What Is a Ketogenic Diet?
A ketogenic diet, or keto diet for short, is well known for being a low carb diet, where the body produces ketones in the liver which are then used as energy. It’s often referred to by many different names such as a low carb diet, low carb high fat, etc.
Ketosis is a natural process which the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low. In this state, we produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver. The end goal of a properly maintained keto diet is to force your body into this metabolic state. The diet focuses on eating mostly fat, limited amounts of protein, and almost no carbs at all.
So why is it so awesome and why is it taking the world by storm?
When you eat something that is high in carbs, your body will produce glucose and insulin.
Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy. It is the preferred energy source for your body.
Insulin is produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream by transporting it around your body.
With the average person’s diet, glucose is the main energy source. This may not seem like a problem until you realise that the body can’t store that much glucose. This becomes an issue for you because the extra glucose gets converted into fat which is then stored. When you lower your intake of carbs, your body begins to look for an alternative energy source and, as a result, enters into a metabolic state known as ketosis. This is the end goal of the keto diet. You don’t enter ketosis by starving your body. You enter ketosis by starving your body of carbohydrates. Here is a short list of dos/don’ts when following keto diet:
Do Not Eat
Grains — wheat, corn, rice, cereal, etc.
Sugar — honey, agave, maple syrup, etc.
Fruit — apples, bananas, oranges, etc.
Tubers — potato, yams, etc.
Meats — fish, beef, lamb, poultry, eggs, etc.
Leafy Greens — spinach, kale, etc.
Above ground vegetables — broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
High Fat Dairy — hard cheeses, high fat cream, butter, etc.
Nuts and seeds — macadamias, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
Avocado and berries — raspberries, blackberries, and other low glycemic impact berries
Sweeteners — stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, and other low-carb sweeteners >
Other fats — coconut oil, high-fat salad dressing, saturated fats, etc.
Like most diets, the ketogenic diet is not a one-size-fits-all solution to all of humanity’s health and weight desires and dreams. It might be enjoyable for some people, especially in the short term, but that doesn’t mean it will be a fit for everyone.
Successful long-term weight loss is the product of many factors: your physical activity, how much sleep you get, stress management, and other factors like medical issues and hormones all play an important role. What you eat is just one part of the weight loss puzzle.