The Ketogenic diet has taken the diet community by storm recently. Everyone from public figures to your average person has raved and testified about the results that they got when they tried out this diet. The low-carb and high-fat diet can not only promote weight loss but is also said to have various health benefits as it lessens the risk for various diseases.
Are you curious? Below is a detailed guide of what to expect should you fancy trying out this diet.
The Science behind the weight loss
The main goal of the keto diet is to have your body go through a state called ketosis where the body’s usual source for fuel, glucose is replaced with an alternative called ketones which are produced by the liver by consuming high amount of fat.
The main goal of the keto diet is to have your body go through a state called ketosis where the body’s usual source for fuel, glucose is replaced with an alternative called ketones which are produced by the liver by consuming high amount of fat. When ketosis happens the body becomes more efficient in burning fat since glucose is drastically reduced in the body’s system, the body specifically targets your stored fats making weight loss possible.
When ketosis happens not only does weight loss become inevitable but so does having health benefits since cutting off much of your fat intake can lower your blood sugar levels, improve cholesterol, reduce cravings and improve energy.
Ketogenesis or the process where the body creates ketones through the breakdown of fatty acids is a key point in better understanding the process of ketosis and the keto diet.That aside there 3 different types of ketones that the body produces and help aid the body by fueling it should glucose production is severely depleted.
- Acetoacetate: Produced by the breakdown of fatty acids and is the first ketone bodies produced in the body.From there it either gets converted to BHB or Acetone.
- Beta-Hydroxybutyric Acid: formed from acetoacetate and is technically not considered a ketone because of how it is structured but it counts as ketone in the keto diet.
- Acetone: A byproduct of either acetoacetate or beta-hydroxybutyric acid and is the least used of the three types and breaks down easily if it is no longer needed for energy production and can be expelled through the breath or urine.
Ketone production in the body is not only beneficial if you are looking to lose weight. For years the body has been using ketones as an alternative if carbohydrates or protein is not readily consumable.Other benefits of ketones include better mental production since ketones are used directly fuel the brain and a steadier supply of energy especially for athletes who practice strenuous workout session regularly to burn fats.
The Diet: What to Expect?
Now that we have the process of ketosis and ketones down, the next step is to explain how the diet works. Here a few of the most important thing you need to understand and remember while going through the diet.
Keto by the numbers
When looking up option on how to go about the diet it is important to know your macros or the energy giving components found in food and finding the right balance between all of them.The most important to remember to remember are carbohydrates,protein and fat and calculating for how much you eat and factoring in these three will be a surefire way to get you started and keep you on track on your diet.
- Carbohydrates – Made up of starches and sugars this is the only macronutrient that is considered not essential for survival.When on keto diet this macronutrient needs to be severely limited in order for the body to reach and stay on ketosis. For someone starting the diet the recommended limit of carb intake is upto 20 grams.
- Protein – Important for muscle growth, tissue repair and immune function this macronutrient is considered the building blocks of the body.Proteins is also vital for production of amino acids that the body cannot make itself.Your protein intake may vary since it heavily relies on your current lean body mass.
- Fat – The most important of the three macros mentioned, not only does fat provide energy to fuel the body it also provides absorption of vitamins and minerals and a cushion for internal organs and for people on a keto diet, it is a godsend since it staves off cravings and keeps you sated.
Surprisingly, the keto diet offers variety in terms of how to go about it and finding the right kind of diet will not only help you get optimal results while on the diet it will also help ease you off stress since you know what will work for you.
- Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD): Is your safest bet when you are looking to kick off your keto journey since it’s goal is to slowly ease you off carbs. It requires a 20-50 grams of net carb intake a day, adequate protein intake and high intake of fat. Pretty simple right?
- Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD): Is ideal for people who wish to up their exercise performance so eating directly before and after a workout session is a must.An intake of 25-50 grams of net carbs around a half hour of exercise is the basic rule for this diet.
- Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD): Is ideal for people who are athletes or bodybuilders for increased weight loss and muscle mass building.This diet makes use of ‘carb-loading’ or alternating days of eating low-carbs (20-50 grams of net carbs) and high-carbs for 1 to 2 days
- High Protein Ketogenic Diet: Is best if you want to follow SKD but wish to up your protein intake.Instead of consuming 70% fats and 25% proteins you consume 60% fat and 35% proteins
While the Ketogenic Diet boasts many health benefits it is not a perfect diet and it may not be for everyone and even while you have successfully reached ketosis it is not always a fun experience so as pros are listed in this article we believe it is only fair to list some cons to this diet.
Ketoacidosis vs. Ketosis
Ketoacidosis is very different from ketosis and has nothing to do with the diet itself.Referred to as Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) it is a complication of type 1 diabetes mellitus and is very life-threatening.It happens when there are high levels of ketones and blood sugar present in the body and can make your blood too acidic and can damage your liver and kidney.
Side Effects and Remedies
As your body goes through drastic changes when on the keto diet, it is understandable that some side-effects may be felt while or on the way to reaching ketosis.Here are some of the most common ones and how to avoid them.
- Dehydration: Going on a low-carb diet acts a diuretic with the increase of fluid and mineral excretion due to depleted carbohydrate intake.The best way to combat this is to up your intake of water and fluids.
- Headaches: As your body lets go of fluids and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and sodium, feeling lightheaded and fatigued can occur often but this can be avoided by eating foods rich in potassium.
- Keto-flu:Is typically experienced during 2 to 4 days of starting the diet headaches,lack of motivation, lethargy and confusion or brain fog can occur and be easily combated by keeping hydrated and eating adequate amounts sodium and fat.
We know that going through some of the side-effects of the keto diet might be unpleasant and discouraging for some, we assure that although these side-effects occur, they often disappear all on their own.Despite this though, the keto diet has boasts loads of health benefits aside from its amazing weight loss properties. Here are some of them:
- Stabilizes blood sugar levels
- Improves Mental Focus
- Reduces the risk of cancer
- Reduces risk of heart disease
- Improves energy levels
- Increases fertility
- Stabilizes hormones
The keto diet is a low-carb diet that utilizes fat stores in your body to generate fuel. It is a diet that shows great weight loss results but also has multiple health benefits.