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When it comes to losing weight, there always seems to be the latest new diet trend just around the corner offering faster weight loss and more impressive results than the last one. If you’re on the lookout for ways to take better care of your health, it can be hard to know which diet to follow.
One diet that’s often talked about is the keto diet. There’s been a lot of buzz around the keto diet for a while now, but what it is, and how does it work? Read on to find out.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet, usually known simply as the keto diet, is a low carbohydrate, moderate protein, high-fat diet. There are many variations of the keto diet, so differences in the recommended amounts of protein, fat and carbohydrate to be eaten is likely to occur depending on which version of the plan you are following.
How does the Keto Diet Work?
The keto diet works by encouraging the body to enter a state known as ‘ketosis.’ Ketosis occurs when the body burns fat rather than carbohydrates. However, the body only begins to burn fat when it has used up available stores of glucose.
During ketosis, the body breaks down stored fat and turns this into a fuel source called ketones. It is this fat-burning state that encourages weight loss.
What are the Benefits of the Keto Diet?
Aside from losing weight and the associated health benefits that this can bring, the keto diet may also offer additional health benefits too, these include:
- Lower blood glucose levels
- Improved mental clarity
- Higher levels of good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol)
- Reduction in high blood pressure
- May help to reduce acne
Side Effects of the Keto Diet
As well as offering many potential benefits, the keto diet can also cause some side effects too. Possible side effects of the keto diet can include sluggishness, bad breath and constipation.
Common side effects of following the keto diet are often known collectively as the ‘Keto flu.’ Keto flu refers to the stage that your body goes through as it adjusts to being on the keto diet, and gets used to utilizing ketones as energy rather than getting energy from glucose derived from carbohydrates.
As the name suggests, keto flu shares symptoms similar to those experienced with regular flu. Here are some of the symptoms that may occur:
- Brain fog
- Food cravings
Your body may take a few weeks to adapt to the new diet. Taking a supplement such as Beta Hydroxybutyrate (BHB) may help to ease this process of adjustment to the keto diet.
So, what is BHB? BHB is a ketone which is produced by the body during the process of ketosis. The liver produces BHB and then converts it into energy when there is no glucose available for it to use as fuel. Taking BHB provides a quick source of energy thus reducing some of the side effects of the keto diet, such as tiredness and lack of energy.
What to Eat on the Keto Diet
The keto diets combination of low carbohydrates, moderate protein and high fat may leave you wondering what you can and indeed, should be eating. If you’re envisaging your dinner plate stacked high with meat and cheese, and not much else, don’t worry you can still enjoy a rich variety of foods, including vegetables when following the keto diet. The trick is to choose the right ones!
The following foods can all be eaten on the keto diet, the important thing to remember is that some of these foods do contain carbohydrates, and so if eaten, will need to be factored into your carb allowance for the day:
- Meat, grass-fed meat is better than grain-fed meat
- Cheese, including cottage cheese
- Full-fat dairy, including butter and cream
- Nuts and seeds
- Low-carb vegetables, particularly leafy green vegetables such as sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, spinach and cauliflower
- 70% Cocoa (or higher percentage of cocoa) dark chocolate
- Berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries
Although cutting down on carbohydrates may at first sound like a tall order, there are still plenty of tasty food choices which can be enjoyed when following the keto diet. There is a vast range of recipes out there that are keto friendly to help ensure that you are eating a nutritious, balanced diet.
Remember, you should always check with a doctor before starting any new diet or exercise plan.