Keto Diet: What is it and What are the benefits?
What is the keto diet?
The ketogenic diet is high in fat, moderate in protein, and low carbohydrates. These are called macronutrients: fats, proteins, and carbs.
For a basic understanding of keto you need to become familiar with “macros”. They are the foundation of the keto lifestyle.
Macronutrients are consumed in the following ratios:
- 60-75% of calories from fat (or even more),
- 15-30% of calories from protein, and
- 5-10% of calories from carbs.
The exact amount of fat and protein depends on individual body responses and activity levels. However, most people on ketogenic diets don’t go above 5% of calories from carbohydrates.
On keto you won’t need to count calories. Your goal is to consume high quality, nutritious food to fuel your body within the standard macro ratios.
There are online macro calculators and apps for your phone to help you learn about and keep track of your macros. Eventually, you will become intuitive to how much to consume of each type of macro.
If you want to get started today, you can simply aim for consuming no more than 20 net carbs per day and replacing bad fats with healthy fats. This adjustment alone can take time for some people.
What is the Purpose of the Keto Diet
The goal of the keto diet is to get into the state a ketosis. This is when your body shifts from being a carb burner to being a fat burner.
In ketosis, your body no longer uses glucose (sugar) as fuel. Your liver uses fatty acids from your diet and turns them into ketones. These ketones are the alternative fuel source for your body.
When your body creates ketones, this means you’re in the state of ketosis. Your liver now generates Beta-hydroxybutyrate (or BHB) which can be detected with urine strips, breath anlalyzers, or blood test. This is how you cconfirm you’re in ketosis.
Consider ketones the clean burning fuel source while glucose is a dirty fuel source. You’re goal is eat a clean diet.I'm going clean with keto to improve my health and lose weight! Click To Tweet
Your body’s response to ketosis is reduced inflammation and triggered weight loss.
The keto diet is not a new science. In fact, it’s been around for almost a century. When first discovered, it was used to treat and manage epilepsy. Researchers discovered increased ketones resulted in fewer seizures.
Even today, the keto diet is used in the treatment of children with epilepsy when they show little response to medications.
How you Know You’re in Ketosis
You don’t need a formal assessment to know you’re in ketosis. You will know you’re in ketosis because you will experience reduced inflammation, increased energy, and a shrinking waistline.
By tracking how your body feels you will know you’re in ketosis. You can tell you’re in to sweet spot of ketosis when you show the following signs:
Reduced Hunger: Ketones suppress hunger hormones so you feel full longer.
Weight Loss: In ketosis, you burn fat. If you’re losing weight, you’re in ketosis.
Flu-Like Symptoms: In the beginning, you may experience flu-like symptomslike headhaches, chills, and lightheadedness. This called the keto flu
Keto Breath: Some people have am metallic taste in their mouth because of increased ketone levels.
Health Benefits of Keto
Keto suppresses the hunger hormone called ghrelin. At the same time it increases CCK (cholecystokinin ) which makes you feel full. When you’re not hungry, you go longer periods without eating.
You won’t be hungry so you’ll eat less. Limiting the intake of food for extended periods of time forces your body to burn its own fat stores. You’re encouraged to learn more about keto and weight loss for a greater understanding.
Inflammation is the root of many diseases. Keto is an anti-inflammatory diet. It has the power to protect you against many degenerative diseases like Alzheimer, cancer, heart disease, and arthritis.
Reducing inflammation is part of the reason you lose weight so quickly on keto which is highly motivating to your weight loss goals.
Improves Brain Performance
Your brain is 60% fat. Increasing healthy fats feeds your brain to keep it strong. Reducing carbs and increasing healthy fats allows your brain to have immediate access the proper fuel. Optimal brain function requires healthy fats.
Omega-3s are increased when you follow keto. Saturated fats help your neurons communicate more effectively. This is why benefits of keto go beyond weight loss.
Ketosis retrains your metabolism at the cellular level. Every cell contains powerhouses called mitochondria. The number of mitochondria you have throughout your body increase when you live the keto lifestyle.
Because every cell in your body work more efficiently, keeping weight off becomes effortless.
Lowers Blood Sugar
With the power to reduce insulin, keto can treat and cure type 2 diabetes. With controlled sugar levels, many diabetics are able to get off their medication and take control of their health with the low carb, high fat fuel sources.
This may be a benefit for diabetics, but the average person benefits from sugar control as well. Controlling sugar means preparing your body for greater health in the future.
Eating high fat, moderate proteins, and very little carbs regulates blood sugar levels. Couple this with increased mitochondria function and you have the perfect partnership for stabilized, high energy levels.
Because you’re energy is increased, it further supports fat burning when in ketosis.
What to Eat on Keto: Keto Diet Menu
The keto diet is made up of high fats, moderate protein, and a small amount of carb – about 5 %. Eat low carb foods like vegetables, eggs, fish, and meats along with good fats.
Types of Keto
Standard Keto Diet:
You eat very low net carbs, less than 50 grams each day. Some people take in as few as 20 grams daily
Cyclical Keto Diet:
You eat high fat and low carbs, less than 50 grams per day six days a week. On the seventh day is a refeed day. You consume 150 grams of carbs . This is called carb cycling. This helps avoid possible negative effects when carbs are restricted for the long term, like thyroid issues, fatigue, and dry eyes.
Targeted Keto Diet
Similar to standards keto, this method is for people who hit the gym with high intensity workouts. An hour before your workout, you consume extra carbs. The extra lift of carbs is meant to boost your workout.
Dirty Keto Diet
The same ratios of macros applies to dirty keto as it does to regular keto. On dirty keto, it doesn’t matter where those macronutrients come from. Your meal could be a bunless fast food burger with a diet soda.