Understanding the basics of any plan is more than important. It’s essential to know the “why” as much as the “how.” After all, you’re dealing with your physical and mental health when you start, and stay with, the keto diet.
This program for weight loss, improved physical health and better mental health is relatively new, though its popularity has grown significantly in the past few years.
The process of ketosis associated with the ketogenic diet has its roots almost a century ago, with early focus on treating diabetes.
But as a weight-loss diet, “keto” is more contemporary, with many people choosing this as a way to recapture a healthy lifestyle. It can be a nutritional method for delivering health benefits when guidelines are followed carefully.
What is It, Really?
As you consider using this diet, and begin to learn more about it, keep in mind you won’t find just one program that fits everyone. The ketogenic diet is a slightly broader category than that.
The focus is always on eating in a healthy way, consuming foods rich in protein, eating healthy fats, and holding carbohydrates to the minimum amount that works for you.
If there is one key to the keto diet, it’s in changing the way your body will access what it needs for energy. As food is processed, fat is converted to fatty acids and ketone bodies, which result from the process of the liver breaking down fat for energy. This diet can significantly reduce insulin in the blood, which made it a natural choice for dealing with diabetes, as mentioned earlier. It’s also been used for the treatment of several other diseases and conditions.
Because the ketogenic diet focuses on using stored fat, it can be a good choice for a healthier lifestyle and for losing weight.
If you plan is followed carefully, this can be a safe way to shed pounds (fat), have more energy, and even have a mind that is much clearer than before. Some studies have separated the general category of “ketogenic diet” into four basic types.
The first, often considered standard, involves reducing carbohydrate consumption to a minimum, usually 50 grams daily, or less. The range from 20 grams to 50 grams allows each individual to figure out what amount is healthy and effective. Taking the concept up one level, you will include a period of exercise after consuming a determined amount of carbohydrates.
These carbs are easily digested so you have something in your stomach and system as you exercise. The idea is to have muscle glycogen that is an important factor in a keto diet. The small amount of carbs consumed prior to exercise are used quickly for energy when they’re consumed half an hour to an hour before exercise.
After the workout, it’s important to consume foods high in protein and lower in fat. As you learn more about this diet, keep in mind that some programs are best for highly active people, while others suit different lifestyles.
For example, you may read about or hear about the cyclic keto diet, which should be most effective for competitive athletes and bodybuilders. It works best when combined with intense workouts.
In this special keto diet, periods of high-carbohydrate consumption alternate with a more standard diet. Some have referred to this as carb-loading, when consumption swells to the 500-gram range. The goal is fat loss while building lean muscles.
There is one more specific keto-diet type: the restricted diet. This has a much different objective than the others, because the focus is on therapy, such as cancer treatment. When carb-intake is very limited, the body begins to produce ketones.
Healthy cells use these for energy while cancer cells can’t get sustenance and can literally die of starvation. This diet can be rather extreme in allowing food consumption, so it’s best to avoid this plan unless you’re under the direction of a medical professional.
The basics of the ketogenic diet are consumption of healthy fats, generally about 70 percent of your intake.
Carbohydrates make up only about 5 percent to 10 percent, with the rest coming in the form of protein. If you think, generally, in terms of fish, meat, nuts, cheese and healthy oils, you are on the right path toward a keto diet.