Low-carb diets are a hot trend in the weight-loss industry. Health stores, restaurants, and groceries are racing to keep up with consumer demands. Currently reigning on the popularity scale is the ketogenic diet.
What exactly is keto diet?
The goal of the keto diet is to shift your body into ketosis. Ketosis is when your body uses fat for fuel rather than glucose derived from carbohydrates. Our body typically burns carbohydrates first before fat.
Once your body recognizes that there are not enough carbohydrates in your system, it starts to break down fat and converts them to ketones which becomes your body’s new energy source. In this state, your body will continue to burn fat resulting in dramatic weight-loss.
In addition to quick weight loss, there are other benefits that you can reap such as having more energy, blood sugar stability, diminished cravings, and a sharper memory.
Though some people mourn the loss of their favorite baked potato, they find the diet easier since they don’t feel starved. You eat when you are hungry and still lose weight. Plus, you don’t need to count calories.
Hearing all this good stuff, you might just be brimming with excitement and about ready to jump in! But before you do, there are a few things we’d like to straighten out before you say goodbye to your chili cheese fries.
Learn the good fats from the bad fats
People simply think that eating a lot of fat and avoiding carbs is what comprises a keto diet. Keto may be a diet rich in fats but you need to be consuming the good fats called unsaturated fats.
Make it a habit to read the ingredients on food labels and avoid products that include trans fats. Trans fat or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils increase your bad cholesterol levels making you susceptible to stroke and heart disease. Culprits include processed meats, margarine, and fried fast food.
Avocados, nuts, and olive oil are some examples of plant-based, heart-protecting, unsaturated fats that you need to be eating on the keto diet.
Carbs are not your enemy
Keto requires you to eat very little carbs, but people often avoid eating carbohydrates altogether. People assume that by not consuming carbohydrates, their weight loss is accelerated.
What we must understand is how much carbohydrates a person should eat depends on their personal health and activity. A typical ketogenic diet requires carbohydrate reduction to as low as 20 grams per day. People who skip carbohydrates and don’t follow the diet properly tend to experience ketoacidosis.
When the body produces dangerously high levels of ketones, Ketoacidosis occurs. Normally, your body will produce enough insulin to prevent excessive ketones when it reaches ketosis.
In some individuals, their body cannot produce enough insulin resulting in high levels of glucose and ketones in the blood. Ketoacidosis is life-threatening and must be treated immediately.
It emphasizes a high-fat, low-carb diet but not necessarily high-protein
If you’re planning on having steaks, salmon, and chicken breasts for your daily meals, you’ve got to remember that protein has to be taken in moderation.
The standard keto diet requires you to source only 20 percent of calories from protein. This is commonly followed by people who want to lose a bit of weight and gain a healthier lifestyle. Now, if you’re a bodybuilder or an athlete, you need a different percentage of protein and carb intake.
People who frequently engage in high-intensity activities for hours need a higher percentage of protein intake. Additional amounts of protein protect their muscle mass and prevent muscle breakdown.
You don’t need to quit your fruits
When you start your keto diet, there is a list of foods that you can and cannot eat. Since fruits and vegetables are naturally high in pure glucose, consumption is limited, thereby making constipation a common side effect of ketogenic diets.
However, there are vegetables and fruits that are high in nutrients yet still remain low in carbohydrates. Examples of these are cauliflower, spinach, and berries.
Fruits and vegetables that grow above ground have lower carbohydrate content than those that grow below ground. In addition to being rich sources of fiber, cruciferous vegetables contain cancer-fighting phytochemicals.
Weight loss does not equate to six-packs abs
Your body may be burning a lot of fat, but you still need to work out to build and tone your muscles. You may have switched from carbs to fat but calories are still calories.
If you consume more than what you need then there will be no improvements. Part of the goal of taking on a diet program is to develop healthy habits.
As with all other healthy meal plans, you need to consider various health parameters such as body type, health conditions, and lifestyle. Before starting out, talk to your doctor.
It is best to create a health plan together especially if you have underlying medical conditions. Though the diet has been known to treat epilepsy and diabetes, do remember that this is not a one-size-fits-all treatment.
Your body will undergo drastic changes and this can either improve your symptoms or worsen it.