What is the Ketogenic Diet... and does it even work???
With my line of work I have been asked about this diet more than any others so I felt inclined to simply breakdown what this diet is, what its purpose is and what (if any) are the downsides...
How has this diet become so popular so quickly? Was this thing rebranded from a past diet? The Ketogenic diet is one of the most popular diets out there right now, but what is it? And should you consider trying it? Let's dive into all things Keto!
In order for us to move forward we need to first look back at how the Ketogenic diet got its start?
The Ketogenic diet was first developed in the 1920s as a treatment for epilepsy. It was reintroduced in the 1970s by Dr. Robert Atkins (hence the Atkins diet) to help people lose weight and improve their overall health. Since then, countless studies have been done on the effectiveness of this type of diet and its effects on weight loss and other health concerns like diabetes and cancer risk reduction. The premise of the diet, well at least the popularity of the diet, is to reduce someone’s overall sugar/carbohydrate intake while drastically increasing their protein and fat (lipid) intake.
The Ketogenic diet (or simply the Keto diet) is characterized by a low-carb, high-fat eating pattern. A person on this diet consumes between 20 and 50 grams of total carbs per day (exact number varies depending on your goals, weight, fat percentage, etc.…), while the majority of their calorie intake comes from fat. It's not just any old kind of fat, though—it has to be good stuff like butter, ghee and MCT oil that are rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). There lies the difference between the once popularized Atkins diet and the new age Ketogenic diet, the types of fat you eat. The Atkins diet was built around packaged foods containing high amounts of unhealthy fats. Ketogenic, well if you are doing it correctly, is spent around eating high quality whole food fats high in MCT’s and Omega-3’s.
The main goal of the Ketogenic diet is to kick your body into a state of nutritional ketosis by reducing your carbohydrate intake and increasing your fat intake. This dietary approach has been shown to have many health benefits including weight loss and improved blood sugar control. But if you’re following a Ketogenic diet, how much protein should eat? This is debatable but your primary macronutrient should come from healthy fat first and protein second. For example, a common breakdown would be 65% of calories from fat, 30% of calories from protein and 5% of calories from Fat.
In order to achieve ketosis, you need to get into that "fat-burning zone" or state where your body is using fat as its preferred fuel source instead of glucose or glycogen because it doesn't have enough carbohydrates available for use in its metabolic pathways. This happens when you limit the amount of glucose entering your system by restricting your carbohydrate intake until the liver has produced all the glucose it needs from protein sources such as meat and fish at which point certain enzymes kick start gluconeogenesis: converting amino acids into sugar for storage in muscles & liver cells without interrupting fat metabolism by providing an alternative form of energy generation through ketones instead. In English please…
Your goal with this diet is to reduce carbs and sugar to force the liver to produce the glucose (sugar) from protein and fat without interrupting fat metabolism… this is done through the production of ketones, hence where “ketogenic” comes from…
When you're on a Ketogenic diet, your body gets its energy from fat instead of carbs. In order for this to occur, your body has to break down triglycerides into free fatty acids and glycerol. These molecules are then converted into ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is the main source of energy used by cells in the body. When there aren't enough carbs around, these processes occur in the liver. This process produces ketones—small molecules that can be used as an alternative energy source by certain tissues including brain and heart tissue! This means that even when you're not consuming any carbohydrates at all (e.g., during fasting), your brain still has access to glucose via gluconeogenesis... but only if you have plenty of fat stored up in your adipose tissue (fat cells).
Why would I want to do this?
The Ketogenic diet has been the subject of many studies, and most people who have tried it report positive results. Some people are even able to stop taking medication for chronic health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
The Ketogenic diet is usually used as a last resort when traditional treatments have failed, but studies show that it may also be effective at preventing certain diseases in people who are otherwise healthy. Some researchers think that this is because of the changes in metabolism caused by low insulin levels (which happens when you restrict carbohydrates).
People generally stay on the Ketogenic diet for a few weeks to a couple of months, depending on their goals and whether they're trying to lose weight or just maintain their current weight. Once you've reached your goal, it’s recommended that you go off the diet and eat more carbs again for about a week before returning to low-carb eating. In this way, you can reset your metabolism and prevent overeating because of cravings. Some people choose not to go back onto the Ketogenic diet at all; these are referred to as “cyclers” because they follow an intermittent pattern (about 4 weeks) of eating very low-carb during one phase of their week followed by 1–2 days per week where they consume higher amounts of carbs than normal. This type of schedule has been shown in research studies done on mice that it helps keep them leaner over time compared with non-cyclers who did not change their diets at all!
Are there any side effects?
Keto flu is a temporary phenomenon that can occur during the first few days of the ketogenic diet. The symptoms associated with it are:
● Muscle weakness or pain
● Headaches, nausea and diarrhea (this has been reported by some people)
The best way to avoid Keto flu is by slowly increasing your carbohydrate intake and being careful about what you eat. Make sure you're eating enough fiber - whole foods like vegetables and fruits that contain lots of fiber will help prevent constipation as well! Once you've been on Ketogenic for a while, try going off it for a few days before starting again at a higher level of carbs (around 100-150 grams). If this doesn't work then consider going up even more slowly so your body can adjust more gradually rather than all at once.
Results & Conclusion
The Ketogenic diet has been linked to weight loss, performance gains in athletes. The men’s Chinese gymnastic team used the Ketogenic diet to maintain muscle mass while reducing overall weight gain, which is essential for their sport. The Ketogenic diet has also been used as an effective tool for managing diabetes, as it helps control blood sugar levels in the body by eliminating carbs from your meals.
If you're looking to try out something new, I have to admit that the ketogenic diet might be a bit extreme for most people and often this “diet” fails. The reason, being that it requires a lot of dedication and self-discipline people do not stick to it. If this diet gets you on the right track towards a whole food diet then I am all for it; however, and of course there is a however, if this diet leads you to more packaged goods and falling for sales gimmicks, then skip the BS and try to make more health conscious decisions on your own without hopping on FAD diets!
*For more QUESTIONS or looking for NUTRITIONAL GUIDANCE email me at FMFMark@gmail.com
Thank you for reading!