Keto-what?What exactly is a ketogenic diet? First, let's discuss what keto is designed to do. The goal of a ketogenic diet is to help the body enter a stage called ketosis. The diet, developed by Dr. Russel Wilder at the Mayo Clinic in 1924, requires you to make 50%-70% of your food intake beneficial fats, which are what your body breaks down to induce ketosis. What exactly is so desirable about ketosis? I'm glad you asked! Here are a few benefits.
#1 – Weight LossWeight loss is no easy journey, but if you can do it correctly, it's worth the effort. But how can keto help you lose weight? According to DietDoctor.com, a ketogenic diet turns your body into a "fat-burning machine." Essentially, it forces your metabolism to run almost completely on fat as opposed to the usual sugar. As such, a ketogenic diet helps your fat-burning potential rise drastically. A ketogenic diet also works to encourage weight loss by reducing blood-sugar and insulin levels. Remember, insulin is one of the hormones that tells your body to hang onto fat.
#2 – Type 2 Diabetes Symptom ManagementKeto may also help those who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes manage their symptoms. This is because keto requires you to cut back on the intake of carbohydrates. Type 2 diabetes sufferers have reduced insulin sensitivity and, consequentially, high levels of the hormone. High insulin levels can lead to a number of health concerns, including:
- Fatty liver
- Carbohydrate cravings
- High blood sugar levels
- Increased gout risk
- High blood pressure
#3 – Cancer TreatmentA lot of disease prevention starts in the gut and subsequently, in the food we eat. Processed, sugary foods are not doing us any favors. You can drastically reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases by choosing to adopt a healthy lifestyle, including the food that you eat. Keto can help you get there. Indeed, a ketogenic diet does work to reduce your cancer risk. However, the real testament of its power is its ability to treat existing cancer. Here's how it works: Cancer cells live on glucose, which a high-carb diet provides plenty of. A high-fat ketogenic diet, on the other hand, lowers the amount of glucose cancer cells in your body have access to. This, according to The Truth About Cancer, literally starves the cancer cells. Cancer researcher Dr. Thomas Seyfried says a ketogenic diet could even be more effective at treating cancer than chemotherapy.
#4 – Mental Health ImprovementIt's no secret that your physical health can greatly affect your mental health. A disease-ridden or sluggish body will almost always result in poor mental health, potentially including such conditions as anxiety and depression. Even as something as simple as the common cold can put you in a bad mood. But there are larger-scale cause and effect items to consider here. For example, in one study, a ketogenic diet greatly reduced symptoms of a schizophrenia-like disease in mice. Several psychiatrists say the meal plan also works wonders for people suffering from depression and bipolar disorder. In 1999, researchers observed autistic kids showing great improvement after beginning ketogenic diets. They improved in areas such as cooperation, speech, interaction and hyperactivity. Two out of the 18 participants who finished the study were able to leave special school and start mainstream education. According to Psychology Today, the mental benefits of a ketogenic meal plan are largely due to its ability to maintain GABA levels in the brain.
How To Start A Ketogenic DietA ketogenic diet will require a bit of planning. But believe me, it'll be worth it – I mean, just look at those benefits above! To begin, you'll need to eat no more than 50 grams of carbs per day. Many people choose to go as low as 30 grams. As far as protein goes, eat no more than 120 grams per day. Eat 120 grams of whole food fats and 90 grams of added fat. If you're focusing on weight loss, cut that added fat quantity down to 30 grams. It may help you to procure portion-control plates and bowls, as seen in the photo above. These kinds of items can prevent you from overeating any one category of macronutrient.
These guidelines are, of course, just general tips. You should consult a dietitian for information specific to your body and goals.
Foods To Eat On A Ketogenic DietSo, what kinds of foods does keto entail? While it may sound restrictive in nature, there are actually a number of food items you can eat while doing keto. In fact, you might be surprised at how extensive your options are on a ketogenic meal plan. Get your fat from the following:
- Chicken fat
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Whole eggs
- Macadamia nuts
- Pumpkin seeds