If you follow the fitness world, you have probably heard one of the latest buzz terms that’s being talked about a lot lately – the keto diet. You can see it on the cover of virtually every health magazine and you hear it whenever you’re at the gym. But what exactly is a keto diet? In this guide, we’ll give you a quick overview of this trendy and very effective diet.
What is Ketosis?
Before explaining what the keto diet is, it’s important to understand what ketosis is.
Ketosis is a metabolic process that the body enters when it is denied carbohydrates. The body uses carbs (sugars or glucose) as its main source of fuel. However, as it turns out, carbs aren’t the most effective fuel source for the body; ketones are much more effective.
When you significantly reduce the amount of carbohydrates you are ingesting, your body draws on its fat stores to create energy, which creates ketones. These ketones serve as your body’s new source of fuel.
What are Ketones?
Ketones, also referred to as ketone bodies, are the byproducts your body creates when it breaks down fat stores for energy. These byproducts are sent into the bloodstream. There are three types of ketones:
- These are the first ketones the body creates. They are made when fatty acids are broken down.
- Beta-hydroxybutyrate. This is the most abundant ketone in the body and it plays the most important role in ketosis.
- An organic compound, this ketone is also produced when fat is broken down.
When your body uses fat as its fuel instead of carbohydrates, you can reap a number of benefits, including:
- Rapid weight loss. Hands down, one of the biggest benefits of ketosis is how effective it is for weight loss. When you’re body uses its fat stores for energy, you burn through fat much more quickly, which results in rapid weight loss.
- Improved energy. Have you ever eaten a carb-laden meal and found that you felt a marked decrease in your energy levels? If so, you have experienced a sugar crash. Carbs don’t offer a consistent supply of energy, which is why your energy levels feel depleted when you eat a lot of carbohydrates and sugars. With ketosis, on the other hand, your body is using its fat stores to produce energy, which is much more readily available, so you feel less tired and much more energetic.
- Better concentration. While your brain can be powered by sugar, it prefers to be fueled by fat. When you enter ketosis, the function of your brain improves, which leads to enhanced concentration and makes you feel more alert.
- Improved performance. Your body is able to use oxygen much more efficiently when it enters ketosis, which means more oxygen is pumped to your muscles. When your muscles receive more oxygen, you experience a marked increase in your athletic performance and strength.
What is a Keto Diet?
As the name suggests, a keto diet is a low-carb diet (or no-carb diet). By reducing or eliminating the amount of carbs you consume, your body is able to burn fat more efficiently and therefore can enter into the state of ketosis.
A keto diet involves:
- Eating more high-quality, healthy fats, such as nuts, avocados, and cold-pressed olive oil.
- Using ketones supplements or taking a ketones powder, which can help to jumpstart the production of ketones and help you enter ketosis faster.
- Elminating sugars from your diet. The less sugars you eat, the less reserves of carbohydrates you will have, which will allow you to start burning fat more quickly.