You may have heard of the ketogenic diet and its benefits, but is it right for you? Keto is a high-fat, adequate-protein, and low-carb diet. The goal of this diet is to put your body into a state known as ketosis, which means your body starts to produce molecules called ketones instead of glucose. This switch causes your body to rely on fat as its primary source of energy, which can lead to weight loss and other potential health benefits such as reducing inflammation and controlling blood sugar levels1. However, cutting carbs can be challenging due to the fact that they're found in many foods that are also healthy. Here are some tips for following a keto diet lifestyle that will help you stick with it long term.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, and low-carb plan. The goal of this diet is to put your body into a state known as ketosis. Ketosis occurs when our bodies make molecules called ketones instead of glucose. This switch causes your body to rely on fat for its primary source of energy.
Should you do it?
Everyone is different, so it is best to consult with your doctor before starting any new diet. That being said, some people who are looking for a low-carb diet may find keto effective.
Keto is not for everyone. If you have diabetes or another metabolic disease that restricts your intake of calories, then the keto diet could be dangerous for you. Similarly, if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, it's also not recommended.
If you want to know if ketosis is right for you, there are two ways to find out: get tested or try it out. A blood test will tell you whether your body has entered ketosis; this can be done by taking a sample of your blood and sending it in to the lab (the easiest way). The other way is to try it out yourself. If you're interested in trying ketosis without making any major changes in your diet yet, then start by adding more fat into your meals and cutting back on carbs gradually until you reach ketosis. You must follow these steps when transitioning from a sugar-burner metabolism to a fat-burning metabolism so that the transition doesn't cause too much stress on your body.
Foods to Eat and Avoid
One of the key components of keto is to eat foods that are high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbs. The following foods should be staples in your diet:
- Meat: Beef, pork, poultry, game meats
- Fish and seafood: Salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines
- Vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage
- Fruits: Avocado
The following foods should be avoided due to their carbohydrate content:
- Soy products (tofu)
- Coconut oils
- Whole grains (oatmeal)
- Dairy products (low fat milk)
Maintaining your Keto Lifestyle
One of the most common mistakes people make when following a keto diet is not accounting for the carbohydrates they are getting from their vegetables. For example, if you eat a salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and mushrooms, you are consuming five grams of carbs per serving.
The one thing to remember about what you're consuming is that raw vegetables have more fiber than cooked ones. The fiber content in your food will help fill you up without adding too many carbs to your meal. For example, if someone ate four cups of raw spinach leaves versus four cups of boiled spinach leaves, they would consume over twelve grams more fiber by eating the raw spinach.
The Pros and Cons of the Ketogenic Diet.
Many people believe the keto diet is beneficial for weight loss. The ketogenic diet has been shown to promote weight loss by suppressing appetite1,2, reducing calorie intake3, and increasing fat metabolism4.
While the keto diet may seem like a quick fix to lose weight, it does come with some downsides. One of the most common side effects of the keto is bad breath in which your body can produce acetone5. Additionally, many people on this diet experience constipation6 because they are restricting their fiber intake7.
If you're considering starting a keto diet, there are pros and cons to consider before making your decision.
*The ketogenic diet is good for weight loss
*It's an easy way to cut carbs
*Consistently following the diet will help you stay healthy
*It's good for overall health
*Bad breath is a common side effect of being on this diet
*Constipation can be a problem when cutting out fiber from one's diet
*A balanced lifestyle is important when following this type of lifestyle