By now, you’ve probably heard of the marvelous keto diet and the wonders it has done for me. Hopefully your interest in keto has peaked, but hey I’m not hating if you’re still a little skeptical. With that in mind I’ve put together a list of FAQs that will hopefully inspire you to give this Keto thang a try. Let’s do this!
What is keto?
The ketogenic (keto) diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that focuses on fueling the body by fat, rather than carbohydrates. The body can run on two different fuels, sugar from carbohydrates or fat. When a person follows a keto diet, they’ll eliminate sugar and consume very low amounts of carbs, so low that the body switches to using fat for fuel. When the body is out of sugar, fat is converted in the liver into energy molecules called “Ketones”. Ketones fuel the brain and the body. This results in a “ketogenic” diet.
What is ketosis?
Ketosis is the state of the body being fueled mostly by fat. Usually your body will enter ketosis after 2-7 days of following the keto diet recommendations. You will notice some changes in your body, such as weight loss, improved cognitive performance and appetite suppression. You can’t tell me that doesn’t sound good, right? You can physically check your ketone levels by using urine ketone strips, blood ketone strips or a breathalyzer. This can help you closely monitor your progress.
How is keto different from other diets?
It’s actually a concept that has been around for many years, and the principal ideas of keto are shared with Atkins, Paleo and Gluten free diets. What makes Keto different, is that it is a more supercharged version of these diets to achieve maximum benefits. Consistency is key with keto, and the results speak for themselves.
What are the benefits?
Your body becomes much better at burning fat, without you feeling hungry. If you aimlessly munch throughout the day then this should sound appealing! Most diets can feel punishing and leave you feeling empty and dissatisfied, however many keto followers have much more energy and don’t suffer through hunger. Eating food with a higher fat content leaves you feeling fuller for longer, allowing the body to burn through fat. Ketogenic diets may even have benefits against diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. So really, what’s not to love?
But won’t eating mostly fat make me fat? What fats can I eat and how much?
Around 70% of your diet should be good fats. Yes, you read that correctly! But not the saturated kinds you’re thinking of. Eggs, meat, avocado, butter and olive oil, as they are great sources of natural fat. All that yummy stuff that keeps you full and satisfied… and in ketosis!
(image – @robledeinvierno Unsplash)
How much protein should I eat?
Protein should be moderate, as a very high intake can spike insulin levels and lower ketones. Around 10-25% of total calorie intake should be protein.
Can I consume any carbs at all?
Sure, but go lightly! It is important to significantly reduce your carb intake to begin with. Carbs should only be around 5-10% of your diet. Once your body has time to adjust, you can occasionally indulge in small amounts of carbs, but you must return to the regimen to maintain progress. A little cake on your birthday is a-okay!
I want to build muscle, will keto help me with this?
Yep! In conjunction with regular exercise and a weight training program, high ketone levels may help build muscle.
Are there any side effects with keto?
As with any significant change in diet, some experience a few changes in their body to begin with. There can be a change in the smell of your urine, digestion issues and bad breath. Gross I know, but don’t fear! This is normal and can be remedied by choosing to eat more high-fiber veggies, taking Magnesium supplements if you’re feeling constipated, and chewing sugar free gum. Some folks experience “keto flu” when beginning their journey, which again is normal.
I heard ketosis was extremely dangerous. Is this true?
People often confuse ketosis with ketoacidosis. Ketosis is the natural process of the body converting fat into energy. Ketoacidosis can occur in uncontrolled type 1 diabetes, when insulin levels are dangerously low. So don’t worry, VERY different meanings and it’s perfectly safe!
How quickly can I see results?
Well, my sweets, that depends on many factors. As with any change in lifestyle, results vary depending on your body type, age, metabolism, activity rate and how strictly you follow the diet. Realistically, your weight loss will fluctuate in stages. In the beginning you’ll see an initial loss of up to 10 pounds which is mostly water weight! Followed by a more slow and gradual weight loss of approximately 1-2 pounds per week. From there sometimes it can plateau as you get closer to your goal, but you will get there! The golden rule here, just stick with it!
(image – @nadineprimeau Unsplash)
Is Keto food bland or tasteless?
Foods you currently eat are seasoned with spices, marinades or ingredients to aid in flavor. On keto the only difference is your substituting ingredients that are more keto friendly and still full of flavor.
Will I feel deprived on Keto?
Plan every meal to hit your desired macronutrient target of protein, fat and carbs. Then eat until you are satisfied but not stuffed and you’ll never feel like you’re missing out.
Will Keto satisfy my sweet tooth
After you’ve eliminated regular sugar from your diet you may not experience the same kind of sugar cravings you once had. But, when the mood arises there are plenty of keto friendly desserts that you can enjoy.