In recent decades there has been much talk about low carb diets , but the menu that has maintained its reputation from generation to generation and that is receiving particular attention today is undoubtedly the ketogenic diet, also known as “keto diet “This nutritional plan is far from being a lightning diet and has been practised since the 1920s, when doctors began to use it with patients, obese and epileptic patients.
WHAT IS THE KETOGENIC DIET?
It is a diet that is very low in carbohydrates and high in fat that has proven to be beneficial for stably losing weight, increasing energy and promoting cognitive health and hormonal balance. It also helps reduce risk factors for chronic diseases such as hyperglycemia, high blood pressure and hypertriglyceridemia (excess triglycerides in the blood).
With the keto diet, the body enters a metabolic state of ketosis:
- The immediate energy source (carbohydrate glucose) is drastically reduced.
- The body needs to find alternative energy sources.
- It begins to burn more fat and produce higher amounts of ketones (small molecules that contribute to energy metabolism).
To get the body into the metabolic state of ketosis and stay that way while producing ketones for constant energy supply, at least 75% of daily calories must come from fatty foods. By not having carbohydrates or glucose, the body depends on the fat you get from your diet, as well as body fat, which translates into a rapid and stable weight loss.
TIPS TO ACHIEVE A GREATER EFFECT WITH THE KETO DIET:
1. GET FAT FROM UNPROCESSED FOODS
If you want to prevent or reverse symptoms derived from poor health, I recommend doing the ketogenic diet from a holistic perspective. By this, I mean that you should opt for healthy and whole foods that are high in fat. A good example would be olive or coconut oil, avocados, nuts, fatty fish and grass products (butter, eggs and meat from grass-raised animals).
On the other hand, you should avoid processed foods: meat products (bacon or salami, for example), low-quality meat from animals raised on industrial farms, processed cheeses, fish from fish farms, products with a high content of synthetic additives and refined vegetable oils (rapeseed, sunflower, safflower, etc.). These products are top in fat, but they are not quality fats so that they can cause adverse health effects.
2. DO NOT FORGET TO EAT VEGETABLES!
The non-starchy vegetable is also the key to success, as it provides the body with essential vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. So you know, include one or two handfuls of this vegetable in your meals! On the other hand, remember to reduce (or avoid) starchy vegetables such as potatoes, beets or squash, because it makes the ketosis process difficult.
3. DO NOT EAT TOO MUCH PROTEIN
One of the factors that differentiate this diet from the other low carb diets is that it incorporates less protein and more fat. The amount of protein should be moderate (about 15% of the daily caloric intake). In turn, carbohydrate intake has to be reduced to 5-10% of caloric intake (equivalent to about 25-35 grams per day).
THAT IS GOOD TO KNOW:
Although you severely restrict your intake of carbohydrates, it is essential to eat an adequate amount of macronutrients because you make sure your body enters a state of ketosis and produces ketone bodies (which are the key to feeling better physically and mentally). In the case of ingesting an excess of protein, it may turn into glucose, which is counterproductive in the process and can prevent you from entering the state of ketosis.
4. TRY TO FAST INTERMITTENTLY
The intermittent fasting has a positive effect on hormones, regulating blood sugar, levels of inflammation and detoxification, so it’s an excellent strategy to enhance the results of the ketogenic diet. Both plans combine well because ketone bodies reduce appetite, so it is not so difficult to spend time without eating.
It has been proven that fasting helps regulate hunger hormones (leptin and ghrelin) and insulin sensitivity while contributing to weight loss. You can start fasting intermittently by limiting the time you spend on food each day to about 4-9 hours (so you will fast for 15-20 hours) or fasting on alternate days (so you will reduce the caloric intake by 75%, 1- 2 days a week).
5. HYDRATE WELL AND CONSUME ENOUGH ELECTROLYTES
While following the keto diet, you have to make sure you maintain proper hydration throughout the day: in addition to a right amount of water, it is recommended that you include infusions of herbs, natural juices, organic coffee, green tea and bone broth. It is also right that you consume some salt (the best options are sea salt and Himalayan salt), to ensure an adequate intake of potassium, magnesium and other electrolytes. Electrolytes can help with digestion and with muscle and cellular functions, as well as with sleep, energy and mood.
Despite being very different from the low-fat diets that are recommended for weight loss, the ketogenic diet is considered safe and healthy for most people. However, it is not recommended (especially without the follow-up of a professional) for people with a history of diabetes, liver and kidney diseases, eating disorders and genetic defects that interfere with fat absorption. Likewise, pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding should also avoid following this diet.
TEMPORARY SIDE EFFECTS OF THE DIET
Some people may feel the side effects of the ketogenic diet when they enter the state of ketosis, but usually, the symptoms disappear within one to two weeks. Side effects are generally headaches, lack of energy, cravings, weakness and brain fog.