Basically the body can be fed in two different ways.
One is sugar intake through the carbohydrates present in the food we eat. This is the most common among ordinary people when bread, pasta, potatoes and so on are consumed in a daily meal.
The other source of energy for our body is fat instead. In this case, we talk about foods like eggs, meat, avocado, butter, olive oil, etc.
Specifically, when the body is sugar-free, fat is converted in the liver into energy molecules called ketones. And the resulting diet is called the ketogenic diet, low carb diet, low carb high fat (LCHF), etc.
How Does Ketogenic Diet Work?
When we eat food that is high in carbohydrates, the body produces glucose and insulin.
Glucose is the simplest molecule to use as a source of energy, it is the first choice of our body.
Insulin, instead, is a hormone that is naturally produced by some pancreatic cells, called beta cells. It allows the body to use the glucose present in the blood to obtain energy.
Since glucose is used as primary source energy, fats are not needed and are therefore stored.
When carbohydrate intake is reduced, the body is induced into a state known as ketosis.
This natural process initiated by the body allows survival when food intake is low.
Our liver when in this state breaks down fats and produces ketones. Our incredible body will adapt to this situation by starting to burn ketones as a primary energy source.
How To Understand Being In Ketosis?
To identify a possible state of ketosis it is possible to carry out urine, blood or breath tests (analyzer of ketones in the breath). However, you can also rely on certain “revealing” symptoms that do not require any type of test:
- Dry mouth and feeling thirsty
- Increase in diuresis
- Acetal breathe or sweat
- Appetite reduction
Types Of Ketogenic Diets
There are three main variations related to this diet:
- Standard ketogenic diet (SKD): this is the most widespread keto diet that everyone knows and does. It generally contains 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% carbohydrate.
- Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): this is a variant in which it follows the same diet as SDK but a small amount of carbohydrates is added to rapid digestion before doing physical activity.
- Cyclic ketogenic diet (CKD): this is a particularly suitable variation for bodybuilders that generally offers one day a week to replenish glycogen reserves.
What To Eat In The Ketogenic Diet?
As mentioned earlier, the most important aspect of achieving ketosis status is eating foods that do not contain carbohydrates, limiting those that have few and avoiding foods that have many.
The recommended foods are:
- Fatty fish
- Fats and seasoning oils
- Vegetables (low carb ones like green veggies, tomatoes, peppers, and so on.)
- Butter and cream
- Nuts and seeds
The foods advised against are:
- Potatoes and derivatives
- Sweet drinks, various sweets, beer, etc.
But we know very well that sometimes when you change your diet, hunger and the desire to have a snack increase. In this case here is a small list of keto-approved snacks.
- Cheese cubes
- A handful of nuts
- 80% and more than dark chocolate
- A low-carb milkshake
- Full-fat yogurt
- Strawberries and cream
- Olives and sliced salami
Finally, let’s see how to move better when eating out. Select a dish based on meat, fish, or eggs. Order extra vegetables instead of the usual fries and if you really can’t give up dessert, choose some cheese.
Sugar is found in many types of beverages, such as fruit juices, soft drinks, iced tea, and coffee.
Just like foods that are high in carbohydrates, these drinks should also be avoided.
Beverage choices include:
- Natural water: the best choice for hydration and should always be consumed during the day.
- Sparkling water: if we are fond of soda, then carbonated water can be an excellent substitute
- Unsweetened coffee: the simple sachet used in bars is counterproductive in the case of a ketogenic diet.
- Green tea: always taken without added sugar, this delicious drink offers many health benefits.
If you need some other flavor to add to plain water, try experimenting with different combinations of fresh mint and lemon or orange peel.
As for alcohol intake, these should also be eliminated. If you find yourself on special occasions and to not offend anyone, you have to toast, then better drink vodka or tequila in carbonated water.
Difference Between Keto, Low-Carb, and Atkins
There is a lot of confusion on the net regarding the differences between these types of diets. Let’s see what are the main ones.
Amount Of Carbohydrates
The main difference between the keto diet and the low carbohydrate diet is macronutrient levels. Low-carb diets are all those in which the amount of carbohydrates consumed during the day is less than 150 grams.
In fact, to get into a state of ketosis, you need to take a much smaller amount.
Most low-carbohydrate diets are high in protein. In the Keto diet, the protein intake varies from low values (about 20% of total calories) to much higher values.
Unlike Atkins, there is no high protein intake in the Keto diet. The foods eaten have a moderate amount of protein but are composed of quality fats. Vegetables are always those with low carbohydrate content.
The goals also vary. Unlike Atkins, Paleo or the Mediterranean diet, the goal of keto is to enter the state of ketosis and let the body adapt to remain in such a state.
With the Atkins diet, it could happen to reach the state of ketosis but due to the type of food consumed, it would last only for a short period.
Who Might Benefit And Who Not?
There is no immediate answer that can divide people into two groups. It all depends on the health situation, the metabolism, the cultural habits, the goals and the diet that is currently being followed.
Before delving into the subject, remember that whatever food choice you decide to make, it is always advisable to talk to your doctor or nutritionist and see if your diet is safe for your health.
A ketogenic diet can be excellent for people who are overweight and want to improve their health.
If you follow what is commonly called the classic American diet, you are certainly benefiting from the transition to this type of diet because the transition is not too much difficult.
If the keto diet helps you stay away from highly processed foods and makes you feel better, then, YES this diet is right for you!
Experiment with a diet program and note the effect it has on your body and your health.
If you are not sure after the initial test, explore other programs and always keep in mind that the main goal is to avoid foods that are high in carbohydrates.
Deepening the discussion on the subject it emerged that this diet is not appropriate for people with kidney problems, people with diabetes, pregnant or nursing women and people suffering from an eating disorder.
Not all metabolisms digest a high amount of fat without problems, but on the contrary, they require complex carbohydrates such as legumes to have healthy digestion.
Furthermore, for such an important change it is necessary to have a strong personality and tenacity. It is not easy to eat with others and have a different diet than the one they are used to as children. It is also difficult to find food suitable for your diet in common restaurants.
Overall, following a diet in which there is a large amount of fat and a low amount of carbohydrates has a strong health impact. It lowers cholesterol, decreases body weight, increases and mood levels.
In the beginning, a ketogenic diet can be difficult to undertake as the transition can be a bit harsh. However, this should not create discouragement since the growing popularity of ketogenic thinking made it easier to find low-carbohydrate foods.