What Is A Ketogenic Diet?
A ketogenic diet, also colloquially known as keto, is one where you decrease your daily intake of carbohydrates in order to burn body fat. This is far different from a crash diet because you don’t skip meals or make them smaller.
Keto mainly involves minimizing the consumption of carbohydrates by regulating the kind of food you eat. Doing this forces your body to enter the state of ketosis. This state is where the ketogenic diet derives its name, and leads us to explain what ketosis actually is.
Ketosis – The Term Explained
Ketosis is mainly a state in which your body is forced to break fat molecules down into smaller molecules, known as ketones. These ketones are then used by the body to generate energy for carrying out different activities. Ketosis is achieved by decreasing carbohydrate intake.
The usual state your body is in is known as glycolysis.While in glycolysis, carbohydrates (carbs) are broken down into smaller and simpler substances to produce energy. As long as carbs are available, the body makes little use of stored fat molecules. However, if you reduce carb intake significantly, the body turns to stored fat as an energy source, thereby entering ketosis.
Hence, the ketogenic diet’s principle element consists of pursuing a diet strictly low in carbohydrates. Apart from helping you achieve weight loss, you can also experience various other health benefits.
This said, it is important to note that, like all forms of dieting, you will likely experience some form of initial discomfort. At the outset, your body may take some time to adjust to altered eating patterns. You may experience some or all of the below symptoms.
• Gastrointestinal issues
This phase is known as the keto flu. There is no reason to panic, because it tends to subside in a couple of weeks after your body adapts to your new eating habits. If you initiate a balanced electrolyte intake program, this problem often subsides even more quickly.
One of the key reasons people tend to opt for keto is the diminished loss of muscle common with other dieting methods. So, if you are looking for a healthy way to shed extra pounds without forcing your body into a state of extreme weakness, a ketogenic diet might be for you.
A ketogenic diet aids in healthy loss of weight without excessive muscle wasting. Your body will retain the capacity to carry out normal daily activities. With the addition of higher protein consumption and regular exercise, it’s even possible to gain lean muscle tissue while burning fat quicker. So, if you’re a fitness buff looking for ways to stay consistently healthy and fit, you should definitely delve deeper into the dynamics of keto.
Additionally, scientific research has found that people following a ketogenic diet show improvements with regard to maintaining proper blood sugar levels. Thus, patients suffering from diabetes are also potential candidates for keto. Those suffering from high blood pressure can see major reductions during diet initiation, while facilitating stability and regulation long term. Others with heart disease will find that keto tends to curb the level of triglycerides in the body while showing a decrease in the level of LDL cholesterol and even blood glucose. HDL (the ‘good’) cholesterol tends to increase.
Now, while this next point doesn’t currently have ample conclusive evidence, research has indicated that a ketogenic diet is known to starve cancer cells, aiding in curtailing the growth of tumours. Nutrient dense cancer-fighting foods commonly part of keto only serve to bolster therapeutic claims. As you can see, the potential benefits this diet could impart are extensive
Nutrients to incorporate in your diet
Before going into the details of recipes for preparing meals consistent with a ketogenic diet, we’ll discuss some of the ingredients frequently used. Knowing this will give you a snapshot of food items best utilized or avoided.
If you’re a seafood lover, you have every reason to smile. Seafood, mainly fish and shellfish, are rich sources of protein and omega 3 fatty acids advocated in keto. But, the carbohydrate content in shellfish tends to vary somewhat. Gauge the potential carb intake by researching the particular species before purchase.
Ideally, two servings of seafood every week are recommended. Salmon, mackerel, and sardines are top choices.
If you wondered if you read that heading correctly, rest assured you did. Cheese is actually very low in carb content and high in fat. It contains conjugated linoleum acid (CLA), a type of fat comprehensively shown to have several different anti-obesity mechanisms resulting in body fat reduction and improved overall body composition, making it one of the best foods for keto.
Eggs are definitely on the keto chart. A large egg contains less than 1 gram of carbohydrate. Their consumption is known to trigger specific hormones that give you a feeling your appetite has been satiated, which could help you cut superfluous calorie intake. Eggs also aid in stabilizing blood sugar levels, definitely making them a good option.
Low Carb Vegetables
There are a lot of non-starchy vegetables known to be low in both calories and carbs while being extremely nutrient dense. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale are very good choices.
Avoid starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, yams, pumpkin, squash, and zucchini. We know potatoes are a staple part of many diets, but even a small serving could fulfill your carb intake for the day.
Animal proteins like meat and fish have an extremely small amount of carbs. They come in handy to sate hunger pangs and you should consume moderate amounts. Further, organ meats like liver, heart, and bone marrow are also low carb, with greater mineral content, making them good candidates. Lamb, goat, venison and even grass fed beef seem to be good options for ketogenic diet followers.
These are some of the food groups you need to stick with when implementing a ketogenic diet. They’ll help you derive the greatest benefits from this form of regimen.