The Ketogenic Diet — better known as the Keto Diet — has become a wildly popular health trend. Its low carb, high fat diet description made many people curious. Famed personalities like Halle Berry and Kourtney Kardashian love it, while athletes like NBA star LeBron James and Ironman triathlete Ben Greenfield swear by it.
However, more than just a popular health trend, the Keto Diet has helped many people manage their weight and improve their health.
So, what exactly is the Keto Diet and how does it help with weight loss?
What is the Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet is a low carb, high fat eating plan that consists mostly of fat from good food sources, moderate protein and little to no carbohydrates. The diet helps the body switch from burning carbs to burning fat as its energy source. Keto foods typically include meat, fish, eggs, oils, organic and grass-fed dairy, and green vegetables. Grains like pasta, bread and rice, as well as potatoes and high glycemic fruits are not allowed on this diet.
To give you an idea, a person on a typical Keto Diet must consume:
- 75 to 80 percent fat
- 20 to 25 percent protein
- and little to no carbohydrates at 5-10%
Why do I need to eat more fat and less carbs?
Your body is designed to burn carbohydrates for energy before fat. These carbs are converted to glucose, which then causes insulin spikes, as insulin processes the glucose in the blood for energy.
When you cut down the carbs, your body will have to use another source of energy to keep it functioning. The Keto Diet focuses on increasing your fat intake to help your body burn fat as its primary source of energy while maintaining your muscle mass.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis, which is the basis for the Keto Diet, is a natural function the body employs to help us cope when food is scarce. The Keto diet goal is to induce the body in a state of ketosis, where it releases stored fat from cells. The liver converts these fatty acids into ketones, which become the body’s new source of energy.
Ketosis basically transforms your body into a fat-burning machine, using fat instead of carbs as its main source of fuel.
A low carb diet, like the Keto Diet, has been proven to have great effects on weight loss. Aside from helping individuals manage their weight, it’s also a good option for people who want to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Moreover, people with type two diabetes can go on this diet to help decrease glucose levels in their blood.
How exactly does the Keto Diet help me lose weight?
The Keto Diet helps induce weight loss in several ways. These include:
- Suppressing your appetite – A high fat diet with moderate protein helps you feel full longer. This makes you feel more satisfied with your meals, keeping you from overindulging.
- Limiting your carb intake – Having little to no carbs significantly reduces the amount of calories in your diet. When you don’t eat high-calorie foods like most carbs, you’re less likely to store them as excess fat.
- Decreased fat storage in your body – There are studies that suggest the Keto diet can reduce lipogenesis, which is the process of converting sugar into fat.
- Rapid fat burning – The Keto Diet increases the amount of fat you burn while you exercise, rest and do daily activities.
What should I expect when I try the Keto Diet?
It’s important to note you may feel some discomfort when you’re starting on the Keto Diet. This condition is commonly referred to as Keto flu. It’s normal and typically goes away, in a few days, as your body gets used to burning fat instead of carbs for energy. You may experience the following side-effects during the first few weeks on the diet:
- Mental fogginess
- Low electrolyte levels
To cope with the effects of Keto flu, remember to drinks lots of water. Adding a bit of salt in your diet can also help alleviate the symptoms. Another way is to gradually lessen your carb intake so your body has time to adjust. It will take more time to get your body into ketosis, but it will help ease your discomfort.
Is the Keto Diet the right one for you?
It’s a great diet option if you’re looking to lose a lot of weight and manage conditions like hypertension or type two diabetes. However, it’s not the best diet if you want to build more muscle and increase your strength. Keto is mainly focused on burning fat while maintaining muscle mass.
Moreover, it may not be a sustainable diet everyone can maintain, due to its high fat content. Maintaining the right proportion of your macros (fat, protein, carbs) sometimes requires creative eating. “Fat bombs” are one way Keto dieters can help them stay on track.
The bottom line:
The Keto Diet provides great weight loss and health benefits as long as you stick to it.
If you’re interested in trying the Keto Diet, be sure to consult your doctor first, especially if you have pre-existing conditions like diabetes or heart problems. Remember, it’s still best to get guidance from a medical professional before you try anything that will have a great impact on your health.