Though it may seem new to your news feed, the ketogenic diet has been around since the 1920s. The low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet gained a foothold when proven to reduce seizures in pediatric patients with epilepsy.
Break Down the Keto Diet
The keto diet is all about having common foods with cutting carbs and eating more fat. Here’s what the daily breakdown of carbs, protein and fat looks like:
- 5 percent of calories from carbohydrates, including low-carb, non-starchy vegetables and small amounts of leafy greens. The keto diet excludes carb-rich foods like grains, beans, fruits and starchy vegetables.
- 20 percent of calories from protein, such as meat, eggs and cheese.
- 75 percent of calories from fat, such as oils, unprocessed nuts, butter and avocado.
According to Dietitians, the ketogenic diet is designed to burn fat by cutting carbs. “Your body turns carbohydrates into glucose for energy,” she explains. “When you cut carbs from your diet, you switch to burning fatty acids, or ketones.”
Breaking down fats for energy is called ketosis. It takes about three weeks of carbohydrate elimination for your body to transition into ketosis.
Here are the pros and cons of keto diet.
- Reduced hunger. – Mostly used carbs like wheat, sugar, corn, and potatoes make you hungry because they are poor in fiber and as a result you are not full when you should be. Fat and food full of fiber are slow energy and it takes longer to digest. You eat more rarely. Sometimes is 1 quality meal a day is enough.
- You aren’t sleepy. – Since carbs give you lots of fast energy and increase insulin levels it can cause fatigue and weakness. On the other side, fat and fiber give you slow energy which leads to burning fat for fuel instead of carbs. It increases energy and brainpower. In the end, we have more quality energy. Before, I was always sleepy at 9 pm after eating carbs. And when I switched to a keto diet, I was awake and working until 1 am without noticing.
- Good mood and reduced stress. – We noticed that we are calmer, happier, cheered, and we feel good about ourselves. Our motivation to be better and move forward with the diet and life quality has increased even more. Every problem or challenge was discussed with less stress and resolved smoothly. We didn’t panic about it.
- Fresh and smooth skin, stronger hair, stronger nails. – I noticed that my face skin was smoother and all pimples were gone and never came back when I was on the keto diet. There was no need to apply any kind of moisture cream on it. My hair was less falling out and my nails were growing like crazy. I have never had such long nails.
- Psychic stability. – Very important part of the keto diet. The keto diet hasn’t only physical benefits but also Psychic. It brings you more psychic stability. You don’t feel depressed, sad, nervous. Simply, your thoughts are not all over the place. They are mostly positive, motivated, and your emotions are in place. It doesn’t happen that you snap about the situation. Your brain is calm.
- Concentration, motivation, more focus. – As I mentioned above, there is more energy, you are not sleepy which leads to more energy for the concentration and focus on the work you are doing. So many new ideas are coming to your mind and when you are working, the durability of your work is on a high level.
- Weight loss/fat loss. – Keto diet turns your body in a fat-burning machine because it uses fat for the energy and not glucose. Your body will come in ketosis state which means it uses ketones to create energy, not glucose, and it will burn stored fat. You can also lose fat not counting calories you put into your body.
- Food is delicious. – The food you eat is full of taste. Healthy fats like olive oil, nut fats, avocados, eggs, fish, meat make your meal delicious. Try to remove fats from your meal. It isn’t so tasty, right? Since you need more salt on a ketogenic diet, this makes your meals even tastier.
- Able to eat more salt. – You can eat 3 times more salt than usual. It is a must because when insulin levels are down like mentioned above, the kidneys excrete a big amount of sodium into the urine, and you could have heavier keto flu at the beginning. When switching to a low-carb diet, levels of electrolytes, especially sodium are dropping. Some of the symptoms of electrolyte deficiency are fatigue, weakness, headaches, muscle cramps, etc.
- Glycogen is always empty. – Even if you decide to have a cheat meal full of carbs, your glycogen is not existent upon doing that. This means it is almost impossible for you to store fat after breaking the ketogenic diet. The only problem is that you will need a couple of days to adopt again.
- Fasting is not a problem. – “Fasting is the willing abstinence or reduction of some or all food, drink, or both, for some time.” Fasting is a known practice for thousands of years and it has shown a lot of health benefits. Since keto diet meals make you full for a long time, fasting is a piece of cake, especially intermittent fasting. intermittent fasting is a method with a 16/8 eating window. You do not eat for 16 hours. On the keto diet that is very easy because you are not hungry most of the time and you feel good when you are not eating. On the other side, carbs make you hungry all the time and you have those crazy panic cravings which make you nuts if you don’t put something in your mouth. With a keto diet, no such hunger attacks are present.
- Keto flu. – Most people have some kind of symptoms at the beginning of the keto diet. Your body has to start using ketones for fuel and not glucose anymore. It has to adapt to the new metabolic state. The first week you can feel tired, have stinky breath, low energy, headache, dizziness, hard to sleep, keto rash (rare), etc. Nothing serious, but at that time people mostly give up. For example, I got a small keto rash on my chest. There is no exact reason why that happens but some experts say it happens because toxins are released from our bodies. If that is true, I don’t have a problem with it.
- Reduced explosive energy. – If you are doing HIIT, you will probably be a bit slower during the adopting phase. HIIT on the carb energy is awesome. Lifting weights won’t be a problem, at least it wasn’t for us. But we noticed when we do HIIT or some faster movements, we lack the explosive energy. I don’t see that as a big con. I mean, you can normally train like before but don’t expect to be first in running a 100m sprint.
- Welcome to the Anti-social club. – People will tell you that you are crazy and that keto diet is bad for you. They will offer you food that is not keto. They simply do not understand and don’t want to listen. Get used to it. Wherever you go there are carbs, carbs, carbs. Carbs everywhere. You don’t fit. Simple as that. If they say OMG you eat just fats, that’s dangerous. That is just a sign they didn’t even spend a minute learning about ketones in our body. They just won’t accept it. Very hard to go to birthday parties, job meetings, dinners, etc. This is the hardest part and I advise you not to start with a keto diet if you can’t handle this.
- Very strict diet. – To stay in keto, the daily carb intake is between 20 and 50 g. It depends if you are a woman or a guy, do you train or not, your height, etc. After breaking keto, you will need at least 3 days to come back. There are ways to come back even faster for example if you do fasting a whole day right after together with working out. Then it could happen in 1 or 2 days. Keto flu can appear again and again if you are constantly stepping in and out of the keto state, and carb cravings will be back
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