The Keto or Ketogenic diet has been growing in popularity in recent years, and there’s a good reason why. Here’s a beginners guide to what is the keto diet and why you might consider it.
What is the keto diet? In a nutshell, it is a low carb, moderate protein, and high-fat diet.
It’s called the keto or ketogenic diet because when you consume very few carbs and a moderate amount of protein, your body produces an alternative fuel molecule called ketones. Typically, your body runs on glucose and when your blood sugar (glucose) runs low, your body uses ketones as energy and puts you in a state called ketosis.
So why is this diet high-fat and moderate protein? Ketones are created by your liver using fat, and on the keto diet, your body changes to entirely burning fat for energy instead of sugar. However, your body can also turn excess protein into blood sugar, so it’s essential to consume the right amount of protein to sustain your muscles, but not too much that it’ll kick you out of ketosis (We’ll teach you how to calculate this in a bit). But if you’re not eating enough carbs and protein, you need to feed your body by eating more fat and train your body to burn fat for energy instead of carbs/sugars.
Benefits of Keto – Why eat Keto
The ketogenic diet has been associated with numerous health benefits. Although recently popularized for weight loss, the Ketogenic diet has been proven to be successful in fighting multiple diseases as well as decreasing many other health complications.
Unlike many fad diets, Keto has been practiced for decades. The traditional method of the keto diet is much more sustainable than fad diets, as it allows the dieter to eat with minimal calorie restrictions as long as they remain within or less than 20-50mg of net carbs per day (Net carbs = Carbs – fiber)
Here are some of the benefits associated with Keto:
1) Weight Loss: Eat Fat to Lose Fat
High fat, low carb diets can help drastically decrease hunger which results in more effective and efficient weight loss. Foods with high levels of “healthy fats” and protein have a tendency to be very filling which can decrease the urge of snacking and overeating. In addition to when you’re on Keto, you will be burning more fat for energy than higher carb diets.
2) Eat Your Way Out of Type 2 Diabetes
Due to the limited consumption of carbs, the ketogenic diet has been proven to help prevent the excessive release of insulin which has been associated with Type 2 diabetes. This controlled release of insulin helps maintain a healthy blood sugar level.
By preventing the excessive release of insulin and balancing sugar levels, the ketogenic diet has been credited for helping people reverse insulin resistance, which is the primary contributing factor to the symptoms of diabetes.
Please note, people who are considering going on the ketogenic diet for diabetes-related benefits should contact their doctors before beginning the diet as they may need to adjust their insulin dosages.
3) Decrease the Risk of Heart Disease
Studies have found that the ketogenic diet helps lower two main factors associated with heart disease: bad (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol (which is beneficial to maintaining heart health)!
4) Protects Against Cancer
Cancer cells prominently feed on sugars found in high carb diets and studies have attributed the ketogenic diet as a way to “starve” the cancerous cells. It is believed that the healthy cells in our bodies can process fat as an alternative source of energy but the cancerous cells cannot. Fun fact: most of the superfoods known to cure cancer are keto friendly!
5) Live Longer
The ketogenic diet’s ability to lower body mass, reduce diabetes and heart diseases can make a significant impact on one’s life expectancy. But the ketogenic diet is also not associated with some other mainstream diets and has been associated with fighting strokes.
So are you ready to try the keto diet? Figure out your macros using our keto calculator!