To combat obesity and other metabolic diseases, several diets emerged; and one of these is the ketogenic diet, which requires the dieter to consume only a minimal amount of carbohydrates.
What exactly is a ketogenic diet?
The keto diet is high in fat, low in carbs, and moderate in protein. Since it is low in carbs and high in fat, the body gets into a metabolic state called ketosis. This is when the body starts to convert fats into ketones. Ketones are molecules that supply energy to the brain.
After a few days or weeks into the diet, your body and brain become highly efficient at burning ketones and fats for body fuel instead of carbohydrates. This diet is known to lower the body’s insulin levels. This can be highly beneficial for improving the body’s insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation.
How the ketogenic diet promotes weight loss
There’s scientific evidence that the keto diet aids weight loss. It may also help you lose fat, retain muscle mass, and improve a lot of markers of diseases. There are several ways for the keto diet to help with weight loss:
Higher protein intake
Some keto diets result in a higher protein intake, which leads to many health benefits.
This diet makes you feel full longer. It’s because of the positive changes in the body’s hunger hormones, which include leptin and ghrelin.
Increased insulin sensitivity
Keto diets are known to improve insulin sensitivity, which can help improve the use of body fuel and metabolism.
Improved fat burning
Several studies revealed that some keto diets may increase the amount of fat burned while the body is at rest, doing daily activities, and exercising, although more research is needed.
Decreased fat storage
Evidence has also shown that keto diets can reduce lipogenesis, which is the process of converting sugar to fat. Excess carbohydrates are stored as fats. When carb consumption is low, body fat is used for energy instead.
The body converts fat and protein into carbs to fuel the body. This can burn additional calories every day.
The keto diet may result in weight loss in the short term, but it can be difficult to follow the diet in the long run.
Other potential benefits of the keto diet
Based on research, there are three circumstances that require the keto diet: treating epilepsy, stabilizing blood sugar levels, helping with weight loss among those who have type 2 diabetes, and also supporting weight loss in general.
Since the diet requires limited carb intake, it makes sense that the diet could help people who suffer from diabetes. Lower carb consumption has the potential to improve the insulin sensitivity of individuals who are trying to manage diabetes. Moreover, keto diets also help stimulate short-term and long-term cognition among individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and have mild cognitive impairment. More research is also required to establish the link between the keto diet and dementia prevention.
With a keto diet, you will certainly lose weight in the first week because of its low-carb intake requirement. The body will be compelled to use its glycogen stores. With a decreased storage of glycogen, you will lose water weight. However, the keto diet is also an effective weight-loss option for the long term. A review suggested that this diet can sustain fat loss in obese people when used for several weeks up to a year. A meta-analysis of this diet also showed that the most possible reason for weight loss is that all the fat consumed by the body while on this diet can suppress hunger.
Getting started with a keto diet
There are several things you have to know before you start this restrictive diet. When you follow a diet that restricts your carbohydrates intake you have to monitor your food choices to make sure that your nutritional needs are met. You have to work along with a dietitian to make sure that you follow the diet healthily without incurring higher risks of adverse effects. Keep in mind that following a diet is intended to give you a healthier lifestyle. This makes it necessary to think of a meal plan that you can stick with for the long term.
What to eat and drink when on a keto diet
The usual foods to consume on a keto diet are meat and poultry, cheese, fish and seafood, eggs, natural fats, and above-ground vegetables. The most important thing to keep in mind to attain ketosis is to limit carbs intake. You have to consume less than 50 grams of carbs daily. The fewer carbs, the more effective the diet is to achieve ketosis, losing weight, and improve the conditions of those who have type 2 diabetes.
With the right strategy, it is easy to create keto meals. One best way is to pick a protein source like meat, seafood, fish, eggs, or even tofu. Then for you to have a complete meal, pick two low-carb veggies and a healthy fat source.
On the other hand, when it comes to drinks, water is the perfect drink when on a keto diet and so are coffee and tea. You must not use any sweetener, especially sugar. It’s okay to add a small amount of milk or cream to your tea or coffee. Be mindful also of the carbs. If you drink multiple cups, these may add up to your caloric intake. An occasional glass of wine is fine but stay away from sweet alcoholic drinks.
What to avoid when on a keto diet
When you are following a keto diet, avoid sugary and starchy foods since they are loaded with carbohydrates. The foods you must stay away from include pasta and rice, sugar and any food item made from it, most fruits and juices made from them, cookies, cakes, and other baked products, cereals, tortillas, pancakes, bagels, bread, and muffins. You must also avoid highly processed foods.
Before you follow a keto diet, you also have to make sure that you seek medical guidance when you take medications for high blood pressure and diabetes and for women if they are breastfeeding.