From bulletproof coffee to intermittent fasting, the ketogenic diet seems to be everywhere these days! But is the keto diet just a fad, or a key part of a healthy lifestyle? We took a closer look on this low carb diet to help you find answers to these questions.
Ketogenic Diet is a Special Form of Low-Carb Nutrition
The ketogenic diet is a special form of low-carb nutrition. Originally developed as a way to help epilepsy patients in the 1920s, it’s a high-protein and low-fat, low-carbohydrate diet.
During a ketogenic diet, 75% of your calories come from fat, 20% from protein, and only about 5% from carbohydrates. That means you say goodbye to pasta, bread, and other bakery products, sugar, sweets, etc.. Instead load up with fat-rich foods such as meat, fish, eggs, and cheese. You also include large quantities of vegetables, salad, and nuts.
Many swear by limited consumption of carbohydrates to lose weight. Due to the lack of carbohydrates, the body falls back on its fat reserves.
Fat Becomes Energy
Our brain normally needs glucose to work, which our body obtains from simple carbohydrates. Glucose is in our blood. It enters the cells through the blood sugar-lowering hormone insulin. We store unused energy as fat. So if we load up on too much pasta, bread, or sweets, our body stores it as fat.
The aim of the ketogenic diet is to put our body into a state of ketosis. This means that our body takes the necessary energy from fat due to the carbohydrate deficiency. As a result, our fat reserves melt.
During the so-called gluconeogenesis and ketogenesis, the triglycerides (fats) from the fatty tissue can be mobilized and converted into glucose and ketone bodies. Our body uses them as an energy source.
Fast Weight Loss with Fat and Protein
Since you’re using fat, rather than carbs as your energy source, you should notice significant weight loss. You’ll probably notice weight loss pretty quickly, as a result of this carbohydrate-poor diet. The high protein and fat content of the ketogenic diet ensures quick and long saturation without loss of muscle mass. This is important for losing weight, as your muscles can burn a lot of excess energy. This also increases the motivation to continue on this diet.
However, studies have shown that after one or two years, ketogenic dieters usually regain the initial weight loss. Many have stopped the diet and re-integrated foods containing carbohydrates into their diet.
If you only follow a ketogenic diet is over a short period of time, you risk falling into the trap of yo-yo dieting. Even if you reach your goal weight with a ketogenic plan, it’s not going to help if you resume your previous eating habits.
That is precisely what many people find this diet so difficult. Long-standing habits can often only be changed over slowly in small steps.
Guidelines for the Ketogenic Diet
If you google for the term “ketogenic diet”, you will mainly read that it is about a lot of fat and a lot of protein. If you just stick to it, there is a risk that you will develop a nutrient deficiency. The ketogenic diet is much more than fat and protein. If you don’t implement it correctly, you could damage your health. So be sure to follow these four steps to follow it correctly:
- Only eat when you’re really hungry: Some people eat without feeling hungry, resulting in empty calories. You probably learned from an early age that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But in a ketogenic diet, you should only eat when you are really hungry. This prolongs the nightly fasting window, which reduces more fat. You often see the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting linked together for this reason.
- The right amount of fat is very important: Too little fat can cause an early feeling of hunger. Too much fat harms the liver and the heart and can be really harmful in the long run. Too much protein isn’t good either.
- Eat vegetables in large quantities: Your body needs the fibers, minerals, and vitamins. Without potassium, your muscles can’t be built and your heart can’t work properly.
- Focus on fat loss over total body weight: Weight is not the only decisive factor in a diet’s effectiveness. Remember- muscles weigh more than fat. Therefore, it is better to check your waist measurement, and don’t despair if you don’t lose weight at first.
Is the Ketogenic Diet Right for Me?
The ketogenic diet has been effective in promoting weight loss, but it’s not for everyone. Many find it difficult to adhere to such an extremely low-carbohydrate food form is difficult. Sometimes the large list of “forbidden” foods just seems to make them more appealing!
We need carbohydrates to survive, and since a keto lifestyle tends to reduce or eliminate many valuable foods like fruit, it’s difficult to maintain longterm. Even the popular Bulletproof Diet, encourages adherents to stick with a keto diet for 5-6 days a week and using the weekend as a carb-refuel day to balance out the diet.
Reducing your carb consumption, or jumpstarting your body into ketosis, can lead to cravings, constipation and nutrient deficiencies. In the long run, the ketogenic diet is probably not the best long-term solution.
Long-Term Healthy Living
Rather than using the keto diet as a quick weight-loss fix, we might want to focus on overall health and wellness. Rather than eliminating some nutritious whole foods entirely, start with getting rid of extra empty calories our body just doesn’t need. Just cutting back on refined sugar and carbs might go a long way to restoring health and wellness.
A varied and balanced diet and plenty of physical exercise are two crucial ways to improve your lifestyle. If we stick to it, we don’t need a ketogenic diet for a healthy lifestyle reboot.
Looking for moral support when starting a weight-loss journey? Thinking of giving the ketogenic diet a try? Let us know below, or talk it over with family and friends on FamilyApp.