Perhaps you have heard the terms “whole food,” “clean eating,” and “low carb diet,” but you really don’t know what they mean.
Before you can make the wise decision to improve your diet and make healthier choices, it is important to understand how it all works.
It is important to understand that the Ketogenic diet is not a fad or a traditional diet, but a lifestyle, so you are not making a temporary change, you are making a life change.
With that in mind, below we will discuss what the ketogenic diet is, and how you can make a success of it by eating clean whole food so you can make your new lifestyle a true success.
A ketogenic diet is a low carb, high fat, moderate protein diet. It limits your intake of carbs to about 20 grams a day but no more than 50.
The reason for this is that for it to be successful you need to enter into the ketosis stage, where the body begins to burn stored fat for energy instead of dietary carbs. Ketosis will not be triggered unless you are eating less than 50 grams of carbs per day.
Therefore, while you may be on a low carb diet, unless you are following a strict carb limit you are not likely to enjoy its main benefits.
Ketosis is a metabolic process that actually uses your fat stores for energy instead of dietary carbohydrates.
Generally, your body feeds on carbohydrates for energy, the problem with this is that when you do not burn off all the carbohydrates you eat, the rest turns to fat stores.
This is a complex metabolic process that involves glucose, insulin, and glycogen.
- Carbohydrates (starches and sugars) are broken down into glucose in the bloodstream, giving the body its default energy source.
- At this point, the hormone insulin steps in to remove glucose from the bloodstream.
- Insulin converts glucose into glycogen. Some glycogen is stored inside the liver as a fuel reserve for the brain, and the rest is stored in the muscles as fuel reserves for everything you do.
- When that muscle glycogen is not used through a lack of energy expenditure or exercise, it stays in the muscles.
- The human body can only store so much glycogen, about 1800 calories worth. When that reserve becomes full both the muscles and the liver send a signal to stop insulin production and excess glucose from dietary carbs begins to build up in the bloodstream, calling for more and more insulin to be released to remove it.
- Insulin levels surge, and eventually this may lead to insulin resistance.
- At this point, the liver then sends any excess glucose in the blood to be stored as body fat.
- As high dietary carb intake continues, glucose floods the bloodstream, insulin levels increase, and so do the body’s fat stores.
Many experts believe that the over consumption of carbohydrates has greatly contributed to the obesity epidemic in the United States with 1/3 of adults being obese.
In the Keto equation however, once carbs are greatly limited and their sources controlled, the body has no other option than to turn to its own fat stores for energy and the metabolic process of ketosis begins.
There are other concrete scientific reasons as to why eating low carb promotes weight loss. When you eliminate sugar and starches your blood sugar stabilizes and insulin levels, the fat-storing hormone, drop, so you burn fat and feel naturally satisfied with less food.
The ketogenic diet was created in 1924 by Mayo Clinic doctor, Russell Wilder. It is used to treat certain medical conditions, and is also supportive in keeping blood sugars stable in those with diabetes.
Harvard Health explains how the keto diet trumps low fat diets in numerous studies when it comes to the amount of weight lost as well as its ability to lower triglyceride levels in the bloodstream to improve cholesterol profiles and reduce risk factors for heart disease.
More than 20 randomized controlled trials published since 2002 in respected, peer-reviewed journals have shown low carb diets to be effective for weight loss, stabilizing blood sugars, general health and are also noted to be completely safe. One of the longest studies, but not the only one found that low carb beats low fat diets in improving good HDL cholesterol levels.
One of the most popular commercial ketogenic diets is Atkins™ was created by Dr. Robert Atkins over 40 years ago and it has helped thousands of overweight and obese people lose the weight and keep it off.
The ratio of macronutrient intake in a standard ketogenic diet is typically, 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs
The use of carbs for fuel is what the ketogenic diet aims to avoid by:
Limiting carbs to less than 20 grams per day and
limiting their sources mostly to non-starchy vegetables
This is especially strict and important when you first start in order to trigger ketosis so the body can begin to burn fat for fuel.
While vegetables are simple carbs, they are not insulin triggers like other simple sugars, such as table sugar, fruit, and baked goods nor do they have the same insulin trigger effect in the body as complex carbs do, such as corn, potatoes, rice, pasta, and bread.
Non-starchy vegetables are very low in carbs, making them a nutrient dense food that carries a very low glycemic load that supports ketosis and weight loss.
Eating foods with a low glycemic load means that your body will stop storing fat and begin to burn it instead, because both simple and complex carbs convert to glucose in the body, and any glucose not used for energy will be stored as fat.
However, once those sources of glucose (starch and sugar carbs) are eliminated, the body enters the metabolic process of ketosis and begins to burn its fat stores for energy so you can lose weight.
The Ketogenic Diet Eliminates
- Table sugar and all foods made with it
- Starchy vegetables
- All starches
- Any foods with a high glycemic load
Protein is both 46% ketogenic and 58% anti-ketogenic because some protein will convert to glucose in the bloodstream, therefore in keto protein intake should be enough to support muscle mass and prevent its loss, but not so much that will disrupt ketosis.
- Sedentary lifestyle: from 0.69 – 0.8 grams per pound of lean body mass
- Mild activity: from 0.8 to 1 gram per pound of lean body mass
- Heavy strength training/bodybuilding and exercise: from 1 to 1.2 grams per pound of lean body mass
Specifically, lean body mass is
Disclaimer: This publication is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Medical advice should always be obtained from a qualified medical professional for any health conditions or symptoms associated with them. Every possible effort has been made in preparing and researching this material. We make no warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability of its contents or any omissions.