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Familiar with Ketogenic diet

A ketogenic diet – or keto diet – is a low-carb, high-fat diet. It can be effective for weight loss and certain health conditions, something that’s been demonstrated in many studies.A keto diet is especially useful for losing excess body fat without hunger, and for improving type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome.On a keto diet, you cut way back on carbohydrates, also known as carbs, in order to burn fat for fuel.In this beginner’s guide, you’ll learn all you need to know about ketogenic diets, including how to get started to achieve the best results safely and effectively.

What is a keto diet?

A keto diet is one that limits carbs and has many potential health benefits.When you eat far fewer carbs, your body begins to burn fat for fuel. This can put your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. In this state, your liver turns fat into small energy molecules called ketones, which your brain and other organs can use for energy.Eating a keto diet lowers insulin levels, often dramatically, which can help you access your body fat stores for energy.Many studies show significant weight loss on keto, without having to count calories.Keto diets may have other positive health effects, such as reducing blood sugar levels.

Different types of ketogenic diets

There are several versions of the ketogenic diet, including:

Standard ketogenic diet (SKD): This is a very low carb, moderate protein and high fat diet. It typically contains 70% fat, 20% protein, and only 10% carbs.Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): This diet involves periods of higher carb refeeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high carb days.Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): This diet allows you to add carbs around workouts.High protein ketogenic diet: This is similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but includes more protein. The ratio is often 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs.However, only the standard and high protein ketogenic diets have been studied extensively. Cyclical or targeted ketogenic diets are more advanced methods and primarily used by bodybuilders or athletes.The information in this article mostly applies to the standard ketogenic diet (SKD), although many of the same principles also apply to the other versions.

What is ketosis?

Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body uses fat for fuel instead of carbs.It occurs when you significantly reduce your consumption of carbohydrates, limiting your body’s supply of glucose (sugar), which is the main source of energy for the cells.Following a ketogenic diet is the most effective way to enter ketosis. Generally, this involves limiting carb consumption to around 20 to 50 grams per day and filling up on fats, such as meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and healthy oils.It’s also important to moderate your protein consumption. This is because protein can be converted into glucose if consumed in high amounts, which may slow your transition into ketosis.Practicing intermittent fasting could also help you enter ketosis faster. There are many different forms of intermittent fasting, but the most common method involves limiting food intake to around 8 hours per day and fasting for the remaining 16 hours.Blood, urine, and breath tests are available, which can help determine whether you’ve entered ketosis by measuring the amount of ketones produced by your body.Certain symptoms may also indicate that you’ve entered ketosis, including increased thirst, dry mouth, frequent urination, and decreased hunger or appetite.

Ketogenic diets can help you lose weight

A ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight and lower risk factors for disease. In fact, research shows that the ketogenic diet may be as effective for weight loss as a low fat diet.What’s more, the diet is so filling that you can lose weight without counting calories or tracking your food intake.One review of 13 studies found that following a very low carb, ketogenic diet was slightly more effective for long-term weight loss than a low fat diet. People who followed the keto diet lost an average of 2 pounds (0.9 kg) more than the group that followed a low-fat diet.What’s more, it also led to reductions in diastolic blood pressure and triglyceride levels.Another study in 34 older adults found that those who followed a ketogenic diet for 8 weeks lost nearly five times as much total body fat as those who followed a low-fat diet. The increased ketones, lower blood sugar levels, and improved insulin sensitivity may also play a key role.

Other health benefits of keto

The ketogenic diet actually originated as a tool for treating neurological diseases such as epilepsy.Studies have now shown that the diet can have benefits for a wide variety of different health conditions:

Heart disease: The ketogenic diet can help improve risk factors like body fat, HDL (good) cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar.

Cancer: The diet is currently being explored as an additional treatment for cancer, because it may help slow tumor growth.

Epilepsy:Research has shown that the ketogenic diet can cause significant reductions in seizures in epileptic children.

Parkinson’s disease:Although more research is needed, one study found that the diet helped improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Polycystic ovary syndrome: The ketogenic diet can help reduce insulin levels, which may play a key role in polycystic ovary syndrome.

Brain injuries: Some research suggests that the diet could improve outcomes of traumatic brain injuries.However, keep in mind that research into many of these areas is far from conclusive.

Foods to avoid in ketogenic diet

Any food that’s high in carbs should be limited.Here’s a list of foods that need to be reduced or eliminated on a ketogenic diet:

sugary foods: soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cake, ice cream, candy, etc.

grains or starches: wheat-based products, rice, pasta, cereal, etc.

fruit: all fruit, except small portions of berries like strawberries.

beans or legumes: peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.

root vegetables and tubers: potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.

low fat or diet products: low fat mayonnaise, salad dressings, and condiments

some condiments or sauces: barbecue sauce, honey mustard, teriyaki sauce, ketchup, etc.

unhealthy fats: processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise, etc.

alcohol: beer, wine, liquor, mixed drinks

sugar-free diet foods: sugar-free candies, syrups, puddings, sweeteners, desserts, etc.

Foods to eat in ketogenic diet

You should base the majority of your meals around these foods:

meat: red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken, and turkey

fatty fish: salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel

eggs: pastured or omega-3 whole eggs

butter and cream: grass-fed butter and heavy cream

cheese: unprocessed cheeses like cheddar, goat, cream, blue, or mozzarella

nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc.

healthy oils: extra virgin olive oil, and avocado oil

avocados: whole avocados or freshly made guacamole

low carb veggies: green veggies, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.

condiments: salt, pepper, herbs, and spices.

It’s best to base your diet mostly on whole, single-ingredient foods.

Keto tips and tricks

Although getting started on the ketogenic diet can be challenging, there are several tips and tricks that you can use to make it easier.

Start by familiarizing yourself with food labels and checking the grams of fat, carbs, and fiber to determine how your favorite foods can fit into your diet.

Planning out your meals in advance may also be beneficial and can help you save extra time throughout the week.

Many websites, food blogs, apps, and cookbooks also offer keto-friendly recipes and meal ideas that you can use to build your own custom menu.

Alternatively, some meal delivery services even offer keto-friendly options for a quick and convenient way to enjoy keto meals at home.

Look into healthy frozen keto meals when you’re short on time

When going to social gatherings or visiting family and friends, you may also want to consider bringing your own food, which can make it much easier to curb cravings and stick to your meal plan.

Risks of the keto diet

Staying on the keto diet in the long term may have some negative effects, including risks of the following:

  ● low protein in the blood

  ● extra fat in the liver

  ● kidney stones

  ● micronutrient deficiencies

A type of medication called sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors for type 2 diabetes can increase the risk for diabetic ketoacidosis, a dangerous condition that increases blood acidity. Anyone taking this medication should avoid the keto diet.

More research is being done to determine the safety of the keto diet in the long term. Keep your doctor informed of your eating plan to guide your choices.

The bottom line

A ketogenic diet can be great for people who:

  ● are overweight

  ● have diabetes

  ● are looking to improve their metabolic health

It may be less suitable for elite athletes or those wishing to add large amounts of muscle or weight.

It may also not be sustainable for some people’s lifestyles and preferences. Speak with your doctor about your eating plan and goals to decide if a keto eating plan right for you.

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