The KETO Diet and weight loss – Is it right for you?
The Ketogenic Diet is a big rage these days. While you may have heard of it recently, it’s actually been around for a long time, and like many diet trends, they disappear and re-emerge over and over again.
During the 80’s and 90’s many studies where conducted on weight loss and specific diets. The high protein, high fat, low carb diets (like the Atkins or Bernstein Diet) were proven to be successful weight loss. The reason for this is because protein and fat intake keep you satisfied and full leading to a decrease in consumption of overall calories within your day.
How does the keto diet work?
Basically, you starve your body of carbohydrates, which is your preferred and go-to source of fuel for running your body. When you run out of carbohydrates, the body will begin to burn your fat reserves for energy which creates a by-product called ketones. After about 3-5 days of low carbs, your body will go into a state of ketosis.
Is Ketosis healthy?
Scientists believe that our bodies are built to handle short-term stress and since your body uses stress hormones to initiate ketosis, the results can be unpredictable. It all depends on your genetics and your current load of stress. For example, if your system is already quite stressed and you take away all carbs, it can perpetuate the cycle.
On the contrary, a lot of people’s bodies are stressed by a high intake of carbohydrates and sugar which leads to fat gain and fatigue. So in this case, people can use the Keto diet to reset their metabolism and kick start fat loss.
In terms of genetics, depending on where your ancestors are from, you may be more predisposed to a handling a lower carb, higher protein/fat diet. For example, Inuit people who have lived for thousands of years off a high fat/protein low carb consumption. Some experts believe your blood type might also play a part in your ability to handle more of a Keto based diet (for example, blood O types).
Typically people drop weight quite fast on a keto diet – why?
Carbs also hold water, so it is common for people to drop weight rapidly when switching to the keto diet. Remember that water weight goes up and down depending on carb/salt intake. This typically is not real fat loss. So keep this in mind! The real fat loss takes approximately 3-5 days for a pound of fat to be burned.
In conclusion, the results vary from person to person on the keto diet, and although there is some solid research showing the benefits of short-term Keto for weight loss the bottom line is you should listen to your body. We all respond differently.
If you are considering the Keto Diet here is what you need to know:
-You must consume protein and healthy fat for each meal
– You must consume a high amount of fibrous vegetables from the stalk and leaf family like broccoli, asparagus, celery, cucumber, spinach, kale, lettuce, etc. Because you are cutting out most starches, fruit, legumes, and grains which are high in fiber, you must compensate by consuming high levels of green vegetable fiber or else you will get constipated
-You must drink at least 2L of water per day. High protein diets can dehydrate your body because water is needed to digest protein. So you must compensate by drinking water, or you can become dehydrated. Room temperature still water is optimal.
-You must monitor your ketone levels in your blood via urine, breath or blood testing. Going TOO far into ketosis is very dangerous and should be noted.
–This is not a long-term diet. You eventually must build carbohydrates back into your diet.
Temporary Symptoms of a Keto Diet:
- Feeling weak
- Brain Fog
- Flu-like symptoms
These symptoms shouldn’t last over a couple of weeks. If they do, your body is pretty much telling you it needs some carbs. Listen to your body! And add low glycemic carbs in slowly and according to symptom relief.
Trying a semi ketogenic diet, which consists of eating 90% keto with some carbs in and after you exercise so you can avoid going too far into ketosis. Why stress your body so much by cutting out all carbs? Instead, eat one serving of low glycemic fruit (example dark berries) and one serving of low glycemic starch (example sweet potato) one hour before and after you exercise. After a week or so if you feel high fatigue and/or brain fog symptoms dial your carbs up slowly with another serving of low glycemic starch (like oatmeal). Listen to your body and always consult your doctor if something doesn’t feel right.
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