What is the Keto Diet? You have probably heard the term thrown around a lot lately. The keto diet has no doubt become increasingly popular over the last few years. This diet claims that you can eat all the fat you want, lose weight and even lower your blood sugar if you have type 2 diabetes. So, is this true? How exactly does the Keto diet work and is it a healthy way to lose weight?
Although the keto diet has received negative feedback in being “just another fad diet” this diet has been scientifically tested and validated several times. Did you know the ketogenic diet was first used as therapy for epilepsy patients in the 1920s and 30s to treat the disease and was proven a success?
How it works is the diet puts your body in a state of ketosis which essentially mimics fasting. The keto diet is a high fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate diet. The main source of energy is fat whereas our usual source of energy comes mainly from glucose (carbohydrates). Therefore, 70-80% of your daily calories will come from fat. By limiting your carbohydrate intake and fuelling your body with fat, you will put your body into ketosis -the process in which your body uses fats rather that sugars from carbs to fuel your body.
The modern-day Keto diet has been modified to allow for more protein intake so around 20- 30% of your total calories will come from protein and 1-5% will come from carbohydrates (Less than 50 grams of carbohydrates a day). The benefits of this diet are weight loss, weight management, improved athletic performance as well as increasing your heart health and sharpening your mental focus.
As with any diet there may be some potential side effects and you should be made aware of these as well. The following are a few to be wary of:
- The risk of yo-yo dieting. Studies have shown that the ability to stick to a diet is more important for long-term success than the type of diet that’s followed. The Keto diet is incredibly restrictive and is particularly tough for those who enjoy social engagements or are prone to carb cravings.
- The “keto Flu” Because your brains favourite fuel is glucose, it must adjust to ketones from the digested fats for energy. Symptoms may include nausea, fatigue, cramps and irritability. This may last from a few days to up to a week so it’s very important to drink plenty of water.
- Nutrient deficiency: Fibre consumption tends to be low as fruits, grains, and starchy vegetables are decreased in this diet and can lead to an uncomfortable bowel side effect. In addition, potassium may potentially be low as well. This is an important mineral for electrolyte balance and blood pressure control. Including low-carb sources of potassium in this diet is important. For example, avocado.
What foods are included in the Keto diet?
Whole, unprocessed high-fat and protein rich foods will make up the bulk of the diet. Some food examples include:
- Dairy, including eggs and cheese
- Nuts and seeds
- Non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, spinach)
- Protein (beef, pork, poultry and soy)
- Fruits (berries and coconut – in moderation), avocado
- Fats (oils, plant based and butter)
Foods to avoid on the Keto diet
- Processed foods (chips, crackers)
- Sweets, (candy, brownies, cookies)
- Grains of all kinds
- High carb fruits (any tropical fruits)
- Artificial sweeteners
The keto diet is a good way to lose weight, although due to the very restrictive nature of this diet it is more of a lifestyle change rather than a crash diet and therefore not suitable for everyone. If you have issues with blood sugar levels or a history of heart disease, this diet is not recommended. If you are looking to start a diet and you are interested in the ketogenic diet it is always best to consult a nutritionist as they will be able to guide you and help with an eating plan and find out what is best for you.
Below are some of our favorite Keto snacks to keep you satiated and inspired.
Her background stems from a Bachelor of Applied Science, Masters in Biotechnology and currently extending even more by studying a Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology. A lifetime experience in physical fitness, Alicia is the fitness instructor we all wish for. Her kind and understanding approach to clients touches our heart as well as her ambition and love for helping people reach their goals.
Based in Brisbane, Australia, Alicia loves the warm climate, drinking coffee and living her best life in awesome activewear