The Ketogenic Diet is all about encouraging your body to burn fat as its main fuel source, rather than glucose. This is known as ketosis and it can have a lot of benefits for your health. In a nutshell, the Keto diet is a high fat, low carb way of eating.
What Can the Keto Diet Do for Your Health?
You’ll probably have more energy. The first few days aside, a lot of people find that they have more energy when they’re following the keto diet and using fat as fuel.
It can help to manage type 2 diabetes. The carb restrictions can help to manage type 2 diabetes, according to studies. A one year study of people with type 2 diabetes found that being in ketosis led to more stable blood sugar levels. The Keto diet can also support weight loss, which is important for managing type 2 diabetes.
Heart health can improve. It’s true that you’re eating plenty of fat on the keto diet but these are good fats that support heart health. According to
studies, some of the cardiovascular markers that can be improved through a low carb diet include triglycerides and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. At the same time, levels of “good” HDL cholesterol improved.
Inflammation markers can reduce. These days, we know that inflammation is strongly linked to lots of health problems, including heart disease, autoimmune disease and diabetes. Following a low carb diet has shown great promise for reducing markers of inflammation, including high-sensitivity C-reaction proteins (hsCRPs) and white blood cell counts.
You might sleep better. After your body has adjusted to being in ketosis, you may find that your sleep is deeper and better quality than before.
Your cognition may improve. Early research has suggested that the brain might run more efficiently on ketones than glucose. Healthy fats can also help to protect your brain against inflammation. If you’ve been suffering from brain fog and other cognitive issues, going keto can potentially improve the situation.
It can reduce dangerous visceral fat. As you may know, storing too much fat around your middle is linked to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and Alzheimer’s Disease. Visceral fat is stored around your organs, namely the kidneys, liver and pancreas. It lies underneath the subcutaneous fat and it’s definitely not something you want to have a huge amount of. The Keto diet can help to cut visceral fat more effectively than low fat diets.
What About Side Effects?
There can be some side effects to deal with as your body moves into ketosis and these can start happening within days of first starting the Keto Diet. Some of the drawbacks include constipation, bad breath (that will often smell like nail varnish remover!), fatigue and flu-like symptoms. You might also find that it feels harder to exercise. These tend to disappear once your body gets used to being on the keto diet.
If you’re on medication for diabetes or high blood pressure, talk to your doctor before trying to go keto.
What to Eat on a Ketogenic Diet?
Most of your calories will come from fat and this accounts for as much as 70 per cent of what you eat each day. Alongside this, protein makes up another 15 to 25 per cent and the rest is carbohydrates.
Generally, you’ll be restricted to 20g of net carbs or less to get your body into ketosis. When your body doesn’t have enough carbs to burn for fuel, it’ll switch to fat instead.
Fat can come from avocado, some nuts, coconut and olive oils and high fat dairy such as cheese and butter (preferably grass fed butter).
For protein, you can eat fish, unprocessed meat (preferably grass fed) and eggs. You don’t need a huge amount of protein as keto is focused more on high fat than high protein.
What Not to Eat on a Ketogenic Diet?
With the Keto Diet, there’s a lot that you can’t eat. This includes grains, legumes, pulses, root veg and most fruit (excluding berries, which are okay to eat). Processed carb rich foods and sugary foods are out. That means no cake, biscuits, ice cream, rice, potato and pasta, for example.