You may have heard about the ketogenic (keto) diet, but what does it entail? Is it safe and healthy, and for who? We investigated the basics of the keto diet to help you draw your own conclusions about this recent trend.
How does the keto diet work?
The keto diet virtually eliminates carbs while increasing fat intake dramatically. Eventually, fat will make up almost 75 percent of your total diet, with the rest consisting almost entirely of protein. After your body adjusts to this change, you will go into a state of ketosis. This means that you will begin burning fat rather than sugar for energy. This is why many people looking to burn fat and lose weight turn to the keto diet.
How can I follow the keto diet?
Since the keto diet requires consuming a high amount of fat, stock your kitchen with nut butter to add to your morning fix if you’re a coffee drinker. For food, bacon and eggs are solid, high-fat breakfast options. Later in the day, think leafy greens, meat (with fat and skin), full-fat dairy products, and stevia to replace typical sweeteners. You’ll also want to purchase ghee—a fat that you can use for cooking. You can top salads with olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil, palm oil, or mayonnaise. All of these choices will help you maintain a high fat content in your diet.
How might this diet affect me?
Keto diet experts admit that those following the keto diet could have muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, mental fogginess, and hunger while experiencing carb withdrawal during the first week on the diet. Eventually, the diet can reportedly promote weight loss, improve your mood, sharpen your energy levels, and increase your focus. While proponents of the keto diet recommend that dieters exercise along with changing their eating habits, you may have to back off from your workout routine during the first week or so due to the sluggishness that you may experience. Dieters should reportedly begin to lose weight when they reach four weeks of keto-style eating.
Is it worth it?
As with all diets, you should talk to your doctor before starting the keto diet. After getting clearance from your doctor, check in with yourself to see if trying the keto diet will suit you and your lifestyle. No one can be sure of the long-term results of the keto diet, including whether or not the weight loss it can produce will last long-term after going off the diet.
If you enjoy indulging in carbs like pasta, pizza, and desserts from time to time, or if the fatty foods of the keto diet sound unappetizing, the misery that it could bring might outweigh its benefits. It could be best to stick to a diet like the Mediterranean Diet, which incorporates a healthy balance of most food groups while helping dieters maintain overall health. Truthfully, the most effective way to lose weight long-term is to simply eat less and exercise more in ways that are healthful and not extreme. It is up to you and your doctors to ultimately decide if the keto diet is worth it for you.
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