What is a Ketogenic Diet?
Have you heard about the ketogenic diet, which is gaining popularity, but you aren't sure exactly what it involves? This article explains what the ketogenic diet involves, which foods form the basis of the diet and what the health benefits include.
What is it?
A ketogenic diet is a kind of diet that stimulates your body to enter a state of ketosis, which is a metabolic condition where your body burns its own stored fat, rather than using glucose, such as that found in sugar and carbohydrates. Metabolically speaking, keto foods are extremely powerful. The remarkable advantages are that these types of food are also delicious, natural whole foods that are very healthy for you.
Ketogenic diets are increasing in popularity as a low carbohydrate diet that encourages your body to generate ketones to be used as energy. Different variations of the ketogenic diet may be referred to as a low-carb or LCHF (low carb high fat) diet.
If you eat food rich in carbohydrates, your body will generate insulin and glucose.
Glucose: The easiest molecule to convert and utilise as energy.
Insulin: Generated to process sugar or glucose in the bloodstream by absorbing it into the body.
Because glucose is being used as the primary energy source, the fats in your body are not needed for energy, so they’re stored. By reducing your carbohydrate intake, your body shifts into a ketosis state of metabolism.
The end objective of a well-maintained ketogenic diet plan is to push the body into this state of metabolism. This is done by limiting carbs, not necessarily calories alone.
Your body is extremely adaptive to what you eat and put into it. If you overload your body with fats while you take away carbs, your body will begin to burn up ketones as the main source of energy. High levels of ketones can lead to increased weight loss, better health, and improved mental performance.
Almost anyone can benefit from eating a low carbohydrate, high-fat diet.
Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet
A ketogenic diet provides many benefits, from improved energy levels and increased weight loss to medical benefits. Almost anyone can safely benefit from eating a low carbohydrate, high-fat diet. Some of the main benefits are:
· Burn stored fat: Through cutting out the high amount of carbs in your diet that are generating sugar or glucose, a keto diet tells your body to shed stored fat by converting this fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies in your liver. The ketone bodies serve as substitutes for sugar, which was being produced by carbs in the diet. This results in a quicker reduction of your body’s stored fats.
· Retain muscle mass: By increasing healthy fats, a ketogenic diet provides the body with the energy it requires to convert existing fat stores into functional and helpful ketones, which are a vital source of energy for your heart, muscles, and brain. This has the additional advantage of retaining muscle mass because the good fat in the diet provides your body the energy it needs without tapping into muscle protein.
· Get rid of excess fat: When the body produces more ketone bodies by converting existing fat, it will eliminate those ketones as a waste product instead of storing them as more fat.
· Reduce appetite: By regulating the body’s powerful metabolic hormones, a keto diet will actually reduce your appetite. The diet lowers the insulin resistance of the body and boosts ketones, making you feel less hungry.
· Insulin Resistance: This condition can result in type 2 diabetes if left unmanaged or untreated. Extensive research shows that a keto diet can help lower insulin levels to healthy ranges.
Your body was made for this kind of nutrition. It was not made for sugary, highly processed foods. A keto diet is a comfortable and fulfilling diet based on food from Paleolithic times that include lean meats, nuts and seeds, vegetables, and healthy fats. Here is a short list of some of the most common foods you will find on a keto diet.
8 Ketogenic Foods
Eggs are serious little powerhouses for a keto diet. They are an excellent source of proteins; amino acids; minerals like calcium, iron, and potassium; vitamins like Vitamin A, B6, B12; folic acid; and riboflavin. An average chicken egg is between 50-70 grams, and just 100 grams of eggs provides 13 grams of proteins, 1 gram of carbohydrate, and 10 grams of fat. They are cheap, versatile, and easy to prepare, making them essential for a keto diet.
Salmon is packed with polyunsaturated omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids. Increasing these fats in your diet can help reduce inflammation and increase your body's capability to burn fat and lose weight. Salmon is also rich in Vitamin E, a very powerful antioxidant that helps slash inflammation levels.
Macadamia nuts are a good source of monounsaturated fats, fiber, and vitamin E, which promotes blood sugar control. They are also abundant in vitamin B strains like thiamin. This vitamin can boost your energy and make your muscles work more efficiently. However, nuts are best consumed in moderation. A handful of nuts has 200 calories, and 1 tablespoon of macadamia nut oil has 120 calories, so snack wisely.
A study posted in a British publication showed that eating cheese as a snack may help you consume less at the next meal. This is because of the combination of protein and filling fat in cheese. There are many types of cheese available, but the most recommended for a ketogenic diet are Gruyere, Brie, Parmesan, blue and manchego. The aging processes required to develop these cheeses prevents them from retaining a lot of carbohydrates. Other good options are goat cheese and cheddar.
The saturated fat content of coconut oil comes in the form of MCTs, or Medium-Chain Triglycerides, that may be more effective for losing weight than the LCTs, or Long Chain Triglycerides, common in other types of vegetable oils. In one research study conducted at McGill University, dieters who chose oils abundant in MCTs lost considerably more fat than dieters who opted for LCT oils. MCTs may also temporarily increase the metabolic rate, according to a study conducted by the European Journal of Nutrition. Because of its high smoke point, coconut oil is ideal for scrambling eggs and sautéing vegetables at high temperatures.
New research has shown that green tea provides many health benefits due to its high level of EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate. EGCG is a substance that packs a greater antioxidant punch than even Vitamins C and E. Green tea has also regularly been associated with better success in weight loss. For best results, experts recommend green tea as a replacement for your usual coffee. This will save you calories while maximizing your body’s fat burning power.
This is a good source of satisfying and filling unsaturated fatty acids, energy-boosting minerals and vitamins, like iron and B6, and essential protein. Select all natural peanut butter as opposed to the processed varieties, which contain additional oils and sugars.
One avocado only contains 17 grams of carbs with grams of satiating fiber. In a study posted in the Nutritional Journal, eating avocados regularly enhanced satiety levels and reduced hunger for three hours in obese and overweight adults.
Once you reach your ideal body fat percentage, the diet may be gradually adjusted to include more complex carbs like whole grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables while still refraining from simple carbs like sugar, refined flours, and honey
Foods Limited on the Ketogenic Diet
On a keto diet, the main foods to avoid are those high in sugar, carbs, and unhealthy fats. These foods can be deadly to your body and produce too much sugar that the body will turn into stored fat. These foods also increase insulin levels and blood sugar and will prevent fat loss even with increased physical activity. You must also limit your consumption of processed foods, grains, vegetable oils, margarine, milk and high sugar foods.
The keto diet produces extremely good results when followed consistently. Lasting success is more likely when a holistic approach is adopted that addresses exercise, diet, psychological factors, and nutritional supplements as well as any particular health challenges that are specific to the individual.
Once you reach your ideal body fat percentage, the diet may be gradually adjusted to include more complex carbs like whole grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables while still refraining from simple carbs like sugar, refined flours, and honey. Additionally, it is essential to make sure that protein is still integrated into every meal.
The ketogenic diet is a relaxed type of diet that can be maintained indefinitely along with a regular exercise plan, to maintain a healthy, stable body weight and body composition.
If you are thinking about going onto a ketogenic programme and would like to learn more, please get in touch to discuss your options. I offer a bespoke 30 day ketogenic programme that includes recipes, meal planners and many other materials to support all areas of your lifestyle. I also offer single 1 to 1 consultations where I can assess all your health concerns and help you figure out whether this diet is right for you.