When a friend first told me to try the keto diet, I was turning cartwheels in my head because it really goes against everything I’ve been told throughout my life about nutrition. Is this really a thing? Can I actually eat all of those yummy high-fat foods guilt-free?
I needed to do my research because it sounded too good to be true…. but then maybe, it is just that good. I’m going to tell you all about it and correct any false notions you may have about the keto diet and explain whether it’s a friend, foe or frenemy to your body, health, and particularly weight concerns.
What Is a Keto Diet?
The full name is the ketogenic diet. A ketogenic diet is essentially a low carbohydrate, high-fat content diet. What happens here is that you substitute most of the carbs in your diet for fat.
First thing you should know is that there are different types of keto diets.
The most commonly followed is the Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD). This particular variant is a low carb, moderate protein, and high-fat content diet. The nutritional percentage of an SKD is 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs. This variant is the fastest way to losing weight than any of the other options available.
Next, we have the High-Protein Ketogenic Diet. This is similar to its standard variant, it, however, has more protein inclusion. The nutritional division here is 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs.
Now let’s move onto the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet. This is a variant that gives the dieter a break. It operates on a high fat intake streak and then two high-carb days. It is perfect for people who have issues with being committed to following diets strictly.
Lastly, there’s the Targeted Ketogenic Diet. This variant allows you to take carbs only when you’re sure you’re going to burn them off at the gym or with some type of workout routine.
How Does a Keto Diet Work?
With its carb substituting working technique, the reduction in carbs puts your body in a metabolic state called ketosis. The ketogenic diet allows the body to create minute fuel molecules which are called ketones. When your body produces ketones from fat, that acts as a substitute to carbohydrate generated fuel which is most often used by the body.
What Does a Keto Diet Do to the Body?
Ketones present in a keto diet serve as an additional optional source of body fuel for the entire body, especially the brain.
A ketogenic diet tricks your body system into switching the source of its body fuel supply to fat, which in turn ensures that you burn a lot of fat. In a lot of ways, the keto diet works like a vaccination. It uses the problem to fight the problem. It is quite ironic to think that to lose fat, you have to eat fat, but the truth is that this seemingly hilarious line of thought has proven effective over the years.
In addition to this, aside from losing weight, and reversing type 2 diabetes, there are numerous other benefits to using a ketogenic diet. For example, being on a keto diet increases your metabolism. Your blood pressure and heart risk profiles improve, your muscle mass will increase, and it also gives you a bit of skin glow.
Who Needs the Keto Diet?
Since it drastically helps with burning fat, the ketogenic diet is ideal for people who suffer from morbid obesity. Mainly if their body mass index is over 40 and they have an insulin resistance level that is not attached to obesity, the keto diet is a wonderful option for them.
Secondly, it’s a wonder for people who have type 2 diabetes. It has been proven over time that the keto diet has reversed diabetes for at least 60% of diabetic patients. By helping them lose weight, it has also enabled them to reduce their need for insulin and oral hypoglycemic drugs.
Extensive research has also proven the keto diet to be helpful to people with Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and even brain cancer. It has also been known to treat mild cases of epilepsy, in addition to acne and Parkinson’s disease.
That being said, not everyone needs or should use the keto diet. People with any form of an eating disorder or with metabolism-related issues are not advised to use this diet. The most important thing to note is that when it comes to introducing a diet into your health routine, the best advisable thing to do is to consult your doctor.
What Does a Keto Dietary Meal Look Like?
For the meal or food product that passes the keto diet test, it has to tick three boxes: low carbohydrate, high fat, and moderate protein. A percentage index you can use while trying to figure out if your meal is keto friendly is that it should have a maximum of 5% carbs, around 75% of fat and the rest would consist of protein; at least for the standard variation.
- Low carb vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and eggplants are vegetables you can include in your keto diet.
- Fruits with low sugar levels like tomatoes, raspberries, avocados, and coconuts are welcome on your plate.
- Seafood like shrimp, salmon, sardines, and crab are a great source of healthy Omega 3 fatty acid and are keto diet friendly.
- Eggs, dark chocolate, and nuts are also products that are checked in on the keto list.
Meals That Don’t Have Keto Dietary Specs in Them
Essentially, any food product or meal that is high in its carbs content is anti-ketogenic. It is keto with seven ‘x’s on it. You’ll need to avoid processed foods, sugary foods, pasta, bread, rice, potatoes. If it contains a lot of starch, it is not keto friendly.
How the Keto Diet-Friendly Foods Can Be a True Friend or a Frienemy to Your Health
One thing that will always remain true is the fact that most times, when it comes to your health, consulting your doctor will always be the best thing you can do for yourself. So many good intentions have turned into nightmares because doctors were kept out of the loop. So, starting a keto diet without consulting with your doctor might not be a successful walk in the park, this is particularly if you have certain medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Also, lactating mothers are expected to consult their doctors before deciding to start this diet.
One conversation we need to have with ourselves and take quite seriously is our health. If for any reason, you are not comfortable with your weight because of medical concerns or you’re the model who wants to stay on top with your swoon-worthy body or for whatever reason, the keto diet is marvelous when used by those who should use them and in the correct way.