which get created by breaking down fat in the liver. On a normal diet glucose is the primary energy being used and fats are generally not needed so they get stored as body fat. For ketosis to begin it can take between 3 days to a week and once you’re in ketosis you’re body will begin burning fat(including body fat) for energy instead of carbohydrates.
Their are keto strip tests that you can perform yourself to check if your body has entered ketosis after you’ve began the keto diet. They’re easy to use and it will inform you if your body is in ketosis or not.
The Benefits Of The Ketogenic Diet
What the ketogenic diet does is use your bodies fat as fuel instead of glucose.
Insulin levels drop which slows the process of adding on new fat.
By altering the levels of hormones in the body the keto diet can be helpful in reducing appetite.
Control Blood Sugar
Due to the type of foods you normally eat on the keto diet, it naturally lowers blood sugar levels.
Studies have shown the ketogenic diet can help mage/prevent diabetes compared to lower calorie diets.
Increased Mental Focus
Ketone bodies are an excellent source of fuel for the brain.
While on a low carbohydrate intake your body has less spikes in blood sugar which results in improved focus.
Increased Energy And Reduced Hunger
Fats are a far more efficient fuel for your body which allows for a feeling of being more energized throughout your day.
Fat is more satisfying for your body to consume which causes your body to feel full longer.
As early as the 1900’s ketogenic diets have been used to treat epilepsy and is still used today in conjunction with medication.
Blood Pressure And Cholesterol
Keto diet foods have shown to improve both cholesterol and triglyceride levels associated with arterial buildup.
High-fat, low-carb diets show a huge decrease in LDL particle concentration and an increase in HDL particle concentration.
Research in the field has shown that a high fat, low carb diet can help lower your insulin levels which if left unmanaged can develop into type 2 diabetes.
While on a ketogenic diet it’s common to see improvements in your skin due to carbs ties with skin inflammation.
Foods To Eat On A Keto Diet
When starting a ketogenic diet, preparation is important so having a meal plan setup before hand will help your body enter ketosis sooner. Keeping your carbohydrates limited(below 15 grams of carbohydrates a day) and keeping the carbohydrates that you do eat to dairy, nuts, and vegetables will get your body into ketosis faster. This means not eating refined carbs such as fruit, wheat, or starches.
Foods To Eat:
Meats: Eggs, lamb, poultry, fish, beef, etc.
Leafy Greens: Kale, spinach, etc.
Low Carb Vegetables: Zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.
High Fat Dairy: Butter, cheeses, cream, etc.
Nuts And Seeds: Flax seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
Avocado And Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, etc.
Sweeteners: Erythritol, stevia, monk fruit etc.
Other Fats: Saturated fats, coconut oil, high fat salad dressing, etc.
Foods To Avoid:
Grains: Corn, cereal, rice, wheat, etc.
Sugar: Hard candy, honey, maple syrup, agave, etc.
Fruit: Oranges, apples, pears, bananas, etc.
Tubers: Yams, potatoes, etc.
The most important thing to remember about the keto diet is that the diet consists of high fat intake and low carb intake while consuming a moderate amount of protein. Your macro nutrient goals should be close to 70% fats, 25% protein and 5% carbohydrates. The typical diet suggests 20-30 grams of carbs a day but your goal should be keeping your carb intake and glucose levels as low as you can sustain. For weight loss it’s definitely a good idea to keep track of your total carbs each day and make sure your body is in a constant state of ketosis.
There are some goods snacks with the keto diet that can help if you feel hungry throughout your day such as peanut butter, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and cheeses. All of these can help sate your appetite. Snacking should be kept down to a minimum though as people tend to use it too often which will slow down your weight loss over time.
If your feeling brave enough consider adding intermittent fasting along with the keto diet. Intermittent fasting which is covered extensively here, is essentially fasting for 16-24 hours twice a week which has many benefits including weight loss. Before picking up intermittent fasting with the keto diet definitely make sure you’re ready to undertake that challenge as it is not for everyone.
As always if you have any questions feels free to ask in the comments!