The Ketogenic Diet: A Detailed Beginner’s Guide to Keto
The Ketogenic diet is not something new🌹. It has been around us for nearly a century🌺. Not every diet is suitable for everyone as every person is different🌻, both physically and genetically and have different lifestyle and taste preference🌵. However, keto can work wonders for individuals who have weight and obesity problems🌾, which is a major reason for serious health conditions🌲.
Here’s everything you need to know about the ketogenic diet🌻, how its work, and why it’s a perfect solution for your weight loss problem🌵.
What is Keto diet and How Does It Work🙂?
Keto or ketogenic diet is a very low carb🌵, moderate protein, and high-fat diet🌸. The main difference between the Keto diet 🌵and other healthy diet is that it changes the way your body converts certain food into energy🦂. Generally, the body relies on carb (sugar) reserves as a fuel🍌, but keto diet focuses on drastic reduction carbohydrates and replaces these carbs with fats🍓. When this happens, the body enters into a state called ketosis🌶, which is the ultimate goal of a Keto diet🍄. Ketosis is a metabolic process in which🍍 the body starts using stored fats when carbs and sugar reserves are insufficient🌵. Ketosis converts stored fats in the liver into ketone🍟, small molecules, which are then supplied as a source of energy for the brain🌴.
In short, the ketogenic diet switches the fuel supply to fats that are burned in the body 24 x 7 hours🌷. As a result, this composition of the Keto diet significantly reduce insulin and blood sugar level🌶. And, when fats start to burns and ketones are produced🌱, it enables your body to tap into its greater energy reserves and burn excess fats🌵, leading to weight loss and improved mood as well🌿. Other benefits can be derived from 🍁this diet with reference to different health conditions such as:
Diabetes (type 2)🍁
There are several versions of the Keto diet🍀, but a standard ketogenic diet contains:
Fats: 75 to 90 %🌶
Proteins: 20 to 25 %🌲
Carbs: 5 to 10 %🍄
The Science Behind Ketogenic Diet.
We know that a ketogenic diet is characterized by low-carb🍂, medium-protein, and high-fat intake🍆. The combination of these three ingredients will cause the body to go into ketosis🍆. Ketosis is a metabolic shift in the body in a way that allows the body to burn fat rather than carbohydrates🌶.
The carbohydrates that are consumed are converted into glucose and insulin🍅. Here, glucose is basically sugar🌽. Glucose is the most convenient source of energy because your body can convert it to energy easier🍖. As such, the body prefers using that up first🍖. Another byproduct of carbohydrates is insulin🍆, which is a hormone produced by your pancreas🍓. This hormone helps process glucose in your body by transporting the glucose in the body to where it is needed🍔. When your body has enough energy🍍, the excess glucose will be converted to adipose tissue🍁, or fat, as a backup. Of course, that does not mean that the body uses that fat first if there are carbohydrates available🌽.
Many ordinary diets contain plenty of carbohydrates, which are not bad in itself🌽. It is only bad when you take in more energy than you spend it🍗, which means you create an energy leftover which would be converted to fat🍗. Day by day, your weight adds up very quickly🍔. For such a diet, glucose is the main source of energy because it contains plenty of it🌽. However, the glucose in your body can only last you a few days☘. Your body will convert glucose to fat if you do not use glucose up🌽. So when your glucose store runs dry in a few days🍗, your body will switch to another source of energy through a biochemical process known as ketogenesis🍗.
When this process starts🍃, your liver starts to take the fat in your body and break it down🍂, creating an alternative source of energy🍂. When that happens, your ketone level goes up and your body🍎. This is the moment when you enter ketosis🍂.
How to Enter Ketosis.
The most direct one is by depriving your body of carbohydrates☘, therefore glucose, through fasting for a long period of time🌽. When you stop eating altogether🌶, your body will turn to burn fat as a source of energy 🌲because it has no glucose to work with🌺. But of course, fasting and intermittent fasting is a whole different subject on its own🌵 and we will not cover that in this book🌾. But do remember that fasting has its caveat🌳.
Another option is to eat less🌳. You just have to consume less than 20 to 50 grams🌿 of your daily carbohydrate intake a day🌴. This will depend on who is fasting🌴. Some require fewer while some require more🌻, perhaps even more than 50 grams. However, the bottom line is that people who are on a keto diet🌲 only consume 5% of their usual carbohydrate intake🌳.
But whatever method you use🌹, it all boils down to this:
- Cut down on carbs intake to 5% of regular intake🌹
- Increase fat intake to 80%🌲.
- The lack of carbs will force the body to burn fat instead🌱.
- When the ketone level in your blood rises high enough, you enter a state of ketosis🌷.
Keto diet is unlike any other diet that disappears just as abruptly as they appear🌴. In fact, the keto diet has been practiced for far longer than you think🌲. Its root can be traced back to the 1920s🌱. A ketogenic diet is based on a solid understanding of physiology and nutrition science🌷, so it is not some hogwash pseudoscience either🌻. It is grounded on science and it has been proven to be effective🌲.
Keto diet is very effective for many people🌳 because it provides a wide variety of benefits that anyone can benefit from🌳, regardless of their gender or age🌵. Some of the benefits are the direct remedy to weight gain such as hormonal imbalance🌴 (especially for menopause), elevated insulin as well as high blood sugar level🌴. A keto diet is not only beneficial for the body either🌾. The diet has therapeutic benefits that really help those who have brain disorders🌷.
The main reason why people jump on the keto wagon in the first place is the fact that the ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight🌳. A diet that is rich in fat content but low in carbs such as the keto diet minimizes hunger in your body🌵. It just does not feel as hungry when you are in ketosis🌾. Not only that, but your body’s ability to burn fat is also boosted due to hormonal changes in your body🌳.
When you eat normally by following an ordinary diet, the food you eat provides your body with carbohydrates🌴. When they enter the system, your body releases insulin🌴. Insulin helps regulate blood sugar levels by converting the excess into fat for later use🌾. With a lower level of insulin, our body is more likely to use existing fat in the body🌵 for energy instead of storing the excess energy as fat.
Moreover, a keto diet that packs a lot of healthy fat and protein is very filling🌵, which can help suppress your appetite and prevent overeating🌿.
Cholesterol and Blood Pressure🍄
Diabetes and high blood pressure are some of the most common reasons🌶 that result in death among older adults🍆. Keto diet is effective in this regard because it improves triglyceride🍔 and cholesterol levels that are associated with arterial buildups🍍. It also leads to an increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL)🍟 and decreases in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles🍕. All of this comes together to the improvement in blood pressure🍗.
But high blood pressure can also result from cholesterol in the body🍋, which is a consequence of excess weight🍌.
Regulate Blood Sugar
Keto diet helps regulate blood sugar by controlling how much insulin is in the system🌱. Maintaining the right level of insulin is important🌲 because you can avoid problems such as insulin resistance or pre-diabetes🍔. Keto diet has also been shown to reduce HbA1c levels🍖, which is a measure of blood glucose control🌶.
Because the keto diet is effective at regulating insulin🍟, therefore blood sugar level, it has an added benefit of helping people with type 2 diabetes🌴. It may not cure them outright🌱, but it can work in conjunction with diabetes medication or reduce its dependence🌴.
Fights Neurological Disorders
Keto diet has been used in the past to treat neurological disorders or other cognitive impairments such as epilepsy🍎. When your body goes into ketosis🌴, your body produces ketones that help reverse neurodegenerative illnesses🍁. Here, the brain just uses another source of energy instead of using 🍀the cellular energy pathway that is faulty in people with brain disorders🌴. That means the ketogenic diet can help prevent 🌱or treat disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s🌱.
Keto Diet and Weight Loss
As mentioned earlier🍂, the ketogenic diet is effective for weight loss🌶. Studies have proven that individuals lost 2.2 times more weight on Keto diet 🍃than when on a calorie-restricted diet🍃. So let’s get into more details about how this happens🌶.
- Limiting carb intake limits food options which reduce calorie intake🌾. As a result, less carb consumption becomes key for fat loss🍂.
- Increase the intake of protein result in shedding weight🌳.
- When carbs are in short supply🌳, the body starts burning fats and protein🌲. This process, called gluconeogenesis🌲, also burn additional calories.
- Keto diet always makes its consumer feel full as it has a positive impact on hunger hormone🌱. Hence, you get to control your hunger and limit eating whenever hunger strikes🌵.
- Since there is less carb in the food🌶, the Keto diet has plentiful fats that help your body keep active and energetic during rest🍍, exercise, and other daily activities.
- Last but not least, the rise in blood ketone levels🍒, improve insulin sensitivity, and a drop in blood sugar levels also play a key role🍗.
Food List for The Ketogenic Diet
Food plays a vital role in keto diet as you need to limit carbs severely🍍. Hence, you need to make the right choices🍀.
If you are thinking that you won’t be eating your favorite foods by switching over to keto diet🍃, then you are wrong🍀. There is absolutely no food deprivation in a keto lifestyle🌷. Keto-ers live like kings and queens🌲.
The following food lists will help you figure out what to eat and what not to during keto🌾.
There is a simple rule in ketogenic diet for vegetables🌵 – vegetables that grow above the ground are lower in carbs🌳, so they are the best options🌱. And, the below-ground vegetables are high in carbs🌷, and sugar, should be consumed with care🍍.
You can eat: spinach, kale, lettuce and other greens🍃; asparagus, olives, avocado, cucumber, zucchini, eggplant, celery, tomato, cabbage, cauliflower🌲, broccoli, spring onion and Brussels sprouts, sweet potato and carrot (moderately)
You can’t eat: potato, white onion, beetroot, yucca, rutabaga, celeriac, parsnip, turnip🌶
Fruits generally contain lots of carbs and sugar🍌, and that’s why they taste sweet🍂. Hence, fruits can be used as a natural sweetener in your foods🍃. However, in Keto, you have to be careful with the number of fruits you eat, so always eat little portions🍀.
You can eat freely: coconut, lemon, cantaloupe, peach, orange🍇, plum, cherries, raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, blackberry (moderately)🍆
You can’t eat: lime, watermelon, apple, pear, kiwi, pineapple, grapefruit☘, mango, grapes, banana, sugar cane, etc.
You can freely use: erythritol, swerve sweetener🌶, unsweetened chocolate and cocoa powder, stevia, and sucralose (moderately)
You can’t use: white sugar, honey, cane sugar, Splenda, agave nectar, corn syrup🌵
Meat and seafood
Meat is an excellent source of protein but remember🌷. Keto diet is not a high protein diet🌿, so add protein to your plate in moderate proportions only🍎.
You can eat: organic chicken, beef, steak, sausage, lamb, grass-fed pork🍀, bacon, wildcaught seafood such as salmon, tuna, halibut, trout, cod, crab, lobsters, clams, and scallops🍌.
Dairy is an alternative source of protein for you🍃.
You can have: Organic eggs, high-fat milk like coconut milk, coconut cream🍂, high-fat yogurt, high-fat parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, and mozzarella cheese🍃.
You can’t have: skim milk, soy milk, skim mozzarella cheese🌴, low-fat cheeses, fat-free or low-fat yogurt, and all low-fat dairy items🍀.
Fats, oil, and sauces.
A buttery sauce or spicy dip add flavors to foods and make them taste better🌵. But what’s best for you in keto?
You can freely have: butter, avocado oil🌾, MCT oil, coconut oil, mayonnaise, heavy cream, cream cheese, aioli, hot sauce, guacamole🍁, soy sauce, sesame oil, olive oil, mustard, pesto, tomato sauce, low carb ketchup🍁, unsweetened BBQ sauce.
You can’t have: canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, salsa, Blue cheese dressing🍀, maple syrup, jam, high carb salad dressings, and hot sauces🌶.
Peas, Beans, and grains
Although beans, legumes🌵, and beans grow above the ground, they are high in carbs, so avoid consuming them🍂.
You can’t eat: peas, chickpeas, lentils, bulgur🌱, corn, black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, soybeans, quinoa, oats, barley, millet, rice, wheat🍎, buckwheat, sprout grains, rye, amaranth and food made using them like bread🍉, cake, pasta, potato chips, cereal, popcorn, bagel, donuts, etc🍇.
Nuts are high in fats, but some are high in carbs as well🌾.
You can freely eat: pecans, brazil nuts, macadamia, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds🍒
You can moderately eat: pine nuts, pistachio, and cashew🍌.
You will feel thirsty during keto, almost all the time☘ therefore, you need to drink water as much as you can🍒. And, if you get bored with plain water🍆, you can also supply your body with water in the form of low-carb and no-sugar drinks🍌.
You can freely drink: Lemon water, tea, coffee (unsweetened)🍍, diet soft drinks, coconut water, high-fat milk, red wine, white wine🍅, dry martini, low-carb vegetable juice, champagne🍖, whiskey, brandy, soda water, margarita, cosmopolitan, gin and tonic, rum🍒
You can’t drink: soy milk, beer, café latte, orange juice, energy drink🍁, vitamin water, ice tea, milkshakes, smoothies🌿, Frappuccino, soft drinks, soda, and all sweet alcoholic drinks🌷.
Foods and Diets to Avoid
You have to clear away these foods from your meals for a ketogenic diet🌽.
Carbs to avoid
- Starchy vegetables such as peas, potato, parsnip, yucca, sweet potato, beets, and corn🍌
- Fruits including apples, bananas, grapes, raisins🍀, dates, mango, tangerines, pear, pineapple, and papaya🍀
- Breads like white bread, whole wheat bread, tortilla and bagel🌶
- Whole grains including wheat, barley, white rice, brown rice🍂, wheat, buckwheat, oats, quinoa, amaranth, and bulgur🌱
- Chips and crackers like potato chips🌾
- Beans and legumes including black beans, white beans🍌, chickpeas, kidney beans, lima beans, fava beans, lentils, peas, pinto beans, millet, cereals and oatmeal🍂
- Pasta and noodles🍃.
Proteins to avoid
- Grain-fed meats, factory-farmed fish including hotdogs🍁, salami, packed sausages, corned beef, beef jerky, canned and smoke meat, salted and cured meat and bacon🍁
- Fat-free cheeses🌾
- Low-fat and fat-free whole milk and skim milk🍂
- Sweetened yogurt🍁
Fats to avoid
- Oil and margarine including soybean oil, canola oil🍀, corn oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil🍃
- Low-fat and fat-free salad dressing🍈
- Fast food🍇
Drinks to avoid
- Alcohol including beer, wine, flavored liquors, and sweetened cocktails🍁
- Sweetened and processed fruit and vegetable juice, tea, and coffee with sweetened milk and sugar and soda🍀
Processed and packaged food to avoid
- Baked goods like high carb muffins, candy, cakes, cookies, and biscuits🌲.
- Ice cream🍃.
Sweeteners to avoid
- Sweeteners including white sugar🍍, brown sugar, raw sugar, maple syrup, honey🍑, corn syrup, agave nectar, artificial sweeteners like Splenda, sucralose, etc🌽.
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