Consistently, the dieting scene hums about the most recent and most prominent approach to fuel your body. For some time it was paleo, yet as of late all the promotion is around the more extraordinary rendition: the ketogenic diet. Today we’ll delve into this topic. What is the ketogenic diet, how can it affect well-being, and is it an option for someone looking to improve their health or lose weight?
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, moderate protein, high fat diet. Only allowing for around 30g of carbs or less per day, depending on the individual. On the ketogenic diet, you’re encouraged to stick with a 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs macronutrient ratio. This ratio is a baseline, and most people can get away with a less exact variation. Some people are able to go as low as 60% fat, 30% protein, and 10% carbs, but that is about as low as most can get away with. Keeping the fats high and the carbs low is key.
You will want to look for high healthy fat options like fatty meats, avocados, eggs, butter (real butter – not vegetable oils), healthy oils (olive, coconut), and lot of green vegetables. At the same time, you will need to avoid potatoes, pasta, rice, legumes, fruit, bread and other high carbohydrate foods.
On a traditional diet, the body burns carbohydrates (glucose) for energy. Once those carbohydrate stores are used up, the body will look for new sources to convert to energy. At this point, the body will start to convert stored fat into an alternative energy source called “ketones”. Our bodies are exceptionally versatile and can change from running off of glucose (carbs) to ketones (fat), when necessary.
Ketogenic Diet Benefits
The ketogenic diet was initially created in the 1920’s, when scientists found that it reduced seizures in children with epilepsy. Because of this research, further attention was given to the ketogenic diet in regards to Alzheimers Disease, dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
Often-reported benefits of the ketogenic diet include:
- Increased mental clarify and focus
- Less frequent and less intense migraines
- Reduction and/or elimination of the need for diabetes medications
- Lower blood pressure
- Better cholesterol profiles
- Stabilized blood sugar levels
- Decreased inflammation (improving acne, arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, IBS, pain, etc.)
- Weight loss
- Better sleep
Is Keto For You?
If this sounds like something you can do, give it a shot. This diet can be a tough diet to stick to, especially in the beginning. Not just in light of the fact that you may feel physically sick for the first few weeks, due to the “keto flu”, but since you are fundamentally changing the way your body functions. Most people will be effectively removing a huge part of their existing diet, and replacing it with something completely different.
If you are like me, you were brought up to believe that fat is the enemy. Adapting to a new lifestyle where fat is your best friend can be a major hurdle to jump over, for most people. I suggest that if you do pursue this endevour, you start off with small changes and work your way up from there. Start by eliminating the sugars first and foremost. Sugar is king for ruining any type of diet, and starting from a good base is very important.
For those individuals dealing with existing health conditions, please speak with your healthcare provider before making any change in your diet. Every individual is unique, and limiting a specific macronutrient category, carbs in this case, should never be done without the guidance of a professional. This is to insure you aren’t putting yourself at risk of nutrient deficiency. Be safe.