What You Should Know
The keto diet, also known as the ketogenic diet, is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that has gained popularity in recent years as a weight loss and body transformation strategy. The diet is based on the idea that by drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing fat intake, the body enters a state of ketosis in which it begins to burn fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. This process can lead to weight loss and body transformation, as well as potential health benefits such as improved blood sugar control and reduced risk of certain diseases.
How the Keto Diet Works
The human body is designed to use carbohydrates as its primary source of energy. When we eat carbohydrates, the body breaks them down into glucose, which is then used by the cells for energy. However, when carbohydrate intake is restricted, the body begins to burn fat for energy instead. This process is known as ketosis, and it is the key to the effectiveness of the keto diet.
During ketosis, the body breaks down fat into molecules called ketones, which can be used by the cells for energy. As the body burns through its stores of fat, weight loss and body transformation can occur. The keto diet is often used for weight loss and body transformation because it allows the body to tap into its fat stores for energy, rather than relying on carbohydrates.
Starting the Keto Diet: A How-To Guide
- Determine your daily carbohydrate and protein intake: One of the key aspects of the keto diet is restricting carbohydrate intake to 20-50 grams per day, while increasing fat intake to make up the majority of your daily caloric intake. It is also important to consume an adequate amount of protein to support muscle mass and overall health.
- Plan your meals: The keto diet can be challenging to follow if you are not prepared with a plan for meals and snacks. Make a list of low-carb, high-fat foods that you enjoy and incorporate them into your meals and snacks. Some examples of low-carb, high-fat foods include avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds, eggs, and fatty cuts of meat.
- Monitor your progress: To determine whether the keto diet is working for you, it is important to monitor your progress. This can include tracking your weight, measurements, and other markers of progress such as energy levels and overall well-being.
- Seek support: Starting a new diet can be overwhelming, and it can be helpful to seek support from friends, family, or a healthcare professional. You may also find it helpful to join a keto-specific support group or online community for guidance and motivation.
Benefits of the Keto Diet
One of the main benefits of the keto diet is improved blood sugar control. By drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing fat intake, the keto diet can help lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes. This can be especially beneficial for individuals who are at risk of developing serious complications related to high blood sugar levels, such as heart disease and nerve damage.
In addition to its effects on blood sugar control, the keto diet may also have the potential to reduce the risk of certain diseases. Some research suggests that the keto diet may be beneficial for reducing the risk of heart disease, as it can help to lower levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and increase levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. Other research has also suggested that the keto diet may have the potential to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, although more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between the diet and cancer risk.
Another benefit of the keto diet is its potential to promote weight loss and body transformation. By allowing the body to tap into its fat stores for energy rather than relying on carbohydrates, the keto diet can help individuals shed excess pounds and achieve their weight loss goals. In addition, the high-fat nature of the diet can help to reduce appetite and increase feelings of fullness, which can contribute to weight loss.
It's important to note that the keto diet is not for everyone, and it's important to speak with a healthcare professional before starting the diet. The keto diet may not be appropriate for individuals with certain health conditions or those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Overall, the keto diet has a number of potential health benefits, including improved blood sugar control, reduced risk of certain diseases, and weight loss. While the diet may not be right for everyone, it can be a useful tool for those looking to improve their health and achieve their weight loss goals.
Simple "On-The- Go" Low-Carb Snack Options
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Avocado with salt and pepper
- Cheese slices or cubes
- Nuts and seeds (e.g. almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds)
- Jerky (beef, turkey, or pork)
- Coconut flakes
- Dark chocolate (in moderation)
- Volek, J. S., & Phinney, S. D. (2012). The art and science of low carbohydrate living: An expert guide to making the life-saving benefits of carbohydrate restriction sustainable and enjoyable. Beyond Obesity LLC.
- Westman, E. C., Yancy, W. S., Mavropoulos, J. C., Marquart, M., & McDuffie, J. R. (2008). The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Nutrition & metabolism, 5(1), 36.
- Stern, L., Iqbal, N., Seshadri, P., Chicano, K. L., Daily, D. A., McGrory, J., ... & Rood, J. (2004). The effects of low-carbohydrate versus conventional weight loss diets in severely obese adults: one-year follow-up of a randomized trial. Annals of internal medicine, 140(10), 778-785.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Chris Hollon