Ketogenic Diet Explained – A Beginner’s Guide
The diet hype that’s on everyone’s lips : The Ketogenic aka Keto Diet. What is exactly a keto diet? Is it safe? Is it effective? And how does one do it? Here’s a simple and easy to understand explanation on everything you want to know about the Ketogenic Diet.
What is Keto Diet?
Ketogenic diet is essentially a low-carb diet, much like the diet trends that have existed before such as The Paleo or Atkins diet. The idea is mostly to focus on calories from protein and fat, while cutting down on carbohydrates.
By switching to protein and fat, your body will eventually run out of the first preferred fuel or blood sugar, which comes from carbs. With a drastic cut of carbohydrates, your body will enter the ketosis phase, where it starts breaking down stored fat into molecules called ketone bodies and uses it as fuel. The ketosis phase may vary in individuals, from 2- 5 days depending on the amount of carbohydrates intake. Typically fewer than 20-50 grams is a good start to begin the Keto diet.
Foods To Eat
The goal of Keto diet is to remain in ketosis as long as possible. As such, it is recommended to keep a low amount of carbs ( ideally below 20-50 grams), while focusing on especially fat and adequate amounts of protein for your meals. The recommended foods include :
- Fish & Seafood
- Natural fat such as butter, coconut oil, olive oil etc
- Leafy greens
- High fat dairy
- Berries ( less carbs compared to other fruits)
As for your drinks, continue to hydrate on water as your #1 option. You may also enjoy coffee and tea without sugar plus the occasional glass of wine. Stay clear of processed drinks such as juice or anything with sugar.
Keto Diet : Effectiveness, Results & Risks
The keto diet has been associated with weight loss, though results may vary through individuals. A few factors that also must be taken into account, other than the calorie intake itself are : sleeping pattern, stress management, and the level of physical activity.
Studies have also shown that the keto diet is best used for short-term weight loss programs as it promotes beneficial metabolic changes. There are also robust evidence for the use of keto diet to naturally reduce your appetite, lower bad cholesterol and increase the good ones, correct insulin levels and blood sugar, lower blood pressure, and work as therapeutic interventions for several brain disorders.
But the Keto diet is not without its downsides too. Some people have reported a feeling of sickness called “ the keto flu” with symptoms such as vomit, gastric distress, fatigue, and lethargy which may subside after a few days. There are also possibilities of other health issues such as ketoacidosis, the condition when the ketone acids produced through fat burning causes the blood to be too acidic and potentially damaging the liver, kidneys and brain.
When not done correctly, the results may also backfire such as losing muscle mass, decreased metabolism, weight regain to increased risks of heart disease and diabetes. In general, we recommend discussing your health concerns with your doctor or nutritionists to carefully plan the best diet for you.