Chances are, you’ve been hearing the word keto quite a lot lately – running away from carbs has never been more in style.
However, even though it’s true that the keto lifestyle has its fair share of fans, you’ve probably asked yourself at least once – what is a keto diet, really? And are carbs that bad for me?
Actually, it’s quite simple:
A keto diet is an LCHF – Low Carb, High Fat – diet that turns your body into a fat-burning machine, quite literally!
But as every other LCHF diet, it has both its good sides and bad sides – though we’ll let you decide which side you prefer to stick to!
However, do note that keto isn’t the same as Paleo or Atkins – there are more than a few notable differences.
Keep reading on to find out a few more things about the keto diet, the way it works and most importantly – whether you can follow a ketogenic diet and flexible dieting at the same time!
But first – back to basics!
The keto is short for ketogenic.
Now, before overwhelming you with more things like ketosis and ketones, let’s go back to basics a bit.
You know how your body uses food as a fuel?
Most of the time, your body is thrilled if you eat something high in carbs!
That’s because carbs are easy for your body to process – after you eat them, your body breaks them down into simple sugars. Then, as your sugar level start rising, insulin jumps right in and takes the sugar from the blood to the cells – where it can be used as energy.
Since your body uses sugar to run on, it looks at your fats and goes – oh, I don’t need those. Let’s store those for later.
And yes… that makes you gain weight.
But hear the good news:
Glucose – blood sugar – isn’t the only source of energy your body can use!
In fact, when there’s a short supply of glucose – or carbs – your body switches to an alternative fuel, burning small molecules called ketones.
What did you say this “keto” thing is, again?
Ah, now you have it – keto comes from ketogenic, and ketogenic obviously comes from the ketones.
Your liver is responsible for making the ketones out of fat. When your body is using ketones as energy, it’s said to be in a metabolic state called ketosis. Ketosis is only possible if your carb intake is very, very low.
Reaching the state of ketosis is the ultimate goal of any ketogenic diet, which is the main difference between the ketogenic diet and other LCHF diets such as Paleo and Atkins.
Ideally, a ketogenic diet consists of eating a higher amount of fats, a moderate amount of proteins, and low amount of carbs – the ratio goes to about 60-70% fats, 15-30% protein and 5-10% of carbs.
Since the carbs are low, your body switches to burning mostly fats – which leads us to the fat-burning machine part of the story!
That means getting an easy access to the fat your body was storing before which in return makes you lose weight pretty fast.
Tell me more about the good sides!
The ketogenic diet has more than a handful of benefits.
Apart from the obvious weight loss, it works great for keeping your blood sugar under control, so those struggling with diabetes might find it beneficial.
You’ll feel fuller for longer periods of time and won’t experience sudden insulin spikes – you know, those moments when you think about eating everything in the fridge and the fridge itself.
On top of that, studies that have been carried out suggest that cancer patients could benefit from the ketogenic diet as well – as it turns out, cancer cells may starve out and die when there’s no sugar in the body!
The ratio goes to about 60-70% fats, 15-30% protein and 5-10% carbs.
Last but not least, the brain loves working on ketones – a ketogenic diet could help you improve your mental focus and concentration, which isn’t that bad of a thing.
What’s the problem then?
While all of that is great, there’s one big problem – sustainability.
Carbs are everywhere and yes, you’ll probably run away from them as hell if you’re following the ketogenic diet but… can you really cut out sugar and carbs forever?
On top of that, there are more than a few side effects you might experience as your body gets used to burning another type of fuel: the well-known keto-flu, nagging headaches, a really bad breath, muscle cramps and so on.
While it doesn’t always have to be the case, the amount of food you eat might be problematic to some – even though there are no calorie restrictions in most types of ketogenic diets, the volume of the foods that you’ll be eating isn’t as large.
To carb or not to carb?
The bottom line of all this is that you have to try the ketogenic diet yourself to know whether it fits you or not – while it’s absolute heaven for some dieters, it’s the worst nightmare for others.
But here are the good news:
Even if you’re on the keto team, you could easily adjust your ketogenic lifestyle to the flexible dieting approach. The reason why you’d want to do that is so you can achieve better results with your nutrition, no matter whether your goal is to gain some muscle or get a leaner waist.
It’s impossible to know where to go if you don’t know where you come from, right?
After all, tracking your macros and making sure you’re getting your body exactly what it needs never hurt no one – learn a few things about that over here.
If you have tried a Keto Diet before, we’d love to hear your thoughts by commenting below!
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