Are you interested in slimming down? Are you tired of diets that advocate low or no fats and crave your high fat meats? You may well be turning over going on the keto diet, the brand new kid on the block. Endorsed by many celebrities including Halle Berry, LeBron James and Kim Kardashian amongst others, the keto diet has been the main topic of much debate among dietitians and doctors. Do you wonder if the keto diet is safe and right for you?
What is the ketogenic diet anyway?
You must be aware that the body uses sugar in the form of glycogen to function. The keto diet that is extremely restricted in sugar forces your body to utilize fat as fuel instead of sugar, since it does not get enough sugar. Once the body does not get enough sugar for fuel, the liver is forced to turn the available fat into ketones that are used by the body as fuel – hence the term ketogenic.
This diet is a high fat diet with moderate levels of protein. Based on your carb intake the body reaches circumstances of ketosis in under a week and stays there. As fat is used rather than sugar for fuel in the body, the weight reduction is dramatic without any supposed restriction of calories.
The keto diet is such that it you should try to get 60-75% of one’s daily calories from fat, 15-30% from protein and only 5-10% from carbohydrates. This usually means that you can eat only 20-50 grams of carbs per day.
What can you eat with this diet?
The diet is a high fat diet that is somewhat similar to Atkins. However, there is greater emphasis on fats, usually ‘good’ fats. On the keto diet you could have
Grass fed beef
Full fat cheese
You can also get yourself a whole range of snacks that are meant for keto followers. As you can plainly see out of this list, fruits are restricted. You might have low sugar fruits in a restricted quantity (mostly berries), but will have to forego your preferred fruits as they are all sweet and/or starchy.
This diet includes no grains of any sort, starchy vegetables like potatoes (and all tubers), no sugar or sweets, no breads and cakes, no beans and lentils, no pasta, no pizza and burgers and incredibly little alcohol. This also means no coffee with milk or tea with milk – actually, no milk and ice-creams and milk based desserts.
A number of these have workarounds as you can get carbohydrate free pasta and pizza, you might have cauliflower rice and now there are even restaurants that cater to keto aficionados.
What are the benefits of the keto diet?
If you are wondering if this diet is safe, its proponents and the ones who have achieved their weight reduction goals will certainly agree that it is safe. On the list of great things about the keto diet you may expect:
Loss of weight
Reduced or no sugar spikes
Seizure controlling effect
Blood pressure normalizes in raised blood pressure patients
Reduced attacks of migraine
Type 2 diabetes patients with this diet may be able to reduce their medications
Some benefits to those experiencing cancer
Apart from the first four, there is not sufficient evidence to aid its effectiveness or otherwise for other diseases as far more research is required over the long-term.
Are there any side-effects of the diet?
When you initially start the keto diet, you can suffer from what is referred to as keto flu. These symptoms may not occur in all people and usually take up a few days after being on the diet, whenever your body is in circumstances of ketosis. A number of the side-effects are:
Cramps and tummy pain
Diarrhea and/or constipation
Dizziness and poor concentrations
Carbohydrate and sugar cravings
These may take up to week to subside as your body get used to the new diet regime. You may also suffer from other problems when you begin the keto diet – you might find that you have increased urination, so it is important to keep yourself properly hydrated. You may also have problems with keto breath whenever your body reaches optimal ketosis and you will use a mouthwash or brush your teeth more frequently.