What is the Keto Diet?
- Possible Pat
- May 29, 2018
If you are trying to lose weight, then chances are you have heard of or tried, the keto diet. There are so many different types of diets out there, and some of them work, and some of them don’t. The real key to a successful diet is one that is sustainable and can help establish healthy habits so that you can keep the weight off once it is gone.
What is Keto?
Keto, also known as the ketogenic diet, or the low-carb diet, is centered around high fat, moderate protein, and low carb meals. When you eat a high-fat diet with little to no carbs, your body is forced to burn fat in place of carbs. When you consume a diet full of carbs, your body turns these carbs into glucose and insulin and used as an energy source. This then causes your body to store fats, rather than burn them.
On the keto diet, you consume high amounts of fats and low amounts of carbs, which causes your body to go into ketosis, a natural process that helps your body function when carb intake is low. It is during this process your body produces ketones, a byproduct produced by the liver to break down fats. Because your body is using minimal carbs as fuel, your body then uses the fats you consume for energy. This is why you need to consume more fats on a low-carb diet.
Benefits of the Keto Diet
- > Weight Loss – Because keto relies on fat to burn for energy, rather than carbs, this makes it an effective weight loss tool, especially if you have a lot of weight to lose.
- > Lowers Blood Sugar – Because you are eating fewer carbs on a keto diet, your body experiences fewer insulin spikes, so your blood sugar becomes easier to control. This high-fat diet has been known to be beneficial to those who have Type II diabetes or are pre-diabetic.
- > Increased Energy – On a keto diet you consume fewer carbs, which means you have less sugar spike and fewer sugar crashes. This means you experience a more level amount of energy throughout the day, rather than spikes of energy followed by periods of low-energy (making you want to consume more sugar or carbs).
- > Fewer Cravings – Fats are naturally very satiating, so you are less likely to become hungry or have severe food cravings when on a keto diet. This can be a big benefit if you are trying to lose weight, as weight loss is often associated with feelings of hunger.
- > Improves Cholesterol and Blood Pressure – While you would think a high-fat diet would be bad for your cholesterol and blood pressure, the keto diet has been known to improve cholesterol and blood pressure levels, as it lowers your LDL (bad cholesterol) and raises your good cholesterol (HDL).
Who is Keto Right For?
If you have a lot of weight to lose keto may be right for you because it is more satiating and you experience fewer hunger cravings. It may also be right for you if you are pre-diabetic and need a diet that will help you control your blood sugar levels. Not only will keto help you lose weight but it will help with symptoms that come along with being obese.
Before you being any diet, you should always consult your doctor and discuss your limitations. Many people who have more than 100 pounds to lose see a lot of success when they maintain a keto diet. However, this doesn’t mean that it is the only solution, as some people experience negative side effects as well, such as cramps, constipation, heart palpitations, and low energy when beginning the diet.
What Foods are on the Keto Diet?
Keto is based on a high fat, low carb diet, which means there are certain foods that you want to include in your meals, and some foods you want to avoid. Here are some foods that you may want to eat on a keto diet:
- > Meat – Chicken, beef, fish, lamb, etc.
- > Low-Carb Veggies – Spinach, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, etc.
- > Nuts and Seeds – Walnuts, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, etc.
- > Oils – Coconut oil, olive oil, etc.
- > Greek Yogurt and Cottage Cheese
- > Butter and Cream
- > Eggs
- > Cheese
- > Avocados
What Should You Avoid on Keto?
- > Grains – Wheat, rice, corn, cereal, pasta
- > Fruit – Bananas, apples, oranges
- > Juice
- > Potatoes and Yams
- > Sugar (including honey and agave)
- > Processed foods
Vegetables on Keto
Unlike some other diets you try (including carb-cycling), vegetables are tricky because there are so many that are made up of carbs. Even though vegetables are healthy for you, you have to pay attention to the types of vegetables you consume and keep track of the net carbs they contain. Some of the best veggies to eat on keto are spinach, kale, broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, bok choy, collard greens, romaine, and cabbage.
Macro Ratio for Keto
Whether you are on a keto diet or a carb-cycling diet, knowing your macros and what you should eat is important if you want to get to your goals and lose weight.
Macros are the proteins, carbs, and fats that make up the calories of your food and can be found on all nutrition labels. On a keto diet, you will be focused on the number of fats you eat, so this will be the majority of your calories, unlike a carb-cycle where your main focus will be the number of carbs you eat on a daily basis.
Generally, on a keto diet, you want 70% of your calories to come from fats, and 25% of your calories to come from the protein you eat. With keto, only 5% of your calories should come from carbs, which is significantly lower than your protein and fats.
If you are just starting off with keto, your net carbs should not rise above 20g. Unfortunately, most nutrition labels do not include “net carbs,” so to figure out this number all you have to do is subtract the amount of fiber from the totals carbs in the food you are consuming. This number will be your net carbs.
Exercising on Keto?
One challenge you may come across on the keto diet is exercising, as you will not have the quick energy that is typically provided by carbs. In this state you are depriving your muscles of the glucose needed to really push for a hard workout, so your performance may be limited.
If you want to go hard on your workouts, this may not be the diet for you, especially if you are trying to build up muscle in your body.
This does not mean that you want to skip exercise while on this diet, but rather you may find that you are more limited than if you were consuming carbs. Fat does not fuel your muscles in the same way as carbs because fat does not turn into glucose, which is used to fuel your muscles.
Should You Try Keto?
If you have a lot of weight to lose (100+ pounds), this may be a good option for you as a lot of people see a lot of success on it, however, always check with your doctor before starting any type of nutrition program.
And, if you need additional support and want to go on a keto diet (or even find out what’s best for you and your goals), sign up for a Custom Meal Plan and let one of our nutritionists take care of all the numbers for you. This way you can be sure you’ll lose the weight you need to get to your goals.
Losing weight can be complicated and confusing, especially if you are just starting your weight loss journey. I know it was hard for me in the beginning, and sometimes it still is. Believe it or not, I still struggle with maintaining my weight and at times need to consult one of my nutritionists on what the best path for me is.
Also, be sure to check out my free approved foods list. When I started to lose weight, I didn’t subscribe to any particular diet but instead focused on eating better foods. This really helped me, in the beginning, to get a jumpstart on my own weight loss and this is what my approved foods list is; foods I ate to lose weight.
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About Possible Pat
Hi, I'm Pasquale Brocco and I've lost A LOT of weight. When I started my journey to lose weight, I weighed 605 pounds. After visiting the doctor, I realized I had to make a change. I started with a simple plan and within 60 days, I lost 100 lbs. So far, I've lost over 307 pounds. Now, I'm sharing a simple message with you, "Anything is possible." If you can put on the weight, you can lose the weight.