What is keto diet?
ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carbohydrate and sufficient protein diet, most calories in this diet come from fat , thus it programs the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates for energy. Normally, the body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which is used for providing energy to fuel the body and the brain, excess carbohydrates is usually stored as fat in the body. Ketogenic diet is a high fat diet as i mentioned earlier, thus the body needs to break fat into energy because there is little or no carbohydrates. The liver can use stored fat and the fat you consume for energy. Stored fat is broken into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The body adapts to using ketone bodies to fuel the brain instead of glucose, this state of having more ketone bodies in your blood is called ketosis. When your body is in ketosis, it becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy.
Why should I choose keto diet?
- keto diet comes with lots of health benefits, research has shown that it helps lower the risks of getting type 2 diabetes because of its effectiveness in reducing sugar levels. For people who have type 2 diabetes, it helps in managing it by reducing their dependence on diabetes medication, this is because it allows them to maintain glucose body at a low and healthy level while reducing the need for insulin People on insulin and other hypo causing medications such as sulphonylureas may need to reduce their doses in advance of starting a ketogenic diet to prevent hypos. You will need to see your doctor before starting your diet.
- keto diet may help in lowering blood pressure because it’s a low carb diet, low carb diets have a blood pressure lowering effect.
- decreased level of triglycerides have been achieved with ketogenic diet. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your bloodstream, when you eat, the body converts any calories it doesn’t need to use right away into triglycerides. High level of triglycerides in the bloodstream may contribute to hardening and narrowing of the artery walls, which increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, heart attacks, peripheral vascular disease and angina.
- your overall appetite will be reduced, this is because the ketogenic diet is based on the consumption of more natural fats, and moderate protein, while drastically minimum carbohydrates. This puts the body in a state of ketosis where it starts burning fat to fuel itself. Lots of fats makes the body feel satiated most of the time hence a decrease in appetite.
- keto diet helps to improve health in women with Polycystic ovarian syndrome. (PCOS). PCOS is a hormonal disorder in the endocrine, which causes enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges. Not much study has been done in regards to keto diet in relation to pcos, but one pilot study that involved five women found that there was increased weight loss, aided hormonal balance, improved fasting insulin, improved fasting insulin and improved general health.
- Keto diet is known for increasing levels of good HDL cholesterol, which is the good type of cholesterol, and decreasing the LDL which is bad cholesterol. LDL is important in transporting fat soluble nutrients into cell membranes and HDL sweeps up LDL particles and returns them to the liver for recycling, both are essential to the body. What ketogenic diet does is it maintains a good balance ratio of the two.
- Ketogenic diet is believed to enhance stronger mental performance and neurovascular functions. It improves cognition and has biochemical effects in prefrontal cortex that are dissociable from hippocampus. The brain cannot use fat as fuel, therefore with low carb diet, the liver will produce more ketones which will in turn provide the energy the brain needs.
- Ketogenic diet helps reduce thrush and yeast infections, as they lower blood sugar. Candida species are the most common cause of fungal urinary tract infections, if you have a history of uti, s keto can help you by reducing glucose being passed out in the urine.
The goal is for your body to reach a point where it has adapted to burning fat from keto diet, majorly a high fat diet and has fully transitioned from burning glucose. This process is called ketosis.
how long does it take to attain ketosis?
Everybody is different, for some people it can take as little as 5 days to attain ketosis, some people take a week or longer depending on how consistent you are with your keto diet.
How do I know I am in ketosis?
you will experience some ketosis symptoms:
- Bad breath: some people in keto diet have experienced bad breath this is because during ketosis, your body produces ketones which are released from the body through exhalation and urination. when you are starting up on keto diet, this can be a reassuring sign that you have entered ketosis. to reduce bad odour, you can increase your water intake. this will hasten the excretion of acetone and ketones produced by the body during ketosis through urination and exhalation. Practicing good oral hygiene will help with the bad breath as well. Also, reduce your protein intake. As the body breaks down protein, it produces ammonia which is eliminated through exhalation and urine. Decreasing your protein will decrease the release of ammonia. This is just a temporary phase and it’s worth the patience, your body will adapt to its new energy source and your breath will improve before you know it.
- Weight loss: once you are in ketosis, you will start losing weight because your body has been turned to a fat burning machine, stored fat will be burned as well to provide fuel for the body. #Give your body time to enter into ketosis and eat a clean ketogenic diet. The amount of weight you will lose depends on factors like your current weight, your metabolic rate and your physical activities, incorporating ketogenic diet with exercise will make you lose more weight.
- If you test for ketones and find increased ketones in blood, that’s a sure sign that you’re in ketosis. The most accurate method of measuring ketosis is to measure your blood ketone levels using a specialized meter, this meter measures ketosis by calculating the amount of beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) in your blood. some experts say that ketosis is defined as blood ketones ranging from 0.5-3.0 mmo/L. Test kits can be expensive, so it’s advisable to track your progress every other week. Test kits can be found on either eBay or amazon.
- Appetite suppression is another sign you are in ketosis. when you are in ketosis, your metabolism changes in a way that the body begins breaking down fat for fuel instead of using glucose, thus producing ketone bodies as fatty acids are broken down. Your appetite will naturally reduce during ketosis because your blood sugar is stable, because of a low carbohydrate diet, you will not have any cravings associated with a high carb diet, you will feel satiated hence suppressed hunger.
- Keto flu: these are a range of symptoms experienced by some people on the start of keto diet. Not everyone experiences all the symptoms, some people have reported no symptoms. Keto flu is a nick name for carb withdrawal symptoms. these symptoms may include sugar cravings, nausea, muscle soreness, dizziness, poor focus, headaches, sore throat, confusion, irritability and chills. these are known to last from a few days to two weeks and maximum a month. The extent of your symptoms depends on your metabolic flexibility, this is your ability to adapt to a different energy source. Some factors like your genetics, lifestyle may influence your metabolic flexibility, however there are remedies believed to help with keto flu like staying hydrated, supplementing your keto diet with electrolytes like potassium, magnesium and sodium, eating more fat, exercise and meditation and ketone supplements.
FOODS TO EAT ON A KETO DIET
As said earlier, keto diet is a diet high in fats, minimum protein and very low carbohydrates. Studies have found out that this very low carbohydrate, high fat diet is effective for weight loss, diabetes and epilepsy.
When you start keto diet, you are required to limit your carbs to approximately 20-50 grams per day. Below are some healthy foods to eat on a ketogenic diet regimen.
Shrimps and crabs contain no carbohydrates. Fish and shell fish are keto friendly. Salmon and other fish are rich in B vitamins, potassium, selenium yet virtually carb free. Carbohydrates in different types of shell fish vary. you can still include shellfish on keto but you have to account for the carbs in it. These are the carb counts for 3.5 ounce/100gram serving of some popular types of shellfish: clams -5grams, mussels-7grams, octopus-4grams, squid-3grams. Sardines, mackerel, and other fatty fish are very high in omega 3 fats , which are believed to lower insulin level and increase insulin sensitivity in overweight and obese people. Frequent fish intake has been linked to decreased risk of disease and improved mental health. If you like sea food, aim to consume at least two servings a week.
Cheese is both delicious and nutritious. There are very many types of
cheese. All the types are very low in carbs and high in fat, which makes them a great fit for a ketogenic diet. Cheese is very high in saturated fat, but it hasn’t been shown to increase the risk of heart disease. Cheese also contains conjugated linoleic acid which is a fat that has been linked to fat loss and improved body composition. Eating cheese helps in improving your muscle mass.
Meat and poultry
Meat and poultry are considered staple food on a ketogenic diet, these will provide you with the protein and fat you need. They contain no carbs and are rich in B vitamins and several minerals including potassium, selenium and zinc. Fatty steaks in this case are never off limits, the goal is to eat more fat. Eggs are a staple for most keto dieters, they are low in carbs and are available almost everywhere, a very good source of protein. you should note that it is possible to come out of ketosis if you are having a large amount of protein, this is because a high protein intake can cause the liver to convert the protein into glucose a process known as gluconeogenesis, for this reason keep your protein intake to a moderate level.
low carb veggies
low carb veggies are recommended because we need to keep our carbs level very low, examples of these low carb veggies are leafy greens, tomatoes, asparagus, and broccoli. watch out for starchy veggies such as potatoes, beetroots, yams,
avocados are very healthy, a 100gram avocado contains 9 grams of carbs, however 7 of these is fibre so technically its 2 grams of carbs.
coconut oil contains medium triglycerides (MCTs) unlike long chain fats, mcts are taken up directly by the liver and converted into ketones or used as a rapid source of energy.
plain Greek yoghurt is a healthy high protein food; they also contain some carbs but can still be included in a ketogenic diet.
olive oil is good for the heart; it is high in oleic acid that has been found to decrease heart disease risk factors in many studies. it is also high in anti-oxidants known as phenols. these compounds further protect heart health by decreasing inflammation and improving artery function.
Always note that you should consult with your doctor before trying any type of diet.