An eating method, the keto diet is enjoying great popularity at the moment, and with good reason. Medical experts have confirmed that this dietary technique can send your body into a state of ketosis, in which it uses its own stored fat as energy. As a result, many practitioners find that they lose weight while enjoying other health benefits.
With a ketogenic diet, individuals aim to consume a diet that’s around 80% fat with few or no carbohydrates. A typical keto diet involves consuming fish, meat, eggs, dairy, and plenty of green vegetables, while avoiding pasta, rice, potatoes, and most fruits. Unfortunately, succeeding with the keto diet isn’t as simple as cutting out all carbs. You also have to consume the right foods if you want to drop pounds and stay healthy. Learn more about how a ketogenic diet works and discover whether you’re cutting the right carbs from your weekly meal plan.
How Keto Works
Keto changes the way in which the body converts food into energy. While the body usually converts carbs into energy, people on the ketogenic diet are depriving themselves of these substances. As a result, the body turns to the fat stored in cells for its fuel source. Additionally, many keto followers notice a decreased appetite and reduction in cholesterol levels.
Both practitioners and researchers have reported positive results with this eating plan. According to a study involving obese men published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, patients who followed a keto diet for 30 days experienced an average weight loss of 14 pounds. Additional studies showed that keto practitioners saw greater weight loss in three to six months of dieting than individuals following typical balanced eating plans.
Following a ketogenic diet may also offer benefits for patients’ long-term cardiovascular health. According to research by Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology, individuals who consumed diets that featured the highest percentage of carbs had a 28% higher risk of death than their peers on lower-carb diets. Moreover, eating less carbs was associated with more cardiovascular benefits than eating less fat.
Adopting a Ketogenic Diet
The goal of keto is to cut dietary carbs and increase fat, so that the body starts burning stored fat for fuel. However, the amount of carbs practitioners should consume varies from person to person. While the general limit is 35 grams of total carbs and 25 grams of net carbs (what remains when you subtract grams of fiber from total carbs), certain individuals may reach ketosis before others. You might need to experiment to discover the optimal amount of carbs to consume in a given day.
While cutting carbs is the main idea behind keto, it’s not enough to restrict the amount you’re eating. You also have to adjust your diet so you’re consuming the right carbs and avoiding those that will cause problems. Eating carbohydrates is important, regardless of the diet you choose. In fact, keto practitioners need to consume plenty of carbs in the form of leafy greens and other vegetables. Additionally, you can and should eat nuts and seeds as well as small amounts of dairy and fruit.
Here are some healthy carbs that you can consume on a ketogenic diet:
- Dandelion or beet greens
- Turnip green
- Chard broccoli and cauliflower
- Brussels sprouts
- Macadamia nuts
- Brazil nuts
On the other hand, the following carbs should be avoided or consumed only in small amounts when you’re on the keto diet:
- Pasta and rice
- Oats and grains
- Sugars, including honey and agave
- Fruit juices and sodas
- Potatoes and yams
- Beer, cider, and liqueurs
- Ice cream, cookies, and pastries
It’s important to note that ketogenic diets aren’t appropriate for all individuals looking to lose weight. Some people may have underlying conditions like gastrointestinal reflux or poor bone health that make consuming a high-fat diet problematic or even dangerous. Additionally, those who engage in intense, strenuous exercise may need to consume more carbs prior to working out. For example, you might need to consume 25 to 50 grams of carbohydrates about 30 minutes before hitting the gym. It’s always best to consult your doctor or dietician before adopting a new eating plan.
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