What is a keto diet?

diet, energy, fat loss, Mental health, nutrition, weight loss -

What is a keto diet?

The basics to a keto diet

If you have considered dieting, then you have probably heard of the many diets out there. One of these is called a ketogenic diet or “keto diet” and this is becoming increasingly popular. This diet is low carb, moderate protein and high fat, this diet has been proven to burn fat more effectively and is the chosen weight loss diet for many. This type of diet is recommended by many doctors for people suffering from obesity and in this article, we are going to be sharing the benefits of a keto diet and why it should be considered for fat loss.

 

What is keto?

A keto diet is a low carb, high fat diet that is know for burning body fat. As you reduce your carbohydrate intake this causes your metabolism to reach a state called ketosis. This is when your body burns fat more easily This also causes fat to be turned into ketones in the liver which can be used to supply your brain with energy. A keto diet will also reduce blood sugar levels and insulin levels which can be beneficial for people with diabetes.

 

There are many different types of ketogenic diets out there that vary your macro nutrient intake. These diets include:

Standard keto diet – This diet involves consuming low carbs, moderate protein, and high fat. Usually 10% carbs, 20% protein and 70% fat.

Cyclical keto diet – This involves having high carb days and keto days. For example, 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 higher carb days.

Targeted keto diet – Allows carbs around workouts

High protein keto – This is similar to the standard keto diet but involves increasing your protein intake. Usually 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs.

 

The standard keto diet is the most popular among people and the other versions of this diet are more advances forms of dieting are common among athletes and bodybuilders.

 

Weight loss

One benefits of a keto diet is that it is an effective way to lose weight.  There are many studies out there proving that these diets are more effective at losing weight than low fat diets. This can be due to the higher number of ketones produced, which burn fat, and that fat can keep you feeling fuller than carbohydrates. You may also end up eating a smaller volume of food as fat provides around 9 calories per gram and carbs only provide 4, so less of them are needed.

Another way a keto diet can help you lose weight is through water weight. As you are eating less carbs and these hold water stored in your body, this will reduce the amount of water weight you have.

Improved heart health

A ketogenic diet usually involves heating healthier foods. The fat can be supplied by healthy sources of fat like avocados and fatty fish. These unsaturated fats can actually improve heart health by reducing cholesterol. A keto diet has been shown to reduce low density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol and increase high density lipoprotein (HDL), or good cholesterol.

Having elevated cholesterol levels can increase your risk of heart disease. Also, carbs can also account for sugary foods. As these are reduced in a keto diet then we reduce the amount of sugary foods we consume. As well as lower cholesterol there are many other benefits like weight loss and reducing the risk of diabetes.  Eating less sugar can also cause improved moods and more drive. As well as lower cholesterol levels this also reduced the risk of high blood pressure, kidney disease and strokes.

Better brain performance

A keto diet may also improve your brains performance and productivity. This is due to a higher number of ketones being produced on a keto diet and parts of the brain use these for food.  Your brain also uses glucose for food, this is produced in your liver when there are no carbs present so a keto diet will increase the amount of glucose being supplied to your brain. The glucose produced in your liver comes from amino acids.

Epilepsy is also a disease that can be treated by having a keto diet.  Epilepsy is a disease that is linked to overexcitement in brain cells and can cause jerking movements and loss of consciousness.  The keto diet was developed in 1921 by Dr Russel Wilder and was initially used to treat epilepsy in children. Although it is effective the reason for a keto diet being good to treat epilepsy remains unknown. Studies show that patients that have participated in a keto diet have 50% less seizures and 34% of these patients became seizure free.

 

Helps diabetics

Keto diets are effective at reducing blood sugar levels as you reduce the amount of carbs you eat. This is good for reducing people with type 2 diabetes reduce their dependence on there medication. Although cutting carbs can help it is recommended you still stick to your medicine and consult a doctor before doing anything.

Cons of a keto diet

Although a keto diet is effective at losing fat and has a range of health benefits there are also some possible side effects associated with this type of diet. One possible side effect is nutrient deficiency, as you are restricting carbs this can lead to avoiding certain foods that contain other key nutrients. Therefore its important that you eat a wide range of foods on a keto diet.  There is also something referred to as the “keto flu”, this is coming from cutting carbs and usually causes nausea, headaches, and hunger. Sleep and hydration can relieve some of these symptoms.

As you have reduced your carb intake there is the possibility that your training performance is going to take a turn for the worst. This is due to carbs being easily broken down and used as energy and can keep you going throughout a workout. There is a study done by saint Louis university that concluded that low carbohydrate diets have negative effects on a person’s performance and can lower endurance during an exercise, making it harder to complete your last sets.

 

Overall, a keto diet is effective if done properly. It will take a while for your body to adjust to using fat as an energy source and you need to make sure you are eating a range of foods to get the required nutrients you need. If you have any health conditions for example diabetes, then you should consult a medical specialist before making any changes to your diet. It also may be challenging to keep doing a keto diet long term so it would probably be best to do them occasionally then go back to eating carbs and using them as a source of energy.  When it comes to an athlete’s perspective these diets can be good for cutting down fat if your sport requires you to lose weight or have a good physique.