The Ketogenic Diet is a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet. 'Keto' shares many similarities to the once popular Atkins diet, however, allows more flexibility and variety of the foods you are allowed to eat regularly.
But how low-carb are we talking? The goal of the Keto Diet is to reduce the total daily carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams per day.
The Keto Diet was in fact originally designed to treat children with epilepsy, however is now rapidly gaining popularity amongst people due to its ability to help people stick to a calorie deficit, and therefore lose weight.
Many food diets can feel extremely restrictive, often leaving dieters feeling hungry and craving more food - therefore making them unlikely to stick to the plan for very long. The Keto Diet focuses on fat and protein – two food elements that make you feel fuller for longer and release energy slowly so you don’t burn out during the day.
HOW DOES THE KETO DIET WORK?
The main source of energy for all cells in the body is glucose, which is obtained by eating carbohydrate filled foods. On the Keto Diet, by depriving the body of glucose and keeping blood sugar levels low, an alternative fuel called ketones are produced from stored fat. This means that instead of using the food you have consumed that day as fuel, your body converts and burns stored fat.
When ketone bodies accumulate in the blood, your body reaches a metabolic state called ketosis. Healthy individuals naturally experience mild ketosis during periods of fasting (e.g., sleeping overnight) and very strenuous exercise. Ketosis is when the fat burning occurs in the body and, depending on the individual, it can take a few days on the keto diet before it begins.
Reference: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF KETO?
So why on earth would someone give up pasta, rice and potatoes? Some of the claimed benefits of the keto diet are below:
- Maintain healthy blood sugar levels
- Appetite control
- Improve energy and mental clarity
- Reduce sugar intake and help control sugar cravings
- Reduce body fat without following a restrictive diet
- You can eat plenty of avocados!
WHAT FOODS CAN YOU EAT?
The hard part of starting a Keto Diet is figuring out exactly which foods are allowed and which foods are off limits.
Healthy fats are essential for the keto diet. This means staying away from deep-fried, trans fat loaded foods and opting for wholesome ingredients, such as coconut, avocado and nuts. Protein and fibre are also essential to keep the body functioning as it should. And as mentioned above, carb consumption should be kept to 50 grams and under.
Head to our blog Keto Friendly Foods for more information on the foods you can eat.
It is important to remember that high-fat foods are also higher in calories. So, before you go pouring oil over everything, make sure you keep track of calorie consumption. Don’t forget to add plenty of low-carb leafy greens to your meals to help fill your stomach without going over your recommended daily intake.