What Is The Keto Diet?
The Keto Diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. On this diet carbs are replaced with healthy fats and the reduction of carbs triggers a metabolic state known as lipolysis.
Lipolysis is a process that occurs when the body begins to use fat for energy, instead of carbohydrates that have been obtained from food.
The by-products of lipolysis are ketones and ketosis is the secondary process of lipolysis.
When you deprive your body of carbs, which is converted to glucose and typically used as fuel, it is forced to use its fat stores instead, literally melting it off your body when it is in ketosis.
Ketosis makes the body burn stored and dietary fat for energy instead of getting its energy from the carbs you eat. Ketosis also turns fat into ketones in the liver that helps supply energy to the brain.
Isn’t Keto Just Another Fad Diet?
Absolutely not! The keto diet is actually a lifestyle change.
It's not a program intended as a temporary fix or a quick weight loss scheme.
There is a lot of scientific research evidence that has shown that eating low carb is highly effective for sustained weight loss and to provides a multitude other health benefits.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Following The Keto Diet?
When you follow a low carb diet it results in weight loss, and that weight loss can be very dramatic and very quick!
Eating low carb will eliminate those pesky out of control cravings, stabilizes blood sugar and consequently the appetite, and research has shown that reducing carbohydrate consumption and replacing them with protein and healthy fats results in reducing overall calorie consumption naturally and without starvation.
Needless to say, the side effects of following this type of diet is are quite impressive!
The keto diet can help to significantly reduce obesity, which is linked to numerous illnesses and health issues such heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer, reduced quality of life, belly fat, joint problems, autoimmune disease, and premature death.
Decreases Visceral Fat
Research has shown that a low carb diet can help to reduce levels of visceral fat specifically rather than the superficial subcutaneous fat.
Stabilizes Blood Sugar
Following a low carb diet can also stabilize your blood sugars to possibly prevent and manage type 1 and type 2 diabetes. And since eating low carb eliminates insulin triggers such as sugars and starches, it is the diet of choice for those who are pre-diabetic or someone who has already diagnosed.
While a lot of research into low carb eating as it pertains to treating or preventing disease is far from conclusive, a low carb diet certainly results in weight loss and is especially important in regards to metabolic and insulin-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and other metabolic syndrome conditions.
Helps You Maintain A Healthy Blood Pressure
Following the keto diet can help lower your risks for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and stroke. The keto diet is used to treat several types of cancer and to slow the growth of tumors.
The keto diet is also used to treat traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and polycystic ovary syndrome.
Some of the other benefits of eating low carb is that when you eat less sugar it can lower your insulin levels which can help improve your acne.
One of the major benefits is that after staring on this lifestyle most women simply, are less bloated, and having more energy than when they were on a high carb diet.
What Can I Eat On The Keto Diet?
There are plenty of great choices, recipes, and combinations of low carb meals and foods.
Below is a small sampling of what you can have:
- Turkey, chicken, red meat, ham, sausage, bacon, organ meat and exotic fowl, fish and seafood and eggs
- All non-starchy vegetables, including, leafy greens, onions, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, olives, etc.
- Butter, heavy cream, full fat sour cream and salad dressings (be sure to check the labels for carb count)
- Whole full fat unprocessed cheeses, including, cheddar gouda, mozzarella, parmesan and blue cheese in moderation
- Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, nut butters, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds in moderation
- Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil
- Avocados (whole or guacamole made from fresh whole avocados)
- Salt, herbs and spices
- No carb sauces like some hot sauce brands, and soy sauce, check labels.
- Berries in moderation
- Water, unsweetened tea, unsweetened coffee, club soda, no-calorie flavored seltzers, diet soda (be cautious as artificial sweeteners can affect low carb weight loss), herbal tea without added barley or fruit sugars
What Carbs Are Not Allowed On The Keto Diet?
You can not have any refined sugar, sweets, fruit, rice, pasta, bread, grains, starches, starchy vegetables, beans, flour or any products that are made with it
You can slowly integrate foods like nuts and berries as you get closer to reaching your goals.
How Many Carbs Can I Eat?
This really depends on the person. Each person is different. The strictest recommendation is 20 grams or less to lose weight while others can go as high as 50.
Additionally, physical activity matters, meaning the more active you are, the more carbs you can eat, but keep in mind the carb sources should still be vegetables, nuts, and berries in moderation.
If you are thrown out of ketosis or your weight loss stalls, then your carb intake needs to be altered.
Do I Have To Count Calories?
The keto diet advocates eating to satisfaction, so there is no need to count calories.
When you eliminate unhealthy carbs from your diet, you also get rid of out of control cravings, stabilize blood sugar and consequently the appetite.
Research has shown that reducing the carbs in your diet and replacing them with protein and healthy fats results in reducing overall calorie consumption naturally and without starvation.
Many people report having to remember to eat by a clock because they simply do not feel out of control hunger like they use to before they cut out carbs.
Is Is Healthy To Cut Carbs From My Diet?
Remember when following the keto diet, you are only allowed non-starchy vegetables, which are the healthiest carbs.
What you're cutting out are the unhealthy carbs like refined sugar and sweets that do nothing but harm the body.
In addition to sweets you're also going to remove grains from your diet such as rice and pasta, and even whole grains, which are not much different from sugar in their ability to release glucose and often have a higher glycemic index than sugary foods, which means they cause more of an insulin response in the body.
In fact, whole grains lack the nutrients or longevity of fats and proteins, and have been strongly associated with autoimmune diseases.
Another important thing to remember is that while you are eliminate carbs, you're also increasing your intake of healthy fats.
Fats tend to get a bad rap in the food chain when in fact some fats are actually very good for you!
There are many essential nutrients we get from fatty foods such as avocado, meats, butter, cheese, coconut, and olive oils, not the least of which is energy and subsequent result of fat burning ketosis.
Many studies have shown that low carb diets are more effective in actual weight lost, decreasing risks for heart disease, improving metabolic health, and the lipid profile than that of a lower fat diet.
What Will Provide Fuel To My Body If I Cut Carbohydrates From My Diet?
Yes, carbohydrates are a source of fuel for the body but they are not the only fuels.
As a matter of fact, evidence shows that our bodies are great adapters and they actually run better when they are burning fat as opposed to burning carbs, which is a process known as ketosis.
Your body also has an almost endless supply of fat to burn as body fuel but only a limited supply of carb produced glycogen.
Many people also don’t realize that there is a natural process in the body that turns protein into glycogen body fuel called gluconeogenesis.
So not only will you get plenty of fuel for your body when lowering your carb intake, this is exactly what allows you to lose weight and turns your body into a fat burning machine!
I've Read That Being In Ketosis Is Extremely Dangerous. Is This True?
Ketosis is frequently confused with ketoacidosis.
Being in ketosis is a perfectly harmless, helpful, and natural metabolic process, while ketoacidosis is a dangerous condition that happens in uncontrolled diabetes.
Are There Any Side Effects To Removing Carbs From My Diet?
Some people experience digestion and stomach problems such as diarrhea, but this common side effect typically goes away after about four weeks.
Eating more high-fiber vegetables such as leafy greens and broccoli helps and magnesium supplements can alleviate constipation.
Will I Ever Be Able To Eat Sugar Or Carbs Again?
When following the keto diet it's very important to be strict in the elimination of carbs initially, to allow the body to fully enter ketosis.
As you reach your goals, be it weigh loss or reducing your type 2 diabetes A1C numbers you can indulge on occasion, but to maintain your results you will need to return to the diet immediately.
As with any healthy eating strategy, moderation is always key.
Additionally, many people who sustain a low carb lifestyle for the long term find that when they do eat sugar or sugary foods they simply do not tolerate them or even enjoy them as they used to either because the taste is so strong and overwhelming or because they just simply feel better without it.
Will Increasing My Fat Intake Cause High Cholesterol?
Evidence suggests the increasing your fat intake actually causes your cholesterol to go down!
A s have shown that eating low carb has an edge over low-fat diets for improving your good HDL cholesterol levels over the long term.
There was a study done that shows 307 obese subjects participated in a diet with half following a low-carb diet, with a limit of no more than 20 grams a day for three months then increasing carb intake by 5 grams each week as long as they continued to lose weight.
Several studies have shown low carb to be more effective than low fat in actual pounds lost and in reducing risk factors for heart disease.
Will I Get Headaches Or Become Light Headed From Doing Keto?
Sometimes headaches and light headiness can occur because your kidneys are excreting salt more rapidly as a result of ketosis, a process instigated by low carb eating where the body begins to use fat for energy instead of consumed carbs.
To counteract this, drink 1 or 2 cups of clear broth every day to add about 1 or 2 grams of himalayan salt to your daily intake.
Whole meats and green leafy vegetables are both also great sources of potassium.
What Happens If I Feel Tired Or Weak?
This can happen when you are not in full ketosis or your body is not using fats and ketones efficiently. Try lowering carb intake, taking MCT oil or ketone supplements can help.
Can I Drink Alcohol On Keto?
The body burns alcohol for fuel when alcohol is available which means that while it’s burning the alcohol it will not burn fat.
Therefore, it will not stop weight loss altogether, but it could slow it down.
Since the body does not store pure alcohol as glycogen, it can immediately return to lipolysis once the alcohol is metabolized.
In some people, alcohol can interfere with weight loss by increasing yeast-related symptoms. If this is not a problem then moderate consumption is okay.
It is important, however, to choose the right type of alcohol, meaning that you have to be careful that what you are drinking is not full of carbs or sugar.
That means beer is definitely a no-no, as it is basically liquid bread and you cannot have sugar-filled cocktails, such as a Margaritas or Pina Coladas. Click here to see full list of acceptable alcohol.
Stick with pure spirits like whiskey and vodka, which have zero carbs or also wine, which has a low amount of carbs and regardless of what you drink be sure to practice moderation.
Keep in mind however that alcohol is really just empty calories, and if by chance, you are following a low carb diet and drinking alcohol and not losing weight you will need to stop drinking and see if that makes a difference.
I Just Had A Baby. Can I Still Do Keto?
You can go on a low carb diet but you should do so on a limited basis. Especially if you're still breast feeding.
A moderate low carb diet that consists of a carbohydrate intake of 50 grams a day or slightly more is what we would recommended.
Also if you are breastfeeding, you should also be aware that you will have to eat enough calories to keep producing healthy milk.
So instead of restricting calories, eat more nutrient dense foods like fresh lean meats and vegetables.
And always ask your doctor before changing your diet while breastfeeding.
Are Artificial Sweeteners Allowed?
Just as there are many misconceptions about fats, the same holds true for artificial sweeteners.
As a matter of fact, saccharin was just recently removed from the FDA’s list of known carcinogens after studies found no direct link between its use and an increase in cancers.
You can consume artificial sweeteners on a low carb diet because they are not processed in the body as real sugars are.
There is little evidence to suggest they collect in tissues in the body as regular sugar does so they will not affect your carb intake.
However, artificial sweeteners can and will interfere with ketosis, so it is recommended to limit their intake to no more than 3 packets per day.
Will I Lose Any Muscle On Keto?
Many diets pose this risk, but the high protein and ketone levels will help minimize this problem and it is always recommended to anyone to participate in regular muscle and strength training as part of an overall healthy lifestyle.
Can Anyone Follow The Keto Diet?
The keto diet is ideal for those who want to lose weight, are struggling with diabetes or have pre-diabetic and want to reduce risks for an actual diagnoses of type 2 diabetes.
It's also a great plan for those looking to improve their overall metabolic health.
Of course it will not work for everyone, and you should always ask your doctor before starting any new diet.
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