The Ketogenic diet is a strict low-carb, moderate protein, high-fat diet that is used to lose weight, and fight health problems such as diabetes.
High-fat you say? How does a high-fat diet help you lose weight or lower your blood sugars? Good question. The philosophy behind the ketogenic diet is that you fill yourself with minimal carbs and higher fats in order to teach your body how to become a fat-burning wonder.
The ability of your body to burn fat as an alternative fuel is known as ketosis. This is a metabolic state in which your body produces molecules, or “ketones,” in the liver. The ketones act as a fuel when there is not enough fuel coming from an intake in carbohydrates. These ketones can be tapped for energy from all parts of the body including the muscles and brain.
Normally, the majority of your energy comes from glucose that is produced in the body once carbs are broken down. When your body is not consuming enough carbohydrates, it moves on to breaking down fats and creating ketones, which are used in the place of glucose as the primary source of energy for your body.
Many of you might ask if this fat-burning state is safe for your body. The answer is, if done right, it most definitely is. In fact, we can go even further than that and say that there are a number of health benefits that can come from a ketogenic diet.
- One benefit that we see particularly often with this type of diet is increased mental focus. Because the ketone fuel molecules produced in the liver are a consistent and constant source of energy, your brain has a steady food supply that allows it to stay focused, concentrated, and alert. In any other type of non-ketogenic diet, it is also likely to have frequent changes in blood sugar levels because your body consumes many carbs that are then broken down to sugars. On a ketogenic diet the probability of big rises or drops in blood sugar can be avoided.
- Another benefit is increased physical endurance. Similar to the increased mental performance, in which the brain has a constant, reliable supply of fuel, here the body has a source of energy that it can always pull from (your fat reserves). While our carb storage systems allow us energy for up to a handful of hours during intense physical exertion, fat stores hold enough energy to keep us going even longer.
One other significant benefit to consider is that this diet is a great option for individuals diagnosed with pre-existing conditions. This includes epilepsy, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Studies have show that this diet can slow tumor growth, and that it can make a significant impact at improving certain factors associated with heart problems such as body fat and blood pressure. Furthermore, the Ketogenic diet can lead to lower levels of blood sugar and help reduce insulin resistance – extremely important factors to consider for diabetes patients. When our bodies switch to burning fat rather than glucose, it reduces spikes in blood sugar or insulin levels. Being able to control these undesired fluctuations has shown to either improve or completely reverse Type II Diabetes in many patients.
What Does the Ketogenic Diet Look Like?
Foods to Eat:
Meats, fish, eggs, butter and cream, cheese, nuts and seeds, healthy oils (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil).
Low-carbohydrate vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, peppers, and most green veggies.
You are looking for foods that are fresh with whole, single ingredients.
Foods to Avoid:
Any food with sugar as an ingredient: sodas, desserts, ice cream, and fruit juices or smoothies.
Starchy, high-carb food such as rice and beans and legumes. Any grains and foods that include wheat and flour, such as bread and pasta. High carb veggies such as potatoes and corn.
In addition to these, eating large portions of fruit or berries should be avoided.
Consuming these foods that should be avoided because they start the process of glucose breakdown once they enter your body.
The philosophy behind the Ketogenic diet is one that allows you to safely intake healthy ingredients, while avoiding starchy carb-based ones. Filling your body with the fuel that it needs to perform healthily and consistently, while minimizing excess and unhealthy carbohydrates is incredibly important and beneficial.
Ketogenic Diet Resources:
This best selling book is your definitive guide to everything about the Ketogenic Diet. It will answer ALL your questions, about the health and weight-loss benefits of the diet, as well as giving you detailed guidelines on exactly what to do and to eat.
Over 150 mouthwatering ultra low-carb Ketogenic recipes.
Chef Amanda C. Hughes skeptically began testing the ketogenic diet nearly a decade ago to address her own weight-loss and stress-management challenges. Hughes began seeing results immediately and lost nearly 100 pounds in the first few years. Here are 175 recipes she developed for herself and her fans.