What is a ketogenic diet?
A ketogenic diet is a diet that is high in fat, moderate in protein, and very low in carbohydrates. It’s one of the most popular fad diets out there today, and countless studies suggest that the keto diet is effective for weight loss and overall health.
I know what you’re thinking; we’ve been taught over and over again to steer clear of fats. Has every nutrition label we’ve ever read been in vain? Well studies show that a diet high in fat and low in carbs actually allows you to burn fat more efficiently.
What is ketosis? In the least complicated way I can, let me tell you about ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state your body is in when fat from your body is being burned as energy. In other words, a low carb high fat diet such as the keto diet allows your body to burn more fat, rather than taking the time to burn the carbs.
Where does the word “ketogenic” come from and what does it mean? When you are on a high-fat and low-carb diet, your body produces ketones. Ketones are an energy, or fuel source, for the body. Ketones come into play when blood sugar, or glucose, is in short supply.
The liver produces ketones from fat. This happens when a person is on a low-carb and low-calorie diet. So now ketones are the fuel source for the body, and the body has switched up its fuel source to run mostly on fat. This means you’re burning fat all. the. time.
Is the ketogenic diet good for weight loss? Without a doubt. Since the body can now focus on using ketones to burn fat rather than carbohydrates, you are still consuming healthy fats that are filling you up and satisfying your hunger, yet your fat is being burned off quicker.
But weight loss isn’t the only positive benefit from being on the ketogenic diet. When your body is in the metabolic state of ketosis, it also has the same benefits as fasting. Ketosis allows you to maintain a steady amount of energy, and even contributes to less food cravings.
What can I eat on a keto diet?
So, the fewer carbs you consume, the easier it is to achieve ketosis. You’ll want to stay away from carbohydrates, while maintaining a moderate consumption of protein and high fat. Your carb intake is recommended to be under 50g.
Fish, red meat, and poultry are keto friendly foods. Natural fats such as olive oil and butter are also recommended. Cheese and eggs contain a higher amount of carbs, and vegetables such as eggplant, tomatoes, broccoli, zucchini, and bell peppers are excellent for the keto diet.
What foods should I avoid on the keto diet?
Foods that go against the keto diet are ones with a high carb amount. Think, pasta, rice, bread, grains. That means beer too! Sweets like candy, cakes, donuts, and chocolate bars are not keto friendly and should be avoided.
Obviously, on a high fat diet you should be consuming a high amount of fat. Don’t be afraid to eat fats! If you avoid healthy fats, the keto diet ultimately doesn’t work.
What can I drink on the keto diet? Carb free and low carb drinks are where it’s at. Drink plenty of water, unsweetened black coffee, and tea. Stay away from sweet juice and sodas, and yes beer and even wine.
Let’s go more in depth about the health benefits of the keto diet. The first and most obvious benefit to keto is weight loss. On the keto diet, you’re basically turning your body into a fat burning machine all of the time! Restricting the amount of carbs you’re taking in and allowing your body to instead burn fat while in ketosis, has proven to be an incredible and effective weight loss method!
In fact, a crazy high number of studies are showing that a low carb diet such as the keto diet has been proven to be one of the more effective diets for weight loss. In ketosis, insulin levels drop. This makes it easier for your body to burn fat, as insulin is a fat storing hormone.
Second, consuming a high amount of fat and protein contributes to hunger control and appetite suppression. If you put in a good amount of healthy fats into your body and protein, you will be fuller longer and won’t require snacks and empty calories throughout the day.
Research suggests that a ketogenic diet helps manage type 2 diabetes. The keto diet lowers insulin levels, improves glucose control, and can eliminate the need for medications.
At the same time, a low-carb diet has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol. Being on the keto diet can improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Another great benefit of the keto diet is the increased physical endurance it provides. Stored carbohydrates can only provide a couple hour’s worth of energy to the body. However your fat stores contain enough energy to to last weeks.
Ketosis offers the same benefits as intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting happens to be more challenging. Fasting altogether puts the body in ketosis as well, however starving is not sustainable and the high fat keto diet is.
What does a balanced keto breakfast look like?
An efficient keto breakfast will contain healthy fats and foods high in protein. Imagine this: a keto breakfast “burrito”, without the tortilla of course. Because, who needs carbs anyway?
The perfect keto breakfast burrito will contain bacon, avocado, cilantro, and it’ll be wrapped in an egg shell.
What is a good keto lunch idea?
For a delicious keto lunch, you can make chicken meatballs and “zoodles”, or zucchini noodles. Remember, pasta noodles are a big no-no if you’re trying to achieve ketosis.
And what can I have for dinner while on the keto diet?
Bean-free chicken chili or broccoli and beef bowls are great ideas for a keto dinner.
If you’ve been trying to lose weight, and get yourself into better shape physically and mentally, the ketogenic diet may be for you. If you’re tired of fad diets that fail, or ones that aren’t getting you any closer to your goal, the keto diet may be for you.
Beyond weight loss, the keto diet provides long lasting health benefits from improvements in heart health to improving type 2 diabetes symptoms. The keto diet isn’t a magic cure all diet, but it certainly has enough health benefits backed by plenty of studies to spark our interest!