The ketogenic diet (keto) is a very low-carb diet that helps to burn fat. It has many advantages for weight loss and improved health, but also some side effects.
- The pros of the ketogenic diet
- What is forbidden on keto diet
- How do you know that you are in ketosis?
- Side effects of the ketogenic diet and how to avoid them
The ketogenic diet is similar to other severe low carb diets, such as Atkins or LCHF. These diets are often ketogenic end more or less by accident. The main difference between strict LCHF and keto diet is that protein is restricted to the latter.
During ketosis the body produces small fuel molecules called "ketone". This is an alternative fuel for the body.
Ketones are produced if you eat very few carbohydrates (which are rapidly broken down into blood sugar) and moderate amounts of protein (excess protein can also be converted into sugar in the blood).
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Ketones are formed in the liver from fats. These are then used as fuel throughout the body, including the brain. The brain is an organ that consumes a lot of energy every day, and he can't work on fat directly. It can only run on glucose, or ketones.
On a ketogenic diet your body switches from fuel carbohydrates and run almost entirely on fat. The insulin level becomes too low, and fat burning increases dramatically. Body easy to access to your fat reserves to burn them.
The pros of the ketogenic diet
The advantages of the ketogenic diet is similar to any strict low-carb diet. However, the effect can be even higher, because protein is limited. Such a diet increases the level of ketones, and reduces the level of insulin.
- Burning fat on keto diet is considerably increased, because there is a drop of insulin. This creates an ideal environment in which weight loss can occur without hunger.
- About 20 scientific studies show that compared to other diets, low-carb and keto diet lead to more effective weight loss.
- Ketosis leads to persistent admission of fuel (ketones) in the brain. And on a ketogenic diet you will avoid large fluctuations in blood sugar levels. This often leads to increased focus and increased concentration.
- Many people use the keto diet to enhance mental performance. After a few days (to weeks) keto-adaptation, during which a person may experience some difficulties with concentrating, headaches, irritability, the body and the brain will switch and can easily run on ketones.
- In a state of ketosis many people feel more energy.
- The ketogenic diet may also greatly increase your physical endurance, giving you constant access to energy from your fat reserves.
- The supply of body carbohydrate (glycogen) is only enough for a couple of hours of intensive training, or less. As your fat stores will give enough energy for long and intense sessions.
What is forbidden on keto diet
Most importantly, in order to reach ketosis you should avoid eating carbohydrates, ideally, to reduce consumption below 20 grams. The less carbs, the better.
How do you know that you are in ketosis?
Ketosis can be measured by testing urine, blood or breath. But there are clear signs. Symptoms of ketosis: dry mouth, thirst, frequent urination.
Dry mouth and increased thirst. If you drink enough and you have enough electrolytes you may feel dry mouth. Try to drink a Cup or two of broth a day, plus drink as much water as you need.
Frequent urination is another symptom of ketosis.
Keto-breath due to ketone bodies, there is the smell of acetone breath, smell can also be "fruit", or recall the smell of liquid nail Polish remover. Sometimes there is the smell of sweat, all this while and after keto-adaptation take place.
Other, less specific but more positive signs include:
Reduced hunger – a lot of people experience a noticeable reduction in hunger. This can be caused by an increased ability of the body to eat its fat reserves. Many people feel great, eat only one or two times a day,you can do periodic fasting. This saves time and money, and accelerates weight loss.
The increase in energy, after a few days the fatigue will pass and you will feel the increase in energy and efficiency.
How to achieve sustained ketosis
- Limit carbohydrates to 20 grams per day.
- Restriction of protein to a moderate level. Need to stay at or below 1 g of protein per day per kg of body weight. About 70 grams of protein a day if you weigh 70 kilograms.
- There is enough fat to feel satiated.
- Avoid snacking when not hungry. Unnecessary snacking slow weight loss and reduce ketosis.
It may be necessary to add periodic fasting such as 16:8 - 16 hours of starvation and 8 hours on food intake. It is very effective to increase the level of ketones.
Side effects of the ketogenic diet and how to avoid them
At the initial stage of transition to keto mode, there can be side effects - this is called keto-flu. There are such symptoms as fatigue, nausea, headaches, cramps etc. What should be done to prevent or relieve these symptoms:
- To drink water with salt and lemon – also you need to drink every day a Cup of broth.
- Gradually reduce your intake of carbohydrates – a sharp decline leads to more severe symptoms
In the initial phase of the ketogenic diet, you lose water and consequently electrolytes. This is because carbs retain water and salts in the body, so when you stop eating carbohydrates your body loses this water.
When carbohydrates are suddenly removed from the diet, the brain needs time before he learns to use ketone bodies for energy instead of sugar. This means that if you drastically reduce carbohydrates, you can get symptoms such as fatigue, nausea and headache. Reducing the consumption of carbohydrates for a week or more, the body becomes accustomed to burning fat and ketones instead of glucose, the transition will be easier and without symptoms.