If losing weight has been a constant struggle for you despite all the different diets you’ve tried, chances are high that you’ve simply just been choosing the wrong one. While there certainly is no diet that could feasibly offer a one-size-fits-all program, there are certain nutritional principles that a good diet should have in order to be effective for various kinds of people. It’s a tale as old as time, but one of these principles is eating a diet that is as low in carbohydrates as possible.
The Ketogenic, or Keto, Diet is one of the most popular low carbohydrate diets out in the market right now and with good reason. Focusing on a low carb and high fat eating plan, the Ketogenic Diet has a high success rate amongst committed followers of the diet. It’s also proven very effective over a wide spectrum of people who live various lifestyles and health goals. Most importantly, people who have tried the Ketogenic Diet have enjoyed maintainable and sustainable results even after their time on the diet. But what exactly is the Ketogenic Diet apart from being a high-fat, low-carb driven program and how does it really work?
How It Works
The crux or foundation of the Ketogenic Diet lies in a natural process of the body called Ketosis and molecules produced during the process called Ketones. Ketosis occurs in the body during situations in which food intake is low. Ketones, on the other hand, are small fuel molecules that are produced when the liver breaks down fats. In essence, when the body is in a state of Ketosis, it uses Ketones as its source of energy, which equates to burning more fat. To force your body or your metabolism into a state of Ketosis, you actually starve your body of carbohydrates instead of starving it of calories. This means that even if you’re avoiding carbohydrates, you’re actually allowed to have fatty food like the universal favorite: bacon.
Some of you might be shaking your head in disbelief at the thought of a high-fat diet. You may even be shuddering at the mere thought of consuming anything remotely “fatty”. The truth of the matter, however, is that fat is actually the most beneficial and efficient type of energy for our bodies. Fat, especially the good fats, are also essential for our bodies. Carbohydrates, on the other hand, are completely unessential. To put it simply, by depriving your body of carbohydrates and feeding it fat instead, you can trigger your body into a state in which it burns fat for energy. Stored fat in the body is also used for energy which results in consistent and sustained weight loss.
What Do You Eat?
So what exactly does someone on the Ketogenic Diet eat? Sure, you know it’s a high-fat and low-carb diet, but what kind of food does that entail? The first thing you need to know is that refined carbohydrates in any form must not be consumed for this diet to be effective. That means saying goodbye to starch, wheat and most fruit. Those who are new to the diet, or simply love their carbs way too much, can eat a maximum of 25 grams of carbohydrates per day as long as it’s coming from vegetables, dairy or nuts. On the other hand, people who want enter into a state of Ketosis faster should consume less than 15 grams of carbohydrates in a day to start burning fat faster. There are just a few exceptions to the fruit rule such as avocado, berries and star fruit. Even then, these fruits must be consumed in moderation.
In terms of meat, the Ketogenic Diet recommends getting protein from whole foods. Fish, lamb, poultry and eggs are popular protein choices for those on the Ketogenic Diet. When it comes to vegetables, it’s best to eat green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach, as well as above ground vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli or zucchini. High-fat food items such as seeds, nuts and dairy are also recommended to make sure that your body is getting the fuel that it needs throughout the day. If you need sweetness in your life, go for natural sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit. Of course, you shouldn’t forget fats which can come in the form of coconut oil or even high-fat salad dressing.
The Benefits of the Keto Diet
The most obvious benefit of starting the Ketogenic Diet is weight loss. And not just any kind of weight loss, but sustainable and maintainable weight loss from the burning of fat reserves in the body. Apart from this, however, the Ketogenic Diet also causes a series of long term and short term benefits that improve your overall health. When it comes to short term benefits, the Ketogenic Diet provides you with a more consistent level of energy throughout the day. Since you are no longer consuming unnecessary carbohydrates, you are also ridding your body of excess sugars. This saves you from having to deal with blood glucose spikes and crashes, which can make you feel weak and disoriented. You also stay fuller much longer on the Ketogenic Diet due to the high caloric density of the food you’re consuming. When your hunger is satiated, you are less prone to snacking, over eating or binge eating, thus making sure that your weight loss or health goals stay on track.
When considering the long term benefits of the Ketogenic Diet, the list is incredible. Studies have shown that those who stick to the diet enjoy healthier levels of good cholesterol and lower levels of bad cholesterol. They also maintain healthier blood pressures, have reduced blood sugar and insulin resistance as well as much lower levels of triglycerides. Those on the Ketogenic Diet will also notice a decrease in appetite in the long run, which is especially helpful when you finish the diet and return to your regular eating habits. Some incredible success stories have also been reported with people reversing severe ailments like Type 2 Diabetes.