Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about the Keto diet. It’s the high fat, low carb protocol that has turned everything we thought we knew about fat loss on its head.
Your reaction to keto may have been to dismiss it as yet one more of those wacky weight loss fads designed to make a quick buck for some savvy fat cats. That’s a perfectly understandable reaction. After all, the concept of eating as much fat as you want in order to get skinny almost appears to be an oxymoron – and one that you’d have to be a moron to buy into.
Now, I could cite a ton of studies to ‘prove’ to you that the ketogenic diet is actually a perfectly rational science-based, logical and practical nutritional weight loss program. I could even produce testimonials from thousands of people who have achieved phenomenal fat loss results – and kept that weight off – by following the keto diet.
In this article, however, we will present you with the history, science facts behind this method eating. That way you’ll have the knowledge that you need to decide if keto is for you.
The Ketogenic is not new. In fact, it was developed way back in 1924 by the Mayo Clinic in order to treat children with epilepsy. It fell out of favor in the 1940’s with the surge of anti-seizure medications. Then keto was completely pushed to the wayside as the anti-fat movement sold us all on the lie that dietary fat was the reason that we were becoming obese.
In 1994, the ketogenic was back in the spotlight when Hollywood highlighted the case of Charlie Abrahams, a young epileptic whose family took him off anti-seizure medications in favor of a high-fat diet.
Two decades later, keto is recognized, especially in the fitness world, as an incredibly effective way to lose fat and increase your energy levels.
So, what’s it all about?
The Keto diet is a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet. So, it focuses on your macronutrient intake. Everything you eat contains the three macronutrients…
On keto, your ratio of these macros is as follows:
- 75% from fats
- 20% from proteins
- 5% from carbohydrates
The goal of the keto diet is to get, and stay, in the state of ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state wherein your body will break down your own body fat to fuel your daily functions and activities.
On the traditional high carb diet, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is what fuels the body. However, it also causes a huge surge in blood sugar levels. As a result, the pancreas releases insulin to clear the blood sugar out. But this leads to an overcompensation which drives hunger, causing us to crave more carbs. In this way, a vicious cycle is set up.
In contrast, when eating a high-fat diet, the body will break down those fats for use as energy. In addition, when your carb intake is very low, it will turn to the fat that is stored on your body to get the fuel that it needs to function. In effect, your body will switch from being a glucose-based energy system to a fat-based energy system.
In addition to providing a ready source of clean energy, fat produces no insulin spikes which means that you will not experience cravings or mood swings.
The keto diet teaches the body to use stored fats first as energy rather than just storing it. When fats are burned for energy, ketones are produced and used as the primary energy source. When this occurs you are in the state of ketosis.
What’s the Pay Off?
What will going keto do for you? Here are the 7 key benefits:
Burn Body Fat
Your body will be able to tap into the stored fats in your body as its main fuel source.
Reduced Insulin Levels
Your body will have a lower level of insulin, which will cause greater lipolysis and free glycerol release. You will then be able to more readily produce such valuable hormones as human growth hormone and testosterone.
No More Hunger Pangs
A high-fat diet is extremely filling. That means that you will no longer be craving food. As a bonus, you will be eating fewer overall calories which, in itself, will help you to lose body fat.
The ketones in your body will flush out waste product through your urine. In effect, you will be going through a constant detoxification process.
Balanced Blood Sugar Levels
When you cut back on your carb intake, you will no longer have the dramatic ups and downs in your blood glucose levels that cause cravings, mood swings, and energy crashes.
Lowered LDL and Increased HDL Cholesterol Levels
The excess glucose in the diet of a high carb consumer leads to increased cholesterol levels. When you cut back the carbs, there will be far less glucose in your blood, which will reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. At the same time, your HDL (good) cholesterol will increase.
Reduced Blood Pressure
A diet that is low in carbs has been proven to effectively reduce blood pressure levels. This dramatically reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and other diseases.
What to Expect from 7 Days On Keto
Transitioning to anything new is a challenge. Overhauling something as fundamental as the way you eat is especially challenging. When it goes against the grain of everything you thought you knew about eating for weight control and health, the challenge level is ramped up another few notches.
But that doesn’t mean that transitioning to keto is beyond your ability. Rather than being a restrictive diet, keto is actually a liberating way to eat. Once you get your mind away from carbs as the food of choice and embrace fat, you will discover a whole new world of delicious tastes and flavors.
In fact, the biggest problem that most people encounter when they start keto is a feeling of guilt that such delicious fat food can’t really be good for them.
When you start on the keto diet, your body is being asked to undergo a fundamental shift in the way that it produces the energy that you need to function. Your goal is to flip the switch from a glucose-based energy system to a ketone-based energy system.
This transition is achieved by removing the glucose from your system, leaving your body with no choice but to use fat as its energy source. As glucose is simply the digested form of carbohydrates, severely cutting back on your carb intake will get you in that state. For most people, ketosis can be achieved within 72 hours.
Carbohydrates are like drugs. When you start to pull them away, your body fights back. As a result, you will experience carb withdrawal symptoms. This is known as ‘keto flu’ and lasts for 1-4 days. The symptoms of keto flu are…
- Sugar cravings
- Stomach upset
- Lack of mental clarity
Keto flu is not a pleasant experience. It may make you question yourself, thinking that you must be crazy to be doing this keto thing.
Remember, though, that your body is going through a revolutionary and profound change – one that will supercharge the way that you produce energy and burn fat. It is simply going through the adaptive phase. Stay mentally strong and your keto flu symptoms will soon disappear.
There are things that you can do to alleviate the effect of keto flu. Here are 3 ways to ensure that its effects are minimized:
There are three electrolytes:
When you’re on the keto diet, you suppress the insulin hormone. It allows you to burn fat. However, insulin is also the hormone that tells your kidneys to store sodium. As a result, your body flushes all the sodium from your body. It is critical that you replace it. To do that you should eat salty snacks and remember to salt your food. A great way to ensure that you are getting enough sodium is to drink a cup of chicken broth each day. This is the Number One solution to overcoming the effects of keto flu!
Increase your potassium and magnesium intake by eating avocados and green leafy vegetables.
Limit Protein Intake to 20%
On the keto diet, your goal is to eat 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs. If you eat too much protein, the body is going to convert the excess to glucose, just as if you were eating carbs. That will send mixed signals to your body and prevent you from getting into ketosis. Look for proteins that contain high levels of fat.
During the transition phase to keto, your body is going through a huge number of physical and metabolic changes. If you overtrain in the gym and don’t allow your body time to rest, you are going to find it hard to cope and your keto flu symptoms will be increased.
That is why we recommend that you take the entire 7 days of the keto challenge as a week off from your gym training or other exercise routines. Take this week to focus exclusively on your nutrition. You are not going to lose results, go backward or start breaking down muscle tissue. Instead, you will be giving your body the time it needs to complete its reset to set you up for unprecedented future gains.
The keto flu is just one very short battle that you will conquer. Once you get beyond it, you will feel great. Your energy levels will be through the roof, and your body will have become a fat burning turbo engine.