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The Keto diet or ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate and high-fat diet. This diet shares many similarities with Atkins and low-carbohydrate diets. The keto diet puts your body into a state called ketosis, where your body starts using fat for energy production.
This only happens when your carbohydrate intake is deficient, and the body does not get enough energy by oxidation of carbohydrates.
So, it has to find another way to produce energy. This is where your body switches to using fat for energy production. Fats can also be converted into ketones in the liver, which can supply power to the brain as carbohydrate intake is deficient in a ketogenic diet. So, your blood sugar level or insulin level also drops. If followed correctly, this diet has incredible results and is very good at reducing fats in different parts of your body.
The main focus of a ketogenic diet is to significantly reduce the intake of easily digestible carbohydrates like sodas, pastries, sugar, etc. while increasing the consumption of protein and fats. A ketogenic diet primarily relies on lubricants as a source of energy production compared to proteins.
About 90% of energy in a ketogenic diet comes from consuming daily fat. If not followed correctly, this diet can have severe health complications, so you should not experiment with it if you do not know how to follow it.
There are many different types of ketogenic diets, and we will discuss them below.
SKD, or standard ketogenic- this diet, centers around high fat and low carb intake. It consists of 70% fats, 10% carbohydrates, and 20% protein.
CKD or cyclic ketogenic diet involves periods of high carb intake after the following diet for some days. Suppose you have seven days a week, go on the ketogenic diet for five days, and then in the remaining two days, you will eat a diet high in carbohydrates.
TKD or targeted ketogenic diet-during this diet, you eat carbohydrates during your workouts.
High protein ketogenic diet- this diet is similar to the standard diet. The only difference is that you consume more proteins than SKD; about 35% are protein, 5% are carbs, and 60% of your food consists of fats.
Among the above-mentioned ketogenic diets, only standard and high-protein diets are well-studied, while body enthusiasts follow targeted and cyclic diets.
How does it work?
Before divulging how the keto diet works, first, you must understand a term that you will frequently encounter during this article: ketosis. We all know that when we eat food, the carbohydrate portion of our food is digested instantly and is used to provide the body with instant energy. At the same time, the remaining excess food is stored as fat in energy reservoirs. Ketosis is when our body cannot use carbohydrates for energy production, and instead, it uses stored fat as carbohydrates are unavailable due to low intake.
Your body enters into ketosis when you eat 20-50 grams of carbs daily—at the same time, increasing the number of fish, meat, eggs, and healthy oils in your diet. Another important thing is to control your protein intake because proteins can be converted into glucose if eaten in high amounts. So, your body will only be able to enter ketosis if careful with your protein intake. Like limiting carbohydrate intake, intermittent fasting is also a method that efficiently puts your body into ketosis.
During intermittent fasting, you eat for a short period while fasting for the rest of the day. Now, how will you know that your body has entered ketosis successfully? Many bloods, urine, and breath tests can indicate if your body is in ketosis by measuring the number of ketone bodies. But there are other symptoms, including extreme thirst, dry mouth, repeated urination, and loss of appetite, which may indicate that your body has entered ketosis.
When your carb intake is less than 50 grams per day, your body quickly runs out of instant sources of energy production. This usually happens in 3 to 4 days. After 3 to 4 days, your body has to rely on protein or fats for energy production as it does not have any stored carbohydrates. This is when your body starts using lubricants and converting them into Ketone bodies for energy production. Fat burning for energy production seems ideal, but it is very tricky to ensure that your body uses fats to produce energy. Keep your carbohydrate intake low during that period but also keep your protein intake under control as your protein intake can interfere with fat burning.
Ketosis usually occurs in your body but is minimal due to glucose. But during the ketogenic diet, ketones produced through the process of ketosis become the dominant fuel for energy production. This shifting energy production from glucose to ketones is tricky but equally challenging to maintain.
Is the keto diet safe?
When you first start the keto diet, your body can experience some side effects as it adjusts to the new eating routine. The first few weeks can give promising results, but after that, a period of side effects is called keto flu. Keto flu is not actual flu; it is a term used to describe symptoms you experience after following the keto diet.
The symptoms include tiredness, lethargy, slow-thinking headaches, light-headedness, and carbohydrate cravings. You may feel like your body is screaming, “feed me carbohydrates,” but after some time, these side effects subside as your body is now adjusted to the new normal.
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