If you are someone that follows a lot of health blogs and stays up with the trends, then you would be very familiar with the term “Keto” being thrown around like an old sock and wondering when this fad is going to end.
But for the many that arn’t up with the lingo and have stumbled upon this diet craze somehow through friends, “Keto” is short for “ketogenic” and although there is a lot of hype out there surrounding this diet, we need to ask ourselves, “What is a Ketogenic diet good for, and how does it differ from every other diet fad from the last 50 years?”
So What’s It All About?
In a nutshell the Keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet that essentially switches your body’s primary energy source from glucose, which comes from carbohydrates, to ketones which are created from the breakdown of fat.
In terms of diet the general the macros ratio that you should try to stick to on a standard Keto diet is:
- 75% Fat
- 20% Protein
- 5% Carbohydrates
Sticking to this should essentially shift your body into a metabolic state known as ketosis and the growing scientific evidence backing up the health benefits of being in ketosis is mounting, which is probably the main reason why this fad is not going to die any time soon.
Surely Eating So Much Fat Can’t Be Good For You!
We have been told for many years that the best way to lose weight is to eat low fat foods and less sugar. Whilst this is true, recent studies have shown that eating good healthy fats are very beneficial to your overall health.
What you should really focus on though, is cutting out as much sugar from your diet as possible. Not only does that mean cutting out foods that contain sugar, it also means foods that are high in carbohydrates.
Excessively eating carbs will make you fat, you can bet your britches on that and this is because the storage for glucose in the body, which is generated from carbs, is around 2,000 calories and anything over this will be stored as body fat.
Depending on your height and age, 2,000 calories a day is the average amount of calories in a day that a woman should consume just to maintain her weight and 2,500 for men.
To put that into perspective, a large Bic Mac meal from McDonalds is around 1284 calories, if Coke is your drink.
Switch Your Energy Source
When you switch to a low-carb diet, such as the Keto diet, you will transition your body from glucose metabolism to fat metabolism. A kilogram (2.2lb) of fat consists of around 7,700 calories so you can do the math on what your current stores of energy, in fat, are for you.
While it’s true that glucose is still required for some metabolic functions, your body can still produce glucose via a process called gluconeogenesis and this process is fueled by non-carbohydrate sources, such as protein.
Weight Loss Should Follow
When you adapt to a Keto lifestyle you will find that will experience reduced cravings, increased satiety and improved energy levels. It is the combination of these effects of the diet that are part of the reason that Keto is so successful with weight loss.
If you don’t have the cravings for sugary foods as much and you are generally feeling fuller for longer, then naturally you will eat less, resulting in weight loss.
I can personally back this claim up. I just don’t feel the hunger that I used to have when I was eating high-carb foods. I find that I am eating less food and I have continued to lose weight over the last few months from the diet alone.
Mind you, I probably could have lost more if I was a bit stricter with it, but having the occasional “cheat” day or the odd social function where there is party food, can tend to set weight loss back a little with your goals.
What Else Can Keto Do For You?
There are many studies around that have documented the great health benefits of a low-carb diet and there are many diseases that have been cured or the symptoms have been reduced, due to this type of diet. Some of these benefits include:
- Improve heart health – Due to increased HDL (good) cholesterol, reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduced blood sugar
- Reduce the risks of Type 2 Diabetes – Due to reduced blood sugar levels
- Stabilize blood pressure, as a result of weight loss
- Slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease
- Reduce seizures from epilepsy
- Reduce acne and improve overall skin health
- Reduce the risk and severity of cancer
- Improve insulin sensitivity
- Improve cognitive function
As you can see, the positive effects of Keto lifestyle can be excellent for you overall health and longevity, however it is advisable to speak to a medical professional if you a suffering from any serious medical condition. It is a good idea to have a check up and talk to your doctor about the diet before you begin.
What You Can Eat On Keto
- Meat – Most meat is fine, just try to limit processed meats
- Fish – Preferably fatty fish, such as salmon, trout, tuna
- Full Cream Dairy Products – Cheese, butter, cream (avoid dairy milk though, as it is high in carbs)
- Nuts and seed
- Low-carb fruit and vegetables
- Healthy oils and fats – Such as olive oil, coconut oil, duck fat and ghee
What To Avoid On Keto
- Sugary foods and drinks – Soft drink, fruit juice, cake, ice cream
- All grains and starches – wheat, rye, oats, pasta, cereal
- High carb fruit or vegetables
- Low fat diet products – These foods tend to be over-processed
- Beans or legumes
- High carb alcoholic drinks – Many spirits do not contain carbs
- Processed fats – margarine, vegetable oil, canola oil
- Certain sauces – These are often high in sugar. Be sure to check the label
A Change For Better Health
I realize that this drastic change to your diet looks a bit daunting, especially if you are someone who eats a fair bit of bread, pasta, chocolate etc but when you’ve adjusted to Keto, you’ll find that it really isn’t that hard at all.
As I mentioned earlier, a low-carb diet will curb your hunger and you will no longer crave the sugary foods that you once did. There are many substitutes for the things you are cutting out, including bread, pasta and chocolate, which are still very satisfying without the added health risk.
I have not felt that I have gone without or suffered in any way since I began Keto, which is why it has been so easy to stick to. Take control of what you are eating. Your body will thank you for it.
Please leave any questions or comments about your Keto experiences below or message me directly here.