What is a Ketogenic Diet?
Several new diets have started to pop up over the years, with each one offering different benefits and rules for those who want to follow it. Each one lets you work on your own health and your body in a way that you want and that goes for the Ketogenic diet as well. But, of course, it’s important to fully understand a diet before you decide that you’re going to follow it, which is why we’ve taken the time to compile the information you need about the Ketogenic diet plan so you can be prepared in getting everything right.
The Basis for the Ketogenic Diet
Simply put, the Ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate diet. The idea behind it is that when you eat a lot of carbohydrates, your body produces something called glucose. This glucose is then converted by your body into energy so that it can help you remain active and do the things that you want to do. With glucose, the body then doesn’t need the fat that comes with the food you eat and so it stores it away, causing you to gain weight. Without glucose, your body looks for other energy sources and enters a stage called ketosis.
Ketosis happens when your body doesn’t have the energy that it needs from glucose, which occurs in a low carb diet. As a result, it starts to produce something called ketones. These ketones come from the buildup of fatty deposits in the liver. By eating more fat without the carbohydrates, your body doesn’t get the glucose that it needs, but it does have plenty of fat to burn as energy. This, in turn, makes sure that you’re still getting the energy you need, but not adding extra fat.
The Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
If you do decide to try out this low-carb diet instead of the standard low-fat diet and you’re thinking about what you can expect you definitely want to know about all of the benefits, right? You want to know just why you should even consider this diet let alone go through the work of following it exactly, right? So, take a look at this, because weight loss isn’t the only reason that you want to give this diet a try. Even if you think your weight is right, this may be something you want to take a closer look at.
One of the biggest reasons that people go on any type of diet is because they want to lose weight. Even though that’s not necessarily the primary goal with a Keto high-fat diet, it’s most definitely going to happen. You’ll be getting rid of fat stored in the body already and breaking down new fat that comes in, which is definitely going to help you lose the extra you’ve been carrying around (even if it’s only a little bit). In fact, it’s been scientifically proven to give better results than other diets that limit fat and increase carbs.
Regulating Blood Sugar
Anything that gets your body to stop producing excessive blood glucose is definitely going to help you regulate the amount of glucose you have in your blood. For those who have diabetes or who are considered at risk for diabetes, this type of diet can definitely help them to control their sugar better. You’re definitely going to be healthier even if you don’t display any risk factors for diabetes. If you’re already there, however, limiting the amount of glucose your body produces makes it easier to control the levels and keep yourself healthy.
Improve Mental Focus
This is actually one of the biggest reasons why people decide to try out the low-carbohydrate Ketogenic diet plan. It’s not because of weight loss (although that’s one of the big reasons too) but to improve their mental capacity. Lowering carbs helps to lower blood sugar levels, as we’ve already said, but lowering blood sugar levels isn’t all of it. The main part is that you’re regulating your blood sugar levels, which helps you avoid crashes and spikes. Those crashes and spikes interfere with your concentration and focus. Take them away and you get better for much longer periods.
Increase Your Energy
Who wouldn’t want even more energy throughout the day? With a more reliable and stronger energy source, your body is going to have more energy and it’s going to be consistent as well. Sugar tends to rise and fall and you end up with tired times throughout the day. The fats that are burned with this diet are more stable and definitely help you feel more energetic no matter what you’re doing. That means you’re definitely going to have more fun with your overall life and you’ll get more done.
Because the body fats are broken down more evenly and tend to last longer you feel full for a whole lot longer. When those fats are gone, that’s when you start to feel hungry (or when glucose is gone, which happens much faster). If you use this type of diet and your body is burning those fats it’s going to happen at more regular intervals, which are most definitely better for your overall health and that energy that you’re getting more of. You also tend to eat less because you’re only hungry at regular intervals, which is definitely a benefit for your weight as well.
Decrease Symptoms of Epilepsy
For children and adults who suffer from epilepsy, a Keto diet can definitely help. It doesn’t replace all of the medications that are used to treat the condition and should be used in conjunction with other methods and discussed with a doctor, but for children, this diet has works wonders. It’s uncertain exactly what this Ketogenic diet for epilepsy does to reduce the symptoms and effects, but many have seen immense changes and extreme results. This is different for everyone, however, and it’s important to always talk with your doctor before starting this diet yourself and especially for a child with epilepsy.
Improve Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
Many people suffer from high cholesterol and high blood pressure, but there are ways that you can do something about it. With this diet, you’re actually helping to increase HDL (good cholesterol) and decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) and at a higher rate than with a low-fat diet. You’re also going to help lower your blood pressure because of weight loss and reduction of fatty acids as well as a decrease in fat overall (since it’s being burned off as energy) and the decrease in sugar that’s in the blood.
Decrease Insulin Resistance
For those who have insulin resistance, lowering your glucose levels can help with this problem. Because the Ketogenic diet focuses on this as one of its most important points, you’re definitely going to see a lot of benefits and could even reduce your insulin resistance, reducing any risk of developing diabetes. This is good for even those who don’t have a lot of problems with insulin or for those who are not considered pre-diabetic at all. Decreasing insulin resistance or the harmful factors that are associated with it is definitely going to help you feel better overall.
For teens and young adults, this can definitely be a big factor. There’s no clear understanding as to why this happens, but it may have something to do with sugars in the blood and the variation in levels. What is known is that eating a low-carb diet can help to reduce skin lesions and inflammation, including acne. As a result, you can definitely start to experience clearer skin that you will love to look at. For those who suffer from extreme acne, this can definitely be a way to help reduce your outbreaks and it can even work for those who only have small or occasional outbreaks.
Foods and the Ketogenic Diet
There are plenty of foods that you can eat while you’re on the low-carbohydrate Ketogenic diet, but there are some that you definitely need to avoid as well. So, let’s take a look at what you should absolutely be eating and what you should absolutely not be eating when trying to reduce body fat, so you can be more successful and achieve all of the great things that others are getting from using this diet. You might be surprised just what foods are going to make it onto each one of these lists, but knowing where you stand is going to be important so your diet is a success.
What Not to Eat on the Ketogenic Diet
There are really only a few foods that you should absolutely be avoided when it comes to this diet, but make sure that you’re paying attention because eating too many carbs can compromise everything that you’ve been trying to do or that you are trying to do with this diet.
- Grains – including corn, wheat, rice, pasta, and cereal
- Sugar – including honey, agave and maple syrup
- Fruit – including apples, oranges, and bananas
- Tubers – including yams and potatoes
- Beans or legumes
Many of these are high in carbs or sugars and can reduce the benefits you would expect to get from this diet.
What to Eat on the Ketogenic Diet
There are a number of foods that you should absolutely add to your diet as much as you can because they help you to cut down on the carbs but increase the fats that your body is going to need in order to get energy. Make sure that you pay attention to these and add them wherever you can, especially in raw form as this can help you get even more of the vitamins and minerals that are naturally in them as well as the benefits of this particular diet.
- Meat – including beef, lamb, poultry, eggs, and fish
- Leafy Greens – including spinach and kale
- Vegetables Grown Above Ground – including broccoli and cauliflower
- Dairy High in Fat – including hard cheese, butter, and high fat cream
- Nuts and Seeds – including walnuts, sunflower seeds, and macadamias
- Avocado and Berries – including raspberries, low glycemic impact berries, and blackberries
- Sweeteners – including monk fruit, erythritol, and stevia
- Fats – including coconut oil, saturated fats, and high-fat salad dressings
Any of these foods can help you get the fat that your body needs in order to be successful on the Ketogenic diet so make sure you’re looking at fat and carb contents anytime you purchase something.
What You’re Really Eating
In short, there’s a breakdown that actually helps you to understand what you should be eating and just how much of it. You want most of your diet to be made up of fat, which means about 70%. The next largest chunk is actually protein, at 25%, and finally, only 5% carbs. Make sure the fats that you’re eating are still healthy for you; however, rather than eating a lot of candy or other sugary substances (remember you’re not supposed to be eating a lot of sugar) as this will not provide you enough energy to get through the day and could end up increasing your carb content too much.
You need foods that are high in fat but low in carbs. These are going to be healthier foods and that’s extremely important. You’ll get the benefits you’re looking for this way, but not if you’re supplementing with something unhealthy. If you find that you get hungry throughout the day you can pick up snacks like nuts, seeds, cheese or even peanut butter to help you get through.
No matter what you’re thinking about this diet and whether it’s for you or it’s not, you’re definitely going to be able to see some benefits when it comes time to weigh in. Look at what you have to lose (in a good way), whether it be weight, blood pressure, cholesterol or anything else and see just what the Ketogenic diet can do for you and the problems you’re suffering from. You may actually be surprised to see just what you can get out of this diet and why it’s been considered such a popular choice in more recent times. It may not be for you, but just maybe it is and it’s going to help you a lot.