As you may know, the ketogenic diet (keto for short) has become extremely popular over the past year or so. When you understand the benefits it makes perfect sense. “Going keto” can be refreshing; you’re leaner, you’re not hungry, you have a steady flow of energy, and your brain works better!
The ketogenic diet is a natural way to recalibrate your body’s metabolism and dramatically improve its overall ability to function. In following the diet, your body will reward you by feeling and performing better, while dropping unnecessary body fat, fast.
Keto diets were first used 100 years ago to treat children with epilepsy. Now they’re used to help people lose weight, gain mental focus and energy, and even treat some of the major diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other neurological disorders
In a keto diet you drastically reduce your carbohydrate intake and replace it with healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts, fish, eggs and grass-fed meat. Reducing your carbs puts your body in ketosis, a metabolic state where your energy comes from ketone bodies instead of glucose.
How Do I Get Started?
Here is a simple guide to starting a keto diet:
Make a commitment – A minimum of 6 weeks!
Calculate your macros – Keto is a low-carb, moderate protein, high-fat diet. You should aim to get around 70% of your energy from fat, less than 25% from protein and less than 5% from carbs.
Prepare yourself – Depending on how much you’re changing your diet, your body may go through a lot of changes during the first week and some may experience what’s called the “Keto Flu.” This happens because your body is getting over a dependency on sugar. Just remember to stick with it!
Eat the right foods
- Grass-fed or wild meat
- Fatty fish and shellfish
- Healthy fats
- Healthy oils (olive, coconut or avocado)
- Nuts and seeds
- Non-starchy vegetables (leafy greens, kale, asparagus, etc.)
Avoid these foods
- All grains (wheat, oats, corn, etc.)
- Legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils)
- Processed foods
Get plenty of electrolytes – A ketogenic diet flushes out water weight and you lose electrolytes in the process. Electrolytes are nutrients in the body that we use for important bodily functions like heartbeat regulation and body temperature control. To replenish electrolytes you can use more salt and eat foods high in potassium like salmon, nuts and avocados, and get more magnesium from leafy greens.
Lift weights – As you lose weight, you often lose muscle along with it because your body no longer needs that muscle to support mass. Weight lifting can help you prevent this loss!
Here is a list of the benefits:
The keto diet aids in fat loss by reducing insulin, decreasing your appetite, and burning your stored body fat. Also, studies have shown that ketogenic diets are better than low-fat diets for maintaining your weight loss in the long term.
During a keto diet, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. Also, a low carb diet combats fatigue because it does not lead to the rapid rise in insulin that high carb diets produce. We no longer feel sluggish after a meal or experience afternoon slumps.
Improved Cholesterol Levels
Despite the ketogenic diet being considered a ‘high-fat’ diet, studies have shown that it does not raise our overall cholesterol, and therefore risk of heart disease. This is because cholesterol is influenced by trans-fats that are present in sugary processed foods – not the more healthy fats like fish, avocados, and olive oil.
Many keto dieters experience better mental performance, describe a clearing of mental brain fog and feel a sense of euphoria. One study also found that a ketogenic diet can improve memory performance for individuals with mild cognitive decline.
Keto diets increase the body’s energy efficiency. Keto athletes burn more fat than sugar-burning athletes and they are able to save glycogen, an important source of fuel in the body, for when they really need it.
Treatment for Major Diseases
The ketogenic diet was first introduced as way treat epilepsy and it has implications for other major brain disorders and conditions, like Alzheimer’s, bipolar disorder, and many more. New research also has begun to explore the use of a keto diet in the prevention and treatment of cancer.