The Ketogenic diet is a very popular low carb diet. You may hear people refer to this diet style as Keto or Low Carb, High Fats (LCHF). The effect of Keto has been studied for many years, not only is it a great tool for weight management but it is also reduces the symptoms of many illnesses such as Epilepsy, PCOS and Diabetes. When you consume carbohydrates your body releases a hormone called Insulin. Insulin controls blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels increase insulin attaches to receptors on cells and instructs the cells to absorb glucose. If blood sugar levels are too high, cells in the liver and muscles store excess glucose as glycogen. When the glycogen stores reach maximum capacity, liver and muscle cells desensitise insulin receptors, because the cells are not responding to signals but insulin is still being released, free glucose in the blood keeps increasing as theres no where to store it, so your liver processes excess glucose as fat. As you can imagine when insulin is released fat burning stops!
With Keto by consuming fat as your main energy source, the release of insulin is decreased as blood sugar stays constant! This means your body is constantly using fat stores as a source of energy though ketosis.
Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
I've followed the Ketogenic diet for 2 years, in this time I have experienced changes that encouraged me to sustain this way of eating for so long. I'm African so by default I'm a foodie and will never compromise on flavour! Any way of eating that has delicious food that also helps me loss fat... I'm game! Aside from the obvious weight loss there are also more benefits of the ketogenic diet. Let's look into it.
You lose quite a bit of fat!
Increased Mental Clarity
One of my favourite benefits is the mental clarity you experience whilst in ketosis. My attentiveness, problem solving and work ethic increases when I'm in ketosis and fat adapted.
Ketones (made from fat) are actually a very efficient energy source for the brain. We will go into more detail in a future post!
Keep your blood sugar stable
Totally reduced appetite
As stated prior there is a decrease in blood sugar spikes. Stable blood sugar has a direct link to hunger levels. Fats also keep us full for longer as they are dense in the stomach and take longer to digest than carbohydrates and sugar.
Decrease The Bad, Increase The Good.
Say hello to a lower blood pressure and heart rate. The ketogenic diet is also a diuretic! Which means you'll experience significant drop in heart rate but again we will go into more detail in a future post!
Being in Ketosis
Ketosis is the state where your body use ketones for energy instead of glucose. .
The HowThe question I receive the MOST is...
What is the quickest way to get into ketosis?
And my response is always the same... CHILL SIS! Yes, the ultimate goal is to turn your body into a fat burning machine. You want to be luxury fat burning machine, a Ferrari fat burning machine not a Fiat multipla. So sustainability is KEY! the fastest way isn't the best way. Don't expose yourself to the cycle of fasting to get into ketosis, binging, feeling guilty and back to the start just because you want to rush! Take it slow. If you haven't been on a ketogenic diet before it may take you a week to enter ketosis and thats okay. Just be patient.
- Keep your Carbohydrates to 25g or below.
- Understand Fats are not bad for you.
- Drink water.
- Track your macros in the first week - Some foods have hidden carbohydrates. Track to avoid accidentally eating over your carbohydrates goal.
- Weight train and cardio - Focus on weight training keep cardio to 25-45 minutes.
You will experience a few symptoms during the transitioning stage and when you reach ketosis. Some people use Keto sticks to monitor ketosis, I find them expensive at around £7 a box. I also became obsessed with using them. So I don't use them as much.
You'll be using the toilet... A LOT. This is to rid your body of the waste products of ketosis.
Feeling Dehydrated. You may feel dehydrated if you don't adequately supplement the electrolytes (magnesium, potassium and sodium) you lose in your urine.
The best advice I can give you is to buy your groceries about three days before you plan to start your Keto journey. You'll be chucking away a lot of rice, bread and cakes, It's good to be prepared so you aren't starving .
Keto is HIGH fat low carb. It's important to keep your net carbohydrates under 25g. So now you're wondering what net carbs are. I've made it simple:
Essentially you'll be cutting out a lot of vegetable, fruits and grain. Below is a picture to make prepping easier.
You'll be getting your carbohydrates from nuts, leafy greens and certain fruits: avocado, raspberries, strawberries.
Try to remember that keto is high in fat, moderate in protein, and very low in carbs. Your nutrient intake should be something around 70% fats, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrate.