The Ketogenic Diet is incredibly popular and trending right now. There is no shortage of information on this diet. It seems that every health and fitness journal and website have addressed the potential benefits of the keto diet. You may even see keto shakes and salads available at your local gym or CrossFit center.
Many people follow this diet for health reasons, including weight loss, control of diabetes, and cardiovascular health. Let’s take a closer look at the keto diet and the many ways it may improve your health.
Must Read Safest Ways To Lose Weight Naturally
What Exactly is the Keto Diet
The basic premise of the keto diet is to encourage your body to produce chemicals called ketones by restricting carbohydrate intake. Ketones are made by your liver and are used for energy when your body is lacking in enough stored glucose that is normally burned for energy. Your body is able to convert fat into ketones when you are low in glucose stores. When you are in a state of ketosis, your body breaks down stored fat and uses it as a primary source of fuel.
The ketogenic diet consists of eating a specific ratio of fat to protein to carbohydrate macronutrients. Fat consumption should be approximately 70% of your daily calories. Protein is next at 25% of the foods you eat. Carbohydrate consumption is restricted to 5% of your dietary intake.
Ketogenic Food Choices
Now that you know the ratios of fat to protein to carbs, it is time to take a look at what exactly you can eat and what you should eliminate or restrict on a keto diet. Keep in mind that the designers of the diet recommend that you try to source your foods from organic, free-range, and sustainably farmed resources. There is no need to stress if you don’t have access to this quality of food. Just eat as many fresh foods as possible that are available to you.
Things you are allowed to eat include:
- Pasture raised animal proteins: beef, pork, lamb, poultry, offal, bone broth
- Wild caught seafood
- Cage-free eggs
- Fresh, low-starch produce (vegetables and some fruits)
- Healthy fats: pastured butter, ghee, coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil
- Certain cheeses and yogurt
- Moderate amounts of nuts and seeds
- Limited soy
Things you are to avoid include:
- All grains, grasses, and cereals
- Anything with gluten: wheat, barley, rye, and products made from them
- Pasta, bread, and rice
- Conventionally farmed animals and seafood
- Starchy fruits and vegetables
- Legumes (beans)
- Processed, packaged, and “alternative” foods
- Sugars and sweeteners
- Pasteurized milk
A good place to start is by cleaning out your pantry and refrigerator of restricted or eliminated foods. If you aren’t really used to cooking fresh foods, a good way to transition onto a keto diet is to start with a meal plan delivery service. Keto meal delivery from Fresh Meals is a service that provides professionally prepared and delivered easy meals for a variety of healthy diets. This service takes the guesswork out of planning and cooking a keto meal with the correct ratios of fat, protein, and carbohydrates.
Keto Diet Potential Health Benefits
As mentioned, the state of ketosis enables your body to convert stored fat into fuel for energy. With this in mind, it is logical to conclude that the diet is higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates to create ketosis. Restricting carbohydrate consumption will force a metabolic shift inside your body that enables you to burn fat faster and more often. This metabolic shift results in many positive reactions in your body, resulting in improved health. Here are some of the reported health benefits of the keto diet.
Promotes Weight Loss
It is believed by proponents of the diet that using body fat for energy will aid in losing weight and might even increase muscle mass. When you eat higher quality food with less sugar you often feel fuller for longer periods of time. This results in a suppressed appetite.
Controls and Prevents Diabetes
It is also believed that eating this way will help you control spikes in insulin-related to diabetes. By lowering insulin to healthy levels, it is possible to ward off the onset of the disease and could prevent the symptoms for those with diabetes.
Almost every diet that targets inflammatory responses in the body suggests reducing the intake of sugars, carbohydrates, and processed foods. Many diseases, pathogens, and fungi thrive on sugar. Carbohydrates convert to sugar in the digestive tract and bloodstream. These sugars feed bacterial and viral organisms. The result is painful inflammation throughout the body.
Supports Cardiovascular Health
Despite the high level of fat in the keto diet, studies have shown that reducing carbohydrates may be associated with lower levels of LDL cholesterol and higher levels of HDL cholesterol, as well as lower levels of triglycerides. This can help to protect against the build-up of plaque in the arteries, lowering your risk of heart disease and strokes.
Improves the Skin
Overly processed, high carbohydrate, and sugar laden foods have been proven to be damaging to the skin, resulting in a bad complexion. The ketogenic diet is able to reduce symptoms of acne in many people and may improve skin elasticity.
While on a ketogenic diet, chances are good that you have increased your intake of dietary fiber by consuming more fresh vegetables and non-starchy fruits. Fiber aids in digestion by increasing the peristaltic action of the bowels to improve motility. This can balance out swings in constipation and diarrhea that often accompanies Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Better motility can help in the prevention of colon cancer.
It may seem odd that a diet higher in fat can be healthy. However, the keto diet has been around long enough that there is adequate proof that increasing fat and restricting carbohydrates can have quite a positive effect on your health.
While the adjustment to eliminating carbohydrates might trigger cravings, your body and taste buds will acclimate rather quickly and you will start enjoying the positive health benefits. Make the transition slowly, if that suits you, and give the diet some time to work.