A Guide to the Keto Diet — Here’s What You Need to Know

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The ketogenic diet, commonly known as the keto diet, is a popular way of eating that prioritises the consumption of low-carb, high-fat foods. To follow the keto diet correctly, the reduction of carbohydrates is required while keto diet followers are encouraged to increase their consumption of fat in order to put the body into a state called ketosis.

If you’re interested in learning more about the keto diet, keep reading…

What is ketosis?

The goal of the keto diet is to put your body into a metabolic state known as ketosis. According to Healthline, when your body achieves ketosis, it is able to burn fat for energy (instead of carbs), while also turning fat into ketones in the liver, which helps with the brain’s energy supply.

By following a high-fat, low-carb diet, the body can also experience a reduction in blood sugar and insulin levels, which when paired with increased ketones, can have a positive impact on the body.

There are several different styles of the keto diet that allows one to achieve ketosis, but arguably the most common is the ‘standard ketogenic diet’ (SKD) which involves an intake of very low-carb, moderate protein and high fat foods. As per Healthline, the SKD typically contains 70 percent fat, 20 percent protein and 10 percent carbs.

The benefits of the keto diet

The health benefits of the keto diet are extensive and can help you with weight loss, improve risk factors for heart disease and reduce blood sugar and insulin levels, which, in some cases, can help treat or possibly reverse Type 2 diabetes.

In fact, one study found that following the keto diet improved insulin sensitivity by 75 percent, while another small piece of research found that following this way of eating for 90 days significantly reduced levels of hemoglobin A1C, which Healthline says is a measure of long-term blood sugar management.

Weight loss is arguably one of the biggest motivators for why people try their hand at the keto diet. According to research, people on low-carb diets tend to lose more weight quickly compared to those following low-fat diets. According to Healthline, a review of 13 studies found that a low-carb ketogenic diet was slightly more effective for long-term weight loss compared to a low-fat diet.

What’s more, low-fat diets have been shown to help reduce fat from your abdominal cavity. This visceral fat can lodge itself around your organs and is associated with inflammation and even insulin resistance. Following a low-carb diet like the keto diet can help reduce this.

What to eat on the keto diet

A quick Google search on what to eat when following the keto diet will deliver you with a plethora of suggestions and eating plans. But, the basic tenets of the keto diet is an emphasis on fat while reducing the amount of carbs you consume on a daily basis.

While it might sound restrictive, a number of the foods you commonly eat can still be enjoyed on the keto diet including seafood, vegetables like cauliflower and zucchini as well as butter, cream, nuts, eggs and yoghurt. Some of the most common foods you can eat on the keto diet are:

  • Cheese: Cheese lovers can breathe a sigh of relief, as this food is one you can still enjoy while following the keto diet. In fact, cheese contains a fatty acid called conjugated linoleic acid which has been linked to fat loss and body composition improvements.
  • Meat and poultry: These are arguably two of the biggest food staples when it comes to low-carb eating. High in protein and low in carbs, try to reach for grass-fed meat to ensure you’re eating the highest quality you can.
  • Avocadoes: Loaded with healthy fats and relatively low in carbs, avocadoes are a great choice for the keto diet. Not only does this fruit contain a number of vitamins and minerals but one study found that eating one avo per day had positive effects on cardio-metabolic risk factors including lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol.

While the keto diet can prove helpful for some people, it’s might not agree with everyone. Before making any drastic changes to your diet, please talk to your GP first.

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