What is a Ketogenic Diet?
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The Ketogenic diet represent one of the most popular diets in Western civilization. This diet advocates getting the majority of your calories from fat and protein while reducing carbohydrates to very low levels. Keto’s objective is to shift your body into a fat burning machine that no longer relies on glucose as the energy-burning source.
The way this metabolic shift occurs is by consuming about 50 grams of carbs or less during a 24-hour period. Granted, 50 carbs is not a magic number, but the fewer carbs eaten, the easier it is to achieve ketosis.
Finally, the state of ketosis is achieved when the sugar has been depleted and the body begins to burn ketones. Weight loss is a natural result when fat is burned for energy.
Benefits of the Keto Diet
1. Weight loss will occur.
First, many people turn to this low-carb diet to lose weight. Keto dieters swear that they experience lower hunger levels than they endured with other diets. Also, the increased amount of fat required for this eating plan reduces appetite making this diet easier to follow.
2. This type of diet may provide protective benefits for the brain.
Second, based on recent findings, people concerned about brain health or the possibility of developing Alzheimer’s disease should consider a low-carb diet. This type of eating regiment is believed to both strengthen and protect nerve and brain cells.
3. The Keto eating plan reduces seizures in people suffering from epilepsy.
Third, research indicates that achieving ketosis has proven to reduce seizures. Specifically, focal seizures in children who haven’t responded well to other treatments have improved by following this diet.
4. Changing to a Ketogenic diet and menu improves acne in some people.
Also, Acne is linked to diet and blood sugar in many cases. That’s why a low-carb diet that reduces or eliminates most refined carbohydrates may have a positive impact on this skin condition. The consumption of refined carbohydrates is believed to alter gut bacteria and blood sugar which can aggravate acne.
5. The ketogenic diet may prevent or reduce risks associated with certain types of cancer.
Additionally, the oxidative stress imposed on cancer cells by this type of diet can cause them to die. High blood sugar levels are believed to be linked to cancer. A lot more research is necessary in this area to fully understand the ties between cancer and diet, but some studies have been promising.
6. Studies show that low-carb diets may improve heart health.
Recent studies conducted in 2017 on both animals and humans following a keto eating plan recorded a drop in total cholesterol. As if the surface results weren’t exciting enough, details revealed that bad cholesterol or LDL decreased while HDL or good cholesterol increased for participants of the study.
7. Low-carb diets can improve the hormonal disorder, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Finally, PCOS is a disorder that can produce an excess of male hormones and ovary dysfunction, as well as polycystic ovaries. Since a diet rich in carbohydrates is linked to this condition, a low-carb, keto diet can improve symptoms. People suffering with PCOS who eat a high-carb diet can experience skin problems and weight gain.
Types of Ketogenic Diets
While all keto diets are considered low carb diet plans, there are some differences based on fat, carb, and protein target levels. Of course, your lifestyle and individual goals, different versions of this diet might be more practical than others.
Standard ketogenic diet
The macronutrient breakdown of this version of the diet is 15-20% protein, 75% fat and 5-10% carbs. This is the version of the diet that is probably the best known. The only way to achieve these ratios is to plan snacks and meals around fatty fish, meats, butter, ghee, avocados, nuts and olive oil to meet the 150 grams you’ll need to start burning fat as fuel.
One of the more challenging aspect of this diet is limiting total carbs to a total under 50 grams daily. That means you’ll have to focus on non-starchy veggies only and limit fruit intake to small portions of berries and melon.
You’ll also need to limit your protein intake to about 4 ounces of meat per meal. And this is equal to a small piece of fish or meat.
This version of low-carb eating increases the amount of protein and lowers the fat slightly as compared to the standard version described above. In general, the ratios are still highly weighted in favor of fat. It’s a 60-65% fat, 5-10% carb, and 30% protein combination.
The complaint some people have against this version of the diet is that it may not promote ketosis since the higher protein amounts will be burned for energy, essentially stopping the fat-burning benefit of ketosis. However, the good news is that people still lose weight.
Cyclical Keto Version
One of the more practical version of keto dieting, it allows you to cycle in and out of the diet, enjoying some days off the strict, low-carb guidelines. Some people choose to include five days of keto with two off days. Any combination works, as long as there are some keto days mixed in every week.
On dieting days, the standard keto version is adopted. You are allowed 75% fat, 5-10% carbs and 15-20% protein. On days off, you can eat 25% protein, 25% fat and 50% carbs. This is an attractive and practical way to practice keto while taking time off for special occasions or unrestricted family meals.
Targeted Keto Version
The targeted keto version of the diet allows more carbs for active people and athletes specifically. Since they are burning more energy, the extra carbs are burned off easily without detriment.
The macronutrient proportions allow for 10 to 15% carbs, 65-70% fat and 20% protein.
By allotting for more carbs, athletes can complete workouts that might be difficult with lower carb levels.
Ketogenic Diet Sample Menu Items
Of course, practically speaking, after you have a basic understanding about the ketogenic diet, it’s time to go grocery shopping so you’ll be prepared. It helps to divide your grocery list into categories. Then it is easy to mix and match key ingredients to plan a keto-friendly meal.
Below are some proteins, fats and carbs to stock up on and use for meal preparation.
One important consideration when selecting proteins for this type of diet is to be careful to select proteins that do not also contain carbohydrates. For example, you have to rule out most processed meats, some nuts and most meat substitutes popular with vegans. Also, it’s important that you read labels before buying protein or protein substitutes. As such, the importance of quality meat product cannot be overstated.
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Favorite Protein Options
- fatty fish
- lean meats
- dark-meat chicken
While we have been conditioned to shy away from fats, there is a lot of research that indicates that many types of fat should be included in your diet. Below are some healthy fat choices perfect for including on a keto meal plan.
- avocado oil
- olive oil
- coconut oil
- heavy cream
- nut butter
Recommended Non-starchy Carbs
Limiting carbohydrates to such low levels is the biggest challenge for many people who are accustomed to eating high-carb diets. Below are some healthy options to consider. It is imperative that carbs be counted and monitored carefully for a keto-style diet to work.
- leafy greens
- spaghetti squash
Foods to Avoid on the Keto Diet
- cold cuts
- meat marinated in sugar sauces
- chicken or fish nuggets
- artificial trans fats
- trail mix
- sweetened nut butters
- sweetened non-fat yogurt
- ice cream
- processed foods
- white bread
1. Scrambled eggs in butter on lettuce with avocado
2. Hard boiled eggs with black coffee
3. Cheese and veggie omelet
4. Greek yogurt with blueberries
1. Spinach salad with salmon
2. Pork chop with red cabbage slaw
3. Tuna salad stuffed in tomatoes
4. Meatballs on zucchini noodles with cream sauce
5. Roasted chicken with asparagus and sauteed mushrooms
The Ketogenic Diet Takeaway
In conclusion, the ketogenic diet is popular because it works for many people as a weight loss diet and for other added health benefits. While it can take careful planning to get started, the benefits seem to outweigh the costs for keto advocates.