Note: Here at ChicMad, we are not doctors or weight loss experts so if you choose to follow any kind of weight loss program we strongly recommend speaking to your doctor before you begin
The keto diet is the latest in weight loss fads, it seems. At this point in time, science is constantly finding new ways for us to eat healthier. The ketogenic diet is one of those specialities that has seen a recent boom in popularity. So what exactly is this diet entail?
A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that offers many health benefits. The goal is to get your body into a state of ketosis by eating foods that are naturally high in fats with limited amounts of carbohydrates. To maintain ketosis, you need to eat less than 50g of carbs per day.
The diet can be tricky for beginners who don’t know how to properly manage their portions without tracking everything they eat or drink. A meal might look small at first but most likely contains more calories than normal because it’s higher in fats. Learn about the dangers of the diet and whether it’s right for you.
How Does a Ketogenic Diet Work?
The main goal of this diet is to get your body into a state of ketosis. That’s when the fats in your body break down into ketones that act as energy sources. When you follow the proper diet, your body produces ketones for fuel and breaks down fatty acids instead of carbs. The end result is that you lose weight effectively. This diet has also been known to help people manage conditions like epilepsy, diabetes and heart disease. The idea behind the diet is simple: keep carbohydrates low enough to force your body to burn fat for energy. It may sound like an easy feat, but getting into ketosis isn’t always easy or possible for everyone. With the right foods and lifestyle, you can get there.
How Do I Start a Ketogenic Diet?
Follow a strict and controlled ketogenic diet to ensure that your body burns fat for energy instead of glucose. To do this, you must have a very low carb intake but moderate protein intake. A good place to start is by not eating more than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day. That’s 1 slice of bread or 1 piece of fruit. If you’re on the Atkins diet, stay with low carbs at 20 grams or less per day and add in 5 to 10 per cent calories from protein each day as well as fibre sources such as fresh vegetables and fruits. You should also eat proteins that have a low glycemic index (like lentils) to avoid spikes in your blood sugar.
What Foods Can I Eat on a Ketogenic Diet?
Eating foods that are high in fat and low in carbs is the foundation of a ketogenic diet. The keto diet is very high in fat, such as butter, bacon and avocado. Eggs, heavy whipping cream and salmon are also examples of fatty foods that you can include in your diet. You’ll also find some dairy choices such as cheese, yoghurt, sour cream and cottage cheese to be part of your daily menu.
While you need to limit your carbohydrate intake and eat foods high in fat, you don’t cut out carbohydrates completely. Instead, it’s recommended that you eat less than 50 grams of carbs per day. As for protein, it’s recommended that you get at least 15 grams per day while on the diet.
Keto Diet Foods to Avoid
When following a ketogenic diet, it is essential to avoid certain foods as well. You should avoid eating grains, legumes and starchy vegetables like potatoes when starting this diet. The reason is that these are sources of carbohydrates that will kick your body out of ketosis and ultimately halt fat loss. Here is a list of foods and drinks that are typically high in carbs:
* Fruit juices, like apple juice or orange juice (although you can have these as long as they are 100% pure and without sugar)
* Honey, agave syrup and molasses (although this can be used for baking if you’re using it on a well-formulated low-carb diet)
This means you should eat these items sparingly. You should also avoid bread unless you’re having them with salad or with a protein source. If you do indulge in them, make sure you only eat one slice of bread at any time.
Can I Drink Alcohol on a Ketogenic Diet?
While a keto diet is typically low in carbs, that doesn’t mean your alcohol intake should be unlimited. Alcohol is a carb source so consuming too much can kick your body out of ketosis. Instead, you can enjoy a single serving of beer or wine with your meal once per week. Each serving should be around 25 grams of carbs.
Consider drinking hard liquor instead of wine or beer with meals because it contains fewer carbs and calories than the other two options.
How Long Should You Follow a Ketogenic Diet?
While you may think that just following keto for short periods of time is OK, you’re not getting the full effect of this diet. It’s best to follow it for at least 3 months if not 6 months to maximize the effects. The goal is to burn off as many fat cells in your body as possible which can take up to 3 months. If you do follow it for longer periods like six months, you will get more benefits from the diet. Always monitor how much alcohol you drink and stick to the recommended serving sizes.
Should You Do a Keto Diet While Pregnant?
While you may be thinking that this diet is a great way to shed excess weight and get yourself in shape before the arrival of your little one, it’s not recommended for pregnant women. Keto has not been tested on pregnant women so there’s no evidence to show how well it will work for them. It’s better to consult with your doctor first and see what they think about the diet. Doctors typically recommend that you gain between 25 and 35 pounds while pregnant. You should also eat more calories when you’re expecting as your body needs them to support fetal growth. You should also monitor your blood sugar throughout pregnancy. If you have diabetes, it’s best to keep your blood sugar as close to normal as possible. If you have gestational diabetes or you’re having gestational diabetes symptoms, you should discuss with your doctor how this diet might affect you and whether or not it’s safe for you to follow.
How to Lose Weight During a Keto Diet
While following a keto diet does help burn fat and lose weight, it does so at the cost of consuming large amounts of calories, which can result in weight gain if done improperly. The best way to make sure that you’re in ketosis is to focus on eating protein and high-fat foods in general, while not overdoing your carbs.
If you’re trying to lose weight while following the keto diet, it’s usually best to start out slowly. Don’t go too low of fat or too high of carbs at first. Instead, try eating more protein and healthy fat at first followed by less protein and carbohydrates until it gets a little easier for you to stick with it.
Remember that trying this diet out isn’t going to be easy as there are many side effects associated with following a strict diet like this one. If you need support, there are resources available to help you stick with it.
Does the Ketogenic Diet Work for Weight Loss?
I don’t think there’s enough evidence to suggest that the ketogenic diet is effective at helping people lose weight. The research behind the diet focuses on short-term impacts, such as weight loss and reduced hunger. Long term effects haven’t been studied yet, and most of what we know has come from studies of people who follow the diet for a few months.
The books that I mentioned above are great resources and they go into more detail about how this is done in practice, but I still find it hard to believe that a high-fat diet like this will work long term.
Is it possible to lose weight? Of course, you can always lose weight. But it’s often hard to maintain that loss, especially when you need to adhere to a new diet for the rest of your life (or healthy eating habits for life). And while you may be able to eat less by following a restrictive diet like this, there’s no evidence that it will have any long term effect on why we gain fat in the first place. This is why a lot of people don’t see results when they try the ketogenic diet.
The bottom line: I don’t think eating more fat and fewer carbs is going to help us slim down in the long run, at least not without major changes in how we approach food.