What Is The Keto Diet: The General Gist of the Famous Diet.
„Keto diet” is a shortened one for „ketogenic diet”. It is a diet characterized by very limited carbohydrate, adequate protein, and high fat requirement. The keto diet is a cure for epilepsy among children.
The body needs three macronutrients for its metabolism, namely, carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Carbohydrates are from fruits, vegetables, bread, and grains. They usually come from plant sources. Our body converts carbohydrates to a simple sugar called glucose.
We gain proteins by eating meat and meat products such as dairy and eggs. Fats, on the other hand, come from both animal and plant sources such as bacon, animal fat, and vegetable oils.
When there is excess consumption of carbohydrates and proteins, the body converts this extra glucose into fats. These fats are then deposited into specific areas within the body, increasing the person’s weight in turn.
The benefits of keto diet rely on putting the body into a state of ketosis. Ketosis happens when there are very few supplies of glucose circulating in the body for metabolism.
During ketosis, the fat from the liver breaks down to form “ketones.” Ketosis results in the liver converting the stored fat into ketones as a substitute for the missing glucose.
Ketones are another form of energy source, similar to glucose which is formed from carbohydrates. The human body needs sufficient amount of fuel to function properly. These fuels could be in the form of glucose, glycogen, or ketones.
Due to the lack of glucose, insulin levels are also reduced in the process. Ketosis usually happens during lengthened periods of fasting.
Lack of the primary source of fuel encourages the body to utilize the stored fats accumulated through the years. The keto diet initiates the strategic survival method of the body to cope with the loss by harnessing new fuel source.
What Are the Benefits of Keto Diet?
Keto diet encourages the burning of stored fat instead of glucose for fuels. These fats burn when a person goes through exercise or continuous, strenuous fasting.
When there is sufficient amount of consumed glucose on a daily basis, there is no need to burn fat. Glucose or carbohydrate restriction leads to the conversion of fat into ketones to function properly.
What is the keto diet’s effect on weight loss?
Weight loss is the reason most people engage in this diet. It requires the body to burn the excess fat stored in the body, hence reducing weight.
The body goes into a state where there is minimum fat stored inside the body to function properly. It goes without the need for fasting or continuous strenuous exercise.
What are other benefits of keto diet?
One is blood sugar control. Blood sugar levels increase whenever high amount of carbohydrates is consumed. Due to the low carbohydrate consumed in this diet, there is no glucose to utilize, hence reducing blood sugar levels.
The diet is beneficial in making insulin levels drop. Insulin is responsible for catalyzing and converting excess glucose into fat. Since there is no extra glucose, there is nothing to store and catalyze.
This is useful for those with type II diabetes. It is also beneficial for people with pre-diabetes. It maintains minimum blood sugar levels without feeling fatigue from lack of energy.
Another benefit of keto diet is it helps in controlling appetite. Having high-fat diet leaves a feeling of being fuller and satiated as compared to having small snacks every hour.
Fat takes a long time to convert and digest, hence leaving the person feeling full for a longer time. It is also more satisfying to eat since fatty food is more flavorful as compared to other food items.
More Benefits of Keto Diet: Epilepsy, Mental Focus, and Energy
What is the keto diet’s medical purpose? Ever since 1920, the ketogenic diet has already been proven to be very effective in controlling epilepsy. The benefits of the keto diet in epilepsy span from adults to children due to the inhibitory effect of ketones on nerve cells.
Some epileptic children do not respond well to the drugs, thus needing an alternative to control the seizures. Some studies showed that children who took the diet for months had reduced their seizures in half. This led to the reduced need for the anti-epileptic drugs.
It is a well-known fact that glucose is the fuel for the brain, not exactly table sugar, but the simple sugar converted from carbohydrates. However, there is also another fuel that the brain can use – ketones. This is where gluconeogenesis comes into play.
Gluconeogenesis is a process which converts other nutrients in the body into glucose. This process converts glycerol which is a component of fat into glucose. It is a better alternative than using amino acids from muscle proteins as glucose.
It only means that there is food for the brain even without consuming large amounts of carbohydrates. The body adapts to the changes in diet without compromising bodily functions.
Brain power is not the only optimized part of the body.
What is the keto diet’s role in energy?
Physical endurance heightens when doing keto diet.
Fat has higher energy content as compared to carbohydrates and proteins. One can get more energy with a little amount of fat that burns through physical activities.
This leaves a person in keto diet feeling more energized for a longer period even without eating something. It reduces the need to eat since you are tapping on the stored fat resources.
What Is The Keto Diet: Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fat
The keto diet plan could include a drastic cut into having very low carbohydrate consumption or gradually decreasing it. Gradual decrease of carbohydrate consumption is recommended especially for those who consume carbohydrates on a daily basis.
You could start off with a proportion of 50% carbohydrates, 25% proteins, and 25% fats. The macronutrient count could gradually decrease into 15% carbohydrates, 25% proteins, and 60% fats.
Once your carbohydrate count is reduced into 15%, it could be restricted further to 5%. Carbohydrates less than 15 grams can already start to induce your body into the metabolic state of ketosis.
You could start the keto diet with reduced consumption of bread, pasta, cereals, and grains. Avoid consuming simple sugars such as candies, honey, syrups, and soft drinks. It is also good to avoid fruits that are too sweet. Consume fruits as rarely as possible.
You could get all the necessary nutrients and minerals by consuming vegetables as the source of carbohydrates. Vegetables are high in fiber and micronutrients needed by the body. Choose dark green, leafy vegetables and beans for your daily vegetable requirement.
Keto as High-Fat Diet
When you think of high-fat diet, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to eat slabs of butter. It means that there is more freedom in eating fatty food.
Fatty items are tastier than lean, meaty food. Having the freedom to eat fat-rich items is one of the major benefits of keto diet.
You have to avoid the “fat-free” food items obviously. It is because you are loading up on fat, so those food items are counterproductive. You could have the tastier and more filling full-cream milk and processed cheese instead of the skimmed milk and low-fat cheese.
For the cooking methods, you could have fried food all the time: fried chicken thigh, steak topped with herbed butter, and the most coveted crispy bacon. You could also have high-fat creams, whipped creams, and salad dressings.
The Many Signs of Ketosis
One of the signs of ketosis is frequent urination. Another characteristic differentiation of keto diet is the increased water requirement. This leads to increased urination times.
Acetoacetate is a ketone body produced during ketosis. The body removes it by secreting it in the urine.
Since the keto diet induces frequent urination, this makes the person more thirsty than usual. Thirst is a sensation that indicates that the body needs more fluid to stay in equilibrium.
In connection with the thirst sensation and frequent urination is the feeling of having dry mouth. Dry mouth is one of the most evident signs of ketosis. Just stay hydrated by drinking fluids to prevent this from happening.
Having bad breath is another sign that ketosis is already happening. Acetone, another ketone body different from acetoacetate, excretes in the human breath. Similar to the nail polish remover, it has a sharp, pungent, and unpleasant smell.
Once in keto diet, you will feel more satiated with your food and feel more energized than usual. There might be some pangs of hunger, but you could deal with it by snacking and drinking lots of water.
During the first stages of the keto diet, your body will struggle to achieve equilibrium, its former state. It still relies on glucose as an energy source until your stored glucose runs out. There are reports of mental fogginess, dizziness, and headaches during this stage.
Keto flu is common for first-time keto dieters. It is evidenced by headache, fatigue, grogginess, nausea, and cramps. The brain is adjusting to the low glucose supply.
Increasing electrolytes and fluid intake could remedy it. You could add more salt to your diet. After this transition, you will be able to feel like nothing happened.
Side Effects During the Transition
Due to the diuretic effect of ketosis, cramps usually happen. It reflects the lack of magnesium in the diet.
Similarly to muscle cramps, constipation also happens to first-time keto dieters. Sufficient water consumption can fix this, or juice your vegetables once in a while instead of avoiding them.
During the transitioning stage, you could feel having reduced physical performance. As mentioned before, it is an indication that your body is adjusting to having a new source of energy.
Its Effect to Certain Groups of People
The benefits of keto diet are for a wide range of individuals; however, there are groups that this diet is contraindicated for. Having a strict keto diet is not recommended for breastfeeding mothers. Although it is a good way to lose weight, the infant needs all the nutrients it can get.
Take note that all of the nutrients contained in breast milk come from a mother’s diet. The body adjusts the quality of milk depending on the quality of the food. The mother’s body is also taking extra stress from the act of producing milk and breastfeeding.
Although it is a rare case, ketoacidosis could happen. Ketoacidosis is a lethal state of the body wherein excess ketones produced are stored in the blood. These excess ketones transferred to the infant via breast milk are dangerous, and the infant’s body is not prepared to process it.
Another contraindication is for diabetic people. Although low glucose consumption is beneficial for them, it means that they must always monitor their blood glucose and reduce their insulin dosage.
This diet is contraindicated for people with high blood pressure and having blood pressure medication. The quality of fat consumed can increase the bad cholesterol inside the body. Consider asking your physician first before taking keto diet to know if you need to adjust your dosage.
The Final Verdict to the Rising Diet
Overall, there are many benefits of the keto diet. However, be reminded that every diet is personal. It depends on your body, height, weight, ethnicity, etc. Just because one meal plan applies to others doesn’t mean that it applies to you too.
With that said, it does not hurt to venture out and try different diets. Keto diet has a restricted carbohydrate requirement but is generous on fatty food items. It is an effective weight loss method since it focuses on utilizing the stored fat in the body via ketosis.
There are many benefits of keto diet. Feel free to explore it yourself and answer the question: What is the keto diet?