The keto diet might just be the most popular idea in the unconventional health and fitness world right now. More than ever before, a wider audience is considering low-carb diets, especially the keto diet. This is also thanks to its popularity among celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Halle Berry, and Melissa McCarthy.
Most are interested dropping weight, but the list of benefits goes beyond weight loss. The main idea of the keto diet is, that you can lose weight by replacing your body’s main energy source, carbs, with fats. This means, that you can enjoy whipped cream, mayonnaise, and lose weight at the same time.
The basics of keto
The keto diet is a low-carb, moderate protein and high-fat type of eating. Keto works by changing the way your body turns food into energy. The goal of the ketogenic diet is to put your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. This is achieved, when you cut out carbs from your daily menu, forcing to deplete all the glucose sources in your body.
Whenever your body doesn’t have enough glucose, it naturally starts looking for other sources of energy. For that, your body starts producing ketone bodies by breaking down fats. This is how your body adapts to lack of carbs. Going keto basically means, that you switch your body from burning glucose to burning fat.
The keto diet was developed during the 1920s by Dr. Russel Wilder, to be used as a treatment for childhood epilepsy. It was effective and widely used.
If you are just starting out, we would suggest to cut down your carbs as low as a maximum of 20 grams per day. Following this rule, you will be in ketosis usually during a week (this can depend on the individual). You should avoid all the carbs: grains, legumes, starchy veggies, fruits and of course sugar.
Is it too difficult? Probably no. Of course, there are straight restrictions when following this type of eating style, but at the other end, you can enjoy bacon or avocado salad for breakfast. Sounds yummy. Oh, and it is actually pretty easy to follow when eating out. Just flip carbs with leafy greens and enjoy full-fat meats and fish.
What do you eat during keto?
In order to reach ketosis and stay there, you need to go low-carb and become a fat burning machine. In order to do that, you will need to eat the right foods in the right amounts. In a nutshell, the ketogenic diet is basically a low-carb version of a Paleo diet.
Good fats are the most important part of the keto diet. They include meat and fatty fish, coconut oil, MCT oil, ghee, butter, avocado, cheese and so on. Then other parts of your diet regimen are leafy and crunchy veggies like kale, broccoli, celery and so on. But avoid everything that contains carbs, like starchy veggies, grains, fruits, and sugars. The ratio of the macronutrients should be 75% of fat, 20% of protein and 5% of carbs.
The low carb keto foods are not a rocket science. You can get everything needed from the nearest grocery store. Make sure to check out our printable keto diet grocery list, that you can take with you to your next grocery shopping trip.
Why you should give it a try
The main benefit of keto, and why many of its followers praise it, is weight loss. Multiple studies have shown effective results in weight loss with a keto diet. The ketogenic diet is especially beneficial for anyone with over 30 pounds of weight to lose, high blood pressure or those with cancer or epilepsy. But the addition of its effective fat burning skills, it also has profound effects on brain and metabolic health. There are also other benefits of going keto.
Magical things will start happening once you cut out carbs from your daily menu. This is because fat as an energy source is way more stable and fulfilling. Different studies have shown that when people cut out carbs and replace it with protein and fats, they tend to eat much fewer calories even without trying. Unlike many other diets, during ketosis, when you are consuming fat as a primary source of energy, higher levels of a hormone called leptin is released. Leptin is an amazing hormone that helps to regulate your energy balance by restraining the hunger feeling.
Reduces acne problems
Probably one of the most awesome unexpected bonus, when it comes to keto, is an improvement in skin quality, including a decrease in the frequency and severity of acne. Studies suggest that there is a link between carbs and acne. More precisely carbohydrates may be the main dietary culprit in acne, due to their negative effects on hormonal regulation. How does diet help with skin problems? Keto reduces insulin levels which are the source of acne eruptions. Keto has an anti-inflammatory effect which reduces inflammation that drives acne progression. Many people have reported that their skin has become way clearer after they started following the keto diet.
Enhances cognitive skills
Other big reason why many people love the keto diet, is its ability to improve brain function, cognitive skills, clarity of thought and so on. The main problem with carbs is that they cause your blood sugar levels to rise and fall. Carbs as an energy source aren’t consistent, it makes it harder for your brain to stay focused for long periods of time, it also often can be the reason for mood swings. There are many scientific studies which confirm the positive effect of being in ketosis to your cognition abilities. But at the end of the day, the experience is king, anyone who has experienced the state of ketosis can tell you the benefits of the improved cognitive function.
Reduced risk of heart diseases
During ketosis, your cholesterol levels will drop dramatically, as your body has less glucose from which to make it. The ketogenic diet will optimize your cholesterol levels and improve your overall health – resulting in lower risk of heart diseases. On top of that, production of good cholesterol (HDL) will increase. HDL is the good type of cholesterol which carries cholesterol away from the body to the liver where it will be reused or excreted. It is also a well-known fact, that the higher levels of HDL, the lower your risk of heart diseases.
Stable energy levels
Anyone coming from standard western diet to a ketogenic diet will experience a drastic difference in energy levels. This is because you don’t have blood sugar spikes, that you had previously thanks to cheap carbs. Typically, by day 3-5 on a keto diet, most people report an increase in energy levels and lack of nasty cravings, if any at all. Fat is a way more stable source of energy, that’s why once fat adapted, you can easily go half a day without food and you would not feel drastic energy level swings.
Lowers blood pressure
Elevated blood pressure is a common health issue worldwide. It isn’t necessarily something you can feel, but it can increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Researchers have found that low carb diet has been proven to be effective in lowering the blood pressure. This, of course, does not mean that you should throw away all your blood pressure medication, but the keto diet may be something to consider and discuss with your doctor.