The ketogenic diet is known for being low in carbohydrates. Keto is a process in which your body produces ketones in your liver, which are used as a main energy source. The ketogenic diet can also be known as low carb high fat diet, low carb diet, or anything which includes limiting carbohydrates to a low level, usually lower than 30 grams of carbohydrates.
When you are on the Ketogenic diet, most of your calories come from proteins and fats in order to meet caloric demands and fuel your body, because the diet is low in carbohydrates. When you ingest carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is the simplest molecule possible. These molecules force your body to produce insulin, which transports the molecules across membranes to either be stored for later use (either in muscle or fat) or to be used directly as energy.
Since glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert into energy and use it at any time, it’ll be the first thing chosen as energy. Insulin processes the glucose in the bloodstream, transports it around the body and stores it where necessary. Your body won’t need to burn fat when it uses glucose as its main energy source. For that reason, your body will store fat in order to use it at a later point when your energy levels are low.
So, your body will use glycogen as its main energy source, when you are on a higher carbohydrate diet. On the other hand, your body goes into ketosis, when you lower your carb intake. When our food intake is low for an extended period of time, our bodies rely on natural process called keto. This natural process helps us continue to thrive. When you are in ketosis, your body produces ketones by breaking down fats in the liver.
This is the process in which your body continues to produce energy in order to fuel the demands of your body. The goal behind Ketogenic diet is to force your body into this metabolic state in which it produces ketones. Keep in mind that you’re not starving your body. You are just limiting the consumption of carbohydrates and replacing it with proteins and dietary fats. Thanks to the evolution, our bodies are able to perform normal daily functions without carbohydrates.
When we saturate our bodies with proteins and fats, they burn ketones as the main source of energy. You will want to plan ahead of time when you opt to start a Ketogenic diet in order to know which food to buy and where. There is no need to have a set diet plan in which you eat the same meals every day for months, and you will notice that a lot of the foods which you have been eating will no longer be a part of your diet.
As we said earlier, you will want to keep the intake of carbohydrates between 20 and 40 grams, but if you stay below 30 grams it would be optimal. Since less carbs you eat, the better the diet will work. A great macronutrients intake would be 5% or less of carbohydrates, 20-30% of protein, and 65-75% of fats. You will want to avoid things, such as fruit, legumes, beans, cereals, fried items, potatoes, pasta, bread, and of course sweets.
This will leave you with most of your macronutrients coming from things, such as leafy and green vegetables, meats (eggs, veal, seafood, bison, pork, fish, chicken, beef, etc.), and healthy oils/fats (grass-fed butter, macadamia, coconut, olive, etc.). When it comes to snacks, you should pay attention to nuts and nut butters (sunflower, cashew, almond, etc.), protein shakes, and cheeses. The Ketogenic diet has a myriad of benefits.
Some of them are decrease in hunger due to satiety which is provided by proteins and fats and increased vegetable intake, increase in weight loss since your body is burning fat as its primary fuel source, improved blood sugar because insulin levels are lower, improved energy and focus since insulin crashes and spikes are minimized due to decrease in the consumption of carbohydrates, and improved cholesterol due to improved cholesterol and triglyceride levels from arterial buildup.
There has been many debates about whether or not the ketogenic diet is dangerous. Many studies have shown good as well as bad effects. However, the biggest issue is consuming a high amount of carbohydrates with high amounts of fats. Limiting carbohydrates with this diet won’t result in the adverse effects which come with high consumption of carbohydrates. Excess carbohydrates are still stored as fat.
Therefore, eating a high amount of carbs can cause obesity and fat gain, and also lower activity levels, if not kept in check. However, these problems also occur when you eat both high amounts of fats and high amount of carbohydrates, not just high amounts of fat like in the Ketogenic diet. There are many people who think that this diet can cause kidney issues, which is debatable. You are less likely to have problems if you don’t have a history of kidney dysfunctions or disease. However, we recommend that you talk to a physician before starting a Ketogenic diet.