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What Is A Ketogenic Diet?

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Here’s the lowdown on Keto and why you might want to give it a try!

Simply put, the ketogenic diet is a very low carb, high fat diet. When you reduce carbs significantly, it puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat  for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain. While your body is in ketosis, it uses fat for fuel, instead of carbs. But this is a delicate balance to adjust to and maintain. 

In general, it takes two to four days to reach ketosis. You can buy test strips from pharmacies, like these ones from Clicks. However, some people may find it takes a week or longer to reach. It’s vital you make sure your body is in ketosis while on this diet, otherwise you’re merely on a high-fat diet, and that’s not healthy. 

There are many ketogenic diets out there, but the standard keto diet typically contains: 

  • 70%-80% fat 
  • 20% protein
  • Less than 10% carbs 

The benefits of ketogenic diets: 

  • They cause significant reduction in blood sugar and insulin levels. 
  • Ketogenic diets are effective for weight loss and type-2 diabetes. 
  • The diet is filling. 
  • Focus on these foods for a healthy keto diet: 
  • Meat: Red meat, sausage, turkey, bacon, chicken, turkey
  • Fatty fish: Salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel 
  • Eggs, butter and cream
  • Unprocessed cheeses: Cheddar, blue, mozzarella 
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthy oils: Olive, coconut, avocado 

 

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.

 

Foods to avoid

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.

 

Healthy keto snacks

In case you get hungry between meals, here are some healthy, keto-approved snacks:

 

How to get into ketosis

Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body uses fat and ketones rather than glucose (sugar) as its main fuel source.

How can you get into ketosis quickly and stay there? Here are three things to know:

  1. Eat less than 20 grams of net carbs per day. Cutting back on carbs can help you get into ketosis rapidly, often within a few days.
  2. Avoid eating too often. If you’re not hungry, don’t eat. Intermittent fasting or even just eliminating snacks can help you get into ketosis faster.
  3. Measure ketones. Testing for ketones in your blood, breath, or urine can confirm that you are indeed in ketosis. Each of these methods comes with pros and cons. For a detailed comparison, see our full guide to the best way to test ketones.

 

Potential risks of a keto diet

Does eating a keto diet pose any health risks? Although research on long-term health effects is needed, the evidence to date suggests that keto diets providing adequate nutrition are unlikely to cause harm.

It is true that some people following ketogenic diets have experienced adverse effects, including kidney stones and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

However, these side effects are rare and we suspect they may vary with the variety of foods eaten.

In some cases, elevations in LDL-cholesterol and LDL-particle numbers have occurred in people who eat keto or low-carb diets with less fat and more protein than the classic ketogenic diet. However, individuals with diabetes or insulin resistance often respond to low-carb eating with improved lipid markers overall, as discussed earlier.

If your LDL increases after starting a keto or low-carb diet, please read our guides on LDL hyper-responders, the potential dangers of LDL cholesterol, and how to lower LDL cholesterol.

 

Is it effective for weight loss, and is it sustainable?

Ketogenic diets usually do cause weight loss and may improve insulin sensitivity in patients with diabetes. In fact when compared to a low-fat diet a ketogenic diet appears to achieve greater long term reductions in body weight. However, the success long term is dependent on your ability to adapt your dietary habits once you start to introduce a more balanced and healthy approach to eating.

What are the long-term effects of ketogenic diets?

The symptoms associated with ketosis are often temporary and may relate to dehydration. These may include headache, dry mouth, bad breath, fatigue and nausea. However, it’s worth noting that because the diet restricts carbs it is typically low in dietary fibre which may have a negative impact on gut health including the presence of gut friendly bacteria. In this case, make sure that you are consuming plenty of gut-friendly foods like leafy greens, fermented vegetables and certain fats like butter which provides butyric acid – a gut supportive short-chain fatty acid.

Low-carb veggies and avocados Speak to your Bodyback personal trainer to get the latest nutritional advice, and to see if the Keto diet is right for you. Get in touch with Bodyback today and we’ll find a personal trainer in your area

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The new Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act Regulations are effective from 1 July. This means we need your consent to receive our direct marketing material. No spam, we promise! When you opt in, you’ll receive our newsletters, latest articles, product and service promotional material and be the first to know about awesome competitions. You can learn more about how your personal information is processed by reading our Privacy Policy and managing your privacy settings. Privacy Policy.