The KETO diet has become popular for a number of reasons. It lets you eat bacon, steak and seafood you want, which is the dream of most people trying to lose weight and it works. It’s not a new diet. It’s been used since the 1920s to help control seizures, but became popular with bodybuilders in the 1908s and made its way to the general public more recently. It elicits ketosis. That’s the process where the body converts fats to ketones for energy, rather than using glucose from carbs.
The keto diet is a way to manage macronutrients so fat is burned for energy.
Changing your diet so that approximately 20% of the calories come from protein, with just 5% coming from carbohydrates and 75% from fat forces the body to change to the new source of energy. The typical diet is approximately 15 % of the daily calories from protein, 55 % from carbohydrates and 30% from fat. For the average person, 10% of the calories from carbs is about 10 to 15 grams. What does 15 grams of carbs look like? Think one slice of bread, or 7 animal crackers. It’s 1/3 cup of cooked pasta, 1 tablespoon of all fruit jelly or a cup of raw vegetables.
The keto diet has applications for more than just weight loss.
Besides the potential for the keto diet to help reduce seizures, scientists have also looked into other potential benefits. Besides helping people lose weight, which can help improve health dramatically, it also helps reduce insulin resistance, reverse metabolic syndrome, reduce inflammation and eliminate insulin requirements for type II diabetics. It boosts the effectiveness of cancer treatments, improves brain function and increases longevity.
Why it may work.
Some of the foods highest in carbs are those that shouldn’t be in your diet in the first place. For instance, sugar and foods made with processed flour, like bread and donuts. The keto diet doesn’t eliminate them from your diet, but if you want more carbs than one slice of bread offers or 1/3 of a Twinkie, you’ll probably give up those higher carb foods for one that’s more filling. Two cups of lettuce, a cup of chopped tomato, a cup of green beans and a cup of chopped bell peppers together total about the same 15 grams of carbs.
- Pasta and bread products are often the downfall for people on a keto diet. One healthy substitute for pasta is spaghetti squash is 10 grams per cup, while a cup of regular spaghetti is 40 grams per cup.
- Even though bacon is allowed, it’s not necessarily the best source of fat. Options like avocados or dairy are also good sources.
- One problem with the keto diet is the lack of fiber and high fat content. While the food fills you up, without the fiber, it doesn’t pass through easily. That causes constipation and can leave you with what’s called the keto flu, that feeling of being out of sorts.
- Unless you have the supervision of a doctor, you should never undertake the keto diet if you have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It can also affect your athletic performance negatively and cause muscle mass loss.
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