Understanding Ketosis and the Ketogenic Diet
Many keto diet followers claim to be on a ketogenic diet when they are simply eating low-carb. This is an important distinction to make when discussing the idea of ketosis because the health benefits that come from a ketogenic diet cannot be achieved without the body entering a state of ketosis.
Ketosis is achieved when your diet consists of very low carbohydrates, moderate protein intake, and high fats. Carbohydrates are quickly broken down by the body and transformed into blood sugar. Excess protein can also be broken down into blood sugar, which is the body’s primary source of energy. Fats, on the other hand, can be transformed by the liver into ketones, which are an alternative fuel source.
When you are following the ketogenic diet correctly, your body will switch its fuel supply to burn fat on an ongoing basis. Low blood sugar levels can lead to a dramatic increase in fat burning. Your fat stores are more easily accessed and, thus, more readily burned. This state is called ketosis. This metabolic state is most easily achieved through fasting, but that is not realistic for sustaining your everyday life. The ketogenic diet is a means of achieving ketosis and its benefits in a sustainable manner that does not involve fasting.
What To Eat On A Ketogenic Diet
The key characteristic of a ketogenic diet that puts the body in ketosis is dramatically low carb intake. Experts recommend keeping your net carb intake under 50 grams, but in order to achieve ketosis, most people have to consume less than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day. The lower the carb intake, the more effective the keto diet has been shown to be. There are a couple of different styles in which you can follow a ketogenic diet.
- Standard - 75% fat, 20% protein, 5% carbs
- Cyclical - Features refeed days where you increase your carb intake
- Targeted - Features increased carb intake before and after workouts
- High-Protein - 60% fat, 35% protein, 5% carbs
Understanding how to track your macronutrient intake is essential in successfully following a ketogenic diet plan. You can read more about how to track your macronutrients here. A good rule of thumb to follow when on the keto diet is to avoid carbohydrates that contain a lot of sugar or starch. These are your staple carbs like bread, potatoes, and pasta. Foods that you’ll want to eat in abundance when on the keto diet include fish, seafood, meat, eggs, cheese, butter, oil, and vegetables that grow above ground. These foods will give you sustenance that keeps you full while keeping your carb intake low enough to achieve ketosis.
What Are The Benefits Of The Ketogenic Diet
The standard ketogenic diet is the most researched of the different types of keto diets. Studies have shown that a keto diet is highly effective in weight loss efforts because insulin, which is a hormone associated with fat storage, is significantly decreased when in ketosis. Additionally, the keto diet can help you gain control of your appetite and curb cravings that derail your weight loss progress.
Other studies have indicated that the ketogenic diet can be beneficial for pre-diabetic patients and patients with type 2 diabetes. If you have trouble with your blood sugar and are considering the ketogenic diet, consult your doctor to help you execute this dieting style safely and effectively.
Overall, the keto diet is linked to improved health markers, including blood sugar, insulin, and blood pressure, as well as improved energy and physical and mental performance throughout the day.
The benefits of taking care of your body, whether it be through a ketogenic diet or other efforts, are endless. To learn more about the ketogenic diet and other ways you can prioritize your health or achieve weight loss goals, contact Whole Intent today to schedule a consultation.