The Low carb high fat Ketogenic diet is a healthy way to lose weight. This fact is backed up by extensive amounts of research done by nutrition experts; There are even studies that link the keto diet to improvements in diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
What Is the Ketogenic Diet
The Ketogenic diet is a low carbohydrate, high fat diet which encourages the body to use fat as opposed to sugar, to generate fuel through the process of ketosis. Whether it is a Ketogenic diet for women or men, the body becomes very efficient at using fat for energy and leads to blood sugar and insulin levels reduction.
Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet
The benefits of ketosis are many and include;-
- Reduced appetite – Hunger is one of the major reasons why people fall off the diet wagon. When you eat a low carb diet, your appetite reduces significantly.
- Quick initial weight loss – if you want to lose weight quickly, cut out the carbs. The weight loss is attributable to the loss of water due to frequent urination and lower insulin levels. The fact that your appetite also reduces is also a contributing factor to the quick weight loss.
- Great way to lose belly fat – the visceral fat which accumulates in the abdomen is usually one of the first things to go when on a low carb diet.
- Reduction in insulin and sugar levels – the low carb diet works well for people with diabetes because it drops the levels of insulin and sugar in the blood. Studies show that people with diabetes who are on low carb diets have cut down the insulin dosage by almost 50%. Those with type 2 diabetes reduced or eliminated glucose medication within six months.
Types of Ketogenic Diets
The Ketogenic diet has a number of varieties, and if you’re thinking of getting into it, you should choose one that is suitable for you.
- Standard Ketogenic diet (SKD) – SKD requires that you take very low carbs, and combine it with high fats and moderate protein. The ratio should ideally be 5% carbs, 75% fat and 20% protein.
- Cyclical Ketogenic diet (CKD) – CKD allows for intermittent high carbohydrate intake. For example, you follow the standard Ketogenic diet for six days and then follow with two days of carbohydrate consumption. CKD is suitable for those who do high-intensity sports.
- Targeted Ketogenic diet (TKD) – TKD allows you to consume carbohydrates during the workout intervals. TKD is also suitable for athletes, marathoners, body builders among other people in high-intensity sports.
- High protein Ketogenic diet – this is a lot like the standard diet, but you increase the protein intake. The fat, protein and carb ratio would ideally be 60:35:5.
What To Eat When On A Ketogenic Diet
The Ketogenic diet is quite forgiving when it comes to the type of food you can eat. The only caveat is that you should reduce the amount of carbohydrates in your diet. When doing your grocery shopping for the diet, make sure you include low carb foods like:–
- Meat – fatty cuts of meat are very good for the keto diet because you will need the energy from the fat.
- Fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and salmon are good.
- Eggs, butter, cream, and unprocessed cheese
- Nuts like almonds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, and walnut among others.
- Healthy oils like coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil will provide relevant micronutrients.
- Fruits and vegetables like avocado, tomatoes, spinach, kales, and cucumbers are advisable.
- Condiments and spices- ensure that whatever you buy is sugar-free and try as much as possible to use fresh spices.
Avoid sugary foods, wheat-based products, high carb fruits, root vegetables, tubers, processed dairy products, processed oils and fat among others.
Ketogenic Diet and Exercise
It is possible and advisable to combine the diet with exercise. However, in the initial stages of the diet, you may experience extreme fatigue and irritability due to the ‘keto flu.’ These symptoms may be because your body no longer has enough reserves of carbohydrates and is beginning the process of going into ketosis.
When starting on the exercise regime, start with low-intensity workouts and build your core strength. After about two weeks you can start to incorporate your normal exercise routine. But be careful not to over-extend yourself and listen to your body closely.
Possible Side Effects of Ketosis
Impact on the Libido
Some people have reported a decrease in libido. However, once the body goes into ketosis fully, the libido tends to come back.
Keto flu is another side effect. It is known as the keto flu because the symptoms manifest in the same way the normal flu would. The symptoms include headaches, irritability, constipation, general body weakness, vomiting, and fatigue amongst others. If you do not hydrate properly, you risk dehydration, so make sure that you drink plenty of water.
Heart and Kidney Damage
Dehydration can cause kidney stones, while the loss of electrolytes due to frequent urination can increase the risk of kidney injury. Further, there is a risk of cardiac arrhythmia due to electrolyte deficiency.
Be careful about yo-yo dieting because it is quite strict and not many people can stick to it. The diet can also interfere with the bone density, irregular menstrual cycle, and some people are not able to sleep. Experts are also concerned about the long-term effects of a diet that is not properly balanced.
Is The Diet For Everyone
Just like any other diet, the keto diet is not for everyone. If you suffer from high blood pressure or diabetes, seek the opinion of a doctor before attempting the diet. In fact, anyone who plans to do any diet should seek medical opinion first.
The Ketogenic diet is a great way to lose weight. However be very observant and take the correct measures, like getting medical attention before you begin. Remember to combine exercise with the diet for better results.