What is the keto diet plan?
The ketogenic diet is a low- carbohydrate nutritional plan that’s great for losing weight and managing conditions such as diabetes. However, the first stage of keto requires some discipline and planning, so it’s crucial to understand what’s ideal for you.
Here’s what you need to know.
The ketogenic diet consists of eating high- fat, low-carbohydrate meals that include a moderate amount of protein. This requires a big change in the eating habits of most people, as carbohydrates are a core nutrient in most meals.
Carbohydrates, or carbs, are the main source of fuel that our body uses, as they provide glucose, which is then converted to energy. Carbs are found in foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. However, if the body runs out of carbs to use as fuel, it resorts to creating energy from an alternative source — ketones, a compound formed from fats.
Ketones are an alternative source of energy for our body that we use when there aren’t enough carbs. The state in which the body starts using ketones is called ketosis — a metabolic adaptation that helps prevent starvation.
Many people claim, though, that ketosis also carries dozens of other health benefits.
What are the benefits of keto?
Diets are a key aspect of dealing with chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. Still, there are no magic cure-alls, so different eating plans may serve different people. In particular, the keto diet plan may be helpful for people struggling with obesity, atherosclerosis, and epilepsy.
The ketogenic diet is known for promoting weight loss to a higher degree than low-fat diets. Furthermore, research points out that it may even improve your mood while you are losing weight. Naturally, these pros make it ideal for managing obesity, which in turn may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Diabetes is a metabolic disease that prevents the body from regulating the level of sugar in the body, leading to an excess of glucose. As you may remember, glucose is the main source of energy for the body — yet, it can be replaced by ketones in a ketogenic diet. As such, experts point out that this diet may be effective in treating certain types of diabetes.
Epilepsy is a brain disease that causes frequent seizures and is known for being hard to treat with traditional medications. Recent research indicates that the keto diet could provide a treatment for this condition — especially in cases that are particularly drug-resistant.
Although there isn’t much research available, the keto diet has also shown promise when it comes to some other conditions, including:
Is keto harmful?
One of the primary concerns when starting out with a keto diet is whether or not it can be harmful to your body. While there’s no quick answer, you should know that there are few long-term risks associated with this eating plan, but there are some short-term side effects.
In the first few weeks of implementing the keto diet, you may experience:
These symptoms are well-known among the keto community, and are generally referred to as the “keto flu”. However, they should go away after the first few weeks.
On the other hand, there are some long-term risks associated with keto:
- Lack of nutrients such as vitamin B and selenium
- Kidney problems
- Mood swings
- Liver problems
- Long-term constipation
As you can see, the keto diet has a few significant drawbacks — even more so for people with preexisting conditions. The best way to approach this diet is to check in with your doctor and ask whether it’s safe for you to try keto.
Where do I start?
If you’ve already checked with your doctor and are sure of getting into the keto diet, it’s time to decide which strategy is best for you. Achieving ketosis can be hard if you haven’t planned your eating habits beforehand.
The first way of going into ketosis is through fasting, which consists of simply avoiding any kind of food for a prolonged time. To enter ketosis specifically, experts recommend a 48-hour fast, during which you can only drink water, tea, and coffee.
Otherwise, if you don’t mind waiting a bit longer, you can enter ketosis by following the ketogenic diet from day one. This way, it can take two to three weeks before entering this state, but it avoids fasting entirely.
Once you’ve achieved ketosis, you should keep going with your eating plan, which will depend on the type of keto you’ve chosen. There are six types of ketogenic diets:
- Classic keto
- Modified keto
- MCT oil
- Modified Atkins
- LGIT (low glycemic index diet)
- Intermittent fasting
After getting comfortable with the eating pattern of the ketogenic diet, you simply need to keep it up until you feel you no longer need it. As you can see, entering ketosis requires some discipline and planning.
What are some easy keto recipes?
Luckily, there are hundreds of easy, keto-friendly recipes all over the Internet, so it’s not as hard to keep up with the diet in a tasty manner. For example, for breakfast, you could opt for some egg muffins, which consist of a baked egg mixture with Italian sausage. Otherwise, a classic cheese omelet is another fantastic way to start your morning.
For lunch, chicken nuggets are a quick and easy way to solve what to eat at work. However, keep in mind that to follow the keto diet, you should make them with coconut flour instead. In the same vein, spinach bites are a great way to get some iron into your body.
Finally, for dinner, you could prepare some pizza bites made out of eggs, coconut flour, and mayonnaise. Make sure to top them with some keto-friendly ingredients, and you’re ready to go. For dessert, you could try some lemon curd or pumpkin pie.
We recommend that you try experimenting with the various recipes that are available online. Although the keto diet plan can seem restrictive, it can also be delicious if you put in the effort and discipline.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "What is the Ketogenic Diet?"
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: "Topic Brief: Ketogenic Diet."
Charlie Foundation for Ketogenic Therapies: "Am I a Candidate," "Keto Recipes," "Learn About Ketosis."
Harvard Health Publishing: "Should you try the keto diet?"
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Carbohydrates."
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health: "Ketogenic Diet for Obesity: Friend or Foe?"
National Health Service: "Epilepsy."
Nutrients: "Ketogenic Diet and Epilepsy," "Low-Carb and Ketogenic Diets in Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes."
StatPearls: "Ketogenic Diet."
University of Chicago Medicine: "Ketogenic diet: What are the risks?"
World Health Organization: "Diabetes."
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