The Keto diet is a popular weight loss program. It has recently become the go-to solution for anyone looking to lose weight quickly. The Keto diet plan has been around for a long time and has many pros and cons associated with the heavy use of fats and drastic reduction of carbs.
A Brief History of the Keto Diet
It may surprise you to learn that the Ketogenic Diet has been around for close to 100 years now. Dating back to the 1920s, it was found to help control epileptic seizures better than previously used fasting methods. Over the years, anticonvulsant drug treatments became the go-to method for controlling seizures and the Keto diet was somewhat forgotten.
In the mid-1990s, a resurgence of interest in the Keto diet arose as a method to control epileptic seizures. Particularly in children who were not responding to medication. Since then, the diet has been studied for its potential in controlling other neurological disorders and even shows promise for treating cancer.
In recent years, it seems like everyone is jumping on the Keto bandwagon as a way to lose weight quickly.
What is the Keto Diet?
The Keto Diet is based on the process of ketosis, where the body uses ketones for fuel instead of glucose (sugar). To reach a state of ketosis, calorie intake is limited and made up of approximately 80% fat. The remaining calories are to come from low-carb vegetables and protein. The strategy is to drastically reduce carbohydrate intake and replace it with fat.
To get into ketosis, it is common to start the first day and night with a period of fasting. The diet is gradually introduced over a couple of days so that the body has time to adjust. Ketosis usually begins within a few days of implementing the diet, sending the body into fat-burning mode. It takes about three weeks of carbohydrate elimination for your body to transition into ketosis for the main source of energy.
The diet should be customized for individual needs and is usually maintained for extended periods of time. The ratios of fat, protein, and carbs for a keto diet plan can vary depending on the individual and their goals.
Maintaining ketosis can be tricky. Eating too many carbs will switch the body over to using glucose instead of ketones as a fuel source. An easy way to determine whether you’re actually doing keto the right way is by using an over-the-counter ketosis urine strip test.
Keto Diet Food List
The keto diet plan avoids the following foods:
- Processed food
- Starchy vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, leeks, beets, winter squash)
- High-sugar fruits (bananas, apples, pears, oranges, dried fruit)
- Trans fats
What to eat on the keto diet plan:
- Low-carb vegetables (leafy greens, asparagus, cauliflower, celery, mushrooms, sprouts, cucumbers, avocado)
- Low-carb fruits (berries, kiwi, lemon, lime, tomatoes, olives)
- Nuts and seeds
- Healthy oils
Should I Try the Keto Diet?
The Keto diet can be a quick way to lose weight and still enjoy fatty foods (like bacon and burgers). This diet is often used in tandem with intermittent fasting, which has been found to reduce the feeling of hunger during fasting periods. It is especially beneficial for people that have metabolic syndrome (overweight, high triglyceride levels, low HDL “good” cholesterol).
However, it is important to know that this diet is not recommended for everyone and has the potential to cause harm if done improperly.
Potential side effects of the Keto diet include constipation, dehydration, vomiting, high cholesterol, kidney stones, pancreatitis, excess fat in the blood, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Therefore, it is recommended that anyone undertaking this diet should consult their doctors first and be closely monitored for the duration of the diet. Especially if you have any underlying medical conditions.
Each person has different needs and what works well for one person will not work for everyone. To find the best diet for yourself, you will need to do some trial and error. Keto may be a great option for you, or it may be too extreme. A health coach can help you navigate the often confusing world of diets to find the perfect plan for you.