The human body uses two sources of energy: glucose and fatty acids. Fat can build up in the body and lead to weight gain. Efficiently converting this fat into energy instead of consuming glucose is key to losing weight. This idea formed the basis of the ketogenic diet, which has grown in popularity in recent years.Before the advent of powerful anticonvulsants and diabetes medications, doctors used a ketogenic diet (high fat, medium protein, low in simple carbohydrates / sugars) to prevent seizures and control type 2 diabetes. Today we are rediscovering the benefits of reducing simple carbohydrates and total sugars in the diet - but for a wider population.
Who Can Benefit From The Keto Diet?
It has been observed that the ketogenic diet can be beneficial for patients with the following diseases or conditions. And these observations are backed up by scientific research:
- high blood pressure;
- type 1 and 2 diabetes;
- inflammation (increased C-reactive protein levels);
- high cholesterol or triglycerides, low cholesterol ("good" cholesterol);
- obstructive sleep apnea syndrome;
- overweight, obesity;
- inflammatory bowel disease;
- Alzheimer's disease;
- Parkinson's disease.
NOTE:It is important to distinguish between ketosis and ketoacidosis. Nutritional ketosis achieves the necessary blood ketone levels while maintaining normal glucose and insulin levels. This is what the keto diet is all about.
In diabetic ketoacidosis, blood ketones are ten times the target, glucose is significantly increased, and insulin is low. This condition can be life threatening.
What is the ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet (keto diet) is a diet that is high in healthy fats, moderately high in protein and low in carbohydrates. The diet is based on the idea that by consuming less than 30-50 grams of simple carbohydrates and / or sugars per day for more than a few days, the body begins to produce ketones from fat. These ketones then serve as the body's energy source.
It's recommended that you eat plenty of leafy green vegetables when you are on a keto diet. Because of the small amount of calories, they can make up a quarter of your diet while being only 5% of their calorie content. For example, two servings of spinach contain only 20 calories.
According to the traditional definition, the following ratio is considered a keto diet in the diet:
- 60–70% of calories from fat (avocado, fish, nuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, cheese, MCT oil, etc. );
- 20-25% of the calories from protein (meat, fish, chicken, nuts, green leafy vegetables);
- 5% of the calories from carbohydrates (strawberries, blueberries, cherries, coconut, green leafy vegetables, almond flour, etc. ).
Benefits of the keto diet
Jimmy Moore, author of the book Keto Clarity, mentions the following benefits of the keto diet:
- Hunger and appetite control;
- clarity of mind;
- weight loss;
- improved sleep;
- Stabilization of blood sugar levels and improvement of insulin sensitivity;
- lower blood pressure;
- more energy;
- Relief from heartburn;
- Strengthening the immune system and slowing down biological aging;
- memory improvement;
- improvement of the skin condition;
- less fear;
- Strengthening self-discipline.
What are macronutrients?
Vitamins and minerals are considered micronutrients. And macronutrients are the three main ingredients of a food:
Carbohydrates are divided into simple and complex.
In contrast to complex carbohydrates, simple carbohydrates consist of shorter sugar chains. When food is digested, it is absorbed more quickly by the intestines, which is why blood sugar levels rise faster than when consuming complex carbohydrates. Eating simple carbohydrates also causes the body to produce more insulin compared to complex carbohydrates, which contributes to weight gain.
Simple carbohydrates satisfy hunger for a short time - after eating you often want more soon.
Examples of simple carbohydrate foods without keto:
- processed foods;
- baked goods;
- Fruits with a high sugar content.
Complex carbohydrates consist of longer sugar chains than simple carbohydrates. Because of this, it takes longer to absorb and does not increase blood sugar levels as quickly. This means they have a lower glycemic index and provide a longer feeling of fullness compared to simple carbohydrates. The ketogenic diet allows unlimited consumption of the most complex carbohydrates. Keep in mind that even though they contain complex carbohydrates, beans and peas are not suitable for a keto diet.
Examples of foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates:
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard Greens
Fat: The second macronutrient. On a keto diet, 60–70% of your calories must come from fat. Contrary to popular belief, not all fat is bad. Eating more healthy fats will help your body burn fat better. In addition, many doctors believe that eating fat doesn't necessarily lead to obesity. Sugar seems to be more conducive to this.
Fat is important for our metabolism. However, there are "good" and "bad" fats. In recent years, the harm of saturated or "bad" fats has been considered.
Examples of high-fat foods:
- MCT oil;
- olive oil;
- coconut oil;
- avocado oil;
- Brazil nut;
- chia seeds;
- almond paste;
- peanut butter;
- Macadamia oil.
Protein: The third macronutrient. Proteins are made up of amino acids and are broken down into them when absorbed by the body. They are extremely important to the body. Hair, nails, enzymes and hormones are mainly made up of protein. In addition, protein is an essential part of bones, cartilage, tendons, muscles and skin.
Examples of protein-rich foods:
- protein powder;
- bone broth;
- dairy products;
- green leafy vegetables.
Many people get their energy exclusively from sugar (glucose). It is eliminated from the body from high-sugar or simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are converted to glucose, and when we use more glucose than we can absorb, the excess sugar is stored in the body as fat. Let's dispel another common misconception. In fact, not all fruits are created equal. Constant consumption of high-sugar fruits can ultimately create problems for those who need to limit their sugar levels.
200 years ago, people ate an average of 3. 2 kg of sugar a year. By 2020 that number rose to 47 to 55 kg.
Excessive sugar consumption almost certainly explains the current rise in certain diseases around the world: obesity, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases.
How does the ketogenic diet work?
Ketosis is triggered by the breakdown of adipose tissue into three fatty acids. These fatty acids then travel to the liver, where they are converted into ketones, molecules that are an alternative source of energy. Ketones mainly include beta-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate, and acetone.
Ketones for the body are like high-octane gasoline for a car. It is cleaner fuel for the brain and body, available while reducing sugar intake. When the body uses ketones instead of sugar, the oxidative damage to cells in the body is reduced.
Ketosis can help many people in a variety of ways. You can eat a keto diet that includes large servings of leafy green vegetables as well as healthy fats, seafood, meats, chicken, eggs, cheese, nuts, and seeds. As in many things, the main thing is moderation! In general, sweets, sugar, bread, rice, tortillas, potatoes, beans, and processed foods should be avoided. Fortunately, there are now great tasting keto snacks and bars on the market that make it easier to get over the simple carb cut.
The ketogenic diet may not be for everyone, but overall, it's a great alternative for those who are struggling to manage their weight or diabetes with other low-calorie diets.
Many people with carbohydrate or insulin sensitivity who have difficulty controlling their blood sugar have benefited from switching to a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet.
NOTE:Always ask your doctor first before stopping medication.
Supplements recommended for the ketogenic diet
- Exogenous ketones, including beta-hydroxybutyrate, magnesium and calcium salts.
- Medium chain triglyceride oil (MCT) is an excellent source of healthy fats that can be easily converted into ketones. Many on the ketogenic diet consume MCT coffee cream.
- Multivitamins - A good multivitamin is recommended for most children and adults.
- Magnesium - By consuming enough magnesium, muscle cramps and cramps can be avoided.
- Vitamin D - 80% of the population are deficient. A continuous intake of 2000-5000 IU of this vitamin is recommended for most.
- Greens in Supplements and Powders - Getting all of the nutrients you need from your diet is best, but these supplements and powders can help provide your body with the antioxidants it needs.
- Cooking with coconut or avocado oil - these are great sources of healthy fats and great for frying vegetables.
- Omega-3 fatty acids - have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Whey, soy or pea protein is an ideal meal replacement and a great addition to smoothies.
- Momordica charantia, cinnamon, chromium picolinate, and berberine can be helpful, especially with refractory insulin products.