Keto Diet: Everything You Need To Know
The keto diet has become incredibly popular in recent years. For those who aren’t familiar with it, it’s a highly effective low-carb diet. People following the ketogenic diet largely eliminate carbs. Instead, they consume high-protein, high-fat foods that send the body into a state of ketosis. While similar to the Atkins diet, which had a great deal of success several decades ago, keto differs in various subtle ways that make it, arguably, a healthier and more effective weight loss method and lifestyle.
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When following the keto diet, you'll be primarily eating foods that are high in protein and fat. The menu consists largely of unprocessed meat, eggs, fish, non-root vegetables, and high-fat foods such as butter, olive oil, and avocado. Dairy and nuts are allowed as long as they're full-fat and well-tolerated.
Foods high in carbs are not allowed on the keto diet. This includes breads, pasta, and other grains, as well as juice, soda, and some high-carb fruits like bananas, pineapples, and pears.
As with any diet, a calorie deficit is necessary to lose weight on the keto diet. To track this, it's best to measure and weigh all food and use a keto diet app to keep track of the calorie content of the food you're eating. Additionally, it is necessary to keep carbohydrate intake between 20 and 25 grams per day and consume a specific amount of protein and fats based on body weight. It is best to carefully track this as well.
While drinking is allowed, it's restricted. Highballs are best and should be mixed with sparkling water or diet soda, and beer and sweet liqueurs are to be avoided. It's wise to drink slowly and with caution while following the keto diet. The restriction of carbs tends to lead to a quicker metabolization of alcohol, meaning you'll feel the effects of the alcohol much faster when following the keto diet.
Cheating on the keto diet is not recommended. The diet heavily relies on training your body to process fat for energy and by cheating and reintroducing carbohydrates into your diet, even temporarily, you can undo all of your training. If one has entered ketosis, cheating on the diet will also quickly undo your progress and they will have to start back at square one. That said, some people find cheat days help them stay on the diet in the long run, and some follow a "cyclical ketogenic diet" which involves eating purely keto most days, followed by a couple of higher-carb days, on a regular cycle.
Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body burns fat instead of carbohydrates for energy as a result of low glucose levels. In ketosis, the body produces acids called ketones. Putting the body into ketosis is widely considered a safe practice, but just as with any major lifestyle change, it's wise to speak to a doctor before beginning the keto diet.
One can tell if their body is in ketosis by measuring their ketone level. To do this, you can purchase test strips that indicate the presence of ketones in your urine stream, or a small machine into which you can blow. Some signs that of ketosis include a sweet or metallic taste in the mouth, a sudden large drop in water weight, decreased appetite, and sudden weight changes. It can take between four and six weeks of following the keto diet to enter full ketosis.
After starting the keto diet, some may find yourself feeling ill and weak for several days. This is the keto flu and it's simply your body adjusting to using fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. Once the body has gotten used to the keto diet you should begin to feel healthy and energetic.