What if there was a way to melt fat away, reduce risk factors for heart disease and improve your overall health? There is. It’s called the ketogenic diet.
The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate diet that forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates as its primary source of energy.
This article will explain what the ketogenic diet is, its benefits, how to get started and potential side effects.
What is The Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. It’s very similar to the Atkins diet but with less focus on protein.
You’ll shift your body away from glucose (sugar) and towards fat for energy, which can result in weight loss, less hunger, fewer cravings and more health benefits overall. Keto refers to the state your body is in when it is metabolizing fats for energy.
When you’re in ketosis, you’re using the fats you eat as fuel instead of carbohydrates. Burning fats is a cleaner process than burning glucose (sugar), and insulin levels are lower as a result.
How Does the Keto Diet Work?
Your body normally uses glucose (sugar) as its primary source of energy. When you consume less glucose, your body begins breaking down fats (known as lipolysis) to use as energy.
As fats are broken down, they produce compounds known as ketones. In order to enter into a state of ketosis where the body is breaking down fats for energy, you need to follow a low-carb diet.
There are many benefits to a low-carb diet, but the two main reasons people follow a ketogenic diet are (1) to lose fat and (2) to reduce the risk factors for heart disease. Let’s go over both of these reasons now.
3 Types of Keto Diet
There are three different types of ketogenic diets, and each one has its own set of rules. The amount of carbs and protein each diet requires varies, but there are some general similarities between all three.
The Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)
This is the most common type of ketogenic diet and is generally recommended for those who want to lose weight. The standard ketogenic diet is high in fat, moderate in protein and very low in carbs.
This diet is generally broken up into three phases. First, you’ll go through a fat-loading phase where you eat high-fat foods and very few carbs to put your body into ketosis. Then, you’ll go through a transition phase where you’ll add more carbs and moderate protein (still below what you would normally eat). Finally, you’ll go through a maintenance phase where you’ll eat a balanced diet consisting of 60-75% fat, 15-30% protein and 5-10% carbs.
The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD)
A cyclical ketogenic diet is similar to the standard ketogenic diet but includes a few more carbs during certain periods. This diet is often referred to as a carb-refeed diet because you’ll add some carbs back in each week.
This type of diet is geared toward people who want to build muscle or perform better in athletics. Athletes usually eat a high-carb diet, but this diet lets them eat more carbs during certain times of the year when their bodies need them.
The Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)
This diet is very similar to the standard ketogenic diet, but you’ll eat a little more protein. The targeted ketogenic diet is usually recommended for people on a high-intensity workout program or looking to put on muscle mass.
Which Types of Keto Diet Should I Follow?
Depending on your health goals and situation, you might want to experiment with different types of ketogenic diets.
For example, a CKD might be best for weight loss, while a TKD might be ideal if you exercise frequently.
The SKD is great if you want to cut carbs but don’t have issues with blood sugar.
Ultimately, you can try different variations of keto to see which works best for your goals and lifestyle.
What is Ketosis, And Why Is It Important?
Ketosis is a state your body enters when it has no more glucose to metabolize and burn for energy. During ketosis, your body burns fat instead of glucose. Fat is a cleaner source of energy and produces fewer reactive oxygen species (ROS) than glucose.
Ketosis is important because it reduces the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and metabolic disorders.
Ketosis also helps you lose fat faster. Ketones are used as energy instead of glucose, so your body burns more fat. Plus, the reduced amount of glucose in your blood means you have more energy.
How to Get Into Ketosis?
To get into ketosis, you need to reduce your carb intake drastically. That’s where most of the difficulty comes in! Many people think they can just cut out the carbs and eat everything else they enjoy, but it’s not that simple.
To maintain ketosis, you also need to eat a little protein, which provides the body with essential amino acids. Once you’re in ketosis, your body will shift into a fat-burning state.
Your body burns ketones for fuel instead of glucose, so in order to stay in this state, you need to keep your carb intake low.
The Health Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
You can reap several advantages by using a Ketogenic Diet.
The ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight, especially if you follow it for an extended period of time. People who follow the diet for longer than one year report losing more weight than those who follow other diets.
Because the ketogenic diet is high in fat, it can help you feel less hungry and control your cravings.
The ketogenic diet can improve your gut health by reducing inflammation, increasing good bacteria levels and improving the digestive system’s function.
The ketogenic diet can reduce your risk factors for heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels and improving blood flow.
Is Keto Diet Safe?
Yes, following a ketogenic diet is safe. However, you should make sure you’re following the diet properly. A few mistakes you should avoid include eating too much protein, too few vegetables, not eating enough fiber and neglecting water intake.
You might experience some side effects when you first start the ketogenic diet. These side effects should go away as your body adapts to the diet. If they don’t, or if they get worse, talk to your doctor.
What Do You Eat on The Keto Diet?
When following the ketogenic diet, you’ll eat high amounts of healthy fats, moderate amounts of protein and very few carbs.
This is a big shift from the Standard American Diet, where most people eat lots of carbs and very little fat.
Your daily diet will look something like this:
Fats: 60-75% of your daily calories
This number may seem high, but remember that it’s not only the amount of fat you consume. You also need to consider the type of fat.
The fats you should eat are avocado, coconut oil, butter, ghee, avocados, olives and nuts. The fats you should avoid are margarine, vegetable oils, processed foods and trans fats.
Protein: 15-30% of your daily calories
Protein is an important part of a healthy diet, but you should avoid eating too much of it. If you eat too much protein while following the ketogenic diet, you’ll increase your risk of developing kidney stones.
The best protein sources are fish, eggs, meat, cottage cheese and whey protein (to make smoothies). The worst sources of protein are beans, soy and lentils.
How to Get Started With the Ketogenic Diet
Start by reducing your carb intake as much as possible and increasing your fat intake. This is known as a “ketogenic diet induction” phase and is designed to get you into ketosis.
During this phase, you’ll want to avoid fruits, starchy vegetables, grains and high-carb foods. If you eat too many of these during induction, you’ll consume too many carbs and won’t get into ketosis.
Side Effects of a Ketogenic Diet
There aren’t many side effects associated with following a ketogenic diet. However, you may experience some of the following:
Ketones are naturally produced on the ketogenic diet and are eliminated in urine. They can also be eliminated through your breath and may give you bad breath.
Some people report experiencing constipation on the ketogenic diet due to eating fewer vegetables.
Eating fewer carbs can reduce your energy levels and make you feel tired. However, this usually goes away as your body adapts to the diet.
Eating fewer carbs can also cause headaches, but this tends to go away as your body adapts to the diet.
Eating fewer carbs can make you tired, making it more difficult to fall asleep at night.
The ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet, is a low-carb, high-fat diet that forces your body into a state of ketosis. The goal is to get your body into a state where it prefers burning fat as its main source of energy rather than carbohydrates.
A keto diet can lead to weight loss, improve insulin resistance, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. It can also help you lose lots of water weight.
When you start the ketogenic diet, you’ll transition your body from using glucose (sugar) as its primary fuel source to using fats as a primary fuel source. The liver produces ketone bodies from fatty acids, and ketones are then used by the body when available instead of glucose.
There are many different types of ketogenic diets, each with its own goals and focuses, so you’ll want to do your research before deciding which type you want to follow.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that no matter what type of keto diet you choose, you should always aim for consistency. If you’re making small tweaks to your diet and insulin levels, you can expect these to have an impact on weight loss results.