The Keto Diet
Known since the 20s as a natural and effective natural treatment for epilepsy, the ketogenic diet, also known as Keto, is more and more popular. So here is the outline of this diet that could help you solve a large number of health problems including diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
WHAT IS THE KETOGEN DIET?
The ketogenic diet - more commonly referred to simply as “keto” - is a high fat, low carb diet that puts your body into a fat burning state known as ketosis. In ketosis, your body uses body fat, rather than carbohydrates, as its primary source of energy.
To enter a state of ketosis, reducing your carbohydrate intake is vital. A lot of people think of the keto diet to be a very high fat diet, but consuming massive amounts of fat is not as important as cutting back on carbs when it comes to changing your metabolism to run on fat.
To fully understand this metabolic change, it is important to understand how your metabolism works.
How the diet works
When you eat a high carbohydrate diet, your body converts those carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar), which increases your blood sugar.
When blood sugar levels rise, they signal your body to make insulin, a hormone that carries glucose to your cells so that it can be used for energy. This is called an insulin spike [*].
Glucose is your body's preferred source of energy. As long as you keep eating carbohydrates, your body converts them into sugar which is then burned for energy. In other words, when glucose is present, your body will refuse to burn its fat stores.
The only way to start burning fat is by eliminating carbohydrates. This depletes your glycogen (stored glucose) stores, leaving your body with no choice but to start burning fat stores. Your body begins to convert fatty acids into ketones, putting your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
What are ketones?
In ketosis, your liver converts fatty acids into ketones or ketones. These by-products become your body's new source of energy. When you reduce your carb intake and replace those calories with healthy fats and carbs, your body responds by adapting to keto or burning fat more efficiently.
Ketosis helps your body run on stored body fat when food is not readily available. Likewise, the keto diet aims to 'starve' your body of carbs, shifting you into a fat burning state.
The keto diet works best when you stick to a consistently low carb intake - less than about 50 grams per day for most people.
The keto diet focuses on moderate protein, low-carb vegetables, and quality fats.
There are general guidelines for a ketogenic diet, but several versions exist and vary according to the objectives sought as well as the personal characteristics of each individual. Here are the basic general guidelines:
70-80% of calories from fat
20-25% of calories from protein
5-10% of calories from net carbs
There are several main approaches to the ketogenic diet. When deciding which method is best for you, consider your goals, your physical condition, and what is realistic for your lifestyle.
Standard ketogenic diet
This is the most common and recommended version of the diet. Here, you stay in the 20-50 grams of net carbs per day, focusing on moderate protein intake and high fat intake.
Note: The Standard Method is the most widely used and studied version of keto. Most of the information in this guide relates to this standard method.
Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD)
If you are an active person, this approach might be right for you. Targeted keto involves eating around 25 to 50 grams of net carbs or less 30 minutes to an hour before exercise.
What can you eat on a keto diet?
Now that you understand the basics of the keto diet, it's time to make your low-carb food shopping list and hit the grocery store.
On the keto diet, you will enjoy nutrient dense foods and avoid high carb ingredients.
Meat, eggs, nuts and seeds
Always choose the highest quality meat possible, selecting grass-fed and organic beef whenever possible, wild-caught fish, and pasture-raised poultry, pork and eggs.
Nuts and seeds are also fine and best eaten raw.
Vegetables are a great way to get a healthy dose of micronutrients, thereby preventing nutrient deficiencies on keto.
Green leaves, such as kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and arugula
Cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage, cauliflower, and zucchini
Lettuce, including iceberg, romaine and butterhead
Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi
Other vegetables like mushrooms, asparagus and celery
Keto-Friendly Dairy Products
Choose the best quality you can afford, selecting grass-fed, full-fat, and organic dairy products whenever possible. Avoid low-fat or fat-free dairy products or products high in sugar.
Grass fed butter and ghee
Heavy cream and heavy whipping cream
Fermented dairy products like yogurt and kefir
Hard and soft cheeses
Approach fruit with caution on keto as it contains high amounts of sugar and carbohydrates.
Avocados (the only fruit you can eat in abundance)
Organic berries such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and cranberries (a handful per day)
Healthy fats and oils
Sources of healthy fat include grass-fed butter, tallow, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, sustainable palm oil, and MCT oil.
Butter and ghee
Coconut oil and coconut butter
Sesame seed oil
MCT oil and MCT powder
Foods to Avoid on a Keto Diet
The following foods are best avoided on a keto diet due to their high carb content. When you start Keto, purge your fridge and cabinets, donate any unopened items, and throw the rest away.
Grains are loaded with carbohydrates, so it's best to stay away from all grains on keto. This includes whole grains, wheat, pasta, rice, oats, barley, rye, corn, and quinoa.
Beans and legumes
While many vegans and vegetarians rely on beans for their protein content, these foods are incredibly high in carbohydrates. Avoid eating red beans, chickpeas, black beans, and lentils.
Fruits high in sugar
While many fruits contain antioxidants and other micronutrients, they are also high in fructose, which can easily kick you out of ketosis.
Avoid apples, mangoes, pineapples, and other fruits (except small amounts of berries).
Avoid starchy foods like potatoes, sweet potatoes, certain types of squash, parsnips and carrots.
Like fruits, these foods have health benefits, but they are also very high in carbohydrates.
This includes, but is not limited to, desserts, artificial sweeteners, ice cream, smoothies, sodas, and juices.
Even condiments like ketchup and barbecue sauce are usually loaded with sugar, so be sure to read the labels before adding them to your meal plan. If you're craving something sweet, try a keto-friendly dessert recipe made from low-glycemic sweeteners (like stevia or erythritol) instead.
Some alcoholic drinks are low on the glycemic index and are suitable for a ketogenic diet. However, keep in mind that when you drink alcohol, your liver will preferentially process ethanol and stop producing ketones.
If you are on a keto diet for weight loss, keep your alcohol intake to a minimum. If you fancy a cocktail, stick to low sugar mixers and avoid most beers and wines.
Health Benefits of a Keto Diet
A ketogenic diet has been linked to incredible health benefits that extend far beyond weight loss. Here are some ways keto can help you feel better, stronger, and more lucid.
Keto for weight loss
Probably the number one reason that made keto famous - sustainable fat loss. Keto can help drastically reduce body weight, body fat, and body mass while maintaining muscle mass.
Keto for endurance levels
The ketogenic diet can help improve endurance levels in athletes. However, it may take time for athletes to adjust to burning fat instead of glucose for energy.
Keto for gut health
Several studies have shown a link between low sugar intake and improved symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). One study has shown that a ketogenic diet can improve abdominal pain and the overall quality of life for people with IBS.
Keto for diabetes
The ketogenic diet can help balance blood sugar and insulin levels. Lowering the risk of insulin resistance may help prevent metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes.
Keto for heart health
The keto diet may help reduce risk factors for heart disease, including improving HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol (linked to plaque in the arteries).
Keto for brain health
Ketones have been linked to possible neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory benefits. Therefore, the keto diet can support people with conditions such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, among other degenerative brain conditions.
Keto for epilepsy
The ketogenic diet was created in the early part of the 20th century to help prevent seizures in patients with epilepsy, especially children. To date, ketosis is used as a therapeutic method for those who suffer from epilepsy.
Keto for SPM
It is estimated that 90% of women experience one or more symptoms associated with PMS [*] [*].
A keto diet can help balance blood sugar, fight chronic inflammation, increase nutrient stores, and quell cravings - all of which can help ease PMS symptoms.
And then you try it?
- Caroline Bisaillon