What is a Ketogenic diet?
A ketogenic or keto diet is a low-carb, moderate protein and higher-fat diet that can help you burn fat effectively. It has many benefits for weight loss, health and performance which has been shown in over 50 different studies.
If you are looking for a diet that will help with weight loss or excess body fat without feeling hungry, this could be the diet for you.
On a keto diet you eat far less carbs, however, you maintain a moderate amount of protein consumption and increase your fat intake. This reduction of carbs in your diet while also incorporating an increase in fat and moderate protein consumption puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. In this state, your body burns the fat you are consuming as well as the fat that your body is holding to create energy.
The name ‘keto’ or ‘ketogenic’ originates from the small fuel molecules which are called ‘ketones’, created during the process of the ketogenic diet.
This diet was initially created as a complementary treatment in a multitude of conditions, including cancer, depression, anxiety, diabetes, epilepsy, obesity, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's.
This is an alternative fuel source for your body that can be used when blood sugar (glucose) is in short supply.
When you eat very few carbs or very few calories, your liver produces ketones from fat. These ketones then serve as a fuel source throughout the body, especially for the brain.
The brain is a hungry organ that consumes lots of energy every day, and it can’t run on fat directly. It can only run on glucose (or ketones).
When on a keto diet, your entire body will switch its fuel supply to predominantly fat, therefore, continuously burning fat 24/7. Once insulin levels drop rather low, your fat burning can increase substantially, which makes it easier for your body to burn your bodies fat storage.
This can be a beneficial diet if you are wanting to lose weight while also reducing the feeling of hunger and creating a consistent energy supply. This diet will also keep your energy levels steadier opposed to having peaks and troughs with energy levels while eating high carb meals. This can also improve concentration and focus levels.
There are however times when you should consult a doctor when thinking about starting a keto diet. These consist of people on medication for diabetes, such as insulin, mothers breastfeeding and people taking medication for high blood pressure.
This diet is not right for everyone as all our bodies react in different ways so please do you own research. Check out this link to see if the keto diet is right for you.
Disclaimer: While the keto diet has many proven benefits, it is still controversial. The main concerns or dangers around this diet are in regard to people who are on medications, e.g. for diabetes, where doses may need to be a adapted to suit the individual. Please discuss any changes in medication or relevant lifestyle changes with your doctor. This diet is also not recommended as a long term diet.
One of the main questions about the ketogenic diet is what we can and can’t eat. To see what you can eat on a ketogenic diet, check out this online guide.