The ketogenic diet (also called keto) is a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the low-carbohydrate or LCHF (low carbohydrate with high fat) diets. I will refer to the ketogenic diet as Keto diet from here on. The Keto diet is designed to result in ketosis.
The Keto diet involves drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake, and increasing your fat intake. This reduction of carbohydrate puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
What is Ketosis in a Ketogenic Diet?
Ketosis is a metabolic state in which fat provides most of the fuel for the body.This state occurs when there is a limited access to carbohydrates which provides the body with glucose (blood sugar). For your body to go into ketosis, you will need to eat fewer than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day and for some individuals it may be as little as 20 grams per day.
This will usually require that certain foods are removed from your diet like:
- Refined Carbohydrates: candy, sugary soft drinks, food bars, pastries, chips, fast foods, and more
- High Level Carbohydrates: grains, beans, potatoes, rice, and fruits, and more
Ketogenic Diet and Your Body
When eating a Keto diet, levels of the hormone insulin goes down and fatty acids are released from the body fat stores. Basically the body has used up most of its glucose stores and draws from the fat stores (fatty acids). Many of these fatty acids are transferred to the liver, where it is turned into ketones.
Ketones provide energy for the brain and body. Unlike fatty acids, ketones can cross the blood-brain barrier to provide energy for the brain in the absence of glucose. Ketosis can only happen when carbohydrate intake and insulin level are very low.
Types of Ketogenic Diets
There are several types of ketogenic diets, which include:
- Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD): This Keto Diet is a (5%) very low carbohydrate + (20%) moderate protein + (75%) high-fat diet.
- Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD): This Keto Diet involves periods of higher carbohydrate re-feeds. You may do the Standard Ketogenic Diet for 5 days and then for 2 days you would eat higher carbohydrate
- Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD): This Keto Diet allows you to add carbohydrate around the time of heavy workouts
- High-Protein Ketogenic Diet: This Keto Diet is similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but it increases the percentage of protein to 35%
Benefits of Ketogenic Diet
The following deceases will take place within your body:
- Fasting blood sugar and fasting insulin levels. First, this means less sugar coming into your body = less sugar driving up your blood sugar. Decease insulin level means that your body can start healing individuals with insulin resistance
- Glycated Haemoglobin proteins (HbA1c), which is the overall picture of what your average blood sugar levels have been over a period of weeks/months. High levels of HbA1c increase the risk of developing diabetes-related complications
- C Reactive Protein (CRP). Higher levels of C Reactive Protein (CRP) means higher levels of inflammation in your body
- Triglycerides: The less carbohydrates you eat, the lower your triglycerides readings, It also increases the HDL Cholesterol, which lowers the risk of heart disease risk
- Blood Pressure: Effectively reduces blood pressure
Ketogenic Diet will Incease the following:
- Energy: You will notice more energy the longer you follow a Ketogenic Diet. People have reported a decrease in chronic fatigue symptoms
- Weight loss: It will increase the weight loss and normalize their weight. If you have a very high fasting insulin and insulin resistance weight loss may be difficult. If you have this condition, you may need to add a high intensity exercise program and/or fasting with the Ketogenic Diet
- Brain Function: You most likely will find you have clearer thinking. This is contributed to the increase in essential fatty acids that have a positive effective on neurotransmitter function
- Mood stabilization:. The ketone bodies from a Ketogenic Diet helps stabilizes neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which results in a better mood
- Digestion/gut health: You will most likely find a positive increase in digestion and gut health. This is partly due to decrease in grains and sugar, which is associated with stomach pain, gas, and other problems
Coming soon – How to Start a Ketogenic Diet