The ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet, has become extremely popular among athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and the common man. The diet has been shown to help those who want to lose weight and improve their overall health, but how?
How Does The Ketogenic Diet Work?Before we discuss the many benefits of the keto diet, let’s go over what ketosis is. Ketosis is a normal metabolic process that our bodies go through. In most normal circumstances, the body uses glucose as its primary source of energy. Glucose can come from many foods, mostly carbohydrates, which include sugar and starch. When the body doesn’t have enough glucose to use for energy, it will instead turn to stored fats. This process results in a build-up of acids within the body, also called ketones. What Is A Net Carb? A net carb can be defined as the total carbohydrate content of food (usually measured in grams), minus the fiber and sugar content. A good example to think of is a medium avocado. This food contains roughly 17g of total carbs, 13.5g of which is fiber, and 0g sugar. To find the net carb value, you would subtract 17.1g from 13.5g for a total of 3.6 net carbs.
What Do You Eat On The Keto Diet?The keto diet can be described as a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. Most meals should be comprised of 70 to 80 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and 5 percent carbohydrates. You’ll want to avoid carbohydrates as much as possible. Consume as little as 20 to 50 grams of NET carbs per day, and stay away from foods like bananas, potatoes, rice, bread, chocolate, candy, and soda. Some go-to foods to consider on a keto diet include:
- Natural fats, including butter and olive oil
- Fish and seafood
- Cheese and eggs
- Unprocessed meats
- Vegetables that grow above ground, including leafy greens
- Soda and juice
- Chocolate and candy
The Benefits Of The Ketogenic DietThe ketogenic diet offers a variety of benefits, which is why so many celebrities and fitness enthusiasts have jumped on the keto bandwagon. Weight Loss Perhaps the biggest reason people adopt a keto diet is because they want to lose weight. Since the keto diet uses fat as your body’s main source of fuel, it’s easy to see how there are weight-loss benefits associated with this diet. When your body goes into ketosis, your insulin levels will drop dramatically, which can turn your body into a fat burning machine. Improved Mental Performance Another benefit of the keto diet is increased mental focus and performance. When you munch on grains, bread, beans, sweet potatoes, or pineapple throughout the day, it can cause your blood sugar to spike, resulting in an afternoon crash. Since you avoid these carb-packed foods on the ketogenic diet, you’ll likely notice that you feel more alert and focused. Control Blood Sugar People who are on the keto diet tend to experience lower blood sugar levels because they are avoiding the consumption of carbohydrates and sugar. Some studies even suggest that the ketogenic diet is an effective way to manage and prevent diabetes. Manage Cholesterol Levels As we age, it’s important to monitor our cholesterol levels. There are two main types to be aware of: low-density lipoproteins (LDL), and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). LDL, also called the “bad cholesterol,” can contribute to fatty buildups in the arteries, which will ultimately increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease. HDL, known as the “good cholesterol,” is believed to serve as a scavenger of sorts, removing LDL cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver where it is broken down and passed from the body. A ketogenic diet is ideal for those looking to manage their cholesterol levels because it stays away from HDL carbohydrates and replaces them with monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, stearic acid, and lauric acid.
What is the keto flu?The keto flu, also coined the “carb flu,” is a term that has developed in the keto community. Most people experience the keto flu at the beginning of their diet as their body gets used to limited carb consumption. People who have experienced this illness say that the symptoms can be very similar to the average flu. Some symptoms may include:
- Constipation and diarrhea
- Muscle cramps
- Stomach pain
- Difficulty sleeping