The ketogenic diet, or keto diet, is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that has been gaining popularity in recent years due to its numerous benefits that we will find out in this blog. The diet involves reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing the consumption of healthy fats, which puts the body in a state of ketosis, where it burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. In this blog, we’ll explore more about what the ketogenic diet is, how it works, its potential benefits and drawbacks, and some tips to get started for beginners.
What is the ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet is a diet that is designed to help the body enter a metabolic state called ketosis, which occurs when the body burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. Typically, the body relies on carbohydrates, which are broken down into glucose, for energy. However, when carbohydrates are limited, the body starts breaking down fats into ketones, which are then used as an alternative source of fuel.
To achieve ketosis, the keto diet requires you to drastically reduce your carbohydrate intake to about 20-50 grams per day, which is equivalent to about 5-10% of your daily calorie intake. Instead, you will consume high amounts of healthy fats, such as avocado, olive oil, nuts, and fatty fish, which make up about 70-80% of your daily calorie intake. The remaining 10-20% comes from protein sources like meat, fish, and eggs.
How does the ketogenic diet work?
The ketogenic diet works by forcing the body to enter a state of ketosis, where it burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. When you drastically reduce your carbohydrate intake, your body starts breaking down fats into ketones, which are used as an alternative fuel source. This shift in metabolism has several potential benefits, including weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, and increased energy levels.
Signs and symptoms of ketosis: How to tell if the ketogenic diet is working
- Increased ketones:
The most common known when someone is in ketosis is likely the presence of ketones in their blood. Ketone levels can be checked in various ways such as by doctors using pee and breath tests, but these are less trustworthy than blood samples. People can check their own blood ketone levels using a specialized home testing tool. Alternatively, a doctor may draw blood and submit it for analysis. A individual will have blood ketone levels of 0.5 to 3 milligrams per liter when they are in nutritional ketosis. As an alternative, individuals can check for ketones in their breath using a breath analyzer, or they can check their urinary levels using indicator strips. You can purchase ketone testing tool from online retailers and general pharmacy.
2. Weight loss:
People on a ketogenic diet may notice weight loss in the first few days, but this is typically just a reduction in water weight. True fat loss may not occur for several weeks.
Some individuals may experience increased thirst while in ketosis, which can happen as a result of water loss. However, excessive amounts of ketones in the body can also cause electrolyte imbalance and dehydration. These two responses both carry the risk of complications.
Dehydration is a secondary effect of ketosis, according to research from a trusted source into ketogenic diets for athletic performance. Dehydration-related complications like renal stones may also be more common in athletes.Drink plenty of water and other beverages to prevent dehydration. If you experience dehydration signs like intense thirst or dark urine, visit a doctor right away.
4. Fatigue and weakness:
People who are beginning a ketosis diet may feel weaker and more fatigued than normal. As the body shifts from burning carbohydrates to burning fat for energy, this fatigue develops. The body gets a faster energy boost from carbohydrates.
However, after a few weeks on the regimen, individuals should feel more energies. In that case, they should go see a doctor because lethargy is also a sign of dehydration and nutrient deficiencies.There is thirst or dark pee.
5. Changes in sleep:
A ketogenic diet may cause a person’s sleeping patterns to change. At first, they might have trouble falling asleep or waking up during the night. Usually, these symptoms disappear after a few weeks.
6. Bad breath:
One of the most frequent side affects of ketosis is bad breath. This is because both the breath and urine are ways that ketones exit the body. The breath may smell sweet or fruity, which dieters or those nearby may note.Ketosis breath cannot be eliminated, but it may get better over time. To cover up the odor, some people chew sugar-free gum or clean their teeth several times each day.
7. Better focus and concentrate:
The ketogenic diet may initially result in headaches and attention issues. These signs, though, ought to go away with time. Long-term ketogenic dieters frequently report greater concentration and focus.
Benefits of the ketogenic diet
- Weight loss: The ketogenic diet has been shown to be an effective way to lose weight. By reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing healthy fat intake, the body is forced to burn fat for fuel, leading to weight loss. To be more precise, low-carb diets reduce your appetite and trend to be the common diet method among people who interest. However, some people decide to give up before reach state of ketosis due to the hunger that seems to be the worst side effect of dieting. Studies show that individuals on low-fat diets experience slower weight loss than those on low-carb diets, even when the latter are strongly calorie-restricting.
- Improved insulin sensitivity and reduced blood sugar: Insulin resistance is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes. The ketogenic diet has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, which can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Studies prove that cutting carbs lowers both blood sugar and insulin levels drastically
- Increased energy levels: The ketogenic diet can also improve energy levels. When the body is in a state of ketosis, it uses fat for fuel instead of glucose, which can lead to more stable energy levels throughout the day.
- Potential benefits for neurological disorders: The ketogenic diet has been shown to have potential benefits for neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.
- Improved ‘Bad’ LDL Cholesterol levels: Heart attacks are significantly more likely to occur in people with elevated “bad” LDL levels. However, a low-carb diet raises the size of your “bad” LDL particles, which reduces their negative effects. Limiting your intake of carbohydrates may also help you lower your blood’s overall LDL particle count.
Risks of ketogenic diet
- Difficulty in maintaining the diet: The ketogenic diet can be challenging to maintain, especially in the long term. It can be difficult to follow the strict guidelines for carbohydrate intake, which may make it challenging to stick to the diet.
- Nutrient deficiencies: Because the ketogenic diet restricts carbohydrate intake, it can be difficult to get enough vitamins and minerals, such as fiber and vitamin C. It’s important to ensure that you’re consuming a variety of nutrient-dense foods to avoid nutrient deficiencies.
- Potential side effects: Some people may experience side effects when starting the ketogenic diet, such as constipation, fatigue, and headaches. These side effects are usually temporary and will improve as the body adjusts to the diet.
- Lead to the keto flu: The keto diet usually limits your daily carb intake to less than 50 grams, which can shock your body. At the beginning of this eating pattern, you may experience flu-like symptoms as your body depletes its carbohydrate stores and changes to using ketones and fat for fuel. These include headaches, feeling dizzy, tiredness, nausea, and constipation, which are partly caused by electrolyte imbalances and dehydration that occur as your body enters a state of ketosis. However, those symptoms may gone within a few weeks. So, remember to stay hydrated, and eat foods rich in sodium and potassium.
- May stress your kidney: Additionally, individuals with chronic kidney disease (CKD) should stay away from the ketogenic diet because their kidneys may be less able to clear the acid accumulation that these animal foods cause in your blood. This might result in an imbalance, which would accelerate the development of CKD. Additionally, reduced protein diets are frequently advised for people with CKD, whereas the keto diet contains intermediate to high levels of protein.
Tips for getting started on the ketogenic diet
- Plan your meals: Plan your meals in advance to ensure that you’re consuming the appropriate amount of macronutrients. This will make it easier to stick to the diet and avoid nutrient deficiencies.
- Increase healthy fat intake: To achieve ketosis, you’ll need to increase your intake of healthy fats, such as avocado, nuts, and fatty fish.
- Reduce carbohydrate
A Glance at Keto-Friendly food
Here are some of the foods you may eat on keto:
- Oils (like olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil)
- Heavy cream
- Cream cheese
- Coconut (unsweetened)
- Nuts (almonds, macadamia) and seeds (chia seeds, flaxseed, sunflower seeds)
- Leafy green vegetables (romaine, spinach, kale, collards)
- Non-starchy vegetables, including zucchini, asparagus, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, and bell peppers
- Meats (chicken, beef, pork, lamb)
- Fish (particularly fatty fish like salmon and sardines)