One of the most popular lifestyle trends of the past year, the ketogenic diet is gaining the attention of celebrities and ordinary people alike. Also known as the keto or LCHF diet, it is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat eating plan. It just might make sense to incorporate it into your life.
The Role of Carbs and Fat
Carbohydrates (carbs) are known as a macronutrient. They are found in high-sugar foods, starches and grains. When you eat carbs, your body breaks them down into glucose that it uses for energy. No matter what type of carb you eat, it will inevitably lead to a spike in your blood sugar level. To combat this increase, your body secretes additional insulin. Over time, these constant insulin releases lead to fat storage, insulin resistance and can eventually bring on metabolic disorder such as type 2 diabetes.
Many of us are conditioned to believe that fats are bad for us and should be avoided whenever possible. However, fats are actually vital to our survival. They are also the most efficient form of energy (each gram contains 9 calories compared to the 4 grams in carbs). That is why keto recipes promote the consumption of healthy fats and oils in conjunction with fresh, whole foods including vegetables, fish and meats. Perhaps most important, people who follow the keto diet stay away from processed foods whenever possible.
The Role of Ketosis
The goal of this eating plan is to enter into and remain in a state of ketosis by cutting carbs and eating healthy fats. Once you enter ketosis, your body derives its energy from ketone bodies produced by the liver instead of via glucose. These bodies come from fat and are a steadier and more stable way to get the energy you need. Generally, it takes three to six days after starting the keto diet for you to enter ketosis. Once you do, you will be burning calories from fat instead of from carbs. When you begin to use your stored fat resources, weight loss happens.
There are several ways to tell if you have gone into ketosis. Test strips are available that change color when they touch the urine of someone in ketosis. Alternatively, your breath and urine will smell stronger once you have gone into this metabolic state, and many people report changes in mood, enhanced alertness and improved sleep.
Benefits of the Keto Diet
One of the chief upsides of keto is that it’s easy. In fact, many keto recipes contain five or less ingredients and are satisfying and delicious. Other benefits of keto include the following:
A Beginner’s Guide to the Keto Diet
- Weight loss with lower body fat
- Higher “good” HDL cholesterol levels
- Lower blood sugar levels
- Decrease in appetite
- Lower blood pressure and triglycerides
Since the majority of your calories come from fat, you will also stay satisfied for longer after your meals and will notice a consistently high energy level throughout the day.
For many, the keto diet is a long-term lifestyle transformation. Although it can lead to weight loss, it is much more than a strategy to make cosmetic changes. When you make keto a consistent part of your life, your energy will be boosted, your overall health will improve and you will reduce your chances of diabetes, heart disease and even Alzheimer’s. Start keto today, and the transformation will begin in a matter of days.