Low-carb diets are the simplest and healthiest way of losing weight. They’re as important as going those extra miles on the mill or timing those squats a little longer than usual. That is why you’ve probably heard the term “keto” or “ketogenic diet” being thrown around gym floors and slim-down programs like deals of the day. What’s this fad about? The ketogenic diet is a low-carb high-fat (LCHF) diet that induces and sustains a body state called “ketosis” which otherwise occurs during sleep, fasting, or vigorous workouts, thus paving way for the desired pound-shred. A striking 94% of the dieters reported experiencing “positive” or “very positive” health benefits including weight loss, lowered blood sugar levels, and more energetic days through the ketogenic diet. Besides its importance in weight loss, the keto diet is a life savior in various other medical conditions and was originally designed to control seizures during the 1920s. Although research in this field is not maximal, a majority of the studies on the low-carb ketogenic diet prove its beneficial effect on heart health, blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, epilepsy, and so on.
What it exactly is and how it works
The ketogenic diet is one that allows you to consume larger quantities of fats in a healthy manner while strictly limiting protein and carbohydrate intake. Though there are robust variations in the diet, the ideal keto restricts carbs to as low as 20-50 grams per day amounting to 90% of calories being derived from fat, 6% from protein, and just 4% from carbs. This decamps the body’s fuel – glucose, within 1-4 days of starting the diet, as glucose is chiefly derived from carbs. Hence, the body begins to break down fats into fatty acids which are further reduced to ketones in the liver. Ketones, which are products of fat metabolism, become the body’s new energy source. The ketone levels in the blood rise drastically, resulting in a condition called ketosis.
One acute factor that distinguishes the low carb ketogenic diet from other conventional low carb diets, is in the part where proteins are involved. While the other low-carb regimens permit a generous amount of proteins, the keto diet stresses low to moderate amounts of protein. Go light on those turkey breasts and elk steaks. This is because amino acids derived from proteins have the potential to convert to glucose and the body, needy of sugar, forces most of the protein into glucose production while using the rest for muscle repair and preservation of lean body mass. Therefore, any elevated level of protein intake shuts ketosis and overrides the purpose of a low-carb diet.
What it does to you
The human body is more or less like a machine, performing the same routine functions round the clock. When you deny it its original source of energy, it depletes every last bit of glucose from its stores and goes as far as breaking down muscle to generate glucose. This dramatic shift places strain on the body in the initial stages as the body learns to adapt to newer sources of energy. But, within a span of 1-2 weeks, the ketogenic diet becomes almost easy and achievable on a daily basis, making your food choices better and simpler. About 70% of the dieters rated the diet to be “extremely” effective in achieving their diet goals. The numerous advantages that come along with the ketogenic diet hail its ability to-
- Curtail bad cholesterol (LDL-Low Density Lipoproteins) and significantly increase levels of good cholesterol (HDL-High Density Lipoproteins) in blood.
- Reduce systemic inflammation, allergies, and enhance metabolic rate.
- Prevent gastric and digestive issues like bloating and stomach cramps.
- Cause a feeling of fullness and decreased food cravings.
- Provide neuroprotection to the brain and nerve cells, especially in Alzheimer’s.
- Control seizures in epileptic patients.
- Stimulate weight loss (more than in the standard high carb, low-fat diets) including the water weight.
- Improve skin health and ward off acne.
- Control blood sugars and in some cases, even reverse type 2 diabetes.
- Manage blood pressure.
- Boost mental clarity and agility.
- Kill cancer cells in certain cancers.
What you need to know before stepping in
The ketogenic diet is not just a nutrition chart to be followed, but a lifestyle to adopt. It is effectuated and complemented by healthy exercise, multivitamins and other nutritional supplements, and constant hydration. For the reason that carbohydrates are rich sources of vitamins and fibers, a low-carb diet has to replace those lost nutrients via other supplements. And since carbohydrates are made partly of water molecules, a lot of water is lost from the body while on a keto diet, making hydration a necessity.
A thoroughly formulated ketogenic diet that answers to your goals of pursuing it, keeps your ketone levels in check, and prevents any form of long-term health complications.