Defining the Ketogenic Diet

Up until 2015, I had never heard of the ketogenic diet. So don’t feel bad if you’re also a little in the dark here. The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, ultra-low-carb diet. It’s a really easy way to drop weight quickly (within a few weeks) without feeling hungry or deprived. You can eat a really decent number of calories, you can eat multiple, full meals. It’s simply a different way of looking at food. You will learn to avoid carbs. You will learn to not be scared of fat.

Fat* doesn’t make you fat. Sugar makes you fat.
(*Healthy fats)

So let me get all science-y for a minute… and just give you the breakdown:

What is a ketogenic diet?

A ketogenic diet, in its simplest definition, involves eating high-fat (70% of your calories are from fat, usually 100-200 grams fat/day), moderate-protein (25% of your calories are from protein, or around .8-1.0g protein/pound of bodyweight), and low-carbohydrates (<50 grams/day).

It involves eating high-quality fats and protein, from sources like nuts, avocados, coconuts, fish, and grass-fed meat, and supplementing enough fiber and vitamin intake from nutrient-dense, low-starch vegetable sources like spinach, broccoli, kale, asparagus, and cauliflower. By following this approach, what you consume in your diet inevitably shifts toward more healthy, natural, and wholesome foods.

Your main focus, besides eating a healthy combination of high-quality fats from both animal and plant sources, is to cut the carbohydrates– i.e. sugars and starches- out of your regular diet. In doing so, you effortlessly remove all of the garbage, processed foods that make up most Americans’ diets.

{You could live your whole life without consuming carbs. Your body could not survive without consuming fats or protein. How, then, did we become a nation scared of fats and in love with carbs?}

Why is it called “ketogenic?”

It’s called ketogenic because when you restrict your carbohydrate intake for a few days, your body begins to shift into a different metabolic state called ketosis. In ketosis, your liver is producing ketones as a byproduct of burning fats, and your body uses these ketones, along with dietary and body fat, for energy instead of sugar and glycogen (like it had been your whole life.)

How do I do it?

To get into ketosis, your carbohydrate intake needs to be low enough and you must consume enough fat. If you want your body to burn and run off fats, you need to be eating a sufficient amount and mixture of healthy fats.  And in order for you to convince your body to start burning these fats, you must starve it of the carbs.

What are its effects on your body and metabolism?

By restricting the amount of carbohydrates you eat and supplementing your caloric intake with fat instead, your body, put simply, transforms from a sugar-burner to a fat-burner as a result. Believe it or not, your brain and body prefer and thrive off fat as fuel. When you think of high-fat, think of high-quality fat. This diet, and its successfulness therein, relies on your consumption of a healthy combination of fats from both animal and plant sources. But you must quit the carbs, or this excess consumption of fat will not result in the weight-loss, muscle-gain, energy increase you are looking for.

As your metabolism transforms into an efficient fat-burner, you will notice an increase in energy levels, and a reduction in crashes. Energy crashes result from carbohydrate consumption, once you’re fat adapted, you wont be feeling the crash of coming down from an insulin high.

Other effects on your body, that are too long to list fully here, are decreases in blood pressure, decrease in insulin resistance, increase in insulin sensitivity (which is good), reduction in inflammation in the body, ability to heal yourself more quickly, being less prone to sickness, and having more mental clarity- or a reduction in “brain fog” as they call it.

How long does it take?

Getting into this state can take any range of time between a few days and a couple weeks, dependent on how much excess glycogen your body has stored. You are completely changing the way your metabolism has been working your entire life, so the transition can be rough for the first few days- or even weeks. When your body becomes accustomed to and efficient at burning fats for energy, however, you become so much more energized, and your weight-loss/muscle transformation is accelerated- I know from experience.

Author: ketokeeks

Bodybuilder and nutrition lover, here to spread the joys of low carb living and heavy lifting with the world. :)

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