A Beginners Guide to The Keto Diet
Dieting trends come and go; however, one dieting trend that appears to be here to stay is the ketogenic diet. Referred to as the “Keto Diet” by most, this low-carb diet, moderate protein, and high-fat diet has taken the public by storm. The keto diet is a low carb moderate protein, and high fat diet that puts the body into a metabolic state referred to as ketosis. So why is this new diet increasing in popularity worldwide? Because it can completely change how our bodies function.
The Premise of Keto
The entire purpose of the keto diet is to change how your body functions. The keto diet was created around the premise that our bodies were meant to run more efficiently as fat burners, rather than sugar burners. Foods that are high in carbs result in your body producing glucose and insulin, which results in your body relying on these sources for energy, and thus storing fat. Unfortunately, most people in the U.S. have a diet where the main energy source is glucose. This may not seem like a huge problem at first glance; however, but the opposite is true. Our bodies are only able to store a certain amount of glucose. The leftover glucose left in our bodies gets converted into fat, which is then stored. When your body runs out of glucose, it will send a signal to your brain indicating that you’re hungry, which will result in excess snacking. This cycle will lead to increased body fat that is hard to shred.
5 Health Benefits of The Keto Diet
The keto diet can completely change your life for the better. Originally, the keto diet was used to help fight epilepsy, but it has a wide range of health including:
- Weight Loss
The primary reason many people start the keto diet is to lose weight. The keto diet is one of the best ways to help you healthily lose weight. It does not require any type of crash diet or fasting, which is essential to keeping your weight off long-term. Since the ketogenic diet uses body fat as an energy source, your body will burn unwanted fat fast. Essentially, the keto diet will help your body to become a fat burning machine.
- Mental Focus
Many people complain who live on a high-carb diet complain about their inability to focus and cloudy thinking. Those who practice the keto diet proclaim to have increased mental performance. Science has proven that an increase in fatty acids has a positive impact on brain function.
- Appetite Control
If you eat a lot of carbs, you may find yourself hungry an hour or two after eating a meal. Since our bodies are more naturally satisfied by fat, the keto diet will help you control your appetite better. Switching to keto should help you reduce your cravings throughout the day, and leave you feeling fueled and full.
- Improved Cholesterol Levels
The keto diet has been linked to improved triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Improved triglyceride and cholesterol levels mean less toxic buildup in your arteries, which allows your blood to follow through your body as it was meant to.
- Increased Energy
A major effect many people feel when they switch to the keto diet is an increased level of energy. Since the keto diet teaches you to use fat as an energy source as opposed to glucose, you will not experience the crashes associated with a high-carb diet. The keto diet will leave your body feeling energized from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep.
Best Foods to Eat on A Keto Diet
Converting to the keto diet does not mean you can eat whatever you want. You should aim to keep your daily nutritional intake at 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrate. The entire purpose of the diet is to get your body into a state of ketosis, where it starts to burn fat. Here are some food suggestions to get you started:
Foods to Eat
- Meat: beef, lamb, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs
- Vegetables: cauliflower, broccoli, squash
- Leafy greens: Spinach, arugula, kale
- Fruit: berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries)
- Sweeteners: erythritol, monk fruit, stevia
- Fats: high-fat salad dressing, saturated fats, coconut oil
- High-fat dairy: high fat cream, butter, hard cheese
- Nuts and seeds: walnuts, sunflower seeds, macadamias, almonds
Foods to Avoid
- Grains: wheat, rice, cereal, corn
- Sugar: agave, syrup, honey
- Fruit: apples, oranges, bananas
A more detailed list of food items to eat and avoid can be found here.
Potential Side Effects
As with any diet, there will be some initial side effects when you first switch to keto. Potential side effects include poor energy levels and poor mental function at the start of the diet, sleep issues, nausea, some digestive issues like constipation, and initial cravings for bad foods It’s important to let your body adjust before you give up on the diet. Remember, your body is going through a major change in a short amount of time.
While the keto diet can completely change your life making the switch is a lifestyle change. Cutting carbs out of your diet will be grim, but it is possible if you are able to make it through the initial phases of transforming your diet. The keto can be hard to understand at first, but hang in there. There are many valuable resources and keto communities online to help you reach success. Take it one day at a time, and you will be impressed by your body’s response in just 30 days.
Important Reminder: Before you switch your diet, you should consult your doctor or physician.