What is the Keto Diet?

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My name is Teresa Cedeno, I’m a personal trainer and I’m going to help you manifest a healthier life.

Whether you’re into fitness, personal development, or general wellness, everyone is talking about diets — so let’s look at today's most popular ones. This article is going to cover the Keto Diet. And You’re gonna want to stick around for the Manifest Challenge!


What is unique about the Keto Diet?

Many of you have heard of the Keto Diet due to its popularity today and the expectation that it can help you lose weight quickly, but what is it? Essentially, the keto diet replaces carbohydrates with fat-based foods. According to Precision Nutrition, a leading nutrition expert, the Keto diet is divided between 20% protein, 5% carbs and 75% fat. In comparison, a well-balanced diet consists of 30% protein, 40% carbs, and 30% fat. To get an idea of what this looks like in a meal, a Keto dinner would be a steak seared in butter, broccoli stir-fried in olive oil, and a whole avocado. This same meal following the well-balanced model would include a grilled steak, steamed broccoli, brown rice, two slices of avocado and a tomato. Keto only allows 50 grams of carbs a day, which amounts to 3 slices of whole wheat bread or a cup of rice. If vegetables are your carb source then you can eat a whole plateful of veggies or 9 bell peppers, if you really love them. Your new meals on keto would rely heavily on avocado, coconut milk, cooking oils, nuts, nut butters, butter, and cheese. As well as poultry, meat, fish, seafood and eggs. While aggressively limiting grains, beans, legumes, starchy veggies, and most processed foods. Now that you have an overview of the keto diet let’s take a short history trip.

Back in 1921, an endo-crinologist named Rollin Woodyatt [wood-e-yat] was studying carbohydrate metabolism. During his research he found the body produced ketones whenever carb consumption was low. Wood-e-yatt used the Keto Diet as a therapy for epilepsy. The use of the diet was eventually abandoned with the introduction of new anticonvulsant therapies. Nowadays Keto is used as a weight loss tool because of a 2017 episode of the Joe Rogan Experience which caused Keto to go viral. Now that you understand what Keto is and where it came from it’s always important to understand how it works and how it affects your body. Let’s take a look.

What are the benefits of Keto?

The selling point of the Keto Diet is the fat burning switch that occurs when carbohydrate intake is low. Carbs are the body’s primary source of glucose production, your brain’s favorite food and a source of energy for your body. When you limit carbohydrates from your diet your brain needs to find another way to make glucose. Ketones are the other way. Ketones are molecules produced by the liver which the body transforms into glucose. However not enough ketones are produced to feed your entire body, therefore your system will tap into your fat stores for fuel. On average it takes two to seven days for your body to enter a state of ketosis in which it uses ketones instead of glucose for energy. If you want a deeper understanding of how our body does this check the resources below.

Fantastic, your brain is well-fed but what about the fat burning flame I was promised, wasn’t that supposed to come from ketones? Well prior to researching for this episode that’s what I thought too but the reality is much simpler. There are a few things that lead to weight loss as part of the keto diet. Number one is that you are cutting out a food group and processed foods. Secondly, you lose water weight because one gram of carbs holds on to 2-3 grams of water. Lastly, Keto is protein and fat based which increases the presence of CCK in your body. CCK is a hormone that tells your body you are full, “No more food needed, thank you human.” There you have it, the secret behind Keto. However, despite effective results, the Keto Diet isn’t flawless, let’s explore why.


The Setbacks

After hearing about the weight loss benefits it’s easy to assume all foods labeled Keto are healthy, but as I’ve mentioned previously beware of health halos. Just because it's Keto, doesn’t automatically make it healthy. You need to remember to practice moderation. An overconsumption of meat, oil and fat is not healthy for your body. Some dangers of eating large amounts of meat can result in bad breath, cancer, heart disease, low calcium, and kidney damage. Similarly, an overconsumption of saturated and trans fats can lead to high levels of bad cholesterol and strokes. Not to mention some annoying drawbacks such as the Keto Flu.

The ‘Keto Flu’ is the label given to symptoms you will feel while transitioning into ketosis. They tend to appear two to seven days after starting and include headaches, foggy brain, fatigue, irritability, nausea, difficulty sleeping, and constipation. Doctors and researchers haven't actually discovered why this occurs, but by the end of the week on keto you should feel back to normal if not then return to your normal diet and ease into Keto slowly. If after all this you still want to try Keto, let me share my recommendations for how to start.


Figure out your exit plan

The first thing you need to do is create your exit strategy. The Keto Diet, like all other diets, is not designed to be sustainable, rather is it designed to get you fast results. Having an exit strategy will allow you to transition out of Keto without losing the progress you have achieved. An example of an exit strategy is increasing your carbohydrate intake from 50 grams to 100 grams while decreasing your fat intake from 165 grams to 100 grams. At the same time you are maintaining your low intake of processed foods and alcohol. Before you start you should also clear your pantry of processed foods. If you need to keep items for your family, then create a separate space just for you. Remember to create an environment where you don’t have to rely on willpower alone. Lastly, modify your favorite meals to Keto compliance and find new recipes to experiment with.

You can use Keto as a quick weight loss tool for a few months, but after you need to find a sustainable eating style that will work for years. Unless you’re preparing for a body-building competition, your focus for all diets should be finding a sustainable one. I have seen people disillusioned that the keto diet will transform their lifestyle forever, but then they realize it isn’t sustainable. Instead you can use Keto as a guide for your plan. Find what works for you and what you are ready for.


Manifest Challenge:

Alright, let’s wrap this article up with the Manifest Challenge. Let me know on Instagram what you like about the Keto Diet? And what aspects of the Keto diet you want to incorporate into your life? The link to my instagram is in the description below.

I for one want to incorporate some keto recipes into my diet. Because I like that they limit carbohydrates while including high protein which will keep me full for longer.


 

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Resources:

  1. https://www.news-medical.net/health/History-of-the-Ketogenic-Diet.aspx

  2. https://www.precisionnutrition.com/ketogenic-diet

  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2248917/?page=2

  4. https://www.healthyway.com/content/a-closer-look-at-the-ketogenic-diet-the-pros-and-cons-of-a-high-fat-low-carb-way-of-eating/

  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2665902619300056#bib0020

  6. https://biologydictionary.net/ketone-bodies/#what-are-ketone-bodies

  7. Keto recipes: https://www.dietdoctor.com

  8. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/what-is-keto-flu-2018101815052

  9. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324792#Keto-sex-differences

  10. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/ketogenic-diet/

  11. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/different-fats-nutrition/

  12. https://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/a25775330/keto-diet-history/



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