What is the ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet (or keto for short) is primarily based on a low carbohydrate (or carb), mid protein, and high fats intake. This may be a surprise since most people think "eating fats make you fat," which is utterly false. The fact is that eating fat isn't fattening. Our bodies need fats for energy, cell growth, hormone regulation, and absorbing nutrients. Your body definitely needs fats.
The combination of low carbs, mid proteins, and high fats puts the body in a state of ketosis. When the body reaches a state of ketosis, the liver produces ketones which become the main source of energy for the body. When someone eats something high in carbs such as a big bowl of pasta, the body makes glucose and insulin.
Glucose is a simple sugar which is necessary for the production of energy in most living organisms including humans.
Insulin is a hormone which regulates the amount of glucose in the bloodstream.
This lets the main source of energy in the body be glucose which is fine and dandy but, the body can't store too much glucose. When glucose can't be stored, it gets converted into fat and that isn't ideal when we want to lose weight. Since the body is always producing glucose, the fat stored away from previous glucose production is never burned off. This is why losing weight is difficult when you're only exercising and not paying attention to your diet.
The ketogenic diet eliminates this cycle by making the main source of energy fat itself rather than glucose. To achieve this the body must first achieve a state of ketosis. Ketosis is a natural metabolic state your body reaches when the liver begins producing ketones. Ketones occur when the liver breaks down fats. To achieve this, a low carb diet is a must. When you lower your carb intake, glucose levels drop as well as blood sugar and insulin. With lower insulin levels, fat cells are allowed to release the water they are storing. (This is why you initially lose water weight.) Then fat cells are finally allowed to enter the bloodstream and make its way to the liver. The keto diet is not when you starve yourself to lose weight, it is just when you eat a significantly low amount of carbs and a normal amount of everything else to enter ketosis.
The Benefits of the Keto Diet
The keto diet is one of the most effective ways to lose weight in a healthy manner. It allows for fats to be the main source of energy which lets you shed the weight easier than traditional exercise alone. Numerous celebrities such as the Kardashians, Halle Berry, Megan Fox, and Gwyneth Paltrow have tried the keto diet and swear by it. Besides celebrities, there is an abundance of people who have done the keto diet and have lost a lot of weight. With the help of the keto diet, your body becomes a fat burning machine
The human body can only have so much glucose stored in it at a time. Glucose is most people's main source of energy and when it runs out, the body needs more. When consuming carbs it causes a rise in blood sugar levels and when those sugar levels drop after, you usually feel an energy crash. This is exactly why kids have sugar rushes when eating too much candy and crash afterwards. The keto diet gives the body a more reliable source of energy since there is always fat to burn. With the constant fat to burn the body will never have an energy crash but also lose weight simultaneously.
Improved Appetite Control
After eating a carb-filled meal, you often find yourself being hungrier a lot sooner than expected. Fats satiate hunger for much longer than carbs do. This makes you eat less overall because now you don't those snack cravings after your meal anymore. No more cravings mean no more weight gain.
Cholesterol & Blood Sugar
The keto diet has been shown to improve triglyceride levels and cholesterol levels. This leads to less build up in arteries which allows for better blood flow throughout the body. There is also an increase in HDL or good cholesterol and a decrease in LDL or bad cholesterol. Since a lot of foods part of the ketogenic diet are also blood pressure benefiting foods as well as weight loss inducing, it does help cholesterol and blood sugar issues.
Carbs and sugar often cause blood sugar to spike and fall which makes one very moody and sluggish. Since the keto diet relies on fat burning, there will never be a dip in energy since everyone has fats in their body. This means a more reliable source of energy but a clearer mind since a steady energy can mean a much less foggy mind.
The keto diet often clears up people's skin. This is likely due to the fact that many carb-filled foods are acne triggering. Consuming empty carbs and sugars often release hormones that increase the production of pore-clogging oils as wells as inflammation. Curbing the carb intake through the keto diet often clears up skin. If you have lingering acne problem, the ketogenic diet may clear up your acne without any harsher topical medications.
Foods to Avoid
- Grains - wheat, corn, rice, cereal, bread, pasta
- Sugar - honey, maple syrup, juices
- Fruits- apples, bananas, oranges
- Carb-filled vegetables- potatoes, carrots, yams
- Sweets- cookies, cakes, brownies, anything sugary and carb filled
Foods To eat
- Meats- fish, poultry, beef, eggs
- Leafy Greens- spinach, kale, bok choi, collard greens
- Above Ground Vegetables- broccoli, cauliflower
- Fats- avocados, coconut oil, cheese, chia seeds, olive oil
Remember the key to succeeding in weight loss is predominantly a good diet with some exercise. The ketogenic diet is not the sole answer to weight loss, but if done correctly it can benefit you greatly. Not only does it promote weight loss but it overall improves mental and physical health.