If your New Year’s resolution is to slim down and tone up, perhaps you’ve heard the buzz surrounding the ketogenics (keto). The keto diet, a high-fat, ultra-low-carb diet has gained celeb endorsements, but before starting any new diet and fitness regimen, it’s important to consult an experienced practitioner to ensure the diet is suitable for you. If you think the keto diet is right for you, check out the following information to ensure you know how to start it the right way to get the best results.
What is the keto diet?
The keto diet comprises a low-carbohydrate, moderate-protein, and high-fat structured diet. Figures vary between individuals, but roughly 5 percent of a keto dieter’s caloric intake consists of carbohydrates, 20 percent from protein, and 75 percent from fats. The diet aims to put the body into a metabolic state called ketosis where the body uses fat as fuel rather than glucose. It takes a couple of days or even a week to reach a state of ketosis, but when it occurs, the liver converts fatty acids into ketones that release into the bloodstream and is used as energy.
Why eat ketogenic diet foods?
In the average person’s diet, glucose is the primary source of energy fueling the body. When consuming carbs, the body produces glucose and insulin. Glucose is the easiest molecule for the body to convert to energy. Therefore, it’s desirable compared to any other energy source. Insulin prevents fat cells from entering the bloodstream, so they remain stored. By following the keto diet, individuals put their body into ketosis by starving the body of carbohydrates and reducing the a mount of glucose available for the body to use.
What makes up a keto meal plan?
To get your body into ketosis, keto dieters need to cut out carbs. Remember, when there isn’t enough glucose in the blood, the body turns to alternative sources of fuel to use — this being fat. That means eliminating bread, rice, pasta, and foods high in sugar from your diet, keeping in mind that there are keto-appropriate alternatives to these foods. Avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes, parsnips, and corn and substitute sugar with artificial sweeteners.
Ketogenic diet foods are high in healthy fat and low in carbohydrates. Healthy fats are the foundation of the ketogenic diet. Make sure you eat the right foods, such as:
- Fats and oils: Butter, lard, mayonnaise, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil, and MCT oil
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, coconut, macadamias, peanuts, and nut butters
- Dairy: Brie, Cheddar, cream cheese, feta, cottage cheese, yogurt, sour cream, and whipping cream
- Proteins and meats: Beef, chicken, pork, lamb, seafood, and eggs
- Vegetables: Leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, cucumber, mushrooms, olives, and bell peppers
The above list are just some examples of the foods you can eat as part of the ketogenic diet plan. There are many more foods in all categories that promote ketosis. To prevent the breakdown of muscle mass, it’s essential to eat enough protein in the form of high-quality meats and eggs. Select fattier cuts when possible. You can still drink coffee, so long as you avoid adding sugar to your hot beverages, so keep some artificial sweetener near the office coffee machine.
What are the pros and cons of doing the keto diet?
With any diet, it is important to know the pros and cons of the keto diet before starting.
- Fast results: Much of the initial weight loss is water weight, but seeing scale movement early on often encourages dieters to stay committed long enough to get into ketosis
- No calorie counting: While keto dieters still need to watch portions, eating higher amounts of fat help dieters feel full, reducing hunger and cravings
- Cost-effective: Getting into and maintaining ketosis is all about the foods you eat; the keto diet requires no medications or expensive supplements; with careful meal planning, anyone can give the keto diet a try, irrespective of financial situation
- Limited food choices: Some users may find the keto diet restrictive and hard to follow, meaning it might not be sustainable in the long term, although meal planning and preparation can help alleviate this problem
- Keto flu: The “keto flu” is a common keto side effect when the body transitions from burning sugar to using fats for energy; symptoms include headaches, fatigue, nausea, and muscle cramps; water loss and lack of electrolytes are the main reasons for these symptoms, so ensure you drink plenty of water and top off sodium levels by adding a half teaspoon of salt to a glass of water
Once again, it is important to ensure you get all the information possible about any diet or lifestyle changes before starting, including consulting with your doctor. With the right information and guidance, individuals on the keto diet can lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.