What is a Keto Lifestyle?

What is Keto:

The keto diet is known for being a low carb diet, similar to Atkins. When you eat a low carb diet your body produces ketones in the liver, which is used as energy instead of high carb diet, which produces glucose and insulin. The easiest molecule for our bodies to convert and use as energy is glucose, which is why it is chosen over other energy sources. Insulin is used to process your body’s glucose in your bloodstream by taking it around the body.

When your body is using glucose as its primary source of energy, the fat in your body is not needed; therefore it is then stored away. When you being a keto diet, you are lowering your daily intake of carbs forcing your body into a state known as Ketosis.

Ketosis is a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low. During this state, we produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver. I know what you’re thinking… How is a diet that causes your body to go into starvation mode good?! The keto diet forces your body to enter this metabolic state not through the starvation of calories, but through the starvation of carbohydrates.

My wife and I watched the movie Cereal Killers. It is a 60-minute documentary about one man’s journey in doing this diet for 28 days. I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone interested in this type of lifestyle. You can rent or buy the movie at http://www.cerealkillersmovie.com.

The Benefits of Keto:

The benefits that come with changing your life style to a keto one is abundant. Ranging from the obvious, weight loss but also including therapeutic medical applications. Almost anyone can benefits from eating a low-carb, high-fat diet.

Weight Loss
The Ketogenic diet basically uses your body fat as an energy source. On keto, your insulin levels decrease, which turns your body into a fat burning machine. On a scientific level keto has shown better weight loss results than compared to the commonly know low-fat and high-carb diets on a short and long term basis.

Control Blood Sugar
Keto naturally lowers blood sugar levels because you are consuming foods that don’t contain any or very low amounts of sugar. Studies have shown that a keto diet is a more effective way to manager and prevent diabetes compared to low-calorie diets.

Mental Focus
Ketones are a great source of fuel for your body and your brain! Because you are lowering your carb intake you avoid spikes in your blood sugar that can result in improved focus and concentration. Studies have also shown that an increase in consuming fatty acids can have positive benefits on your brains function.

Increased Energy & Normalized Hunger
When you fuel your body with a better and more reliable energy source you will feel better throughout the day. Its been proven that our body’s stored fat is the most effective molecule to burn into fuel for energy. Ontop of fat being a great source of energy it has also been shown to be more satisfying and give us that full feeling for longer.

Since the early 1900’s the Ketogenic diet has been used to successfully treat epilepsy for adults and children because it allows for fewer medications to be used while offering epileptic control.

Cholesterol & Blood Pressure
The Ketogenic diet has been shown to dramatically increase HDL (good cholesterol) and decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) particle concentration compared to low-fat diets. It has also been shown to improve triglyceride levels and improve blood pressure compared to other diets.

Insulin Resistance
If left unmanaged, insulin resistance can lead to type II diabetes. Studies have proven that by following a low-carb, Ketogenic duet can help aid people in lowering their insulin levels to healthy ones.

Getting Started:

When preparing to start a Ketogenic diet you will want to plan ahead. Creating a meal plan will help enter into the Ketogenic state faster, remember that the more you restrict carbohydrates (less than 20g per day) the faster your body will enter ketosis.

Do Not Eat
Grains – wheat, corn, rice, cereal, etc.
Sugar – honey, agave, maple syrup, etc.
Fruit – apples, bananas, oranges, etc.
Tubers – potato, yams, etc.

Do Eat
Meats – fish, beef, lamb, poultry, eggs, etc.
Leafy Greens – spinach, kale, etc.
Above ground vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
High Fat Dairy – hard cheeses, high fat cream, butter, etc.
Nuts and seeds – macadamias, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
Avocado and berries – raspberries, blackberries, and other low glycemic impact berries
Sweeteners – stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, and other low-carb sweeteners >
Other fats – coconut oil, high-fat salad dressing, saturated fats, etc.

Remember that the key to keto is consuming foods high in fat, moderate in protein, and very low in carbs. Your nutrient intake should consist of around 70% fats, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrates.

20-50g of net carbs is the recommended ratio of everyday keto dieting. Keeping that in mind, the lower you keep your carbohydrate intake and glucose levels, the better your overall results will be. When following this diet, it is a good idea to track your daily total and net carbs.

You want to keep protein as your main source of consumption filling in the remainder of your daily calories with fats.

***Note: A net carb is your total dietary carbohydrates, minus the total fiber. For example, if something is 5 total carbs and 3g of fiber your net carb consumption will be 2 total net carbs.

If you find yourself hungry in-between meals make sure you stick to items such as nuts, seeds, deli meats, and cheeses, for snacking curb your appetite. Always check the nutritional values for total/net carbs. Also, if you’re in a rush and need a keto fast food option, there are some available. For example, a McDouble from McDonalds without ketchup and the bun is 3g of carbs and 1g of fiber totaling 2 net carbs.

Vegetables on a Ketogenic Diet
When considering what vegetables is the best choice on a Ketogenic diet dark green and leafy is always the best choice. Most of your meals should be a protein with vegetables, and an extra side of fat. For example, a grilled chicken breast basted olive oil, with 2 cups of broccoli covered in cheese or a steak topped with a knob of butter, and a side of spinach sautéed in olive oil.

***Image originally from https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto