So you’ve heard your friends and colleagues rant and rave about the ketogenic diet. You have to figure out what it is and why they are so enthusiastic about it. You’ve probably heard them go on and on about how much fat they eat, and you don’t believe them when they say they have lost weight.
Well, they’re right. As it turns out, many around the world are losing weight by eating fat! Yes, we said it. People are losing fat by eating fat. Fat without or very low carbs, i.e. sugar and too much fiber.
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Obesity has caused a shift in the lifestyle of the average American. More and more Americans are seeking a much healthier lifestyle. That said, this change has brought about numerous diet plans. As effective as many of them may be, it is imperative that you choose the one that is suitable for you. Moreover, before starting a diet plan, ensure that you consult your doctor first.
One diet that has proved to be effective since its inception, is the ketogenic diet. Let us start by taking a deeper look on what the diet entails.
What is it a Ketogenic Diet
The Ketogenic diet is also known as the low-carb diet. This type of diet is known to bring about a process known as Ketosis, through the lower intake of carbohydrates. Let us back up a bit.
Our body functions normally when we have enough energy to push us through the day. So, how do our bodies produce energy? When we consume carbohydrates, our body breaks it down into two main forms: Insulin and glucose. The body then converts these two by-products into energy for our bodies to perform properly. However, there’s another side to this story that we are often unaware of. Whilst the body is depending on carbs for energy, the fat in our body remain ineffective. The fat is then stored in our body, leading to weight gain.
Here’s where the ketogenic diet comes into play. The ketogenic diet restricts the amount of carb intake and increases the amount of fat intake. In other words, this diet will have you consuming less and fewer carbohydrates. This means that the body will have no carbohydrates to convert into energy.
The body, will, in turn, be forced to utilize the fat in the body, and convert it into energy. This is what is known as ketosis.
During ketosis, instead of breaking down carbs (there are none!) into glucose for fuel, the liver converts fat into ketone bodies, which become the body’s primary source of energy. Advocates say when your body uses fat as fuel, major benefits follow. To better define it, ketosis is the process by which fat is broken down in the liver to produce ketones. The body, hence, uses ketones as energy to function properly. This makes the ketogenic diet very effective in weight loss.
The fastest way to cause your body to produce ketones is by fasting. Yet, this is not what the ketogenic diet is about. This type of diet focusing more on starving or cutting out carbohydrates, as opposed to starving yourself entirely. By incorporating high fat foods and a lot of protein you will stay satiated all day and still lose weight especially if you stay within your calorie alottment for the day based on your height and weight. You can find a calorie calculator here for a calorie guideline of how many to take in to lose weight.
How to get started:
As previously mentioned, this type of diet focuses on cutting out carbohydrates. It is very restrictive on carb intake. If you are thinking of starting this type of diet, it is important to note the following:
You are required to stay away from carbohydrates such as starch (Potatoes), fruit and wheat (bread, pasta, rice, cereals and so forth.)
You are allowed to consume foods such as vegetables and other types of leafy green vegetables, different types of meat, including red meat, nuts, and fats (saturated fats and coconut oil just to name a few).
In a nutshell, your daily nutrient intake should look like this: 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbohydrates. Ensure that your fat intake is high, and your carbohydrate intake is considerably low. This ensures that your body utilizes body fat, as well as consumed fat effectively.
Why Ketogenic Diet Is Good For Weight Loss
Ketogenic and other low-carb diets have been around for a long time. Most low-carbs diets, including the ketogenic diet, are used for weight loss and offer numerous health benefits. The basic premise of the ketogenic diet is that you eat an extremely low amount of carbohydrates and an extremely high amount of fat. This sends a signal to your cells to make the switch from a “glucose burning mode” to a “fat burning mode”. In this new “keto-adapted” state, your cells will start burning off body fat automatically! Ketosis is where your body burns fat, for the production of energy. Moreover, this diet ensures that your body burns both consumed fat, as well as body fat. Hence, it is very effective for weight loss.
According to recent research, this type of diet has been shown to decrease levels of appetite. In other words, an a person tends to feel more satiated after a meal. This helps in decreasing food consumption considerably.
Individuals tend to also experience little to no cravings at all. Cravings are when our bodies want to consume sugary or unhealthy foods. Hence, they render your weight loss plans ineffective.
The Ketogenic diet also helps individuals experience an increase in energy levels. This, in turn, leads to an increase in physical activity. Your body will have more energy to perform productively both at work and at home. Moreover, you will have more energy to take part in an effective workout regimen and keep your body humming.
Is The Ketogenic diet for everyone?
Admittedly, as effective as this type of diet is, it is not for everyone. You have to be willing to track macros, monitor blood glucose, and test ketone levels as all are required steps in the process for most people. A ketogenic diet for vegetarians can take a little more thought if you’re new to it, but it’s definitely possible for those wanting to avoid animal by-products entirely. It is advisable that you consult your doctor before starting any type of diet. Let us take a look at some of the conditions that may restrict an individual from taking part in a Ketogenic diet.
- If you are Diabetic and are currently under a form of medication.
- If you are suffering from bowel cancer, or you have a family history of the disease.
- If you suffer from high blood pressure and are under medication.
- If you are breastfeeding.
In conclusion, the ketogenic diet is very effective, especially for weight loss. Of course, it is also very beneficial when it comes to one’s overall well- being. In fact, very low-carb ketogenic diets have been used to treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Epilepsy, Parkinsons, Mulitple Sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s for decades. It leads to the reduction in acne, improved mental performance, hormone regulation among many other benefits.
You might also be interested in why exercise is not the key to weight loss.
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Are you doing the keto diet? How is it going? Please comment and share!