One aspect of wellness that most people seem to be struggling with is finding the right diet. Some people have been forced into starvation because they can’t find a diet plan that can promote weight loss as well as other aspects of wellness. But there is one diet plan whose popularity is rapidly picking up, the ketogenic diet or the keto diet. How is it effective and beneficial?

What is Keto Diet?

It’s a diet plan that involves taking foods with low carbohydrates, high-fat content, and moderate amounts of protein. The popularity of this diet has increased over the past years. Dieters who have used keto have experienced a lot of health benefits which includes weight loss, improved immunity, better memory and focus among others. While the popularity of this diet is on the rise, the public has been subjected to numerous misconceptions as well. If you are looking to transition to a keto diet, outlined below is how the keto diet works, its benefits, as well as the side effects.

How Does the Keto Diet Work?

This diet basically requires the user to take large amounts of healthy fats, low amounts of carbs as well as moderate amounts of protein. It allows the body to reach ketosis, a process where the body ends up burning ketones for fuel and not glucose. But why would carbs be replaced with fats? Well, carbs are usually converted in the liver into glucose. The result of this is an insulin spike that results in insulin resistance. Insulin spike facilitates the transportation of glucose into the bloodstream. But when there is a high amount of glucose in the bloodstream, the body will end up using it instead of fat as a source of energy. And by eliminating high amounts of carbs in your diet and then replacing them with high amounts of fat, the body will be forced to metabolize fats for fuel. But there is more than one type of keto diet which include:

  • Standard – Keto Diet: It’s the most popular type of keto that requires the user to take 5 percent carbs, about 20 percent protein, and 75 percent fat.
  • Targeted – Keto Diet: Best used by athletes who want to improve their protein intake. This keto diet doesn’t promote fat loss and you are required to eat less than 50g of net carbs daily.
  • Cyclical – Keto Diet: Dieters are required to avoid taking carbs for a certain period of time followed by a refeed of carbs i.e. 7 days of avoiding carbs versus 3 days of taking carbs.
  • High Protein – Keto Diet: Suitable for weightlifters and wellness enthusiasts who want to grow lean muscles. It comprises of 5 percent carbs, 35 percent protein, and about 60 percent of fats.

The Keto Diet Food List

Do you know how to start keto diet? Well, there are various keto diet recipes and keto diet menu which you can find online. The keto diet meal plan should be rich in foods that have healthy fats and low amounts of carbs. Some of the types of foods which should form the ketogenic diet are:

  • Meats such as poultry, turkey, lamb, veal, and pork.
  • Fish like catfish, trout, sardines, tuna, and salmon.
  • Dairy products that are full in fat such as sour cream, heavy creams, yogurt, and cheese.
  • Whole eggs that are organic.
  • Low-carb fruits and vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, kale, avocados, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.
  • Oils such as coconut oil, grass-fed butter, avocado oil, ghee, and olive oil.

Fats

For so long, there was a popular misconception that fats were harmful and caused heart diseases. The latest clinical studies do not approve this and reports show that there isn’t any relationship between heart diseases and saturated fats. If you are on a keto diet, you are allowed to take these categories of fat:

  • Monounsaturated fats
  • Saturated Fats
  • Naturally-occurring fats
  • Polyunsaturated fats

These fats can be obtained from oils, cooking fats, seeds, and dairy products. Apart from the above-mentioned products, other sources of fats include flaxseed oil, MCT oil, mayonnaise, sesame seed oil, walnut oil, pumpkin seeds, macadamias, almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, among others.

Protein

The keto diet contains the purest form of protein that you can find in normal foods. Dieters are required to use organic and grass-fed sources of protein which contains a reasonable amount of fat. Some of the keto-friendly sources of protein include:

  • Organ meat like kidney, heart, tongue, and liver.
  • Fatty beef cuts such as veal, steak, and roast.
  • Pork like chops, bacon, pork loin, and tenderloin.
  • Eggs that are boiled, scrambled, fried, or deviled.

Carbohydrates

The type of carbs that you eat while you are on a keto diet should be mainly obtained from leafy greens that grow above the ground. They include cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, kale, and asparagus among others. The rest of carbs should be obtained from fruits.

Foods to Avoid

If you are on a keto diet, there are certain types of foods that should miss out of your menu. As much as you are required to take high amounts of fats and adequate protein, not all of them are suitable for consumption.

  • Proteins to avoid include those that are obtained from dairy products with low fat, animal products that are factory-farmed, dairy and meat products that are grain-feed, and processed meats.
  • Fats to avoid include processed vegetable cooking oils such as canola oils, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, and soybean.
  • Drink alcohol only on random occasions and it should be tequila, whiskey, brandy, vodka, scotch, or gin.

Benefits of Keto Diet

Using a keto diet will improve your overall health. From treating a number of diseases such as depression, inflammations, epilepsy etc. to improve the functions of various systems in the body. This is one of the most sought-after diet plans for those who want to lead healthy lifestyles. Benefits of a keto diet include:

Weight loss

One of the main reasons why people turn to keto diet is that it promotes healthy weight loss. The low-carb diet normally uses fat cells to produce fuel. It completely metabolizes them, leading to weight loss. Additionally, its weight loss can be seen within a short period of time and the results last for long. Keto diet causes weight loss using a number of ways. First, it reduces food cravings. This high-fat diet leaves you feeling satiated for a long period of time. Apart from that, it decreases the level of LDL cholesterol that’s found in blood. LDL is a bad type of cholesterol that promotes weight gain. This diet also decreases the amount of blood glucose, which normally inhibits weight loss.

Keto Diet

Keto Diet for Diabetics

Keto diet can help to ease the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. It’s a healthy diet that supports weight loss and management of blood sugar levels. But how does it help diabetics? Well, a ketogenic diet restricts the intake of carbs which means that it will lead in a reduction of blood sugar levels. It helps to prevent sugar spikes thereby reducing the patient’s dependence on insulin. Overall, using a keto diet can help a diabetic to reduce their reliance on medication.

Treating Neurological Issues

Keto diet review shows that this diet plan is effective in reducing seizures. It’s a great remedy for people who are epileptic. Additionally, it can be used to alleviate symptoms of degenerative cognitive conditions such as the Alzheimer’s diseases and Parkinson’s because ketones are neuroprotective agents

Improved Brain Performance

Studies suggest that a keto diet is beneficial in improving brain performance. It provides the brain with a natural source of fuel, leading to better productivity mentally. Besides that, it improves memory and reduces the effects of cognitive impairment. Keto diet results show that people who used it had better mental productivity compared to those who didn’t.

Improved Physical Performance

By using the fat cells as the main source of fuel, keto provides the body with high-quality source energy. This leads to better physical performance. Note that if you carry out intense physical activities, this diet plan will improve your endurance as well as the intensity of the activity.

Keto Diet Side Effects

Is the keto diet safe? Well, as much as it’s a viable option for weight loss and other health benefits, it is not 100 percent safe. You have to exercise caution if you are using this low-carb diet, just like other supplements. Short-term side effects of this diet include:

  • Keto-flu
  • Headaches
  • Dehydration
  • Mental fog
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Constipation
  • Frequent urination
  • Leg cramps

Using a keto diet for extended periods of time can lead to long-term side effects which include:

  • Kidney stones
  • High likelihood of bone fractures as a result of ketosis.
  • Stunted growth in children

Pros

  • Promotes weight loss
  • Suitable for diabetics
  • Increases natural production of energy

Cons

  • Not suitable for long-term use
  • Some people may not experience its benefits

Final Thoughts

Keto is a generally safe diet plan that promotes the user’s health and also weight. Ketosis is a natural metabolic process that is safe. Once you ready to start this diet, be prepared to experience physical and mental changes. However, it should be used for a specific period of time to avoid the harmful side effects.

References

  • https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/ketogenic-diet/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945587/
  • https://healthmatters.nyp.org/curious-about-trying-the-ketogenic-diet/
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317431.php