Among the various means available to you on your weight loss adventure, the ketogenic diet is one of them. It is popularly referred to as the keto-diet in short. Many people have tried different ways to lose weight but their efforts proves abortive and they do not get results probably because they are not doing it right. Therefore they have chosen the keto diet as a great option for losing weight. In this article, we will be discussing what you should know about keto diets.
A ketogenic diet also referred to as keto diet is the consumption of foods that have low levels of carbohydrates and protein but that contains high levels of fats. This means that you should eat foods that contain very low carbohydrates while maintaining a balanced level of your intake of protein and then consuming more foods that contain fats. Keto in its short form is derived from the fact that during a keto diet, the body produces small fuel molecules known as “ketones”. Ketones is an alternative soure of fuel for the body, usually used when glucose(blood sugar)is in short supply and it burns stored fat instead. When you consume high fat and very few carbs and calories, your liver produces ketones from the fat you have consumed and act as a full source especially for your brain.
Moreso, when you reduce your carb intake, your body automatically switches to a metabolic state referred to as KETOSIS. Ketosis is referred to as a metabolic state characterized by increased levels of ketone bodies in the body tissues, which is typically pathological in conditions such as diabetes, or may be the consequence of a diet that is very low in carbohydrates.
Our body cells has been programmed to use glucose as their main source of energy and people can only obtain glucose from eating carbs, including sugars and starchy foods, but if there is no enough glucose in the body to provide energy, it will start breaking down fat stores and use glucose from triglycerides. We should bear in mind that too much consumption of ketones can poison the body system and result into a medical condition called ketoacidosis. While the body utilizes the fat stored in the body, some keto diets helps to enhance the weight loss adventure. As stated earlier, keto diet contains fat in high amounts. For example, the protein may be 20% of calories, 10% could be carbs and 70% may come from fat.
Weight loss on keto diets are usually on short term because people can consume very few calories on a normal diet without feeling hungry. It is recommended that those who take medication for diabetes, those who take medication for high blood pressure and those who breastfeed should not include the keto diet in their weight loss plan.
Keto diet intake has many benefits asides weight loss; it also enhances good health and performance. Various studies have proven this to be true and doctors usually recommend the keto diet.
FOODS TO CONSUME ON A KETO DIET
Here, a list of foods to eat on a ketogenic diet will be made. When on a ketogenic diet, it is better to eat less than 100grams of carbs, preferably 50grams. You should avoid eating too much carbs, you can make it easier by keeping a tab on your carb intake, by not going beyond 50grams per day of net carbs, ideally below 20grams. When you reduce the intake of carbs, the more effective it becomes to reaching your weight loss on keto diet as well as improving type 2 diabetes. Foods you can eat on a ketogenic diet include:
- Fish and Seafood: Wild-caught fish are the best fishes you can have on a keto diet. Fatty fishes like salmon are also good and for those who are bothered about eating mercury or other kinds of fishes, should rather eat smaller fishes like sardines, mackerel and herring. Breading contains carbs, so it should be avoided.
- Natural fat, high-fat sources: Fats can be gotten from meats, fish, eggs, and other sources, but you can also use fat in cooking, for instance, butter or coconut oil, and you can add olive oil to your salads and vegetables. There are some tasty high fat sauces such as Béarnaise sauce, garlic butter etc that you can prepare. It is important that most of the calories in your keto diet should come from fat.
- Eggs: When buying eggs, you should go for the organic or pastured eggs as it is a good option. You are free to eat about 36eggs per day, it shouldn’t exceed that but you can eat lesser. Eat eggs anyhow you prefer it, it can be boiled, scrambled, made as omelets or fried in butter.
- Meat: You should avoid the intake of large amount of meats because keto diet requires a higher fat diet, which doesn’t contain high levels of protein as too much protein can be converted to glucose and may become very hard for some people to lose weight. Organic and grass-fed meat are very good and unprocessed meats have low levels of carb.
- Nuts: Make sure to keep a tab on your nuts intake as you might be tempted to eat more than you should when used as snacks. Eat at least ½ cup per day.
- Vegetables: Vegetables are a great and delicious way to eat fat on keto. Some people refer to vegetables as a source of fat, as they add more flavor and spice to your meals. You can either fry them in butter or add olive oil to your salad as stated earlier. You can eat fresh vegetables or frozen ones and it is better to eat vegetables that are growing above the ground because above the ground vegetables are very low in carbs as they contain 5 grams of carbs per 100grams. Examples of above the ground vegetables are: cabbage, avocado, zucchini, cauliflower and broccoli etc.
- High-fat dairy: E.g. butter, high-fat cheese and heavy cream.
- Berries: Do not take too much of it.
Things you can drink on a ketogenic diet, they are:
Water: Water is the first thing on the list, it should be the first option to choose. You can take your water without any mixture and you can decide to add natural flavors like: lemons, cucumbers, or limes. Just in case you experience headaches or symptoms of “keto-flu”, add a few pinches of salt to your water.
-Coffee: When preparing your coffee, do not add sugar, add a small amount of milk or cream. If you want to gain extra energy, you can add butter and coconut oil.
-Tea: You can take any tea of your choice, but make sure not to add sugar. For instance, you can take the black tea, green tea, Orange Pekoe, mint, or herbal.
BENEFITS OF A KETO DIET
Keto diets have many benefits and they are similar to those of other low-carb and higher fat diets, some of the benefits are:
- It aids weight loss: Many studies have proven that keto diets are more effective in weight loss compared to other diets. Weight loss is achieved when you turn your body into a fat burning machine, as the insulin levels drops greatly.
- It controls blood sugar and reverse type 2 diabetes: Different studies have shown that keto diets are very good for managing type 2 diabetes and it sometimes stops the diseases from becoming worse. This is because keto diet lowers levels of blood sugar and reduces the impact of high insulin levels which in turn reduces the need for medications. The keto diet can improve diabetes such that the blood glucose becomes normal.
- Energy and mental performance: When in ketosis, people tend to notice an increase in energy and an increase in mental ability as there is a continued flow of ketones to the brain. What we mean by improved mental ability is that it enables people to understand things clearly. It enhances concentration when you are up to a task and improves your focus.
- Appetite control: Studies have proven that when you are on a keto diet, it reduces your cravings and doesn’t make you feel hungry uncontrollably. It exercises control over your appetite which in turn makes you eat less and lose weight. Indirectly you save more money and your time because you won’t be spending too much on food or snacks at all times.
- It improves health generally: Naturally, low carb diets aids in easing several risk factors for heart diseases, which keto diet has proven to be one.
- A more calm stomach: When you are on a keto diet, you start noticing changes in your stomach if usually you do experience cramps or pains in the stomach. Those symptoms reduces as there will be less pain, less cramps, a calm stomach and less gas in not less than 1 or 2 days on the diet.
- It is a therapy for Epilepsy: Over the years,keto diets have been seen as effective medical therapy for epilepsy since 1920s. it is usually recommended for children, and those who have used the keto therapy for epilepsy have been said to have improved. Adults now benefit from it as well. Adopting the keto diet has made it possible for people to reduce the intake of anti-epileptic drugs and has helped to reduce the side effects of these drugs and it helps to stop seizures.
- It enables prolonged physical activities: Being on a keto diet makes it possible to withstand long hours of exercises or house activities like chores and even outdoor activities like walking a long distance e.t.c because the fat stores in your body carries enough energy to be able to keep you strong and active for weeks. This has an underlying benefit, which is weight loss. When the keto diet keeps your energy sustained and makes you endure physical activities, you tend to do more without getting tired immediately and in the process, you shed more weight.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS?
It is important to know the risk associated to some diets, so that you can be guided on how to eat. The ketogenic diet has some risks because keto diets are high in fat, and consumption of high levels of fat can lead to a heart disease. According to Mc Manus, it is preferable to consume saturated fats of no more than 7% of your daily calories, because of heart diseases. Other risks involved are:
- Nutrient Deficiency: if you limit yourself to eating specific kinds of vegetables, fruits and grains, you may be lacking certain micronutrients including vitamins B and C, magnesium, phosphorus and so on according to MC Manus
- Liver Problems: as a result of high rate of consumption of fat, there becomes so much fat to metabolize and so it can worsen any existing liver problems.
- Constipation: the keto diet can lead to constipation since it is low in fibrous foods e.g grains and legumes.
- Mood swings: carbohydrates are a source of sugar for the body, and the brain needs sugar to function. So Low intake of carb may slow down the function of the brain.
Before you embark on your weight loss on keto diet, it is advisable that you go to a medical practitioner to discuss how to go about your weight loss adventure on the keto diet and how to combine your foods for a proper keto diet that wont bring about the aforementioned risks to you. You can see a registered dietitian as well.
A 1-Day Sample Menu For The Keto Diet
Breakfast: fried eggs with bacon and a side of greens
Snack: plain, full-fat Greek yogurt with crushed pecans added to it.
Lunch: grass-fed burger in a lettuce “bun” together with avocado and a side salad.
Snack: Meat-based bar (turkey or pork)
Dinner: Baked tofu with cauliflower rice, broccoli, and peppers.
Note the following about the keto diet
. it allows for the deprivation of carbohydrates, lesser than 20-50grams of carbs per day.
. it doesn’t take a long period of time to reach a state of ketosis, it takes just a few days
. Avoid eating too much protein, as it can interfere with ketosis.