Having A Ketogenic Diet Can Improve Your Health and Body Composition
Many individuals think a ketogenic diet consists of only meat, eggs, and cheese. A primarily protein-based diet. While protein is an important source in a well-balanced diet, there are other things to consider when wanting to reach your health and fitness goals. When dieting Keto style, you do eat carbohydrates, but it’s a low carb diet. Instead of getting carbs from rice, breads, and pasta, you’re getting them from healthy sources such as certain vegetables.
When you begin this lifestyle change, you need to “kick carbohydrates to the curb”. The Keto diet originated after other diets like the South Beach Diet, Atkins Diet, modified Paleo, and other low-carb diets.
A Keto diet can work for almost anyone considering that it works for those who are also vegan or vegetarian. Generally, the key is to focus on foods that are naturally high in fat and avoid highly processed foods. You will notice that these highly processed foods are labeled with trans-fats, and we want to stay away from that. The fruits you choose to eat should be low on the glycemic index but still rich in fiber as well. We advise adding avocados to your nutrition as it is Keto friendly and is loaded with 15 grams of healthy monosaturated fats. Adding avocados to your diet can help speed up the fat-adaption process during the initial stage of your ketogenic diet.
A Typical Keto Diet
The key is not to complicate it and stay away from “bad carbs” and sugar. The Keto diet allows you to live your life, go out to dinner, go to a party, and enjoy yourself! Just be weary when it’s time to eat and pick only the right kinds of snacks and foods; avoid processed and sugary foods.
A Typical Keto diet can include the following:
- Meat (grass fed and free-range is better) – pork, chicken, beef, eggs. Vegans will need vegetable protein sources
- Fish and seafood
- Nuts and seeds
- Leafy greens
- High-fat dairies such as cream, whole butter, and hard cheeses
- Olive oil, coconut oil, pure butter
What to avoid:
- Any food that is made of starch, even whole grain, and organic bread
- Most fruits in the beginning
- Any food that is labeled low-fat
- Vegetables oils
Alcohol is not a “no-no” however be smart about it and consume it in moderation. Experiment to figure out what works for you.
Say Goodbye to Carbs!
People have relied on high carbohydrate foods as the foundation of their diet. They are everywhere you go and offered as quick hunger fixes. Carbs used to be an excellent source of calories and your body’s preferred energy source.
Today, agriculture is highly industrial and very high in calories. Most people have sedentary lifestyles and rely on carbs too much. The glucose from excess carbs is metabolized by the body but gets stored as fat when unused. The result is a staggering increase in obesity and Type II Diabetes.
A ketogenic diet trains your body to rely on dietary fat for energy by converting fat to ketones and free fatty acids, this is a natural metabolic state we call ketosis. To reach ketosis, you must limit your carb intake to encourage your body to produce ketones for energy. By reducing your carb intake to around 30 – 50 grams of net carbs (15-25 in the beginning during rapid weight loss), it leaves your body with no choice but to rely on dietary fat as an energy source.
Normally carbs are broken down into glucose and are used as your primary source of energy. Since most people eat too may carbs, the glucose that is not utilized is converted into glycogen and stored in the muscles and liver.
A ketogenic diet interrupts and changes this process. It puts your body into ketosis, a glycogen-deprived state from eating less carbs. Fat is then oxidized to produce energy which results in ketones. Remember that glucose provides quick bursts of energy and the energy from fat burns slower. As a result, Keto diet helps with avoiding sugar crashes right after consuming carbs in your meals.
Many of us overeat for multitude of reasons. We are programed by media, friends, family, and our history even. You know the saying, “It’s 12:00 I need to eat lunch”, so you rush to grab something to eat because that’s what’s considered the normal thing to do. People will do this even if they aren’t even hungry at the moment, it’s just the thing to do. A ketogenic diet helps curb overeating since unsaturated fats are more satisfying.
Adjusting to Keto
As with any lifestyle change, there is an adjustment phase. The goal is overall better health, less medication, weight loss, and to have a better-looking physical appearance.
Many people find it difficult to make changes such as the ones listed above. When it comes to a lifestyle change, most of us tend to resist because the beginning is most difficult and challenging to stay committed to. Some individuals may experience a side effect called “Keto Flu” during the first couple of weeks. Although Keto provides you with energy and better focus, if you experience “Keto Flu”, you may experience fatigue and mild dizziness. This is your body adjusting to the lack of carbs as it transitions into using fat for energy.
When you’re on a ketogenic diet, fatty acids are released from your body fat and insulin levels decrease. When insulin levels decrease, your kidneys excrete more water, sodium, and potassium. Some people notice increased urination. As a result, your blood pressure may decrease. It is important to stay hydrated.
To combat these symptoms, increase your electrolyte and fluid intake especially during the first few weeks. Bone broth is also helpful.
What’s in it for you? For better health?
Ketogenic diets are very effective for reducing body fat, but it will not happen overnight. Like all lifestyle and diet changes, weight loss can come quickly in the first few weeks and then you’ll see it slow down a bit.
In a study that compared ketogenic diet to a low-fat diet, it revealed that the ketogenic diet is more effective for weight loss. Researchers concluded that low carb ketogenic diets can help curb the obesity epidemic. Another study compared the effectiveness of a low-carb Keto diet (less than 10% calories from carbohydrates) to a low-fat diet in men and women. The researchers concluded that the low-carb Keto diet was effective for short-term weight loss and fat loss, meaning faster results.
Several studies have shown that ketogenic diets have been shown to reduce the risk of the following:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cancer and tumor progression
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Keto and Your Body Composition
Low calorie diets can lead to muscle loss, but Keto does not.
Researchers have found that people who do resistance training 3 to 4 times a week increase their lean muscle mass significantly. Significant fat loss was also observed.
A Keto diet also has benefits for cancer patients. A study of people who underwent radiotherapy revealed a Keto diet helped preserve muscle mass even though they lost weight.
How long should I be on Keto?
During weight loss, your body will be in ketosis. Let’s say you have accomplished your weight loss and body composition goals, what should you do next you might ask?
It’s entirely up to you. What type of lifestyle do you want to have? If you go back to how you were eating, in time you may gain back the weight and lose the effects of the lean muscle mass that you have gained. It is important to be mindful of what you eat and remember that everything counts! Most people who truly have the desire for better health and long-term sustainability, modify their diets somewhat and increase their carbs. However, they make sure that they are eating healthy carbs and not processed foods or sugars.
Can anyone do ketogenic diet?
Although there are many benefits to ketogenic diet, there are some that it may not be recommended for:
- Type 1 diabetics
- Women who are pregnant
- High-level or professional in-season athletics
- Children because they need more carbs (good carbs) for growth and development