What Is the Ketogenic Diet?
It’s getting passed around the gym a lot: the ketogenic diet combined with daily exercise helps people lose weight fast.
And don’t we all want that?
But what is the ketogenic diet? Is it the same as the Atkins diet?
No, it’s not. The ketogenic diet actually is a purer form of a low-carb diet than Atkins. And you don’t have to buy the food from a special vendor.
This diet has been around since the Roaring Twenties. A doctor developed it for children who have seizures when no other treatments seemed to work.
Today, the ketogenic diet not only helps people lose weight, but it also helps them manage chronic health conditions and live longer lives.
How Does the Ketogenic Diet Work?
The standard diet works like this: you lower your calorie intake to levels below what it takes to sustain your current weight, thereby burning fat (stored energy) and losing weight.
But it’s not really that simple. Normally, our bodies burn sugar for energy. But, if we take that sugar away—as in carbohydrates and all—we don’t pass out or die, right?
Why not? Because our body switches into a different metabolic mode known as ketosis. With ketosis, sugars from stored fats are burned as fuel for the body instead.
Keto Diet Foods: What You Can and Cannot Eat
If you like breads, pastas, pies, cakes, candies, soda, sugary coffees, fresh fruit…anything loaded with carbohydrates, this diet may be difficult for you.
You can’t have any of the abovementioned goodies on the keto diet, at least not a significant amount. To make a ketogenic diet work its magic, you need to lower your carbohydrate intake to around 5 to possibly 20 percent of your total calorie intake. This can be tough—most Americans are getting about half of their calories from carbs!
What can you eat? Bacon and eggs, sausage, chicken, fish…it’s all about protein. There are many books that describe the ketogenic diet in detail and contain suggestions for delicious recipes at your local library or online at Amazon.com.
Recommends Mayo Clinic: If you follow a low-carbohydrate diet that’s higher in fat and possibly higher in protein, it’s important to choose foods with healthy unsaturated fats and healthy proteins.
“Limit foods containing saturated and trans fats….”
What Can I Expect When I Go on the Ketogenic Diet?
Consider it a sugar crash. Your metabolism needs time to adjust, that’s all.
Pack your purse with something to freshen your breath at all times. It’s just a weird side effect of ketosis.
It takes about two weeks for ketosis to begin, but once it does, the pounds usually begin to melt away rather quickly. Your friends will notice and that will give you the lift and the motivation to keep trying. It’s up to you whether you share your secret!
Is There Anyone Who Should Avoid the Ketogenic Diet?
A paper published in the International Journal of Environmental Research in Public Health deemed ketogenic diet safe for treating people with obesity. Always discuss a diet plan with your doctor before starting one.
Antonio Paoli explains to physicians in the paper that the diet is safe and effective, but there are some things to watch for when monitoring a patient. People with kidney problems likely would want to avoid the ketogenic diet, for example.
And although the diet was founded for the very purpose of treating children who suffer from epileptic seizures, today Mayo Clinic recommends the diet not be used for healthy teens and pre-teens. Growing bodies need all of the nutrients of the food triangle, Mayo argues.
But for most of us, our bodies should have stopped growing—our stomachs, thighs, and hips, anyway—long ago.
Wouldn’t it be great if the keto diet could get you back down to your ideal weight?