What is the ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat and low-carbon diet that requires you to reduce carbohydrates to approximately 20-50 grams a day. 70% of your calories in a typical ketogenic diet come from fats, 20% from protein, and 10% from carbs.
This extreme decrease in carbs forces your body to rely on ketone bodies (produced by breaking down all these fats that you consume) rather than carbs’ glucose. And all the other benefits seem to follow with this shift in fuel.
To understand this, you need to know a bit about the body’s energy consumption. The main goal of the ketogenic diet is to get the body mainly relying on fat for energy. In general, glucose (also known as blood sugar) fuels our bodies mainly from carbohydrate foods (bread, cereal, pasta, rice, etc.).
The digestive tract breaks those foods down to glucose so that it can be used for energy by the adenosine triphosphate (ATP). But when the body is deprived of carving pleasures, it finds other ways to generate energy, and one way is the process of ketogenesis. In ketogenesis, the body turns fat into energy the liver breaks it into ketones, making it a usable source of energy
Many people think that the ketogenic diet is good for losing weight but it’s a bit more complicated than that, actually, Weight loss is not for everyone, neither follow a specific, restrictive food plan before we plunge further into weight loss. If your goal is to lose weight, this is okay, but your health is more important than a number (and if you have a history of disordered eating, you should discuss any plans to change your diet with a doctor first). Furthermore, successful long-term loss of weight is the result of many factors: Your physical activity, the amount of sleep you receive, stress management, and other factors such as your medical problems and hormones play an important role. What you eat is only one part of the puzzle of weight loss.
But if you were looking for a weight loss plan, you probably heard of one of the greatest claims to fame of the Ketogenic diet the quick results it supposedly generates. In the first two weeks, some people report losing up to 10 pounds.
But most of this loss of weight is water weight, and it does not melt fat, which means you can recover it once you replenish the fluids. The ketogenic diet may act as a diuretic, causing water loss in the liver, muscles, and fat cells due to glycogen storage. Keep in mind that about 1⁄2 pounds to 2 pounds per week are considered safe for most people.
As far as Keto’s track record with longer-term weight loss is concerned, a systematic evaluation and meta-analysis of 13 randomized trials that lasted at least 1 year revealed the loss of 2 pounds on average for those following ketogenic diets compared to those following low-fat ones.
But some experts say the loss of weight in a keto diet is probably not due to any diet specifics. If the ketogenic diet helps to reduce weight, it’s because it could keep some people caloric deficit.
What is ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic condition in which your body uses fat instead of carbohydrates for fuel. It happens when you reduce your carbohydrate consumption considerably, limiting the body’s supply of glucose (sugar), which is the main energy source for cells.
The best way to get ketosis is to follow a ketogenic diet. Generally, carb intake limits to around 20 to 50 grams/day. It fills in fats such as meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and healthy oils.
Moderating your protein consumption is also important. This is because if consumed in large quantities, the protein can be converted into glucose, which may slow your ketosis transition. Intermittent quicking could also help you get into ketosis more quickly.
There are many forms of intermittent fasting, but the common method is to limit the food consumption to approximately 8 hours per day and to fast for the remaining 16 hours.
There are blood, urine, and breath tests available to help determine if you are ketosis by measuring the number of ketones your body produces. Some symptoms may also indicate an increased thirst, dry mouth, frequent urination, and decreased hunger or appetite.
A ketogenic diet can help you to weight loss
A ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight and decrease disease risk factors. Research actually shows that the ketogenic diet can be as effective as a low-fat diet in weight loss. Moreover, the diet is so full that you can lose weight without counting calories or monitoring your intake.
One review of 13 studies showed that a ketogenic diet was a little more effective for long-term weight loss than a low-fat diet following very low carb. People who followed the Keto diet lost an average of 2 lbs (0.9 kg) more than the low-fat diet group.
Furthermore, diastolic blood pressure and triglyceride levels have been reduced. Another study in 34 older adults showed that those who had a ketogenic diet for 8 weeks have lost almost five times the total fat body of those who had a low-fat diet. Increased ketones, lower blood sugar levels, and better insulin sensitivity can also play a key role.
Keto’s other health benefits
In fact, the ketogenic diet originated as a tool for the treatment of neurological conditions like epilepsy. Studies have now shown that the diet can benefit a wide range of different conditions of health:
The ketogenic diet can help enhance risk factors such as body fat, HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar.
The diet is currently being explored to help slow tumor growth as an additional treatment for cancer.
The disease of Alzheimer’s:
The keto diet can help reduce the symptoms and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Research has shown that ketogenic diets can cause significant reductions in epileptic children’s seizures.
The disease of Parkinson:
Although further research is necessary, one study found that the diet helped to improve Parkinson’s disease symptoms.
Polycystic syndrome of the ovary:
The ketogenic diet can help to reduce levels of insulin, which can play an important role in polycystic ovary syndrome.
Injuries to the brain:
Some studies suggest that the diet might improve the results of traumatic brain injuries.
Related blog: The Ketogenic Diet’s Benefits And Drawbacks.
Side effects and how to reduce them
Although the ketogenic diet is generally safe for most healthy people, initial side effects can occur as your body adapts. There is some anecdotal evidence showing these effects are often called keto flu. It’s usually over in a few days, based on reports from some people on the eating plan.
Diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting are reported as keto flu symptoms. Other symptoms that are less common include Poor mental and energy increased famineSleep problem nausea Gastrointestinal discomfort Reduced workout performance minimize this, for the first few weeks you can try a regular low-carb diet.
This can teach your body to burn more fat before you eliminate carbs completely. A ketogenic diet can also change your body’s mineral and water balance, so adding extra salt or taking mineral supplements can help. Talk about your nutritional needs to your doctor. It is important to eat at least at the beginning until you are full and avoid too many calories. A ketogenic diet usually causes weight loss without intentional restrictions on calories.
Tips to eat a ketogenic diet
Many dining options are keto-friendly.
Most restaurants offer meat or fish dishes. Order this and substitute additional vegetables for any high-carb food.
Egg-based meals, like omelets or eggs and bacon, are also a great option.
Bun-less burgers are another favorite. Instead, you could swap fries for vegetables. Add additional avocado, cheese, bacon, or eggs.
You can enjoy any type of meat with extra cheese, guacamole, salsa, and sour cream in Mexican restaurants.
Ask for a mixed cheese board or creamed berries for dessert.
Low carb diet
The most important factor in the achievement of ketosis is, by far, a very low-carb diet. As their main source of fuel, your cells usually use glucose or sugar. But most cells can also use other fuels such as fatty acids and ketones. Your body keeps glucose in your liver and muscles, in the form of glycogen.
Glycogen storages are reduced and hormone insulin levels decrease when your carb intake is very low. This allows you to release fatty acids from your body’s fat stores. Some fatty acids are transformed into kinetic acetone, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate by your liver.
These ketones can be used by parts of your brain as fuel. The level of carb limitations required to induce ketosis varies individually. And can be affected by several factors, such as exercise types. Some people must limit their net carbon intake to 20 grams per day. While others may get ketosis while eating twice or more.
The induction phase of the Atkins diet requires that carbs for 2 weeks be limited to 20 or fewer grams per day. It ensures ketosis is achieved. After that, you can add small amounts of carbs back to your diet very gradually, as long as you maintain ketosis.
Depending on the total amount of calories they eat and their daily levels of activity, each person may have different carb intake limits to achieve and maintain ketosis. Eating 5–10% of total carbohydrate calories will usually lead to ketosis.
In one study, the number of grams that allowed adults with type 2 diabetes to maintain blood ketone levels in a certain target range of 20–50 grams of digestible carbs daily was allowed.
These ranges of carb and ketone are recommended for people who want to get ketosis to promote weight loss, check blood sugar levels, or reduce their heart disease risk factors. Carbs can be reduced to only 2–5% of total calories. They are reduced by ketogenic diets used for epilepsy and experimental cancer therapy.
However, anyone who uses the diet for therapeutic purposes should do so only with the supervision of a physician.
Several key symptoms and signs can help you to determine if you have ketosis. Ultimately, you should be ketose in some form if you follow the guidelines on a ketogenic diet and stay consistent.
If you want a more accurate evaluation, monitor your blood, urine, or breath weekly for ketone levels. Having said that, you don’t have to obsess over your ketone levels if you lose weight, you enjoy your ketogenic diet and feel healthier.