Health & Fitness

What Is Ketogenic Diet? – A Guide To Keto Diet

Learning what keto diet is enlightening. Keto diet can be described simply as a low-carbohydrate diet. Nonetheless, it is unique from other low-carb diets as it adjusts the meat, protein, and starch balance to ensure the fats become the body’s main source of energy. Naturally, as its primary source of energy, the human body uses carbohydrates, leaving fats to accumulate in large quantities. The common way to reduce body fats is to combine proper body exercise with a reduction in the amount consumed, a means used to ensure that energy expenditure exceeds calorie intake. This is the biggest reason why many people on traditional diets never lose weight. 

On the flip side, ketogenic diets turn fats into body fuel rather than fat accumulation, making it easier to lose weight. Ketogenic diets are also referred to as diets for regeneration, as it also eliminates illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, among others, due to the reduction of sugar consumption it promotes. 

Manipulating fats, protein, and carbs to embrace ketosis is very important. This (ketosis) is a situation in which the body, other than dependence on sugar and carbohydrates, has to adapt to the use of fats as its main fuel. As a result, there is a substantial increase in protein and fats relative to the overall amount of carbs.  Also, low carbohydrate consumption is accompanied by lower insulin quantities in the body, which translates into lower body fat storage and glucose. This explains why keto diets are the most preferred solution for diabetic patients as it regulates the sugar level in the body naturally. 

The proportion of fats, carbs, and protein can vary as many consume about 50 grams of carbohydrates per day, resulting in weight loss at times. The quantity of carbs consumed can be approximately 15-20 grams per day under strict adherence. Weight loss can be accomplished over time by eating fewer amounts of carbs; nevertheless, the diet can be very supple. 

The number of calories should not be counted during keto diet; the quantity of carbohydrates taken should be monitored while adjusting the consumption of carbs and fats & protein. A conventional keto diet derives its calories from 60, 15-25, and 25 percent of fats, protein, and carbohydrates. The downside of the plan, though, is the consumption of sugar that would be prevented. The ketogenic diet is different from that of a fad. The essential benefits and health solutions derived from ketosis have been demonstrated by various scientific studies. If you are interested in weight loss, less sugar intake, and proactive measures against susceptibility to critical health issues, you can talk to a medical practitioner. 

What are Ketones? 

Okay, what exactly do these ketones come from and where? As mentioned above, when your body exhausts its reserves of glucose (glycogen) it will be looking for another alternative source of energy. This is when it gets digging into the fat storehouse of the body as stored fat can help fuel your cells with the energy required. 

Since there is no oxygen in the blood, the processed fats will be taken in by the liver and converted to fatty acids. These fatty acids then split into functional compounds known as ketone bodies (known as ketones). Your body uses those ketones to give your body cells and brain cells electricity. The best part is when blood ketone levels increase, reducing the appetite. The explanation for increased energy is because the brain requires another source of energy to generate. 

The liver contains three distinct types of ketone bodies: 

  • Acetoacetate 
  • Beta-Hydroxybutyrate 
  • Acetone 

The body can fuel itself from ketones in two different ways:  

  • Your body can make its own ketones by eating or by increasing the fat intake and reducing your carb intake by inducing carbohydrate abstinence  
  • You can also supply your body with real ketones by taking exogenous ketones (ketone supplements)  

Once your body is on a ketogenic diet, it acts as a fat-burning engine. It inevitably leads to low insulin levels and the ability to consume fat rises as it becomes easy to access the fat stores. When it releases ketones, the body is in ketosis, and the quickest way to shift your body to ketosis is to fly. But for ever fasting is difficult, and this has led to the development of the ketogenic diet.               

Is it possible to lose weight because the body enters into ketosis? 

Once your body starts eating fat contained in ketones, your body changes to ketosis. But why is this going to bring me down weight? I understand from whence you come. Let me just give you an example of this. 

Just pretend you’ve packed a load of coal for the winter ahead. When it’s winter, some of these piles of coal are scooped up for heat into the furnace. The pile gets smaller as you start to use up all the fuel. Similarly, your body burns the stored fat in your body in ketosis and as it continues to make use of the stored fats (which is your extra flab, water weight, excess calories, etc.), you get smaller, i.e. you reduce weight. Here the coal is the stored fat and your energy is the heat you receive in winter. 

There are numerous studies on how a well-planned ketogenic diet has helped many people lose weight by enhancing their fitness metrics and increasing their overall health status. Thermodynamics is another important reason to lose weight on the ketogenic diet! You get rid of one big macronutrient-carbohydrate-when you practice the keto diet! 

The following list includes the carbohydrate rich food items: 

Such foods have a high caloric content, and those calories are stored as fat in your body when you overeat. When these carb-rich foods are restricted or eliminated, you consume fewer calories. You lose weight when you burn more calories than you consume. This is one of the main reasons why most calorie-restricted diets cause weight loss when done correctly regardless of the amount of the food you eat. You don’t concentrate on the body composition, food quality or muscle development on this type of diet but it’s more about the amount of food eaten (smaller portions of food).  

Once your body is accustomed to the keto regimen, you feel satiated with fewer calories, resulting in faster and easier weight loss in the process. Just note, you’ll probably gain more weight if you overeat on a keto diet. Yeah, don’t expect to lose weight daily after eating 6000 calories of ham, beef and butter! You need to know how to eat healthy

The ketogenic diet assists in weight loss as well as helps in: 

  • Epilepsy treatment 
  • Type 2 diabetes 
  • Managing PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) 
  • Treats acne 
  • Showing improvement in neurological diseases such as MS (multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s) 
  • Reducing the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases 

Researchers are doing more research to understand how the keto diet impacts Alzheimer’s patients and similar health problems.   

Types of Ketogenic Diets 

There are various types of ketogenic diets and each comes with its own variations of the diet protocol. But the forms are familiar and popularly known: 

  • Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD) 

The Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD) is what most people think when we talk about a keto diet. This is an extremely low carbohydrate diet, mild in protein and high in fat. If you are looking for quick fat loss and only do low to moderate intensity workouts (e.g., biking, running, yoga, and light weight lifting), then the SKD may be the best diet for you. 

With this approach to diet, carbohydrates have to be greatly restricted. A daily intake of 30 g or less of carbohydrates is usually required in order to induce and stay in ketosis (which is one of the primary purposes for so much reducing carb consumption). Keto carb levels vary from person to person, but the general rule is to eliminate nuts, starches, added sugars and other high-carbon foods. 

Low carb fruits, nuts, beans, and high fat dairy products will be the primary sources of carbs on the SKD. 

  • Cyclical Ketogenic diet (CKD) 

The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD) is a nutritional method incorporating the day(s) of carb loading with the traditional ketogenic diet. It is usually used by those who are more experienced when it comes to exercise at high intensity. Bodybuilders and athletes are a perfect example of people who should use the CKD, as their preparation requires a high volume and strength to improve their output. With this tremendous volume and intensity, without the help of carbs, it is almost difficult for them to practice at their peak. 

For this reason, it is best for them to implement carbohydrate refeeding days once or twice a week to fully replenish glycogen stores in order to fuel their training bouts with a sufficient amount of sugar. 

Unlike the TKD, where the primary goal is to maintain a moderate level of blood sugar and muscle glycogen for training, the CKD’s goal is to fully replenish glycogen during carb loads and deplete glycogen and increase ketone levels between carb loads. Both dietary strategies will however allow you to reap the benefits of carbohydrates and ketosis.   

  • Targeted Ketogenic diet (TKD) 

The Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD) consists of eating carbs around workout times (usually 30-60 min before) and at any other time following the SKD. The TKD provides us with an easy way to maintain high-intensity exercise efficiency and facilitate glycogen replenishment over long periods of time without interrupting ketosis. 

Usually, this dietary plan is prescribed for two specific groups of people: (1) individuals who need carbohydrates to sustain their exercise performance but are unable or unwilling to take part in a CKD’s lengthy carb loads or (2) individuals who are just beginning an exercise program and are unable to do the amount of exercise required to maximize a CKD diet; 

If you’re doing just aerobic style workouts or any practice that’s low to moderate in difficulty, then the TKD (and CKD) isn’t for you— then stick to the SKD.   

  • High-protein Ketogenic diet 

This diet resembles your standard ketogenic diet but the only difference is in the macronutrient composition ratio. The diet includes more protein, where the ratios are mostly 5% carbs, 35% protein and 60% fat. 

Extensive studies on the standard and high protein ketogenic diets have been conducted. But the targeted ketogenic diet and cyclical ketogenic diet are advanced keto diet methods followed by bodybuilders or athletes. 

When people refer to a ketogenic diet they usually refer to the general standard ketogenic diet. 

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