The new catchphrase in dieting
Keto. A sustainable diet that helps you lose weight while minimizing cravings is everyone’s dream! No one wants to suffer through deprivation for weeks on end. Just to see all the weight lost come right back the second you give in to the cravings that have been haunting you.
It’s a vicious cycle and it gets you nowhere. So, what is the key to finding a more “reality-friendly” way of eating? Something that is actually sustainable over a long period of time? Well, the answer is as simple as ketones.
How does Keto work?
The Ketogenic diet, or Keto diet, is a low-carb way of eating. It focuses on high fat and protein content to help your body naturally lose weight. Most people don’t exactly think of loading up on fat and meats in order to diet. But, that’s exactly where this diet is different.
Normally, the body’s energy comes from burning sugars (glucose) it gets from carbohydrates. When you drastically reduce your carbohydrate intake and eat more fats instead, your body goes into a metabolic state called "ketosis". In this state, your liver starts to convert stored fat deposits into ketones. It uses those as an alternative fuel source. Your body starts naturally targeting fat reserves in your body in order to break them down.
What are the benefits of Keto?
The Keto diet has many health benefits. The main point, of course, is that it burns the body’s fat reserves. And it does so more quickly and more efficiently than other diets. This helps you lose weight quickly, but more importantly, sustainably.
Another amazing benefit is that unlike other diets, the keto diet helps you keep your muscle mass. This is possible because while you lose fat-weight, your body still has enough protein to feed your muscles.
Overall, the Keto diet seems to be more effective than other diets for weight loss. Because you drastically reduce your carbohydrate intake, you also bring down your blood sugar levels. This has many health benefits on its own, including lowering the risk of diabetes.
Beyond these benefits, other studies have shown that Keto can:
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
- Improve Acne
- Slow the tumor growth of some cancers
How is Keto different from other diets?
Unlike other diets, Keto is a more sustainable way to eat. The longer you do it, the more your cravings disappear. You are allowed to eat many different satiating comfort foods with high fat content, so you always feel full. You don’t have nasty hunger-cravings following you around all day.
As your body moves into the state of ketosis, your carb cravings lessen and lessen. You are always happily full and craving free. That’s what makes this more sustainable than other diets. You’re not suffering while you’re on Keto. You have simply switched to a different part of your metabolism that targets your body’s fat deposits directly.
The basics of the do’s and don’t on a Keto diet
So, what does a low-carb, high fat and protein diet look like? Basically, the goal is to keep your carb intake under 20 grams of net carbs per day. This is the ideal environment to help your body switch into ketosis. It will kick-start that fat targeting metabolism.
Here is a very basic outline of the kinds of foods you should and should not be consuming on the keto diet.
- Dark green, leafy vegetables
- A variety of other vegetables that grow above the ground
- Natural fats like olive oil, milk, cream cheese, butter, plain yogurt etc.
- Unsweetened tea or coffee
- Sugary foods like chocolate bars, candy or doughnuts
- Soda and juice
If you’ve decided that Keto is something that you want to try, there are a few things to keep in mind. Bringing your body into a state of ketosis is a major shift. That’s why it’s so effective for weight loss, but the body will also feel some other side effects as this change occurs. Some people choose to start reducing their carbs a little more gradually (say, over the course of a week) in order to make the transition a bit easier.
Side effects will be most noticeable in the first few days as the body is adapting to change. They can include poor mental function, a lack of energy, feeling hungry, and sleep problems. Keep in mind that these symptoms occur because your body has not yet shifted fully into ketosis. They should subside once this has happened.
It’s best to start Keto when you have a few low-demand days in your schedule so that it won’t disrupt anything important. Once the metabolic switch has happened, most people report an increase in energy and decrease in hunger. You really just have a few days to get through in order to start reaping the benefits.
What else you need to know
Because of the changes in diet away from carbohydrates in Keto, it helps to supplement some salts and electrolytes. This ensures your system stays healthy and balanced. It will also help minimize the side effects you may initially feel when first starting Keto.
Start by adding sodium and potassium supplements. Because your focus will be on fats and protein, you will be eating less grains and vegetables that contain fiber. This can lead to constipation for some people. Additional magnesium per day, in combination with proper hydration, can help alleviate this.
Although you don’t have to take any supplements while you’re on the keto diet, there are some supplements that can be helpful. Using whey to increase your protein intake can help keep muscles building even while the fat is being reduced. This is especially helpful if you are planning to boost your workout level when you’re on the Keto diet.
MTC (medium chain triglycerides) oil can also help further increase ketone levels. Coconut oil is a natural source of MTCs. Try adding either of these supplements into your morning yogurt or shake.
The bottom line
Research has shown that the Keto diet can be extremely effective and can have many amazing health benefits. As with anything though, there are individuals for whom Keto may not be a good fit. Talk to your doctor before starting the Keto diet. This is especially important if you are taking medication for diabetes or high blood pressure, or if you are breastfeeding.
For most healthy people though, Keto can be a life-changing boost that helps target fat loss in the body. When precautions are taken to support the body during this changed state of metabolism, it can be a really effective and rewarding experience.