So, you’ve decided to tackle the behemoth and take on the ever-popular Keto diet. The term ‘ketogenic diet’ will not be unfamiliar to you but do you truly understand what it entails. Well, here’s your gateway to the massive world of Ketogenic diet. But, don’t worry you won’t get lost because this blog will guide you through the entire process.
What if I told you that you could go on a diet and rather than starving yourself and feeling hungry and irritated you could be brimming with energy and lose weight at the same time? That is exactly what keto diet does.
What is a Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet, popularly called the keto diet, is a low-carb high-fat diet wherein your diet consists of consuming approximately 55% to 60% fat, 30% to 35% protein and 5% to 10% carbohydrates.
It sounds odd, doesn’t it? Eating fat for losing fat? But, the truth is, a properly done keto diet can turn your body into a fat-burning machine. Think of ketogenic diet like a hack – like getting into the source code of your body and turning on factory settings. Keto diet essentially puts the body in a starvation-like state.
The starvation we’re talking about is not starvation of calories rather just starvation of carbs. In ‘normal’ diets (eating more than 5-10% carb a day), the body uses glucose for the supply of energy and this glucose is processed using insulin. The fat, since it’s not needed gets stored. But when you change this statistic and consume more fat than carbs, the body is deprived of its initial choice of energy supply (glucose) and turns to use its reservoir of stored fat instead.
This is known as ketosis – a metabolic state where your body burns fat instead of glucose for fuel. The body is turned by the liver into molecules called ketones which takes the place of glucose as a source of energy. This activates the weight loss mode of your body.
How does Ketogenic Diet Help you Lose Fat?
The basic premise of the keto diet is simple: more fat coming out of the fat cells than going into them.
The mechanism behind this is not as simple as “counting calories”. The body responds very differently to 100 calories of lettuce, for example, versus 100 calories of ice cream.
One reason for fat loss during keto diet is the decrease in hunger, forcing more fat to be used out of storage for energy than what goes in. Mechanistically, since the body does not need as much insulin to process fat instead of carbs, your body takes advantage of leptin-induced satiety.
With the constant low levels of insulin, fat is used out of fat cells more readily and the body gets increasingly used to burning fat for energy.
It also gets rid of the dopamine addiction caused by blood-sugar spikes and has been shown to lower triglycerides in obese patients.
Benefits of Keto Diet:
Weight loss is the most obvious effect of keto. The body starts dipping into the fat stores for energy which leads to fat loss. And since the insulin (fat-storing hormone) level also drops the fat-burning accelerates even more.
The keto diet is especially beneficial for obese patients. According to a research, ketogenic diet significantly reduces body weight and body mass index within a very short period of time.
Controls Blood Sugar in Diabetic Patients
Keto naturally lowers blood sugar levels because of its high-fat content. Studies have shown that the ketogenic diet manages and prevents diabetes more effectively than low-calorie diets.
Adhering to a low carb high-fat ketogenic diet (LCKD) reduces key markers related to type II diabetes in overweight people such as BMI, body weight, blood sugar levels, triglycerides, and hemoglobin A1C.
Ketones suppress Ghrelin popularly known as the hunger hormone and increase Cholecystokinin (CCK), the hormone which facilitates the digestion of fat and protein making you feel full. This makes it easier to go longer periods without eating, encouraging your body to dip into its fat stores for energy. There is more scope for research in the area of appetite and ketosis, but evidence suggests that a lot of people experience reduced hunger.
The ketogenic diet was created in 1924 for treating epilepsy. And even today, it is one of the most widely used therapies for children with uncontrolled epilepsy.
One of the biggest benefits of the ketogenic diet for treatment of epilepsy is that it allows for the use of fewer medications while still offering excellent control.
Medical trials conducted in the last few years have shown significant results in adults treated with keto as well.
Reduces Cholesterol & Blood Pressure
keto diet improves cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels caused due to arterial buildup. More specifically high-fat, low-carb diets show a more dramatic increase in HDL and a decrease in LDL particle concentration as compared to low-fat diets.
In a large-scale, observational study, lower-fat diets resulted in an increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome and high blood pressure. When the body gets a greater amount of calories from fat it leads to healthier levels of blood pressure.
What to Eat and Not to Eat on a Keto Diet
OILS & FATS
What to eat: Avocado oil, Brain Octane Oil, cacao butter, cod liver oil, butter and ghee from grass-fed cows, MCT oil, bacon fat, egg yolk, lard from pork, marrow and tallow from beef, sunflower lecithin, virgin coconut oil
Dirty Keto (May be used in a pinch): Canola, cottonseed, corn, flaxseed, peanut, safflower, soy, and sunflower oils, commercial lard, low-carb commercial dressings and, margarine
What not to eat: Avoid trans fats, hydrogenated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and other processed vegetable oils
What to eat: Collagen peptides, colostrum, dark meats, eggs, fish, gelatin, offal/organ meats, pork, shellfish, whey protein concentrate
Dirty Keto (May be used in a pinch): Pastured chicken and turkey, factory-farmed eggs, heated whey/whey protein isolate
What not to eat: Avoid packaged, factory-farmed or heavily processed meats, as they may contain trace antibiotics or heavy metals.
What to eat: Asparagus, avocado, bitter greens, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, kale, lettuce, olives, radish, spinach, zucchini, celery root, eggplant, garlic, green beans, leeks, okra, onion, parsnip, peppers, pumpkin, rhubarb,tomato, turnip
Dirty Keto (May be used in a pinch): Raw cruciferous veggies, canned low-carb veggies, mushrooms
What not to eat: Avoid all other potatoes
NUTS, SEEDS & LEGUMES
What to eat: Coconut, raw almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, and walnuts; almond flour, coconut flour
Dirty Keto (May be used in a pinch): Black soybeans, brazil nuts, chia seed, edamame, flaxseed, hemp seeds, peanuts, pine nuts, pistachios
What not to eat: Limit peanuts and sunflower seeds. In a proper keto diet it is best to avoid all nuts except coconut as they can be quite high in proteins and carbs
What to eat: Butter, ghee, organic cream from grass-fed cows, non-organic grass-fed ghee or butter
Dirty Keto (May be used in a pinch): Fake butter, cheese, pasteurized low-carb dairy products
What not to eat: Avoid sweetened or low-fat dairy, evaporated and condensed milk
Keep in mind that keto is high in fat, moderate in protein, and very low in carbs. The nutrient intake should be 70% fats, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrate.
Your meal should look something like this:
Chicken breast basted in olive oil, with broccoli and cheese.
Steak with a knob of butter, with a side of olive oil sauteed spinach.
Checklist to Reach Ketosis:
❏ Restrict your carbohydrates
❏ Restrict your protein intake
❏ Increase fat intake
❏ Drink water
❏ Stop snacking
❏ Add 20-30 minutes of exercise in
How to Check if You’re in Ketosis:
You may use urine or blood strips to check if you’re in ketosis but they’re pretty inaccurate and expensive. A much better way is to see if you’re on the right track is through observing these physical “symptoms”:
Increased Urination: Keto is a natural diuretic as it increases urine production. A ketone body called acetoacetate is also excreted in urination and may lead to more visits to the bathroom, especially for beginners.
Dry Mouth: Increase in urination leads to dry mouth and increased thirst. Keep drinking plenty of water and replenishing your electrolytes (salt, magnesium, potassium).
Bad Breath: Acetone is a ketone body that excretes partially through our breath. It has a sharp smell like over-ripe fruit. It’s usually temporary and does not last long.
Keto flu: When transitioning to keto, you may feel some slight discomfort including fatigue, headache, nausea, cramps – symptoms characterized by ‘keto flu’. This can be eliminated by increasing water intake and replacing electrolytes.
The Final Word…
A ketogenic diet may seem too complex to understand in the beginning but isn’t nearly as hard as it’s made out to be. The transition may be tough, but the growing trend of clean eating makes it so much easier to find available low-carb foods.
In the beginning, don’t think too much. Keep it simple and straightforward. Just reduce carb intake as much as possible. Cut out excess sweets and artificial sweeteners altogether.
When you start, it’s so easy to over-consume on carbs because they’re hidden in almost everything. Develop the habit of doing a quick nutrient check for your meals.
Keep an eye out for new articles as this website will cover everything there is to know about keto and more. Let’s start this journey together. Happy Dieting!! : )