It is fair to say that the keto diet is hot right now – a lot of people are talking about it, and a lot of people are seeing great results using it. However, as with anything, growing popularity has led to a growing number of misconceptions and misunderstandings about what exactly the keto diet is and how it works. In this article, I want to take a look at the facts and talk about the keto diet done right.
What Is The Keto Diet Anyway?
A logical place to start is to explain the central idea of the keto diet. The keto diet revolves around the idea that, contrary to popular belief, ‘good fats’ can be the staple of a healthy diet. This means that on a keto diet, you consume lots of fats and relatively few carbohydrates. However, unlike other diets, there is far more to the keto diet than this. This is not simply a diet designed to cut calories.
Instead, this regime of low carb and high quantities of good quality healthy fats is designed to induce ketosis in the body. Ketosis is the state in which your body burns ketones for energy, instead of burning glucose. This means that your body burns fat for fuel.
Why Burn Fats For Fuel?
There are a number of benefits to maintaining ketosis and burning fats for fuel:
- Burning fats as fuel helps avoid the storage of excess fat. This can help with both weight loss and weight management. Also, one of the great benefits of the keto diet is that, unlike other starvation diets, your weight should not fluctuate because you feel satiated. The keto diet won’t leave you feeling hungry.
- Glucose is an inconsistent source of fuel. We’ve all experienced ‘sugar rushes’ before, or the sluggishness that comes after a huge meal. This is caused by spikes in glucose levels after eating a lot of carbohydrates or sugars. Ketones provide a much more consistent and steady source of energy, so being in ketosis can make you feel less tired and more alert, both physically and mentally.
- Being in ketosis has proven benefits for the prevention, management, and treatment of diabetes. By limiting levels of glucose, your body does not need to rely so much on insulin to control blood sugar.
- Burning ketones is more efficient than burning glucose, so uses less oxygen. This can help improve both physical performance and endurance.
How To Eat Keto
The trick to doing the keto diet well is that you should be eating plenty of high-quality fats and protein. This is great news because this means that you can eat plenty of good quality meats, and you can still cook with quality oils. Coconut oil is a great choice. Also, Perfect Keto suggest nut butter as a great way to get your butter fix and up those protein macros!
Monitoring your macros is really important. There are plenty of macro calculators out there that will help you work out the amount of fats, proteins and carbohydrates to eat in a day, depending on your build and your weight loss goals.
You should also be monitoring your diet and making sure you are still getting all the vitamins and minerals you need – a common mistake is that in cutting out sugars, people cut out fruit as an important source of vitamins.
This is a really important point: make sure that when cutting carbs out of your diet, you are not cutting out your sources of other vital nutrients. You still need a balanced diet to stay healthy, ketosis or not!
Finally, another common mistake that people make when first starting out is going straight from a high carbohydrate intake to completely cutting it out. This can come as a real shock to the system, in some cases even leading to a symptom known as keto flu. To avoid these carbohydrate withdrawal symptoms, you should ease into the keto diet, gradually reducing carb intake over a period of weeks and months. This way, ketosis won’t come as such a shock to the system.
Not All Fats Are Created Equal
Finally, a really important consideration when it comes to the keto diet (or any other high fat, low carb diet for that matter) is that not all fats are healthy, and will not support a keto diet. The big no-nos here are trans-fats and hydrogenated fats. These are essentially artificial fats, engineered to be solid at room temperature, that are present in lots of heavily processed food.
So, while you should be looking to include lots of fat in your diet, these processed fats should be off the menu. Stick to home prepared food or food that you can vouch for.
Sources of healthy fats will be high-quality meats and fish, avocados and nuts and seeds.