THE KETO DIET - IS IT RIGHT FOR YOU?
What it is Ketosis? When does it happen? Who is it for? And how do I do it?
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We’re told that it’s the new kid on the block in the world of dieting, and it has been touted as a weight-loss powerhouse, but in reality this is solidly based science that has its roots in our ancestry. So what is the keto diet and is it something worth adding to your health and fitness regime? If you are considering giving it a go, here are some things to consider and don’t forget to discuss them with your doctor or a dietitian beforehand.
What is the Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet or keto diet aims at reaching a state called ketosis. Ketosis mimics a metabolic state of starvation that forces the body to switch from its first choice of carbohydrates for energy and switch it for stored body fat instead. This strict diet is very high in fat and very low in carbohydrates (not unlike the Atkin’s diet). To reach ketosis, carbohydrate restrictions needs be limited to fewer than 50 grams of carbohydrates a day and it will take a few days to reach ketosis.
Standard – Diet consists of 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs.
Clinical – Intermittent days of high carbohydrate intake, such as 5 days of keto and 2 high carb days.
Targeted – Allows for carbohydrates on workout days.
High-Protein – Diet consists of 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs.
Foods to Avoid
Regardless of the type keto diet being undertaken, here are some examples of foods to avoid on keto days:
- Sugary beverages
- All fruit, except in small portions like berries
- Grains or starches
- Root vegetables and tubers
- Beans and legumes
- Unhealthy fats
- Low-fat or diet products
- Sugar-free foods
Foods to Eat
- Nuts and seeds
- Healthy oil
- Low carb vegetables
There are also plenty of examples and meal plans available online with a quick internet search.
The keto diet has become popular because it has helped people successfully lose weight, therefore reducing the risk of obesity-related diseases. Studies have also shown that it can help with other types of illnesses like cancer and Alzheimer’s. One study touted that those on a keto diet lost 2.2 times more weight than those that weren’t while also improving cholesterol levels. It’s also been noted to help pre-diabetics and diabetics as the increase of ketones in the body keep blood sugar down and increase insulin sensitivity.
Like any restrictive diet, they can be difficult to maintain, so being able to stay in a state of ketosis for an extensive period of time is challenging and risks a yo-yo effect with body weight. Additionally, further studies have shown that it can affect the speed and performance of athletes as fat requires more oxygen to create energy than carbohydrates, which can affect muscle contraction. Though, over time it might also make it possible to reduce reliance on carbohydrates for fuel during exercise.
The keto diet, however, also comes with some serious risks as it can exasperate or create existing liver or kidney problems with the sheer volume of fat and proteins they need process. Additionally, nutritional deficiencies can happen with the lack of vegetables/legumes consumed, also making constipation common as the diet lacks sufficient fibre.
Have you tried the keto diet? Comment below to let us know your experience with it.