If you’ve done any research at all on the wide variety of diets out there, you have almost certainly heard of the Keto Diet. This diet has become very popular in recent years, and there are several reasons for this. For one thing, this is an effective method of dieting with proven results. For another thing, the diet isn’t particularly difficult or expensive. It also helps that a few high-profile celebrities have endorsed the diet.
But what exactly is it? In this article, we will attempt to give you, the reader, a short introduction to the Keto Diet.
First, let’s cover the basic concept. Your body has two primary sources of energy. Those two sources of energy are carbohydrates (especially glucose) and fat. When your body runs out of carbs to burn, it immediately starts grabbing energy from your fat reserves. This process is called ketosis, because organic ketones are produced as a side effect. Thus, the Keto Diet is named after the process that your body uses to burn fat.
Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet:
The benefits of a Keto Diet are actually quite numerous. Obviously, the primary benefit is weight loss. Putting your body into a fat-burning state is naturally going to reduce your levels of body fat. However, the Keto Diet also has a few other significant benefits.
One of these benefits is an increased mental focus. You might scoff at this one, since almost every diet in the world claims to do this. They make these claims because it is hard to prove or disprove any of them. However, I was able to find some research to back up the Keto Diet’s mental effects. This study shows that ketones are an essential source of fuel for the brain. You see, ketones are produced when the body processes fat, and this means that a fat baby is likely to develop a more advanced brain. Ever wonder why babies are born fat? Now you know!
Keto also helps you to lower your blood sugar by regulating your diet, and helps to raise your energy level by making your body burn better fuel. Yes, fat is a better fuel than glucose because it is so energy-dense. A Keto Diet is also known to help with epilepsy, cholesterol, blood pressure, insulin resistance, and acne.
What Do I Eat on a Keto Diet?
In general, you will be eating more fat and much fewer carbs. It is pretty much impossible to avoid all carbs, because nature is full of them. However, the fewer of them you eat each day, the faster your body will go into ketosis. The essence of this diet is the initiation of ketosis, the fat-burning state that we want. Avoid all breads and grains, and tubers like potatoes. Fruits are mostly avoided. Focus more on meat, vegetables, dairy, and nuts.
How to Reach Ketosis:
The state of ketosis can be induced simply by eating the right foods. As explained earlier, your body naturally enters ketosis when it is running low on glucose. To make the switch occur, you simply have to deprive yourself of carbs. This includes all sugars, so hopefully you don’t have a sweet tooth. Giving up carbs and sugar is hard, but the upside is that you can eat all the fat you want, as it is now your primary energy source.
How to Know if You’re in Ketosis:
Most people have a hard time understanding when their body enters ketosis, but there are several signs that you can look for. For one thing, your breath will take on a different smell. Some describe it as a fruity aroma, but descriptions vary. You can also tell by keeping a close eye on your weight. If you notice a marked increase in your fat burning rate, you are almost certainly in ketosis. There are certain biofeedback machines that can help you in this department as well. The surest way, however, to tell if you are in ketosis is to test your blood with a monitor device. Obviously, this requires pricking your finger and drawing blood.
Different Types of Ketogenic Diets:
Almost all low-carb diets are ketogenic to one extent or another. In general, though, Keto diets fall into one of four types:
- Standard: 20-50 grams of carbs daily. Diet should consist of 75% fats and 20-25% protein.
- Targeted: Just like the standard, but with one modification. You eat all your carbs just prior to working out.
- Cyclical: This diet is intended for people who need more carbs for some reason. With this diet, you stick to a low-carb plan (20-50 grams a day) for 5 days a week. For the other two days, you eat a normal diet with plenty of carbs.
- High-protein: This one is mainly intended for weight training. Your diet should consist of about 5% carbs, 60% fats, and 35% protein.
Dangers of a Keto Diet:
As with anything in life, it is possible to go too far with a Keto Diet. Ketones can be toxic to the body when they build up in huge quantities, but it honestly takes quite a lot. The condition of having too many ketones in the body is called ketoacidosis, and it is something about which only diabetics seriously need to worry.
Common Side Effects on a Keto Diet:
There are a few side effects to this diet, especially when you first get started. If you are like most people, your body is used to using glucose as its energy source most of the time. Forcing it to burn fats instead of glucose is a radical metabolic shift that requires your body to do a little adjusting. In the first week of the diet, beginners often complain of headaches, dizziness, confusion and irritability.
If you are interested in the Keto Diet, you are not alone. It is one of the most popular diets out there. Be sure to check out our online store for some excellent supplements like Hyperamino and Anavite so that you can really kick your ketosis into high gear!