Burning fat by eating fat, sounds too good to be true, right? Wrong. If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few years, chances are you’ve heard of the ketogenic diet.
The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that consists of about 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% net carbs. Research has shown that this low-carb diet not only promotes fat loss but has the ability to improve certain conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cognitive decline.
WHAT IS A KETOGENIC DIET?
The ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet, is the idea of transitioning your body from burning fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.
So, how does the keto diet work? Let’s break it down, here is the keto diet explained. The body produces two substances when carbohydrate intake is high:
- Glucose: Glucose is the easiest molecule for the body to convert to energy. This is the reason that carbohydrate intake will negate the ability of the body to enter ketosis. If carbohydrate intake is high, the body defaults to using glucose for energy.
- Insulin: Insulin aids in the transport of glucose around the body. When you reduce your carb intake and replace it with fat, it puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
Ketosis is defined as the process by which your body breaks down fatty acids to produce ketones in the liver, which can supply both the brain and body with energy. Ketones come in three forms:
- Acetoacetate (AcAc)
- Beta-hydroxybutyric acid (BHB)
Simply put: carbs must be avoided if you want to stay in ketosis. Generally, you want to stay under 25 grams of net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) per day.
You also want to watch your protein intake. Protein is not the enemy, as with carbs. You want protein to make up a significant part of your diet. Protein provides plenty of essential functions that are still valuable to your body’s function in ketosis. However, keep this macronutrient to only a quarter of your diet.
In ketosis, fat is king. The rest of your calories should come from fat. Your body will be breaking down fat for energy in the absence of carbs.
HELPFUL TIPS TO GET STARTED ON THE KETO DIET
Starting any kind of diet can be tough, but especially the ketogenic diet. Keto for beginners is not only about changing your diet, but it’s about changing your lifestyle. However, it doesn’t have to be a challenge.
Here are several helpful tips to help you follow a ketogenic diet without any stress:
- Increase your awareness and education. Learning how to read food labels is key in sticking within keto diet rules. Practice examining food labels and macronutrients to recognize carb count, net carbs, and fiber count so you can be sure you’ll remain in a ketogenic state.
- Share your health goals with friends and family. If your friends and loved ones closest to you know that you’re trying to start a new diet and lifestyle (and that it means a lot to you), they’re more likely to be supportive and choose places with your goals in mind. If you’re going out for Mexican food, you may be a bit too tempted to eat those chips. Choose spots that will allow you to relax a bit and have fun without the stress of food.
- Buy a keto cookbook. Getting a keto cookbook or finding recipes from a number of different websites and resources online is a great way to improve your creativity with your cooking and meals. Most people worry about being too restricted when it comes to the keto diet, but there’s always a way to make it fun.
- Plan ahead. If you’re traveling, be sure to plan ahead. Make sure you research places to eat and snack. Otherwise, stick to what you know when it comes to the keto diet: healthy fats, minimum carbs, and moderate protein intake with no artificial or processed ingredients.
- Bring your own food. If you’re visiting family or going to a gathering, take keto-friendly snacks you know you can eat. This way you won’t feel left out of group meals and you don’t have to worry about feeling too picky.