A Ketogenic diet is high in fat, moderate in proteins, and low in carbohydrates. Keto diet plans recommend having 70% of calories as fat – 25% from protein and only 5% from carbs, in which the body produces ketones and uses them as energy. Initially, the main energy source was glucose and carbohydrates. When you are on a ketogenic diet, your source of fuel shifts from glucose to ketones.
What is ketosis?
When you are on a ketogenic diet, most of the calorie intake will come from fat. Initially, it’s recommended that you consume 70 to 75 percent of calories in the form of fat. Coconut oil, salmon, bacon, butter, ghee, etc. are highly recommended.
Normally, people panic because they have been led to believe that eating fatty foods is unhealthy and will increase their blood cholesterol levels. Actually, it’s not fatty foods that are the cause of the problem.
The real culprits are sugar, simple carbohydrates and processed foods.
When you are on a ketogenic diet, you are shifting your body to use ketones as fuel instead of glucose. Glucose is a ’lower grade’ fuel that has many adverse effects.
How ketosis works?
Ketones are a cleaner source of fuel and are produced when your body utilizes fat as fuel. This is why people who reach ketosis suddenly feel mental clarity and more energy.
It’s as if a brain fog has been lifted and they have abundant energy. There is often concern that the body needs carbohydrates to operate optimally.
In fact, the 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates allowed in the keto diet are more than enough. The human body is quite capable of generating its own glucose by using the glycerol properties of fat.
Is ketosis dangerous?
The keto diet is one of the best and safe diets in the world. Yet millions of people see it with doubt and have the impression that it is dangerous and unsafe. In most cases, people don’t understand the science behind the diet and are opposed because of the misunderstanding which currently prevails as truth. To understand how ketosis is perfectly safe, you need to know about the ketogenic diet and how it works.
There are few things you should know about the ketogenic diet before you try it to lose weight. Yes, you can shed a few pounds, but you should also watch out for the following side effects.
The “keto flu”
Some people feel flu-like symptoms in the first week of starting of the ketogenic diet. Your body shifts its primary fuel source from glucose and carbohydrates to ketones and fat, it may take some time to adopt this metabolic change.
Signs of “Keto flu”
- Fatigue or tiredness
You may be able to minimize the effects of “keto flu“ by drinking plenty of water and getting plenty of sleep.
Do we really require carbohydrates?
The human body does not need carbohydrates to function properly. While you may eat vegetables and fruits for fiber and micronutrients, you can avoid carbs, like bread, rice, pasta, etc.
Reducing carbohydrate intake can prevent blood sugar spikes and, as a result, can help prevent complications of diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. By weaning off carbohydrates and burning glucose for fuel, you may avoid many diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, inflammation, etc. There is no long-term problem with being on ketosis.
As a matter of fact, you will be healthier, leaner, and have much more energy. You will be at very low risk for getting glucose-related diseases. In fact, studies have shown that cancer cells require glucose to develop.
When your body is on the keto diet, the cancer cells are starving of glucose and become dormant or just die. Ketosis is that powerful.
Will ketosis cause muscle loss?
Contrary to popular opinion, ketosis does not cause muscle loss. In reality, it encourages it. When you are on a ketogenic diet, together with intermittent fasting, your body produces more growth hormones.
If you are engaging in resistant training, you will gain lean muscles. The body hardly burns off muscle for fuel. One during periods of starvation when it has no choice will the body prefer to catabolize its muscle.
What about cholesterol?
Here’s the reality – your body produces its cholesterol. Yes, it does.
Cholesterol is used by the body to secure the cells. The fat you eat in the keto diet doesn’t raise your cholesterol levels.
Inflammation does. When the cells in your body are inflamed, the body creates cholesterol to soothe and protect them. So what causes inflammation?
Sugar and processed foods. That’s what.
Now you can see that the real culprits are hiding in plain sight. Fats have gotten a bad rep, while carbs which are quickly converted to glucose are hailed as healthy.
Being in ketosis actually reduced your bad cholesterol levels.
And that leaves us with the last worry that so many people have… ketoacidosis.
The difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis
Early evidence may suggest that a ketogenic diet is beneficial for short term weight-loss. But the side effects and the difficulty of compliance question the use of ketogenic diet as a long-term weight loss – while most dieticians still recommend a balanced diet.
Ketosis is a state where the body burns ketones for fuel. Ketoacidosis, on the other hand, is a situation where your body has high levels of sugar and ketones. This can be a life-threatening situation.
It usually only affects those who have type 1 diabetes because the body doesn’t produce insulin to manage the sugar in the blood. Most people who don’t suffer from type 1 diabetes will not face this problem.
To conclude, ketosis is safe and the keto diet can be maintained as a lifestyle choice. Most people who go the keto way swear by it and never look back. Do note that it’s best to speak to your doctor before embarking on any diet.
10 Health benefits of being on the keto diet
- Effortless weight loss and maintenance
- Restful sleep
- Natural hunger and controlled appetite
- Mental clarity
- The feeling of happiness and general well-being
- Lowered blood pressure
- Use of stored body fat as a fuel source
- Improved immune system
- Control diabetes
- Increased level of good cholesterol HDL