The Ketogenic Diet, commonly known as the Keto Diet, is a diet that requires a person to eat a high-fat, moderate protein, and low-carb diet with the intention of bringing the body to ketosis.
Read on and decide for yourself if you're ready to take on this diet.
Ketosis the level at which the body uses substances called ketone bodies to produce energy for the body instead of glucose. The ketone bodies are derived from the fat stored in your body which is an effective way of losing the unnecessary fat that your body has accumulated over the years. This video discusses in detail how ketosis happens and what happens when it occurs.
The amount of scientific names thrown into the discussion when referring to this diet can be overwhelming, but it all boils down to percentages: you eat a diet made up of roughly 70-75% fat, 20-25% protein, and 5-10% carbs.
That may seem easy, but there is more to it than that.
Before going into detail on what foods are recommended on the keto diet, it's important to note: the keto diet is not a fix that can miraculously make you slim and slender. It requries balance, and you still need to work on burning the calories that you take in when you consume food.
One of the beneficial parts of this diet is that you stay full for much longer because you take in fat and protein which take longer to digest compared to carbohydrates. This means you don’t tend to overeat, and by extension, you’re able to train your body to eat only when it’s hungry. This infographic is the perfect example of why a high-fat, moderate protein meal is better than one loaded with carbohydrates.
The Keto diet is about creating a steady and sustainable energy supply that stems from eating the right amount and the right kind of food. It draws energy from the stored fat in your body, turning it into ketone bodies and therefore, energy instead of waiting for your daily dose of carbo-laden fuel.
For the longest time people were made to believe that fat is the culprit for a person tipping the scale when in fact, consuming the right kind of fat actually fuels your body for a longer period. It can help fuel you for a longer period of time without feeling the need to eat very often. The tricky part is finding out which fat is good for those who follow a ketogenic diet.
Being mindful of the kind of fat you take in and the amount of food you consume is the key to making this diet work for you. Eating the good kind of fat derived from avocado, coconut, nut butters, egg yolks and dairy butter, is a good source of fat to support your ketogenic diet. Fish oil from fishes like Salmon and mackerel, as well as animal fat from bacon and a good slice of beef are also good sources of fat and coincidentally makes for a good source of protein as well.
Protein, which has long been hailed as a the 'good food' in muscle building and muscle retention, takes a back seat to fat in the keto diet because the intention is for the body to go into ketosis, the breaking down of fat and turning it into the primary source of energy. This article discusses how much protein you need to consume in a day to maintain your dietary needs.
Being aware of how much of your daily calorie intake is made up of protein-rich foods is necessary in being successful while on the keto diet because consuming too much protein can actually be a deterrent to your success in doing this diet because too much protein consumption can lead to an increase in insulin levels which also means an increase in fat if left unregulated.
For those planning on doing the keto diet while training, don’t fret because it’s possible.
Last and definitely the least in this diet are carbohydrates. Carbs is taken minimally in this diet, if any at all. Only about 25-30g of carbohydrates are allowed per day which is a drastic shift for most people because humans have been ingesting carbohydrates for a good part of their life. Bringing it down to such low levels is one of the most challenging parts of this diet but definitely worth it when you bring your body to ketosis.
This diet actually induces lower insulin levels and a sugar detox that can have monumental effects on your sustained energy levels and overall health. The best carbohydrates that support this diet are from green leafy vegetables, broccoli, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, and nuts to name a few; and basically avoiding produce that are high in sugar such as grains, fruits, and root crops.
This calculator, as well as this one, can help you calculate the amount of food that you need to eat in a day to maintain a healthy diet that follows the rules of keto. The thing that makes this fat-loving, protein-appreciating diet tricky is that some people think that going all out on fat helps you make this successful. That’s wrong. In everything that involves health and wellness, moderation is key; you don’t douse your food in oil or eat tubs of unsweetened yogurt just because this diet is all about high fat, moderate protein. The general rule of thumb is to eat what you need and nothing more than that.
To understand the meal planning necessary in this diet, this video breaks it down for you. You should consider meal planning based on the food that you can and cannot eat while on this diet. Avocado salads with chicken breast, broccoli chicken teriyaki bowls, and cauliflower pizza are just some of the food you can prepare as part of your diet. See, the goal is to enjoy the process and make it as holistic as possible. You don’t jump into it thinking of unlimited amounts of bacon and slabs of brisket; you go into this diet thinking of wholesome food and overall health.
Staying in ketosis is a lot harder than you think. In order to stay in ketosis, your body must have no other recourse than to consume the fat that’s already stored in your body. Going beyond the suggested 5-10% carbohydrates consumption means that you have effectively kicked yourself out of ketosis which means, you’re no longer losing fat. You’d think it’s easy but going just a gram above the allowed carbohydrates limit in a day can kick you out of ketosis without you knowing until you take a ketone bodies test. That is how strict this diet is.
If you’re worried about your dietary fiber, you need to learn to compute how much fiber in grams are in the food that you’re eating in order to get the net carbohydrates. These are the only carbs that should matter in the keto diet because everything else that are not have fiber are simply sugar.
Deciding to go on this diet requires planning, determination, and conviction in order to reap its benefits. Your energy level at the beginning of this diet will be lower than usual. You will need to give your body some time to adjust to the rigors of your new routine. This diet is strict, but those who commit to it enjoy the benefits and are able to maintain a health and wellness cycle that includes this diet on a regular basis.
Keto Flu is the first thing you’ll have to hurdle so reading up on all things keto and preparing your stocks and your mind for what’s to come will definitely be helpful.
The ketogenic diet is one that you commit to and work hard for. It’s a lifestyle change that will make you reevaluate the things that have been consuming throughout your life. Keep a diary, jot down notes. It’s not going to be easy, but it will definitely be worth it.