A ketogenic diet, most commonly called the keto diet, is an eating regimen that is based on a low-carb and high-fat eating plan. The keto plan is used to trick your body into burning fat stores for energy instead of the food you consume which results in weight loss along with other health benefits.
By reducing the number of carbohydrates you consume while increasing the number of healthy fats in your meals, the number of ketones in your liver will increase. Then your body will look to your existing fat stores when it wants to generate energy. There are a lot of benefits of following the keto diet, such as improved performance, optimized health, and of course, a weight loss.
Ketosis is the state that your body will enter naturally in order to ensure your survival when there is a food shortage. When the body enters a state of ketosis, your liver will break down fat to produce ketones. Basically, when your body needs to make energy but doesn’t find enough carbs to fuel that need, it will produce ketones from all that fat you have stored instead of using carbohydrates. you'd normally get from the foods you eat.
Benefits of a Keto Diet
The ketogenic diet is becoming increasingly popular because of its various benefits. While it is important to remember that the ketogenic diet is not a long term diet plan, it is certainly a great way to jumpstart your weight loss. Here are some of the most common benefits of a ketogenic diet.
Increased mental performance and energy
Many people prefer the keto diet not for weight loss, but instead for improved brain function. Your brain works much more efficiently when fed a steady diet of ketones. When you are on a keto diet, instead of insulin, your brain is fed pure ketones. In addition to pure fuel, you also get to skip the mood swings that come with varying blood sugar levels. This allows you to experience increased amounts of concentration and an improved level of focus throughout the day.
Blood sugar control
It’s a well-known fact that carbohydrates turn into bad sugars that raise insulin levels in the body. On the keto diet your body goes into ketosis. Ketosis helps reduce those sugars and control the sugar levels in the body. For people with type 2 diabetes, this can even mean a complete reversal of the disease. Keto lowers the level of blood sugars in the body while also reducing the negative effects of high insulin levels which can also help prevent and reverse pre-diabetes in most people.
Weight loss and appetite control
When you convert your body from an insulin factory into a fat burning factory, you will, of course, get the added benefit of weight loss. The insulin in your body, which is a fat storing hormone drops dramatically creating the perfect environment for you to lose weight effectively without feeling starved.
The keto diet plan will also help you to gain control of your appetite. Your body will be burning fat around the clock which will reduce your hunger pangs allowing you to consume smaller portions and make healthier food choices.
Ketogenic Diet Considerations
In general, the keto diet is very safe for people of all ages, but there are some groups that should avoid the keto diet, or seek medical support during their keto journey to avoid negative side effects. People who have high blood pressure, are nursing, or those who are diabetic and take medications such as insulin should consult with their primary care physician prior to attempting a keto meal regimen.
The human body is very good at adapting to its environment and that includes the food that you give it as fuel. When you follow a keto meal regimen, your body switches is main fuel over from glucose to almost pure fat. In most cases, people run on glucose and fat is stored in various parts of our bodies.
When you eat a lot of carbs, the body stores the fat and continues to use the large amounts of glucose that carbohydrates provide. When you reduce the number of carbohydrates in your body, your system will enter into a state of ketosis which allows you to burn fat instead of glucose.
The keto diet plan is meant to force your body into a metabolic state of ketosis and while it may seem like you are starving your body, instead of counting calories, you are counting carbs. Everyone’s body has different needs which depend on age, activity, gender and so on. In most cases, you should be filling your diet with 60-75% of calories that come from healthy fats, 15%- 30% of calories from lean proteins, and the rest, 5%-10% from carbohydrates.
The quickest way to jumpstart your diet and force your body into ketosis is by fasting, literally not consuming anything other than water. This is often the done for the initial week of a keto regimen, which is followed by a regular healthy keto meal plan.
When you first start on a keto diet plan, it will take a few days for your body to enter into a state of ketosis. This is because your body needs to burn its existing glucose stores before it starts to burn fat. This can lead to feelings of lethargy and malaise due to the reduction of carbohydrates. This effect is commonly referred to as the keto flu.
Don’t worry, it's temporary, and once your body starts burning fat, your energy levels will top back up. You can also expect nausea, cramps, mental fog, headaches and lightheadedness due to carb withdrawal, severity varies with each person and these symptoms tend to last no more than a week.
A ketogenic diet is a great plan for people who enjoy eating meat and are happy to fill their meals with heart-healthy oils. Consider adding a probiotic to your daily meal to help support your gut during your transition into ketosis. It’s always important to make sure your diet will be successful by starting out with the right tools and ingredients to get your diet off to a good start.