What is the keto diet?
The ketogenic diet — or the keto diet — is a high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb way of eating. It’s referred to by many different names – ketogenic diet, low carb diet, low carb high fat (LCHF), etc. The goal of the keto diet is to put your body in a metabolic state called ketosis, where your body burns fat instead of carbohydrates.
The keto diet has some medical benefits in addition to weight loss. It was originally designed as a way to treat epilepsy in children. It worked, and has since been adapted for use in other neurological disorders, sleep disorders, bipolar disorder, autism, and even brain cancer.
How does the keto diet work?
The high-fat/low-carb way of eating aims to shift the body’s metabolic focus away from burning carbs as fuel to burning fat, via ketones, as fuel instead.
With a standard, high carb diet, our bodies are fueled by carbohydrates, which are broken down into glucose. That glucose is then stored in the body, until it is used as fuel. If there is no glucose available, the body starts breaking down fat into energy. The liver breaks down fat into ketone bodies, through a process called ketosis, to generate energy. The end goal of the keto diet is to force your body into this metabolic state. We don’t do this through reduced calories but rather reduced carbohydrates.
The ability to reach ketosis isn’t instantaneous. Instead, it takes several days of strict adherence to a low carb diet — generally between 20 and 50 grams a day.
What do you eat on the keto diet?
The ketogenic diet is rich in fat, moderate in protein, andl ow in carbohydrates. The way of eating includes plenty of meat, seafood, eggs, cheese, butter, and oils. The diet also includes non-starchy vegetables like zucchini, cabbage, peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, cauliflower, and other leafy greens. Low GI fruits like berries are also included. Such a high-fat diet helps keeps you fuller longer!
What Are Net Carbs?
In the ketogenic diet, only net carbs are counted when calculating your daily intake. Net carbs are the grams of total carbohydrates in a food minus its grams of total fiber. Your body can’t digest fiber, so it doesn’t count toward your total.
Total Carbs – Total Fiber = Net Carbs
Most keto diets have a carb goal of 20 to 50 grams of carbs a day. Keep in mind that these goals mean net carbs.
Mistakes to Avoid on the Keto Diet
The keto diet does take some time to get used to. At first it may be hard to follow, but your persistence may really be worth it. Many people find the way of eating really satisfying, and do find success in weight loss and other health benefits.
Here are some common pitfalls to avoid:
- Don’t forget to drink enough water.
- Don’t neglect your electrolytes — sodium, potassium, magnesium
- Don’t eat too much protein.
- Don’t be afraid of eating fat.
- Don’t forget to use a tracking app — at least at first!