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Worried about your weight? Well, according to global statistics, obesity today is three times what it was in 1975. So you are not alone! Obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index – the ratio of weight to height – of greater than 30, for adults. However, one must ask why obesity is even an issue.
Obesity- a pressing concern!
But why do you obesity is such a pressing issue? Obesity is linked to several health issues both in adults and children. For children, the issue is much more severe because obesity could cause health problems for life. The difficulties themselves (adults and children) include the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancers, and so on. Furthermore, obesity may hinder the quality of life by impeding several functions for people.
These very facts tend to frighten people who are even slightly overweight – not even obese. Living a healthy life is everyone’s priority, and therefore people ensure that they are not even slightly overweight.
What is keto?
In defining keto, the most crucial distinction to be made is in the two fuels for the human body. These two fuels are sugar and fat. Sugar is the primary fuel that comes from carbohydrate intake, which includes bread, flour, potatoes, etc. Fat, which is the secondary fuel for the human body, come from eggs, oils, avocados, meat, etc.
The secondary nature of fat means that it will only be used by the body as a fuel when the body does not have sugar. This usage happens in the liver, which breaks down the fat into energy molecules. It is these molecules that the brain uses to replenish itself then. These energy molecules are called “Ketones,” and the process of breaking fat to fuel the body is called “Ketosis.” This diet is, therefore, called “Ketogenic,” which is often shortened to simply “Keto.”
How to pronounce keto
Although the way keto is spelled makes it sound more “kayto,” that is not the correct pronunciation for the word. The correct pronunciation for the word is with an elongated “e” sound. The pronunciation, therefore, is “keeto.”
What Is The Keto Diet and How Does it Work?
Over the last decade or so, the concept of Keto (short for ketogenesis) diet has taken root as a method for weight loss. Why? Primarily due to the strong support the method has amassed through research. However, it was not initially used for weight loss, as one might believe. It was used first in 1921 by Russel Wilder – the person that coined the term “ketogenic diet” – to treat epilepsy. The diet became very popular with its therapeutic powers until the use of antiepileptic agents became widespread.
The diet itself is characterized by a food intake constituting primarily of fats; breaking down the proportions, keto is 75 percent fat, 10-20 percent protein, and 5-10 percent carbohydrates. This proportion is why the keto diet is often also referred to as the “high fat-low carb” diet. This means that the body is being provided with only as many carbohydrates as necessary to sustain it.
The way keto diet works is that the body is deprived of carbohydrates (intake preferably reduced to less than 50 grams every day) which causes a drastic fall in insulin secretions. As a result, the body enters a catabolic state. Here two metabolic processes are spurred into action: gluconeogenesis and ketogenesis. However, with the unavailability of glucose, gluconeogenesis stops, and ketogenesis takes over whereby fat is burned to provide energy to the body, resulting in weight loss.
What are ketones?
When the body cannot get glucose from your diet, it turns fats and stored body fats into molecules called ketone. These molecules are used as alternative fuel sources, which also help in weight loss. During ketosis, ketone levels measure 0.5 – 3.0 millimoles per liter. The body also makes ketones during intermittent fasting and when glucose is used up during exercising.
How to lose weight on keto
How does weight loss work on keto? When you stop taking a lot of carbs and increase fats, you stop experiencing blood sugar swings. When your body relies on glucose, it needs regular energy hit to keep functioning. Ketones control satiety hormones and hunger. You will feel satisfied for long and also have little or no cravings. When this is happening, increased fat-burning takes place, and you get more energy.
Different Types of Ketogenic Diets
In a keto diet, the proportions for carbohydrates, protein and fat consumption are fixed somewhat religiously. Supposedly, not following the correct proportions will lead to an inability to enter into the state of ketogenesis. However, some variations of ketogenic diets have been developed to provide some flexibility while entering the state of ketogenesis. Under these variations, your body will continuously be entering and exiting the ketogenesis while burning fat and shedding weight.
There are four principal variations of the Keto diets:
1. A standard ketogenic diet (SKD)
This is the standard ketogenic diet that has already been explained to constitute 75 percent fat, 10-20 percent protein, and 5-10 percent carbohydrates. On a standard Keto diet, one will need around 150 grams of fat that one can find from fat-rich foods. Simultaneously, carbohydrates intake must be cut by more than 60% to only about 50 grams each day. As far as the proteins are concerned, you will only need about 90 grams per day.
2. The targeted keto diet (TKD)
When it comes to the Targeted Keto diet, it applies to people that need carbs to keep up with their lifestyle. This mainly includes athletes that need a little of everything. Under the targeted keto diet, the constituent percentages for fat, protein, and carbohydrates is 65-70%, 20%, and 10-15% respectively.
The extra carbohydrates intake is meant to enable the body for swift recovery after intense workout sessions. This workout offsets the effects of carbohydrate intake because they are immediately burned off.
3. The cyclical keto diet (CKD)
The Cyclical keto diet, as the name suggests, refers to the act of cycling into and out of keto diet. It involves getting a balanced diet on days when one is out of keto and strictly adhering to the proportions of keto when keto is on. The portions for on keto days are 75 percent fat, 10-20 percent protein, and 5-10 percent carbohydrates. The ratios for off days are 25% fat, 25% protein, and 50% carbohydrates.
It must be remembered that off keto days do not mean that diet can completely be thrown off balance with one’s favorite desserts and sugar-rich foods. A balanced diet must be observed on off days.
4. High-Protein Keto Diet (HPKD)
The high protein diet is considered to be the least effective variation of the standard keto because it allows room for extra protein intake that could be converted into glucose by the body. The proportions for the high-protein keto diet are 60-65 percent fat, 30 percent protein, and 5-10 percent carbohydrates. Essentially the only difference is the translation of fat to protein and no significant change in the carbohydrate intake.
Health Benefits of Keto
A keto diet yields several benefits to individuals taking it. As a result, the popularity of keto as a diet has been continuously rising. Here are the significant benefits of keto diets:
1. Weight Loss
The significant advantage to any individual taking a keto diet is, of course, weight loss. The sole purpose for several people around the world and the popularity of the diet has been this very fact. Keto diet is so effective at weight loss because it provides a more fulfilling diet than those centered on carbohydrates. So, it does not leave the body craving more food after eating. Furthermore, the extra effort required to convert fat into energy rather than carbohydrates into energy allows for more work with lesser meals.
2. Reduces acne
Acne is caused by several different reasons, but one prominent reason is the high consumption of blood sugars and carbohydrates. This consumption can cause significant fluctuations in blood sugar which will influence skin health. Even research studies show the link of great ketogenic diets on human skin.
3. Effective Chemotherapy
Ketogenic diets have a huge potential to aid chemotherapy in fighting cancer cells. This study explains the stressful impact a ketogenic diet has on cancer cells, which can help eradicate cancer. Another method that keto diets can help chemotherapy is by reducing blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels often cause insulin complications in cases of chemotherapy.
4. Good Cholesterol level
A study explains that a ketogenic diet has a massive impact on the level of proper cholesterol levels (HDL) in your body. This can drastically improve heart health and will yield significant benefits for heart patients and may often be recommended by health practitioners.
6. Fights Epileptic Seizures
As already explained, the first few instances of the use of a Keto diet was found to help fight epilepsy, and the results were astounding. It is believed this might be due to the different ways that the body uses energy in ketosis. Although much of the research still has to be undertaken (probably because ketosis to cure epilepsy was abandoned with the introduction of antiepileptic agents), it was observed that keto was most effective for children with epilepsy.
What do you eat on the keto diet?
Mostly beneficial, the one primary concern for people trying ketogenic diets is that they often do not understand the diet that they must take for ketosis. Here is a guide to all the food that can be eaten in a keto diet:
Avocados are the one food that comes up over and over again in any types of keto diets. Avocados contain healthy fats for the heart. It also contains potassium which is one of the most essential minerals and one that people are most commonly deficient in. Avocados also contain good cholesterol unlike in meat and are therefore always recommended in a keto diet.
Meats include all kinds: beef, poultry, and fish. Meat does not contain any carbohydrates and plenty of protein. It is, therefore, often considered the go-to food in the keto diet. Meat also contains the three most essential minerals, which include potassium, zinc, and selenium as well as vitamin B. However, care must be taken to distinguish between fresh meat and processed meat.
White meat is often the highest in nutritional value and again, the go-to food in keto diets. Seafood, comprising mainly of meat from fish like Mackerels, Tuna, Salmon and Sardines have Omega-3 fats. These lower blood sugar and can improve mental health.
Eggs, particularly egg whites, are full of proteins. Not just that, they are entirely free of any carbohydrates and therefore can help keep your blood sugar stable. They are also great for your hair, eyes and one of the best staple diets out there.
5. Non-Starch Vegetables
Vegetables such as green beans, bell peppers, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli are the most common vegetables in this category. These vegetables are high in nutrients and vitamin C and very low carbohydrates. As a result, you could use these vegetables to fulfill your carbohydrate requirements for your keto diet while eating healthy.
6. Coffee and Tea
Starting on a keto diet does not mean that you will necessarily have to give up on your favorite tea and coffee. In fact, both of these may help improve your health. For instance, coffee helps reduce the risk of heart diseases while tea contains antioxidants. So, you can consume both of these. The little compromise that you must make though is in the shape of sugar. Do not add any sugar to either of the drinks when you have some.
7. Dark Chocolate
You do not need to give up on chocolate either. Chocolates too have plenty of antioxidants and can help keep your heart healthy. However, you must compromise on the sugar. So, the only chocolate that you can have now is dark chocolate.
Several berries have healing powers and are therefore used in medicine making. Besides, they are great for your skin and low in carbohydrates. Not to forget, berries are delicious. Eat berries as a part of your fruit consumption.
Many people are often surprised at the inclusion of cheese in the list, but cheese has no carbohydrates and lots of fats, which makes it a perfect food for your keto diet. You can add flavor to your omelets with cheese without feeling guilty about fat consumption.
Yogurt is one of the best things to have on your list as a part of any diet. Yogurt does not just provide you lots of protein but is also rich in calcium. Moreover, it is deficient in carbohydrates and provides a fulfilling meal, reducing the need for frequent meals.
11. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds, such as Pumpkin seeds, Almonds, Sesame seeds, Cashews, Flaxseeds, Pecans, Pistachios, Macadamia nuts, Walnuts, Chia seeds, and Brazil nuts are a great source of protein for you. They have low carbohydrate content and is also a significant source of fiber.
Foods You Can’t Eat on the Keto Diet
But just as important as it is to discuss the features of foods that you can eat in your keto diet is the importance of a list of foods that you cannot eat. So, here is all of what you cannot have on your keto diet:
- Baked products.
- Sweet yogurt
- Starchy vegetables
- Sugar in any form.
However, no foods are off-limit when it comes to keto diets. The real question before eating a food that is how the carbohydrates from that food will be used – remember the targeted keto diet? So, if the carbs can be spent with physical training and exercise, there may be some flexibility in carbohydrate consumption.
How do ketones affect your hunger hormones?
Ketone affects cholecystokinin (CCK), a hormone that makes you feel full and ghrelin, the hunger hormone.
CCK: CCK is secreted in small intestines to aid food intake. High CCK production makes you feel full, thus cutting your appetite.
Ghrelin: Ghrelin increases when you feel hungry. It is highest in blood level when fasting. During ketosis, the hormone is suppressed, which works in weight loss.
Why is calorie counting ineffective?
Calorie-restricted diets fail because the diets make you feel hungry and cause food cravings. Cutting calories to lose weight changes the hormones that control hunger and satiety. When you starve for long, the hormones start working against you. The body demands more food, which than works differently from your expectations.
With ketosis, you do not need to starve yourself. Use a high-fat, high-protein diet. You will be energized and full. No calorie count is needed.
Is the keto diet safe?
Very often, the philosophy of a keto diet is questioned. How is it that an entire portion of foods that have carbohydrates can be avoided in a keto diet and have no repercussions on your body? This warrants the question: is keto diet really as safe as it is made out to be?
A significant consideration in this regard is sudden food withdrawal. Keto diet is not a practice to be suddenly adopted. Doing so can cause several imbalances in the body and cause health problems.
Another particular consideration is health issues such as diabetes, heart problems, and hypoglycemia. The adoption of keto diet for individuals suffering from any of these problems must strictly be on the directions of or consultation from the doctor.
Plus, although keto diets talk about taking carbohydrates out of the diet, the essential concern remains that a nutrient-rich diet is necessary for a healthy life. How then, are all carbohydrates considered as the same?
As a result of these factors, the most common health concerns arising from keto diets include:
The duration of the Keto flu is just like the duration of the regular flu that must run its course before you begin to feel 100% again. It is characterized by a loss of energy, vomiting, digestive issues, and lethargy. During the keto flu, you might not have the energy to go to work.
Experts suggest that the keto flu sets in because of the transition from sugar to fat for the body. This entails the entire process for the sugar running low to running out before the body starts using fat reserves to return the body to its standard 100%. Getting plenty of sleep and drinking a lot of water might help during the flu.
Also, adding natural energy supplements such as coconut water or green tea can be great for health during the flu.
Keto diet may cause an itch rash, red rash on the neck, back, or chest areas on some people. The condition is known as Prurigo Pigmentosa, but it not dangerous. The condition is caused by hormone changes or exposure of gut bacteria to allergens.
- Bring back some carbs: you can reintroduce some carbs to your diet if you have a sudden change.
- Avoid irritants: most rashes worsen with friction, sweat, and heat. If you have a rash, wear breathable and comfortable clothes.
- Support your skin: boost your body with anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric latte, DHA omega-3 supplement, which have essential nutrients for your skin.
Before trying any medication, visit your doctor.
Unlike Keto flu which happens to only about 25% of people that begin Keto diets, a much more significant proportion of keto diet subjects suffer from keto diarrhea. There can be two main reasons for diarrhea during your keto. These include:
- The gallbladder – organ producing bile to digest sugar – might not welcome the sudden change of sugar to fat. As a result, the organ might underperform for a little while until it settles down with fat.
- The fiber content in the diet might have dropped drastically. Most fiber-rich foods are actually carbohydrates. But since keto involves cutting down on carbs, the fiber content might drop in the diet, causing an imbalance in the intestines resulting in diarrhea.
- Start slow with MCT oils: MCT oil is saturated with ketones. It helps your digestive system and prevents diarrhea. Start with one tablespoon and increase with time.
- Add a digestive enzyme: you can try Lipase or hydrochloric acids, which aid in fats digestion.
Dropped Physical Agility
Although several athletes might commit to keto to enhance their performance, there have been mixed reviews about the diet’s role in physical agility. However, a recent study has shown that a keto diet is actually worse for athletic performance. The diet that is good for enhancing athletic performance is a diet high in carbohydrates.
On the other hand, the apparent advantages of the keto diet for physical training might lie in the fact that it helps control weight. A better BMI might be the reason for athletes believing that keto helps them perform better.
Ketoacidosis might be the most dangerous of repercussions of a keto diet. Usually found in patients of diabetes (who must always practice keto diets under strict supervision from the doctor), cases of ketoacidosis might also be found in healthy people who do not have diabetes.
Ketoacidosis is when the body stores too many ketones. These ketones may be acidic and may cause the blood to become too acidic. This could potentially damage the kidneys, liver, and even the brain. If not diagnosed at the right time or left untreated, it could cause death.
The symptoms of ketoacidosis include extreme nausea, recurrent urination, breathing difficulties, and bad breath. These should always be kept in check to ensure there are no consequences.
By now, it has already become evident that keto is a very conservative form of diet that does not allow much flexibility even with its more flexible variations. This very fact makes it unsuitable for a long time. Usually recommended durations for a keto diet is about 90 days at most. Once this time lapses, it is recommended that a more balanced approach be adopted for the diet.
However, as soon as the keto session ends, most people have gone through such a rigorous regime, go back to their destructive eating practices. As a result, the weight that they reduced is gained right back, and more on top is gained. This pattern, when repeated, can cause eating disorders such as bulimia or cause binge eating.
Although most people find the prospect of their fat-burning lucrative enough to commit to keto, they do not realize the repercussions of too much fat-burning or too much fat (as compared to protein) consumption.
Categorically, the repercussions of such acts can cause the body to begin burning up muscle rather than fat. The more destructive aspect of this may be the fact that people may not even realize that they are losing muscle instead of fat.
The more apparent consequences of muscle loss from keto can be the loss of functionality and strength. But this seems irrelevant because the muscle can be regained after the keto diet is over. The muscle gained back after keto, however, is not the same lean muscle that was lost. The muscle gained back is fat. This leaves the body void of its ability to fall back on muscle mass when fat runs out, which means that the body’s metabolic rates are affected drastically due to this.
The most common symptoms of such a case where muscle, instead of fat, is burning are:
- Tiring out easily. This may mean not only stamina but also strength where doing the same activities as previously becomes more and more difficult with lesser muscle.
- Lethargy. When a substantial muscle is burnt, physical functionality may not be the same as it was before. As a result, lethargy may set in, and everyday activities might become a hassle.
- Losing weight Rapidly. The most confusing indicator of muscle loss is when you start losing weight rapidly because that is what you intended to do. However, an above-average rate of weight loss is usually indicative of muscle loss.
- Body fat percentage is constant. If body fat is consistent, but the weight keeps falling, it is a confirmation that you are losing muscle mass instead of fat.
While no direct connection can be made between sleep problems and keto, eating high-quality carbs at night can improve your sleep.
Solution: take one teaspoon of raw honey before bed.
Not enough fiber
When your carb intake is less than 20 grams, your fiber count is also low. This results in constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and increased risk of colon cancer.
- Try keto-friendly prebiotic fiber like bulletproof innerfuel that feed bacteria in your gut.
- Ensure you get at least 2 to 2.5 teaspoons of salt a day to increase water retention, which makes your bowel regular.
- Get more fiber leafy and colorful vegetables.
- Try cyclical keto diet with high fiber such as fish, sweet potatoes and butternuts
- Stay hydrated and recharge potassium and magnesium electrolytes by eating spinach. Avocado
- Exercise regularly
- Have a food diary and track what does not work well for your body.
Increased risk of heart disease and diabetes
Most people tend to take advantage of the free hand they are given at eating foods full of fats. As a result, they might use their keto to eat several foods that may usually be considered unhealthy in a balanced diet. These include butter, ham, cheese, red meat, and so on.
As a result, the keto diet may raise cholesterol levels for most people and put them at the brink of strokes and heart attacks. It may also expose them to the risk of diabetes. This is why studies suggest that people at most risks of cancer or heart conditions are those with low carbohydrate diets.
The Effects of Being a Sugar Burner in a Sugar and Processed Food–Filled World
One of the most cited reasons for obesity worldwide is the fact that the world around sugar. The idea has not been left a void of any empirical evidence. Statistics ranging from figures of globalization to imports and exports the increasing average BMI has been due to the growing sugar traders. These very trends have been observed in Fiji, where the BMI average has risen by 0.5 as a result of sugar and processed food imports.
Ketogenic diets, although has plenty of benefits for people looking to lose weight. However, no matter how effective, the practice has had its own limitations. In cases where these limitations are not followed, the results may be disastrous.
FAQs on Keto
- What foods do I eat on the keto diet? More high-quality fats, like MCT oil, grass-fed butter, coconut oil or avocado oil
- Eat moderate amounts of fatty proteins, like grass-fed meat, pastured eggs, collagen proteins, and fish.
- Eat plenty of vegetables with high nutrients and low–carbs like broccoli, avocado, cabbage, and zucchini.
How do I know if I am on Keto?
It takes 2 – 3 days to a few weeks for the body to enter full ketosis. When in ketosis, the body will have steady and lasting energy, better focus, and reduced appetite. Ketone levels in your blood measure 0.5 – 3 millimoles per liter of blood. You can test using urine sticks, blood stickers, or breath analyze for acetone.
When on keto, you will experience the following symptoms; reduced hunger, weight loss, flu-like symptoms, and keto breathe.
Do in need to calculate macros, and how do I count them?
Macros are the carbs, proteins, and fats in your food. You do not need to count them while on a keto diet. You can, however, check the ideal keto macros and their benefits in certain quantities.
Do in need to calculate net carbs?
Net carbs are carbs used for energy. You can learn how to calculate net carbs and know the best amount for your food.
Is the keto diet healthy?
Keto diet is effective in weight loss, reducing inflammation, and improved brain performance. Nevertheless, any diet can be good or bad for you. If you feel weak, keto is not safe for you.
What is dirty keto?
It is comprised of the high-fat, low-carb structure of standard keto, but it is processed. It is good for ketosis but can cause inflammation, weight gain, and other health effects.
Learn more about dirty keto.
Will keto spike my cholesterol?
Eating saturated fat increased HDL (good cholesterol, which is a good thing). Know more about high cholesterol effects and benefits.
Does keto case diabetes?
Keto does not cause diabetes but instead helps in managing diabetes by decreasing glucose intolerance and stabilizing blood sugars.
Is keto diet sustainable long-term?
Some people thrive well, while others encounter some problems. Understanding how to do keto cycling diet is the best thing to do.
What are the different types of ketones?
- Acetone: least abundant in ketone. Exits the body through urine and breath.
- Acetoacetate: first type ketone made from fatty acids.
- Beta-hydroxybutyric acid (BHB): acetoacetate is converted to BHB and works in similar ways.
More ketones are produced the longer you fast.
How do I know if I need more Carbs?
Low carb intake has more benefits. You may need more carbs if you are exercising, stressed, fatigued, having mood swings, or experiencing dry eyes.
Why aren’t I losing weight on keto?
Some reasons why you are not losing weight on keto could be you are eating too much or too little.
How does MCT oil work with keto?
MCT oil helps our body stay on keto and produce more ketones.
Do I take exogenous ketones?
These are synthetic ketones like MCT oil that help raise ketone levels.
Do I try intermittent fasting on keto?
Intermittent fasting boosting fat-burning and weight loss.
Is keto the same thing as the Atkins diet?
No. Atkins diet is highly rich in proteins, while keto has moderate proteins.
What’s the difference between targeted ketogenic and standard keto?
Targeted keto involves taking high carbs before an intense workout. It is perfect since it produces energy within a short time. Take 20-50 grams of quality carbs 30 minutes before the activity. Full keto is recommended for endurance exercises since its metabolism is slower but produces more energy to keep going.
Fructose is not recommended for targeted keto. It goes straight to the kidney, causing ketosis rather than going to muscles. The Brain Octane Oil is a perfect choice before your workouts for maximum energy and metabolism flexibility.