Should You Be Jumping on the Keto Diet Bandwagon?

Should You Be Jumping on the Keto Diet Bandwagon?

As the keto diet craze appears to keep growing more and more every day with countless numbers of disciples preaching the benefits, you might be wondering if now is the time to try it out for the first time. Or perhaps you have attempted the keto diet before, but didn’t give it the full chance to take effect. If you are considering making this lifestyle change, there are a few important things to keep in mind when delving into this popular diet.

How Can Such a Thing Be Possible?

For those of you that have heard of the keto diet but are a bit unclear on the specifics, the diet consists of high fat foods. It may sound a bit like witchcraft from first glance. How can a person lose weight on a high fat diet? It doesn’t seem like those two things should ever go together. Eating a diet high in fat can, indeed, make you lean if you follow the rest of the keto guidelines.

If the only rule for the keto diet was to eat high fat foods, then people would be snacking on Twinkies and stopping by fast food restaurants at an alarming pace and expecting to lose weight. However, it takes more than that. You must stick to a very low amount of carbs while you are living the keto lifestyle. There is science behind this weight loss method.

Nutrition Facts

Let’s start at the beginning with a quick Science lesson that you might recall from as far back as junior high. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. It provides you the boost needed to get through each day. Most often, they come from sugars such as glucose or sucrose. However, starches can also provide a large amount of carbs through breads and pasta. When consumed at the right amount each day, carbs are great for you. The problem is that many people eat enough carbs for breakfast alone and then continue eating them throughout the rest of the day. This is a recipe (excuse the pun) for disaster.

The daily value for carbs is at about 300 grams. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? But if you aren’t eating the right foods, then you will use up your daily allowance an hour after rolling out of bed in the morning. If you have a few pancakes with syrup for breakfast, this could be about 200 grams of carbs alone. If you like drinking a couple sodas a day, this will bring in over 100 grams of carbs as well. Maybe you think you are going to play it safe and just have cereal in the morning. Depending upon the cereal, that one bowl could contain over 100 grams of carbs by itself. As you can see, the amount quickly adds up.  

This is the point when the Oompa Loompas should be emerging out of nowhere to sing a song about how overeating carbs will result in people getting fat. The current news is that nearly 40 percent of people in first world countries are considered obese. This means they are grossly overweight. This does not even take into account of the ones that are merely ten to twenty pounds overweight.

Obesity truly is a global epidemic that everyone needs to focus on more. More people than ever are being diagnosed with diabetes that could be avoided if they just ate a healthier diet and just avoided sugary carbs. However, the good news is that if you are not obese, then you will look much better than most people at the local beach. The bad news is that all of our insurance premiums keep going up because with this large amount of people out of shape, they are having health problems that need doctor visits often.

What Are the Steps to Entering this Magical Realm Called Ketosis?

The popular keto diet is essentially a low carb and high fat diet that makes your body start burning fat for fuel instead of carbs. If you can stay on the keto program​, it is great for weight loss with many people vouching for it. After the first few days of the diet, your body enters a metabolic state called ketosis. During ketosis, your body uses ketones for energy instead of glucose. Ketone bodies come from fat intake and are actually a much more stable source of energy. Glucose is derived from carbohydrates and will produce highs and lows. You have probably heard of a sugar high before. It is a real thing, with sugar lows as well attributed to using carbs for energy.

It can take three days to a week of the low carb and high fat lifestyle before you enter ketosis. But once you reach it, you will be using fat for energy instead of carbs. In fact, you will be using stored body fat and the fat you are consuming to produce this energy. This is why people can get amazing results on the keto diet if they adhere to it closely. Even the toughest body fat to get rid of can feel like it is melting away.

Staying on the keto diet can be difficult for some. However, if you can adapt to the lifestyle change, it will become easier over time. There will be a slight lull in energy at the beginning since your body is used to burning carbs to give you that vigor you are used to. You will feel tired and start dragging a bit like when you were a kid and had to go clothes shopping with your mom. But give it a bit of time and you will be pleased with the results.

Guidelines to Follow

There are some general guidelines to help ease you into the keto diet since it can be confusing at first. Protein is always important to promote new muscle growth and retain the muscle mass that you do have. After all, what is the point of losing fat just to become skinny as a rail. It seems that would be walking on the edge of the extremes. So while on the keto diet, 20 to 30 percent of your calories should be coming from protein every day.

The carb restriction will require you to start reading nutritional labels like it is your job. You might feel overwhelmed at first as you get a crash course on nutrition, but soon you will be able to recognize exactly what you should be putting in your body. Only approximately five percent of your calories should come from carbs. This means that about 65 to 75 percent of your calories should be derived from healthy fat. That is the key word: Healthy. The high fat foods that are full of sugar will be the ones you want to avoid since they will also be packed with calories and carbs.

Fat Is Actually Good for You?

We have been conditioned to believe that all fat is bad. This is not the case. There is good fat and there is bad fat. Plus, it usually isn’t the fat that is eating away at your health as much as the high carbs. High fat foods that are also high in carbs should be avoided at all costs while on the keto diet. Overly processed foods usually have very little nutritional value to them. Stick with high fat, but low carb foods like eggs, bacon, and beef. The keto diet should consist of healthy and natural foods like meat, fish, vegetables, and some fruits. These foods contain healthy fats and oils, protein, and a low amount of carbs.

Ways to Verify You Have Reached Ketosis

One of the frustrating parts about beginning the keto diet will be figuring out if you have reached ketosis or not. Usually it takes a few days, as previously stated, but it may take longer. But one way to quickly determine if you have reached this metabolic state is with ketosis strips. It is much like a pregnancy test as it uses urine to verify that you have entered ketosis. However, instead of finding out if you are with child, you are finding out that you are about to lose body fat.

How Long Should I Stay in Ketosis?

There are those that go off and on the keto diet depending on their ability to stick with eating foods that are low in carbs since you are only allowed to have about 25 grams of carbs a day. And this is fine, but you will find many more benefits to the keto diet if you can stay on it for lengthy amounts of time.

At the month mark, you will start to notice some dramatic changes. Besides being slimmer, your water weight will have gone down considerably. Your endurance should improve since fat is more of a stable source of energy than glucose. In essence, you will find that your energy level seems to stay at a high level much longer than in the past.

When Will You Give It a Try?

If you are overweight and looking to get thinner, or maybe you are just concerned about your health and being able to spend more time with your family, the keto lifestyle might be just what you need. It is, indeed, a lifestyle change, and just like all lifestyle changes, it can take some getting used to. Perhaps it is time to give the keto diet a try and see what you can accomplish on it.

Categories: Health Topics

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