Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments. — Bethenny Frankel
The Ketogenic Diet is basically a fat diet instead of a carbohydrate diet. Well, it’s not total fat and zero carbs, but a high-fat and a very-low carb diet with some protein. Generally speaking, the diet we intake contains a high amount of carbs and when we intake a lot of carbohydrates, your body will produce Glucose and Insulin.
- Glucose: Loved by your body and given first priority for converting food into energy.
- Insulin: Used for processing glucose.
The more carbohydrates you consume, the more glucose will be produced. Hence the carbs are used for energy production and the fat you consume has little use and gets stored in your body.
But, there is a really simple way to trick your body. More carbs equal to more glucose, that is true but the opposite is also true. If you consume fewer carbohydrates then the glucose produced by your body will also go down.
Now it is really important to introduce the concept of Ketosis here, which is the state your body initiates when your carb intake is low.
Ketosis is a metabolic state in which some of the body’s energy supply comes from ketone bodies in the blood, in contrast to a state of glycolysis in which blood glucose provides energy. Generally, ketosis occurs when the body is metabolizing fat at a high rate and converting fatty acids into ketones.
Now you may be wondering what are ketones? Well, they are the substitute that your body uses to produce energy instead of glucose. When there isn’t sufficient level of glucose in the body – like when following a ketogenic diet plan – the glycogen (basically storage form of glucose) levels are depleted and insulin is lowered. During such a state, the body starts looking for alternative sources of energy, i.e. fat.
So with that diluted knowledge of body chemistry, you can see for yourself that Ketogenic diet works by starving your body of carbs, which causes your blood sugar level and glycogen to go down thus lowering the insulin. This lowering of insulin causes forces your body into a state of Ketosis. When your body is under the state of Ketosis, you start utilizing fat for energy production instead of carbohydrates. Simple!!
Fat burning had never been so simpler, even more so because you do not have to starve yourself to burn fat. Instead, you have to start intaking more fat, how ironic!
Benefits of Ketogenic Diet:
- Weight Loss: As your body utilizes the stored fat for energy production, the obvious by-product is loss of weight.
- Diabetes: A lower body fat naturally means your chance of developing diabetes is greatly reduced. Also, studies have shown that following the Ketogenic Diet can improve insulin sensitivity by as high as 70%.
- Increased Energy and Focus: Fats are ‘the most efficient fuel’ that can be utilized by the body. Lowering your carb intake will prevent those huge spikes in your blood sugar level. This efficient burning of fat along with prevention of blood sugar spikes will lead to greater concentration and you feeling more energetic.
- Heart Diseases: The Ketogenic Diet has shown to increase HDL levels and improve risk factors like blood pressure, sugar and body fat.
- Skin improvement and Acne: Switching to a low carb diet will result in a drop of lesions and inflammations. Better skin health is one of the most common experiences of switching to a Ketogenic diet.
Some Ketogenic Foods:
Avocado Deviled Eggs:
Chicken Pad Thai:
Thai Beef Satay:
Crustless Spinach Quiche:
Although there are tons of free ketogenic recipes available online, I would suggest downloading the “Bacon and Butter” cookbook by Celby Richoux. It is always easier to have your resources in one place rather than scraping a lot of online material to find a quality recipe. Try this book, I have downloaded it and have really enjoyed the snacks and smoothies in the book.
Precautions and Potential Risks:
Although the benefits of the Ketogenic Diet are impressive, to say the least but sadly it is not recommended for everyone.
Initially, your body will have to adapt itself towards the massive change in the internal chemistry of low glycogen and high ketones. It is fairly common for those who try out the diet to feel a bit nauseous and dehydrated for about a week after switching to the Keto Diet.
There are also a lot of potential risks associated with the Diet. As the Ketogenic Diet is a fairly new diet, not much study has been done upon it but there have been some potential risks reported against the diet.
This diet could cause some gastrointestinal problems, kidney stones, and some deficiency diseases.
Who should ABSOLUTELY avoid this diet:
People having problems with their Kidneys, at risk of heart and other cardiovascular diseases, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should not try this diet.
Also, if you have type1 Diabetes then you should absolutely avoid this diet. The Keto diet will decrease the amount of glycogen in your body and hence has a very high risk of causing hypoglycemia(low blood sugar level).