The ketogenic diet (or ketogenic diet for short) is a low-carb, high-fat diet that offers many health benefits.
In fact, many studies show that this type of diet can help you lose weight and improve your health.
Ketogenic diets may even have benefits against diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Here’s a detailed beginner’s guide to the ketogenic diet.
What is a ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet is based on the principle that by depleting the body of carbohydrates, which are its main source of energy, you can force the body to burn fat for fuel, thereby maximizing weight loss. When you eat foods that contain carbohydrates, the body converts those carbohydrates into glucose or sugar in the blood, which it then uses for energy.
Because glucose is the simplest form of energy the body can use, it is always used for energy before the body converts it to stored fat for fuel.
On a ketogenic diet, the goal is to restrict carbohydrate intake so that the body must break down fat for energy. When this happens, fat is broken down in the liver, producing ketones, which are by-products of your metabolism. These ketones are then used to fuel the body in the absence of glucose.
What Is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a process that occurs when your body does not have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy. Instead, it burns fat and produces things called ketones, which you can use for fuel.
Ketosis is a word that you are likely to see when looking for information on diabetes or weight loss. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? It depends.
Ketosis and the Keto Diet
Ketosis is a popular low-carb weight loss program. In addition to helping you burn fat, ketosis can make you less hungry. It also helps you keep your muscles.
For healthy people who do not have diabetes and are not pregnant, ketosis usually kicks in after 3-4 days of eating less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. That’s about three slices of bread, a cup of low-fat fruit yogurt, or two small bananas. You can also begin fasting ketosis.
A diet high in fat and protein but very low in carbohydrates is called a ketogenic or “keto” diet.
Ketosis Health Benefits
Ketosis may have some benefits beyond weight loss. Doctors can put children with epilepsy on a ketogenic diet because it can help prevent seizures. Adults with epilepsy sometimes eat modified Atkins diets.
~Some research suggests that ketogenic diets may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Other studies show that specific very low carbohydrate diets help people with diseases such as:
Type 2 diabetes
~Researchers are also studying the effects of these diets on conditions that include:
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Nervous system diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Lou Gehrig’s disease
Ketosis Symptoms and Side Effects
During the first week of a ketogenic diet, you may start to feel bad. Some people call this the “keto flu,” but it is not an official medical condition. Some doctors believe this is due to withdrawal from sugar and carbohydrates. Or it could be due to changes in your gut bacteria or an immune system reaction. You may notice temporary side effects like:
Bad breath, also known as ketosis breath