WHAT IS KETO?
Keto/Ketosis/Ketogenic, the names may sound fancy but the diet is pretty simple.
Having experienced a recent surge in popularity the keto diet is not new, in fact it has been around for nearly a century treating many with epilepsy.
The keto diet is based on a way of eating (WOE) that promotes very low-carb, moderate protein and high-fat (LCHF) foods. This does sound crazy at first, that is because it goes against what we have been inherently taught previously about nutrition. This is turning the traditional food pyramid upside down. The benefits go further than just turning your body into a fat burning machine, numerous studies have now shown its incredible effects on controlling blood sugar, improving energy, endurance and mental performance and reducing inflammation.
HOW DOES THE KETO DIET WORK?
The purpose of the keto diet is to change the way your body converts certain foods into energy.
When you restrict your carb intake, whilst at the same time increasing your fat intake, your body switches into a state called ‘ketosis’ - this is a metabolic process whereby the body starts to fuel itself from its fat stores. During ‘ketosis’ the liver converts fats into ‘ketones’ which then provide our body especially our brain with an energy source.
Simplified - on a ketogenic diet your whole body switches from relying on carbs as an energy source to fuelling itself with fats, burning fat stores 24 hours a day (this is also know as fat-adapted).
HOW MANY CARBS?
To get into ketosis you should aim to consume no more than 50g of net carbs per day, ideally for fat loss (and in the early stages of adaption) you want to aim for 20g. These carbs will make up circa 5% of your total calories. The rest of your intake should focus on healthy fats (75-90% of your calorie intake) and moderate protein (note - Keto is not a high protein diet)
STARTING KETO - If you are starting out it can be daunting, your friends will probably think you’ve gone mad, you may feel crap for the first few weeks (aka the Keto Flu), the carb cravings will kick in and you may be tempted to give up. This is the first keto mistake - giving up too soon. During ketosis your whole body needs to go through various changes, it is not an overnight switch into burning fat for fuel.
It can take a few days to get into ketosis, for some it can take longer (and it can take one carb laden meal to drop out of it again). Try to stick with it, there are lots of top notch friendly and collaborative keto groups on Facebook such as Easy Keto UK.