When you first begin looking into beginning your health journey, the sheer number of options can be incredibly overwhelming. Countless workout routines, dietary supplement recommendations, and meal plans all appear with countless pros and cons. One of the more popular current dietary plans is the ketogenic diet, often just referred to as keto. In a nutshell, keto requires you to steeply cut back your carb intake to transition your body into ketosis, a metabolic state in which your body becomes incredibly efficient in burning stored fat.
With the standard keto regimen, your main goal is to cut back on carbohydrates and increase your intake of healthy fats. On average, your dietary components will be around seventy five percent fat, twenty percent protein, and five percent carbohydrates. This may sound crazy but it is actually really, really good for you. It even has links to regulating blood sugar in diabetic people and may actually show ties to fighting certain types of heart diseases, Alzheimer's, epilepsy, and a host of other health concerns. Carbs are quickly converted into energy, meaning that when you eat them often or in excess, your body will choose to use any consumed carbs instead of stored body fat. This means all of the fat just sits around and does not get burned as effectively, even while you are working out and striving to eat healthily; eating a lot of carbs can seriously hold you back. When you enter ketosis, your body does not have carbs to use so it begins to use ketones, which are derived directly from stored body fat. Not only does this mean that you will potentially be dropping pounds, you body will also feel positive health effects as the toxins stored in your fat cells are flushed out as well during the ketone conversion process.
It may sound crazy that eating a lot of fat could possibly be good for you but it makes sense on a scientific level. Fats are essential in our bodies, omega-3s, amino acids, and fatty acids all are crucial in keeping our bodies healthy and running smoothly. There is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate, our bodies just crave them because it's a quick fix energy source. Keto encourages you to avoid unhealthy processed foods that are full of “bad” fats and go for saturated and monounsaturated fat options like fish, avocado, and even bacon (in moderation, of course). The fats from these types of food will not only keep you feeling full longer than carbs, but will also improve many aspects of your overall health.
When starting with keto, it can be really easy to not notice hidden carbs in common food items. It is important to remember that you are monitoring your net carbs and that they may be hiding in places you would never suspect. Soy sauce, salad dressings, pizza sauce, and many other things that you would typically never even consider alongside typical carbs like bread and pasta all contain shockingly high amounts of carbohydrates. To be successful with keto, you have to remember to check high and low for those sneaky carbs.
A lot of people starting keto report feeling sick and sluggish at the very start of their journey with symptoms that can almost feel like you are ill. The so called “keto flu” does not hit everyone but it can be a huge discouraging push to those who are unlucky enough to experience it. If you begin to feel off, just know that it is temporary and will go away, leaving you feeling better than ever before. Once the initial shock to your system is over, it's all a piece of cake! The keto diet can potentially quickly turn your health around with some dedication and a bit of research.
Written by Taylor Dispari
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.