What is the Ketogenic Diet?

When you’re trying to cut weight and get your overall fat levels down, it’s not just about how much you eat – but what you eat. One of the bigger trends over the last few years when it comes to diets is going ketogenic or ‘keto’.

So, what is the keto diet? Is it just a fad or is it here to stay? Here, I’ll give you a quick overview of what the Keto diet is and the benefits and reasoning of why people are doing it.

These are my views. If you’re interested in trying the keto diet you should always do your research first and speak to your doctor before starting.

What is the Keto Diet?

In a nutshell, the Ketogenic diet is mostly healthy fats, an adequate amount of protein and a very small amount of carbohydrates.

The idea behind this is that your body will switch from using carbohydrates as an energy resource and start to use fat instead. This allows you to get energy from the fat you’re eating more quickly, but also burn the stored fat in your body as an energy resource.

What are the benefits of Keto?

There are several reasons why you should give the keto diet some consideration:

It can help reduce your appetite

One of the main benefits from pulling yourself away from a carb-heavy diet is that it can help to reduce your appetite.

This is thought to be down to how your body makes energy stores from carbs, by making glycogen. When your glycogen runs low, your body starts to signal to you that it needs more food. This hits hardest when your body is transitioning over to your fat as a resource.

When you start living off fat for energy it has plenty more to work with, and the cravings are no longer as intense.

There are studies which show being on a low carb diet can help to reduce your overall appetite (source).

May lower your blood pressure

Another benefit of following a Keto diet is that it may help to lower and regulate your blood pressure. This is good for your overall health.

Studies show that diets that are high in carbohydrate put a lot of extra strain on your heart and increase your overall blood pressure. By keeping your carb intake low, you can help give your heart more of the support it needs and keep your blood pressure at healthy levels.

With a healthy blood pressure comes several benefits such as helping prevent against conditions such as heart disease and strokes.

Regulates blood sugar and insulin levels

Following the Keto diet may not only help your blood pressure, but also your blood sugar and insulin levels as well.

When you’re eating, your blood sugar levels and insulin levels spike to handle the extra glucose that comes into your system. This mainly comes from foods that are high in carbohydrates, as sugar is a carbohydrate.

Without sugar in the equation, your blood sugar and insulin levels aren’t as tested as much as they usually are. In doing so, it’s much easier for them to slowly regulate themselves and get back down to your optimum levels.

This is good for preventing against conditions like type II diabetes.

Lose more fat round your stomach

Before we go further, what I am not talking about here is fat spot-reduction. Spot-reduction is the idea that you can workout certain areas of your body which can help you burn fat around that area.

That method doesn’t work. However, low carb diets may be able to help you lose some fat around your stomach – albeit indirectly.

So, how does it work? Some of the fat in your body tends to stick around your stomach and organs. This is more common in men.

By following a low carb diet, studies show that it may help you to cut down that fat in your abdomen (study).

Keto Diet – Summary

If you’re considering following the Keto diet, I strongly recommend that you talk with your doctor or a healthcare professional before starting one.

Once you get the all clear, you need to rework your diet to be focused on good fats like avocados, fatty fish, hummus and other great foods like that. Then all you need is a small amount of protein like a lean meat such as chicken breast. Finally you want to keep your carbohydrates to a minimum.

It’ll be hard at first as your body adjusts to high fat and low carb, but you should start to notice the differences.

Give it a try, and happy dieting!

– JD