If you’re like a lot of people, you’ve been trying to find a great way to lose fat or just simply maintain a healthier lifestyle. You’ve no doubt come across a number of different diets out there that promise this or that and have additional. One diet you may have heard of is the ketogenic diet. If you have, consider yourself lucky. There has been a ton of research done on this diet that shows that it’s one of the most effective methods of losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Let’s take a closer look at the ketogenic diet and break down everything you need to know.
Simply put, a ketogenic diet is one that is high in fat and low in carbs. It actually shares quite a bit with the popular Atkins diet. Why reduce carbs? Doing so puts your body in a state known as ketosis. This will be covered in detail a bit further down, but essentially it causes your body to become a fat burning machine. This efficiency means you’ll be able to lose weight quickly and will also have a number of other health benefits as well. It can do things such as reduce blood sugar and insulin levels and will actually make your body more efficient when it comes to digestion.
Ketogenic Diet Types
There are a variety of different types of keto diets available, and each of them have different strengths and weaknesses. Choosing which one is best for you depends on exactly what you want from your diet. Some of these are better for beginners whereas others are only suggested for people like athletes.
The Standard Ketogenic Diet
This is your basic keto diet. Its ratio is about 75% fat and 20% protein. The remaining 5% are carbs.
The Protein Focused Ketogenic Diet
For people who weight lift or just generally need more protein, this version of the standard diet changes the ratio to 60% fat with 35% protein. The carb amounts stay the same.
The Targeted Ketogenic Diet
This diet is for high performers and athletes and includes giving your body carbohydrates during workout sessions.
The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet
The keto diet is an on/off style that is great for athletes. You’ll follow the keto diet for five days followed by a very high carb diet for two days to give your body a ton of extra energy when it needs it most.
The first two, the standard and protein focused, are the ones that have been studied the most and will generally be the best for the majority of diet practitioners. The cyclical and targeted options are mainly for top of the line athletes.
Our bodies have evolved different mechanisms to keep us safe. One of these mechanisms is called ketosis. It’s a process that the body undergoes whenever it faces starvation to help us survive when there isn’t much food. The body produces what are called ketones from liver fat. The whole point of a ketogenic diet is to get your body into this state of ketosis by reducing carbohydrates but not calories. This will cause it to burn ketones as the primary source of energy.
Examples of Food to Eat and Avoid
Foods to Avoid
Pretty much any foods that have a lot of carbs should be taken off of the menu. These include things such as any sugary substances like sodas, fruit juices, candy, ice cream; any fruit; any sorts of legumes or beans like peas or kidney beans; any grains, even whole wheat; any alcohol; any sort of root vegetables like carrots or potatoes; and unhealthy fats, such as the kind found in vegetable oils or mayonnaise. Also make sure to keep an eye on the types of condiments used, as they can be a big source of sugar as well.
Foods to Eat
Some of the best foods you can eat include any type of red meat or poultry (even bacon!); fattier types of fish like salmon and tuna; any sort of cheese as long as it’s unprocessed, such as cheddar, goat cheese, or mozzarella; eggs; butter; avocados; nuts; seeds; and healthy oils, such as coconut oil, avocado oil, and extra virgin olive oil.
For condiments, there’s always salt, pepper, and any type of green herbs.
The Health Benefits of this Diet
While this is a great diet to simply reduce your overall weight, there are a number of other benefits that come from it as well. There have been numerous studies shown that show that ketogenic diets are a great way to improve a person’s cholesterol levels and blood sugar. It has even been shown to eliminate type 2 diabetes. In addition to that, people on the ketogenic diet will find themselves with much more energy, much less overall hunger, and will generally just feel better about themselves. It’s even shown to help reduce acne.
One of the things that turns people off to the ketogenic diet is that they’ll try it for a few weeks and find themselves not feeling very well. They may get headaches with regularity or be more irritable. They may even start getting sick or feel dizzy. This is a normal reaction your body will have when it comes to a drastic change in the diet. Your body isn’t used to dealing with the increased amount of fat you’re putting into it and wants more carbs. Luckily, your body will get used to this within a few weeks and you’ll be feeling much more energetic later on. Studies have been done and have shown no drop in performance over the long term, so those feelings are just temporary in nature.
As we have seen, the ketogenic diet is a great way to promote a healthy lifestyle, lose weight, and even provide great benefits against a number of diseases and conditions. With that said, it’s not a miracle diet and does require some discipline to fully adopt. Luckily, it gets much easier the longer you stick with it and really becomes just a different lifestyle.