What is the ketogenic diet?
Ketones are a byproduct of fat metabolism and an alternate energy source that is utilized in times of starvation, carbohydrate restriction, or excessive exercise. When your body has no means of getting glucose from foods, it converts fatty acids from fats into ketones, which has been shown to promote fat burning, lower inflammation, improve blood sugar and brain function, and increase energy levels.
In order to reach a state of ketosis, an individual needs to follow a diet consisting of high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate intake. Guidelines must be followed strictly.
Who is the ketogenic diet for?
What does a ketogenic diet look like?
Foods to include in Keto Diet
- Low-carb vegetables
- Low-carb fruits
- Nuts and seeds
- Healthy oils (coconut, olive, avocado, MCT)
Foods to avoid in the Keto Diet
- High-carb vegetables
- High-carb fruits
- Trans fats
- Processed foods
What a day in the life of keto looks like:
What are the benefits of keto diet?
- Boosts energy levels: Though starting the keto diet can leave you fatigued, over time it can improve mitochondrial function (the powerhouse of your cells) and thus increase energy levels. You can also improve your blood sugar levels by reducing sugar and focusing on fats and protein which provide a steady supply of energy over a longer period of time.
- Balances blood sugar: Sugar spikes blood sugar which can result in diabetes over time and poor blood sugar control, which are linked with many chronic diseases.
- Fights inflammation: By decreasing sugar, you lower free radicals and inflammatory byproducts improving your overall inflammatory status. Ketones have been shown to stimulate cellular repair and create certain anti-inflammatory pathways whilst inhibiting other inflammatory pathways in the body. Improved blood sugar and lipid levels, also shown on the keto diet, are significant contributors to improving inflammatory levels in the body.
- Promotes weight loss: As one of the main factors for following a keto diet these days, keto helps enhance weight loss by transitioning from a “sugar burning” state to a “fat burning” state.
- By lowering carbs and focusing on fats and protein, you improve hunger signals, lower cravings, and promote satiety; which are all supportive of weight loss. As we saw, this also supports blood sugar and encouraging the body to reach into its fat stores for energy use instead of sugar.
- Supports brain function: Ketones provide an immediate source of fuel for cognitive function, and fats are an important component of a healthy brain (which is made up of about 60% fat). The keto diet has been shown to supply neuroprotective properties, improve mood, support the development and growth of brain cells, and improve communication between neurons.
What are the dangers of keto diet?
Some drawbacks of the keto diet include:
- Difficult to follow for extended periods
- Common nutrient deficiencies
- Consistent monitoring required
- Can be highly acidic
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Gallbladder removal
- History of kidney stones
- History of anorexia or disordered eating
- Low pancreatic function
The right way and the wrong way to do keto
- Add as many vegetables and low sugar fruits as you can in order to get enough fibre, antioxidants and vital nutrients
- Choose quality: organic/grass-fed/pasture raised animal products, healthy fats like coconut, avocado, cold-pressed virgin olive oil, and raw nuts and seeds
- Focus on whole foods, rather than keto treats and packaged foods
- Drink plenty of water
- Ensure you are getting enough electrolytes by supplementing or consuming bone broth, leafy greens, nuts, avocado, mushrooms, and healthy salt like sea salt or Himalayan salt.