Ketogenic Dieting 101 – A Simple Guide
Depending on who you ask, the ketogenic diet is the best thing since sliced bread (something that is now banned on a ketogenic diet) or a complete waste of your time.
Neither belief is true
The ketogenic diet is an effective tool that can work really well for some people, and really bad for others.
You can lose weight by following it, in the same way that you can lose weight on any diet – through calorie restriction. But that does not make it a miracle fat fighting diet, it just makes it an option.
It can be very effective for people suffering from epilepsy, and is often prescribed by doctors. However, it is probably the most restrictive diet around, which can make it very hard to follow.
In this article we will take a brief look at what ketogenic dieting is, and how to do it.
We will also look at some of the benefits and some of the negatives. Leaving you to decide for yourself whether a ketogenic diet is for you or not.
What is a Ketogenic Diet?
You’ve probably heard of a low carb diet, one where you replace bread rolls for lettuce, and wraps for lettuce, and rice with …. more lettuce. Well a ketogenic diet goes a step further than even that!
While a low carb diet would still contain around 10-15% of your calories from carbs, a ketogenic diet would contain as little as 5% .
When your carbohydrate intake gets so low your body goes into ketosis, this is where it begins to produce endogenous ketones.
There are three types of ketones:
Acetoacetate (20%), Acetone (2%), and Beta Hydroxybutyrate (78%) .
These ketones are used instead of glycogen to fuel your body, you can also take exogenous ketones via a supplement which may potentially offer further benefits.
The idea behind ketogenic diets is that when the body goes into ketosis and starts to release stored body fat (which forms the ketones), many people follow it as a way to lose body fat.
But this will only work as well as any diet where you eat less calories than normal – the question is can you sustain this diet? If yes then a ketogenic diet might just work for you. If not, then you should consider an easier to follow diet.
Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
According to Precision Nutrition , the main benefits of a ketogenic diet concern metabolic diseases. Particularly Type II Diabetes, hypertension, and inflammation.
There also seem to be many cognitive benefits. Depending on the type of person following it, a ketogenic diet might also be beneficial as it is relatively straight forward to follow. Eat lots of high fat foods, remove all carbohydrates from your diet, and keep protein in check.
This form of dieting can be a nightmare for many, but if you are a disciplined person who likes to follow simple rules and enjoys high-fat foods then a ketogenic diet could really suit you.
Think about it this way, this is a diet that encourages bacon, cheese, peanut butter, and all the eggs you can swallow.
Downsides of a Ketogenic Diet
It is a highly restrictive diet, and a lot of pretty healthy foods are excluded.
You can’t eat fruit, you can’t eat potatoes, you have to avoid processed foods, and protein is kept very low. Which could cause you difficulty if you are trying to build muscle. Do you enjoy these foods? Can you picture never eating them again? Then you have a problem.
No diet should be used as a short-term, quick fix solution. You need to envision following it for life.
If you can’t do that for a ketogenic diet, then you might find a less extreme version will work for you. On the other hand, if you already like the sound of this diet, then let’s take a quick look at how to follow it.
Quick Guide to Ketogenic Dieting
1. You will need to have a calorie/macro counting app so that you can find out for yourself which foods are high fat, which foods contain carbohydrates, and which foods contain protein.
If you are looking to gain weight, lose weight, or even maintain weight then you will also need to know how many calories you are consuming.
2. Concentrate on getting your calories from high fat foods such as peanut butter, avocadoes, olive/coconut oil, butter, cheese, eggs, bacon, and similar foods. You can also add certain vegetables that are very low in carbohydrates.
3. Get into a rhythm, purchase a ketogenic diet cookbook (you’ll be craving variety) and find a common meal that you can order in restaurants. Dining out with friends and family will become very difficult so you really have two choices.
Bring your own food (not advised), or treat these meals as cheat meals. Any diet that causes you stress via friends and family will not last long, and ketogenic diets are not treated by the general public in the same way that a vegan or vegetarian diet is.
5. Our final piece of advice? Diet is very important, but so is regular exercise and prioritizing sleep.
If you think that changing your diet alone is going to lead to a super sexy body and crazy health, then you are living in a fantasy land.
You need all three areas to be flourishing before you can get results.
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