If you’ve spent anytime on the internet researching health, fitness, or nutrition in the past year or so, you’ve undoubtedly been slammed with the new ‘Keto-Diet’ taking over the fitness industry by storm. But what exactly is Ketosis and what does it have to do with the Keto-diet?
The Keto-diet is a health diet that is high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carb. The crux of this diet however, is being in Ketosis-a metabolic state in which your body, instead of utilizing sugar for fuel (the regular energy source), uses its own fat, aka body fat, as energy. Here’s how: by limiting the body’s intake of carbohydrates, you maintain a state of low blood sugar and insulin levels. In order to produce the energy your body needs, your body taps into its fat stores, and shuttles the fatty acids from its fat cells to the liver. The liver then processes the fatty acids and converts them to a new energy source: ketones. Being in this state of ketone production is known as ketosis.
Overtime, your body becomes adjusted to this new way of producing energy, and begins to use fat as a primary energy source. You have now entered a metabolic state of continually using and burning fat! Sounds good, right?
But how exactly do you get into ketosis? To enter ketosis, you must deprive your body of carbohydrates. This does not mean only once per day, or at one meal, but continually withholding your body from carbs. Carb sources to avoid include foods such as rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, baked goods, candy, fruits, starchy vegetables, as well as other foods. Although it may be impossible to completely avoid carbs, as there are small amounts in meats, dairy products, and veggies, limiting your daily intake to 20-50 grams (depending on the person) per day is a great place to start.
Following a healthy and effective diet with work, social life, and the general stresses of everyday can be challenging. More often than not, people find themselves skipping out on whole foods, and instead indulging in quick and convenient meals that result in poor health and a higher number on the scale..sound like you? To put it simply, being healthy can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Enter the Ketogenic diet.
If you’ve spent any time the past year on your computer or phone googling the best diets for health and weight-loss, you’ve undoubtedly stumbled across the Ketogenic (Keto) diet. It has become extremely popular amongst the fitness community, and it is promoted by health gurus and nutrition experts alike. Let’s break it down (pun intended): your body typically uses glucose for energy-you probably already know this. But what you may not know, is that when deprived of this energy source, your body taps into its fat stores (body fat) and shuttles fatty acids to the liver where it is processed and creates its ownenergy source known as Ketones. This metabolic state is known as Ketosis and is critical to the success of the diet.
So how does one enter Ketosis? It’s simple. You have to reduce your glycogen stores so your level of insulin drops,enabling fatty acids to travel to the liver and convert to Ketones. The most effective way to do this is to limit intake of carbohydrates- foods such as fruit, pasta, bread, rice, and starchy vegetables to 20-40 grams (depending on the individual) per day. This means, your macronutrient breakdown(daily percent of calories that consist of fat/protein/carbs) should look similar to 60-75% fat, 15-30% protein, and 5-10% carbs
When starting the Ketogenic diet, it is important to note that there are actually three different types, and depending on your lifestyle and preferences, one may be more enjoyable to follow.
The first type is SKD (Standard Ketogenic diet), which contains the similar macronutrient breakdown listed previously, and is both a very popular and enjoyable method.
The second type is CKD (Cyclical Ketogenic diet), which includes days of the week (typically 1-2 days) in which you would eat a higher amount of carbs, and then continue on the low-carb, high fat diet. This method is great for someone who just simply loves carbs (like myself), and cannot live without them. Your body still receives the great benefits of the Keto diet, without feeling deprived of your beloved pasta, rice, and donuts.
The third type is TKD (Targeted Ketogenic diet), which allows you to consume carbs on the days you workout. Although the Keto diet is extremely efficient in providing your body with the proper energy to sustain even the toughest workouts, some people prefer to consume carbs prior to a workout, and TKD allows you to do this, while still following Keto.
And there you have it, a complete break-down of the Ketogenic diet. Now what are you waiting for, ditch the bagel and enjoy a delicious steak, your body’s waiting!
There’s a reason why the Keto Diet is so popular-it has a multitude of benefits that will not only help you reach your body goals, but it will also lead to a healthier you! The first benefit, and probably one of the most popular, is that the keto diet puts your body in a metabolic state of using its own fat for energy! This greatly helps with weight-loss, and many individuals who use the Keto diet for weight loss report faster weight loss than on other diets.
Another benefit experienced with the Keto diet is feeling satiated and full after each and every meal. Do you ever feel hungry and want to stuff your face with food...after just eating a meal? You do? I thought so. Say goodbye to post-meal cravings on the Keto diet! Fat is known for promoting fullness and satisfaction, significantly more so than carbohydrates, not to mention it tastes delicious!
A third benefit of the Keto diet is an increase in your body’s HDL (“good cholesterol”) levels. Studies show that consuming a greater amount of healthy fats has a direct correlation with an improvement in your body’s HDL levels. This leads to an increase in cholesterol that is carried away from the body, lowering your risk of heart disease.
Finally, among the many other benefits of the Keto diet is disease prevention. Many studies indicate that the Ketogenic diet greatly helps those suffering from type II diabetes, bipolar disease, epilepsy, alzheimer's, and Parkinson’s disease. The high-fat, low carb diet greatly eliminates the body’s need for insulin, serves as a mood stabilizer, and improves your overall mental health.
It’s hard to imagine that a physician recommended diet would be unsafe, but then again, doctors used to demonize fat, and are now actually recommending fat...pretty crazy when you think about it. But yes, the Ketogenic diet is safe, however, there are a few things to keep in mind when starting/being on the Keto Diet.
Firstly, when starting the diet you’ll most likely feel a bit dehydrated if you do not stay on top of your water intake (64 oz minimum). This is simply because glycogen, which is converted from carbs, holds approximately 2-3 grams of water per gram of glucose in the muscles’ cells. But by almost completely eliminating carbohydrates from your diet, your muscle cells hold much less glucose, and therefore, less water, ultimately leading to dehydration. So sufficient water intake is key throughout the diet.
Secondly, our bodies do obtain several key vitamins and minerals that are found in various fruits and carb sources, so it is critical to instead obtain these from low carb fruits, leafy greens, and if you like, a vitamin or multivitamin. If you are concerned about which vitamins or minerals your body could be deficient in, you can always speak to your doctor and request a blood analysis of your vitamin and mineral levels. Then with guidance from a nutritionist, supplement with one or multiple vitamins (this is better than just taking a standard multivitamin).
You just started the Keto-diet and think you’re in ketosis, but are not totally sure, how can you find out? Easy. There are a few main ways to detect if your body is in ketosis. Firstly, it’s important to know that during the conversion process of fat into sugar, your body creates ketones as a byproduct. Through certain tests of urine, breath, or blood, you can determine the number of ketones present in your body, and figure out if you have entered ketosis.
Once you adjust to the diet, and determine that your body is in ketosis, relax and let the diet do the work!
Now you know the basics of the Keto-diet, understand how to get into ketosis, and know how to determine if you’re in ketosis. Embrace the life-changing diet, and prepare to experience the incredible health benefits that come with keto!
Have you recently started the keto diet and noticed that you feel almost as if you've got the flu? Headaches, lethargy, irritability, nausea, mental fogginess, muscle aches, the list goes on. While this can be a concerning experience out of the gate, the “keto flu” is really just a sign that your body is heading in the right direction.
MCTs is the acronym for a unique subclass of saturated dietary fats that contain 6, 8, 10, or 12 carbons in their fatty acid chemical structure. Most of the saturated fat found in a typical Western diet is in the form of long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) which are packaged into micelles in the small intestine and absorbed through the lymphatic system.