It seems like the latest craze in dieting is the ketogenic diet.One thing's for certain, this diet goes against everything you've ever learned about food and nutrition. What makes the ketogenic diet so different?
The answer is simple really, the ketogenic diet flips the food pyramid on it it's head and eliminates an entire food group. This diet encourages you to eat fat to burn fat. Eat fat to burn fat is a concept hard to understand for many people and yet harder still to do.
Ketogenic Diet Guidelines
Many people confuse the ketogenic diet with any low carbohydrate diet. Often those doing Atkins and other low carb equivalent diets think they are eating a keto diet. The fact is that keto is far from the traditional low carbohydrate diet because of the strict low carb goals and the no tolerance for certain foods.
Low Carb Targets
The carbohydrate recommendations for most low carb diets is under 100 g of total carbohydrates a day. They recommend high protein and moderate fat.
On a ketogenic diet this target drops to 20 net carbs a day (usually equals 40-50 total carbohydrates). Keto doesn't advocate for high protein because even protein brakes down into sugar through a process called glycogenesis . The reason for low carbs and moderate protein is to get the body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
Ketosis is a metabolic state where fat brakes down by keytones. The liver produces keytones responsible for digestion of fat for use as fuel. When people eat a ketogenic diet for a long period they become fat adapted.
When the body can choose fat off of the body or fat from food to burn as fuel, you are fat adapted and the body acts quite differently than it would on a high protein or high carbohydrate diet.
Before we get into the full effects of the ketogenic diet let's talk about how to keep track of the foods you are eating. Many people following the keto diet don't track calories. They track their macros.
The macros that tend to work for the majority of people on a ketogenic diet are 70% fat, 20 % protein, 5% carbs.
With only 5 % of calories coming from carbohydrates there is little room for any processed or refined foods. Many people cut most fruits from their diet and only get their carbohydrates from their vegetable intake.
Grains, legumes, fruit, starches, tubers, and even some squashes get the axe on a keto diet. The food is all about little to no carbs and high fat.
Where Does All The Fat Come From?
Now that you know how much fat you have to eat in order to maintain a keto lifestyle, you may be wondering where you are going to get all of this fat into your diet.
It isn't that complicated. Most people get their fat from oils, butter, fish, meat, nuts, and dairy products.
Many people are concerned with the high concentrations of fat that the diet advocates. There are plenty of doctors who have said that eating a high fat diet would make you obese and would make your heart weak.
Unfortunately for those doctors, there is no scientific evidence to back this up. Because fat doesn't spike insulin and cause inflammation it is better for your body that carbohydrate which does spike insulin and cause inflammation.
As for cholesterol levels in the body when consuming high fat; recent studies have shown that dietary cholesterol has no bearing on your body's cholesterol. So if you are worried about ruining your body with the high fat you will be pleasantly surprised when you discover your body doesn't suffer damage with a high fat diet.
The types of fat eaten on a ketogenic diet are also healthy fats. Natural fat from animals, fat from plants like the avacado and coconut, and oils rich in medium chain triglycerides or omega-3 fatty acids have positive effects on the body and behave differently than traditional bad fats.
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