This is a question that many people are asking these days. The ketogenic, or “keto,” diet has become popular in recent years to lose weight and improve health. But what is Keto Diet exactly? And is it right for you? Here’s what you need to know about the keto diet.
The keto diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. It’s similar to other low-carb diets such as the Atkins and South Beach diets. But the keto diet is different in one important way: it emphasises fats more than protein.
When you eat a lot of fat and very few carbs, your body enters ketosis. In ketosis, your body burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.
Proponents of the keto diet say that it can help you lose weight and improve health. They also claim that it can help treat medical conditions such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
Types of ketogenic diets
There are several different types of the ketogenic diet, each with its own set of rules and recommendations.
The most popular and well-known form of the diet is the Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD), which we’ll be focusing on in this article. SKD is a very low-carb, high-fat diet mainly involving meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, and healthy fats.
Other types of the ketogenic diet include the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD), Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD), and the High-Protein Ketogenic Diet (HPKD). Each diet has slightly different macronutrient ratios, but they all share the same goal of promoting ketosis.
The Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)
The Standard Ketogenic Diet is the most popular and well-studied form of the diet. SKD is a very low-carb, high-fat diet mainly involving meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, and healthy fats.
SKD is usually recommended for people who are new to the ketogenic diet or want to lose weight and improve their health. It’s also the simplest form of the diet to follow, making it a good choice for people who wish to minimize their carb intake.
SKD typically consists of 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs. However, these ratios can vary depending on your individual needs.
The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD)
The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet is a variation of SKD that involves periods of higher carb intake, or “carb cycling.”
CKD is typically recommended for people who are more experienced with the ketogenic diet and who want to build muscle mass. It’s also a good choice for people looking to lose weight sustainably.
CKD involves eating a high-fat, low-carb diet most of the time but periodically increasing your carb intake to help encourage muscle growth. This is usually done 1-2 times per week.
Is the keto diet proper for you?
The answer to this question depends on your individual goals and health status. If you’re healthy and want to lose weight, the keto diet may be suitable. But if you have diabetes or another medical condition, talk to your doctor before starting the keto diet.
The keto diet is generally safe for most people. But there are some potential side effects, such as fatigue, constipation, and headaches. And the diet may not be suitable for people with certain medical conditions, such as kidney disease.
If you’re interested in trying the keto diet, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to get started.
What is ketosis?
The “keto” in a ketogenic diet is because it allows the body to produce small fuel molecules called “ketones.” Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body uses fat for fuel instead of carbs.
When you eat very few carbs or calories, your liver produces ketones from fat. These ketones then serve as a fuel source throughout the body, especially for the brain.
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that has been used for centuries to treat certain medical conditions. In the 1920s, it was discovered that fasting — or abstaining from all food and drink — could effectively treat epilepsy in some people who did not respond to other treatments.4
Over the years, the ketogenic diet has been helpful for other conditions as well, including:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Brain injuries
- Sleep disorders
How does the ketogenic diet work?
When you eat a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet, your body enters ketosis. In ketosis, the body burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.
This process is spurred on by a hormone called insulin. When you eat carbs, your body produces insulin. Insulin helps the body store and use glucose for energy. But when you eat a high-fat, low-carb diet, your body produces less insulin. This causes the body to burn stored fat for energy instead of glucose.
In addition to weight loss, the ketogenic diet has also been found to have some other health benefits, including:
- improved blood sugar control
- reduced inflammation
- increased levels of “good” HDL cholesterol
- improved mental clarity and focus
Are there any risks associated with the ketogenic diet?
When followed correctly, the ketogenic diet is a safe and effective way to lose weight and improve health. However, as with any restrictive diet, there are some potential risks to be aware of.
- The ketogenic diet can be challenging to follow, especially initially. This is because it requires a complete change in eating habits.
- The diet may also cause some side effects, including fatigue, headaches, and constipation.
- In people with type 1 diabetes, the diet may worsen blood sugar control.
- In people with type 2 diabetes, the diet may improve blood sugar control in the short term but may increase the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) for a long time.
- People with kidney disease should not follow the ketogenic diet without supervision from a healthcare provider.
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that has improved health in some people. However, it is not suitable for everyone and should be cautioned. If you consider trying the ketogenic diet, speak to your healthcare provider first to make sure it is safe for you.
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