What is a Keto Diet?
The Keto Diet otherwise known as a ketogenic diet is one where the dieter uses fat as their primary fuel source.
Originally developed for the treatment of seizures, it has become a top-rated weight loss program.
While eating more fat can seem counterproductive, a ketosis diet may very well be one of the best ways to lose weight.
The ketogenic diet was designed by Dr. Russell Wilder (Mayo Clinic) in 1924.
It is a diet that is low in carbohydrates, with the aim of achieving a state in one’s metabolism called ketosis.
Ketosis is the ideal metabolic state where the cells of the human body burn fat fragments known as ketones, instead of burning glucose for fuel.
It is technically a metabolic state because it can last anywhere from one week to several months or years depending on how much weight you want to lose.
When following a ketogenic diet, you will be expected to put your carb intake as low as 20-60 grams per day.
Depending on your gender, height, and age, your protein intake will differ, but it should be moderate.
The number of proteins you take will also be influenced by how much exercise or activity you engage in on a daily basis.
The idea behind ketogenic diets is to reduce hunger and keep the body in a state of ketosis (a metabolic state).
Therefore counting calories isn’t important.
However, it is essential to keep track of your calorie intake to keep track of the nutrients you consume daily.
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Is a low carb diet healthy?
If done correctly it’s a definite yes! Most people assume that it can’t possibly be healthy because eating fat is supposedly bad for us.
But that is a myth that I would like the opportunity to debunk. Let’s see what history and science have to say about it.
You see it all started with A guy called Ancel Keys otherwise known as the father of the lipid hypothesis.
Good old Ancel thought that heart disease was caused by saturated fats, so he decided to do a study and published what was called the Seven Country Study.
The Seven Country Study showed a steady trend of saturated fat intake correlating with heart disease and this was the basis for how the world viewed fatty foods; with disdain.
That’s what we were all taught so what the change?
The number one problem that people have when examining scientific research is the correlation of facts.
Because heart disease and fat are related does not prove causation. For example, it is common as people become more productive than they’s start to eat more animal meat and by default more fat.
But they also eat more refined sugar and processed foods.
So the correlation could have as easily shown that people that eat more refined sugar and processed food, have a high rate of heart disease.
I would like you to consider our diet from an evolutionary perspective.
As we were evolving, we had no grocery stores, no McDonalds or Applebee’s.
What we had were animals that we hunted and plants that we gathered.
Agriculture as we know it has only been going on for a short time frame relative to human evolution.
Keto Diet Plan
As scientists research into the hunter-gatherer cultures, they have found that they don’t have the modern diseases that we do.
There is a tribe in Africa called the Masai that primarily eat cows, and I mean everything the milk, blood, meat, brain, everything and they don’t have heart disease or diabetes.
The Inuit primarily live off of Whale Blubber and meat, and they have no heart disease or diabetes.
But you know what happens when you take members of those tribes and start feeding them our modern day diet.
Those and many other diseases start showing up.
Keto Diet Plan Benefits
So if you are like so many other people who are just fed up with that annoying excess belly fat and you have tried every diet and exercise plan out there to no avail – then maybe it’s time to work this diet and reap some keto diet benefits.
Keto Diet for Belly Fat Reduction
We all put on weight for different reasons and on different parts of our body.
Some people store all their excess weight on their bellies, while others notice it more in their hips or buttocks.
But no matter where the extra fat is too much fat is not good for your health.
Belly fat is one of the more troublesome areas to store fat because it means that the excess body fat is closer to your heart and other organs and that is more detrimental to your overall physical well-being.
But if you are like a lot of people out there, dropping those belly pounds can be tough to do so any help to make it easier is a good thing and certainly worth looking into.
Keto dieters have been known to drop a lot of pounds around the belly region.
At first, it might look like your belly fat isn’t reducing in proportion to the rest of your body, but if you keep at it, you will see some excellent results in no time.
Keto Diet for Slow Metabolism Booster
If you are older or have slower metabolism in general, a keto diet plan is certainly going to help boost your metabolism for a slimmer you.
This is because fat is being used as energy so your body will function as a fat burning furnace.
Keto Diet for Diabetics
The main reason why ketogenic diets are recommended for people with diabetes is that high fat intake has no impact on insulin and blood sugar levels.
Proteins, on the other hand, have effects on insulin and sugar levels but only if taken in large amounts.
High protein intake affects the insulin levels in the blood, which in turn, affects the ability of the body to burn fatty acids.
Fatty acids are essential as they form the substrate for ketosis. So you should watch your protein intake and stick to your macros.
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Keto Energy from Fat
One reason a ketosis diet may be a good choice is it primes your body to burn fat as fuel.
Our bodies use either carbohydrates or fat as fuel.
We need energy every day, and we get it from what we eat.
So if you are eating primarily carbohydrates, then your body will produce all the necessary enzymes to use carbohydrates as a fuel. This makes it harder to burn fat as a fuel.
Keto makes it easy to use fat as a fuel, and by eating more fat, you will prepare your body to burn fat whether it comes from your diet or body.
Keto Diet Eliminate Hunger Pangs
Keto diets can suppress hunger and appetite. At first, you may feel some severe hunger pangs and food craving, but as your body adjusts to the high protein and fiber, you will start to feel less and less hungry every day.
Proteins and fats make you feel fuller more extended periods of time. Carbs, on the other hand, will spike your blood sugar level and make you crave for food.
Keto Diet for Balances Hormones
Without these essential hormones, your body will go into a state of distress and try to keep you from losing weight.
But when your body is hormonally balanced, it will allow you to lose weight a lot easier than if you are fighting your biology.
While there are many hormones involved in this process, one I would like to mention specifically is Leptin.
Leptin is a hormone that is produced by fat in the body to signal the hypothalamus how much body fat we are carrying.
When we gain weight, it is partially because this signal has been blocked.
Since the hypothalamus doesn’t get the signal, it thinks we are in starvation mode and puts the body into a state to preserve calories. Ketosis has been shown to reverse this process.
Keto Diet for Cancer
Some studies have revealed that keto diets can fight cancer efficiently.
When you reduce your intake of carbohydrates, your body will produce less glucose.
Guess what, glucose is the fuel that feeds cancer cells.
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Keto Diet for Autism
Although treatments for children with autism is still under development, some studies done on mice revealed that the keto diet could improve or reverse autism-like behavior.
As ketone bodies increases, it keeps γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) at a higher level.
This may contribute to reversing autistic behavior in children.
Keto Diet for Epilepsy
In addition to keeping fit and lean, the ketosis diet has also been used as a semi-successful treatment for epilepsy.
It was initially conceived in 1920 as a treatment for the condition. Now decades later, it is still being used for both fitness reasons and to treat illnesses.
Keto Diet for Alzheimer’s
One of the biggest medical fears of our century is Alzheimer’s disease.
It is a demoralizing condition and the fact that the keto diet shows promise is a thing of joy for many.
Studies recently established a link between blood sugar disorders and different stages of dementia like Alzheimer’s.
If you’re like me, then your excitement will know no bound if this becomes a cure.
Keto Diet Menu
Before starting on a ketogenic diet, it is essential that you consult with your health physician to give you the go-ahead.
For people suffering from high blood pressure or diabetes, this is important because going on a diet while taking your regular medication can be risky.
First, you want to start with the right kind of fats.
For dieting purposes, your diet should consist of 60-75 percent fat.
For a healthy ketogenic diet plan, you can choose from several different sources.
Because of the cutback of carbohydrates, you’ll need to take vitamin supplements to make sure that you’re getting the proper nutrition to continue with the diet plan.
A proper diet is MUST for getting into a ketogenic state.
The macronutrient is in the ratio of :
60-75% of calories from FAT (or even more)
25-30% of calories from PROTEIN
5-15% of calories from NET CARBS
Keto Foods and Nutrients Information
While following a keto diet, the focus should not be fixed only on fats, proteins, and carbs.
Micronutrients like vitamins and minerals are equally essential. Make sure that you go for foods rich in micronutrients and healthy fats as food quality plays a significant role.
“Keto-Flu” may be experienced at the beginning your diet. It is a transitional phase in which our body gets adjusted to the lack of carbohydrate intake.
Therefore, electrolytes should be consumed sufficiently to avoid symptoms like fatigue, headaches & muscle cramps.
Daily net carbs intake should be down to less than 50 grams, preferably around 20-30 grams for starters.
This can be altered according to your body’s needs if you are to remain in ketosis.
Carbohydrates should come in mostly from vegetables and fruits should be minimized.
Try to eat a lot of mixed vegetables in your diet to get the necessary vitamins and minerals you need.
Here are some Keto friendly carbs per 6 oz serving
- Spinach – 1g
- Baby Bella Mushrooms – 2g
- Green Bell Peppers – 2g
- Green Beans – 2g
- Romaine Lettuce – 2g
- Cabbage – 3g
- Cauliflower – 4g
- Broccoli – 4g
- Raspberries – 5g
- Blackberries – 5g
- Yellow Onion – 7g
Moderate protein intake should be maintained. The optimal Protein intake depends on body’s fat percentage and is typically calculated as 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, or 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram.
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Here are some proteins for keto with carbs per 4 oz serving
- Egg – 6g
- Chicken Thigh – 17g
- Liver – 19g
- Ground Lamb – 19g
- Ground beef – 20g
- Fatty Fish – 23g
- Shellfish – 25g
- Chicken Breast – 26g
- Ribeye Steak – 27g
Protein should make up 25-30 percent of your diet, so your first choice should be fatty cuts of grass-fed ruminants such as beef, sheep, elk, and bison.
The reason you need them to be grass fed is that the meat will not contain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid (PUFA).
The problem that occurs is that in grass-fed ruminants you usually get a 1:4 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids.
When the ruminant is force-fed corn in a feed, that ratio turns into a 1:20 – this is a massive imbalance of omega-3 and omega-6.
Unfortunately, grass-fed ruminants can be hard to find.
One strategy to combat this is to eat standard cuts of meat from the store, but choose leaner cuts and offset the leanness with the grass-fed butter or coconut oil.
Increase calorie intake proportion from healthy fats (saturated, monounsaturated, omega 3s).
The best sources of fats are unrefined coconut oil and pastured butter and ghee.
You should avoid industrial seed oils such as corn and canola oil. Here are some fats, dairy, and nuts for keto with carbs per 1 oz serving.
- Mayonnaise – 0.5g
- Pecans – 1.5g
- Hazelnuts – 1.5g
- Brazil Nuts – 1.5g
- Macadamia Nuts – 1.5g
- Mozzarella – 2g
- Almonds – 2.5g
- Heavy Cream – 2.7g
- Pine Nuts – 3g
- Walnuts – 3.5g
- Mascarpone – 3.7g
- Aged Cheddar – 3.2g
- Parmesan – 3.5g
- Cottage Cheese – 3.5g
- Greek Yogurt – 4g
- Cream Cheese – 5.5g
- Pecans – 1.5g
You should also avoid most nut butter because they are high in omega-6 fatty acids.
Now obviously you aren’t going to be eating all your fat straight but from meats containing fat.
Mushrooms, Avocados & Fish rich in fats such as Salmon are an excellent source of Potassium.
Potassium Chloride can be added to regular salt or add 1/2 teaspoon of Potassium in a liter of Water and drink it throughout the day.
The body requires max. 4700 mg and min. 2000 mg of Potassium. Do not go beyond this limit.
Have adequate intake of salt (one of the best is Pink Himalayan Rock Salt).
In deficient carb diets, magnesium is always inadequate.
Take adequate magnesium supplements or have snacks high in magnesium such as nuts.
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What to Expect on a Keto Diet & Tips to Help You Succeed!
On a regular basis, our body follows a simple routine of breaking down carbohydrates and using them as energy.
So over time, our body develops a lot of enzymes to help break down carbs, and only a few of these enzymes are built to deal with fats and in most cases, just to store them.
On a keto diet, the process is reversed.
The sudden decrease in glucose and increase in fats is just like rebuilding the whole enzyme system.
As the body enters a ketogenic state, it will start using the minimum available glucose.
This lack of glucose leads to glycogen depletion in muscles causing lack of energy and lethargy.
This sometimes leads to headaches, dizziness and flu-like symptoms (commonly known as “Ketu-Flu”) in the initial weeks of a keto diet, you need to drink sufficient water and increase sodium and electrolyte intake.
The time taken by the body to enter into ketosis will depend on the intake of net carbs.
Eating 30 – 50 grams of net carbs per day will take around two weeks for the body to enter into ketosis.
But lowering the carb intake to around 15 grams per day will make the body go into ketosis within one week.
Once your body gets adapted to the keto diet, it will be able to make the most of energy from fats.
An unfortunate setback of the keto diet is the fact that it may raise your cholesterol levels as much as 30% and long-term use can lead to kidney stones – if not done correctly.
Here are some tips to help you succeed in a keto diet.
Follow a proper diet plan and track it accurately if you are to achieve success.
Get rid of all the food products those are not mentioned in the diet because having them within reach will create temptation.
Control sugar cravings by having a glass of water mixed with 1/2 lime or lemon and 3-5 drops of stevia.
Drink coffee and tea made with coconut milk.
Keto Diet Side Effects
Always have Keto friendly foods high in fat and protein (avocado, meat, eggs, nuts, non-starchy vegetables) as these will keep hunger away for long.
Fruits consumption should be avoided and replaced with avocado, coconut, and berries.
Avoid all processed vegetable oils, hydrogenated oils, partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, soybean oil, margarine, corn oil, grapeseed oil, and canola oil.
Increase water intake to 2 – 3 liters per day.
Low-carb foods should be avoided to keep cravings under control. Avoid all products labeled “Low Carb.” Opt for real foods (chicken, eggs, etc.) instead of foods marketed as low-carb with deceptive marketing labels.
Take natural sweeteners instead of artificial sweeteners because natural you don’t want to take any product that will have an effect on blood sugar such as erythritol and stevia.
Cook foods according to your needs and eat only when you are hungry.
You should also avoid eating snacks between meals if needed make keto friendly snacks.
Low-carb diets have a magnesium deficiency, so take magnesium supplements through snacks like nuts to get your RDA.
Keto diet plans vary according to the body, so remember to make adjustments in macros according to your size, weight, and height.
All in all, using the ketogenic diet is safe, provided that you get professional advice on how to plan your meals the healthy way.
You will feel healthier once you start the diet.
Boost your ketogenic diet with plenty of water to flush out toxins from your body, and you are good to go.