What Is The Ketogenic Diet About – Should You Be Doing It?
With so many diets and myths out there how do you know which ones work and which ones don’t? You have probably heard of these popular ones over the years.
The South Beach Diet, Atkins Diet, Weight Watchers Diet, Mediterranean Diet and many more.
The one that I hear most people talk about is the Ketogenic Diet, taking over the Atkins as far as popularity goes. You might be asking What Is The Ketogenic Diet About otherwise known to some as the low Carb diet.
I would like to explain what the diet is and what foods you should be eating on this diet. This is a diet there has been a lot of research on and lots of Fitness professionals have tried.
I have read many articles by nutritionists about this diet and have seen people on TV reviewing it. I have some close friends and clients that have personally tried this diet.
This makes it easier to have a good opinion on what to believe when it comes to the Ketogenic diet and if you should give it a try or not.
I must first say before I get into the Keto diet something important to note if you have Diabetes.
Even though this diet can help people with type 1 Diabetes, experts have said the keto diet may be risky for them. The big reason for this is the Keto diet can lower your blood sugar levels to a very low level.
If you don’t have diabetes by wondering what this means. People with Diabetes are insulin dependent. This is when the pancreas stops making insulin and they must receive an insulin shot. Insulin is the key to allow glucose to enter the body’s cells, so this diet is obviously extremely low when it comes to glucose.
WHAT IS THE KETOGENIC DIET?
The Ketogenic diet is basically a high healthy fat and low Carbohydrate diet.
This diet is very similar to the other very popular diet The Atkins. Keto is not exactly the same as the Atkins because of the protein amounts you are allowed to take.
With Atkins there is no limit while the Keto you should be having around 20% of your daily calories in protein.
The goal of the Keto diet is to force your body into a metabolic state by consuming low carbs.
Metabolic is when the breakdown of food is transformed into energy.
Ketosis is a natural process the body goes into and helps us survive when the food you are consuming is low. When this is happening your body produces Ketones from the fats in your liver.
This in simpler terms basically means when your body is consuming high fats and no carbohydrates it will begin to burn these Ketones.
When you have good Ketone levels they offer great weight loss benefits.
If you were to do the opposite and consume lots of carbs your body would produce glucose from the carbs. Your body will then use this glucose as the main source of energy.
So what does this do to the fats?
This just means your fats will not be used and just stored, but that alone doesn’t sound too great does it? This is why people do the Keto diet, to get at the fats and get into Ketosis.
THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES
- The number 1 reason people are trying the Keto diet is to lose weight. When your body goes into Ketosis, it goes into fat burning mode which leads to weight loss. When you are cutting Carbohydrates this causes your body to store less water, which can give you a lower number on the scale. Ketones help you control the hormone that makes you hungry while boosting cholecystokinin the hormone that keeps you feeling full.
- Another advantage is lower cholesterol levels studies have show. Your good cholesterol called HDL is increased while your bad cholesterol LDL is decreased.
When you are eating fat you increase the blood levels of HDL which lowers the risk of heart disease. Eating low Carbs can decrease the number of particles in the blood stream.
- Boost in energy levels is another big reason people try the Keto diet. Have you ever felt tired and sluggish after a high carb meal? This is because of the drop in blood sugars and the insulin spike. Fat on the other hand helps you avoid crashes and gives you steady energy. Your brains preferred source of energy is ketones, a high ketogenic diet will give you the feeling of being more mentally energized and alert.
- The transition process can be tough in the first week or two. It may take a little while to adjust and you may feel a bit uncomfortable. Some people describe their first weeks as “Keto Flu”, because of headaches, nausea and fatigue. This is because mostly being dehydrated from eating no carbs.
- Going out to eat with friends and family can be tough since you have to be strict. There can be some hidden carbs on the menu, so you have to do some research. That birthday, wedding or graduation party can be tough because you will have to limit your alcohol to 1 or 2 low carb drinks. You can find some alcoholic drinks that are keto friendly.
- Losing muscle mass can be another disadvantage. Although if your primary goal is weight loss it may be worth it. This is because you are eating much more fats than protein.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF KETO DIETS
- Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD) This is the most common kind of Keto diet and the one most people know of. This is the Low Carb, high Fat and moderate Protein keto diet. If you are looking to lose weight the fastest and don’t do any crazy intense activities, this is probably best for you.
- Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD) With TKD you are eating like the standard Keto diet but are eating carbohydrates right before your workout only. All other times sticking strictly to the SKD. I prefer this one because it doesn’t mess with Ketosis too much and gives you energy to workout and lift heavy.
- Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD) Bodybuilders and athletes are usually the ones doing this form of Keto. This Keto form usually has 1 day during the week you will Carb up meaning eat lots of Carbohydrates.
HOW LONG SHOULD YOU DO THE KETOGENIC DIET FOR?
In my opinion I think you should stay on the Keto diet for at least 3 months if you decide the diet is right for you.
This will allow your body to fully adjust to the fuel source fat you are using.
Keep in mind like any diet, it will take at least a week for your body and mind to adjust. If you are wondering if you are even in Ketosis during this time, there are ways to tell.
You are able to tell from blood or urine strips. Although I don’t think you need to do this and it’s not really worth it. The Blood strips can be expensive and the urine strips are really not that accurate.
There are ways to naturally tell on your own if you have reached Ketosis.
Keto is a diuretic meaning you have to pee more and probably notice this the first week. Your body loses glycogen(Carbs) which is 3 to 4 parts water.
You will also probably notice a dry mouth because you will be urinating more which gives you dry mouth….KEEP HYDRATED! You also may notice more energy levels once you reach Ketosis.
KETO FRIENDLY FOODS
- MEAT AND POULTRY are a staple for the keto diet because they contain no Carbohydrates. They are also high in protein and minerals. if you can afford it, I recommend grass fed meat because animals that eat grass produce meat with better health benefits like higher Omega 3’s.
- EGGS are the highest biological value protein source for a food I have explained in other articles. Eggs are one of the healthier foods on planet and quite affordable. I’m big on getting caged free eggs and spending the extra dollar or two. It’s important to eat the yolk too because most of the nutrients are found there. I do a 3 to 1 ratio because too much yolk can increase cholesterol. So 3 egg white and 1 egg yolk.
- AVOCADOS have studies showing big decreases in bad cholesterol and increases in good. They are very high in Potassium and Fiber with only 2 grams of net carbs.
- SEAFOOD is very Keto friendly and extremely healthy. Salmon is basically Carb free and extremely high in Vitamins and Omegas. You do have to do a little research when it comes to Seafood because some sources are high in carbs like mussels and clams.
- VEGATABLES that are low in carbs. Most vegetable contain low carbs but look out for starchy ones like Yams, Beets or Potatoes.
WILL YOU TRY THE KETO DIET?
If you never knew what the Keto diet was, I hope this cleared it up for you.
It’s always a good idea to meet with a dietitian or your doctor if you are switching up diets and unsure.
I think the most important thing though is to listen to your own body to see how you are felling and how your energy levels are.
To sum it all up with the most important steps if you want to achieve Ketosis.
Restrict your Carbohydrates and protein levels, feed your body with enough healthy fat, drink plenty of water, and workout! Please let me know in the comments if you are going to give it a try or have tried it before.
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”