The keto diet (aka ketogenic diet, low carb diet and LCHF diet) is a low carb, high fat diet. Maintaining this diet is a great tool for weight loss. More importantly though according to an increasing number of studies, it helps reduce risk factors for diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and more.
On the keto diet, your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis. While in ketosis your body is using ketone bodies for energy instead of glucose (sugar and carbs). Ketone bodies are derived from fat and are a much more stable, steady source of energy than glucose, which is derived from carbohydrates.
Entering ketosis usually takes anywhere from 3 days to a week. Once you’re in ketosis you be using fat for energy instead of carbs. This includes the fat you eat and the fat that is stored in your body.
How to test for ketosis?
You can test yourself to see whether you’ve entered ketosis just a few days after you’ve begun the keto diet.
Simply use a ketone test strip and it will tell you the level of ketone bodies in your urine. If the concentration is high enough, you’ve successfully entered ketosis.
There are other ways of telling you’re in ketosis, though. Look for changes in mood and alertness as well as a stronger smell in your breath and urine. Many people also report better sleep and decreased appetite when you’re in ketosis.
The truth about fat
You may be thinking, “but eating a lot of fat is bad!”. The truth is dozen of studies and meta studies with over 900,000 subjects have arrived at similar conclusions. Eating saturated and monosaturated fats has no effects on heart disease risk.
Most fats are good and are essential to our health. Fat and protein are essential for survival.
Fats are the most efficient form of energy and each gram contains 9 calories compared to 4 calories per gram of protein and carbs. There is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate.
The keto diet promotes eating fresh whole foods like meat, fish, veggies and healthy fats and oils as well as greatly reducing processed and chemicalled treated foods that the Standard American Diet has so long encouraged.
It’s a diet that you can sustain long term and enjoy. What not to enjoy about bacon and eggs every morning?!
HOW CALORIES WORK
A calorie is a unot of energy. When something contains 100 calories it describes how much energy your body could get from consuming it. Calorie consumption dictates weight gain/losses.
If you burn an average of 1800 calories and eat 2000 calories per day you gain weight. Makes sense right?
If you do light exercise that burns an extra 300 calories per day you’ll burn 2100 calories per day putting you at a defeceit of 100 calories. Simply by eating at a deficit, you’ll lose weight because your body taps into stored resources for the remaining energy it needs.
That being said, it’s important to get the right balance of macronutrients every day so your body has the energy it needs.
WHAT ARE MACRONUTRIENTS?
Macros are molecules that our bodies use to create energy for themselves. Primarily fat, protein and carbs. They are found in all food and are measured in grams on nutrition labels.
- Fat provides 9 calories per gram
- Carbs provides 4 calories per gram
- Protein provides 4 calories per gram
WHAT ARE NET CARBS?
Many low carb recipes/website will write “net carbs” when displaying macros. Net carbs are total carbs minus dietary fiber and sugar alcohols. Our bodies can’t break down iber and sugar alcohol into glucose so they generally don’t raise blood sugar. For this reason, many people don’t count them toward their total carb count.
HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU EAT?
On a keto diet, about 65-75% of the calories you consume daily should come from fat. About 20-30% should come from protein. The remaining 5% should come from carbohydrates.
Find a good keto calculator online to figure out exactly how many calories you should be consuming in a day.
Day to Day Benefits
The keto diet doesn’t only provide long term benefits but day to day benefits as well. When your body enters into a keto state you can expect to
- Lose body fat
- Have consistent energy levels during the day
- Stay satisfied after meals longer with less snacking and overeating
Longer satiation and consistent energy levels are due to the majority of calories coming from fat, which is a slower digestion and calorically denser.
Eating low carb also eliminates blood glucose spikes and crashes. You wont’ have sudden blood sugar drops leaving you feeling weak and disoriented.
Long Term Benefits
Studies consistently show that those who eat a low carb high fat diet rather than a high carb low fat diet:
- Lose more weight and body fat
- Have better levels of good cholesterol
- Have reduced blood sugar and insulin resistance
- Experience a decrease in appetite
- Have reduced triglyceride levels
- Have significant reductions in blood pressure.
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