Ketogenic Diet: The Basics
- What is a keto diet?
- Ketones vs glucose: which is a better body fuel?
- Common misconceptions about the keto diet
What Is A Keto Diet?
If you have been actively reading up on diet, fitness, or weight management in general, chances are that you may have come across the ketogenic diet. This form of diet is enjoying wide popularity owing to its healthy way of approaching food.
A ketogenic diet or keto diet, works on the foundation of using fat as an energy source for body functions instead of carbohydrates (glucose).
Key point: A ketogenic diet or keto diet, works on the foundation of using fat as an energy source for body functions instead of carbohydrates (glucose).
The keto diet formula is:
- 75% fat
- 20% protein
- 5% carbohydrates
That is the standard formula. However there are different types of keto diets which we will discuss in detail in subsequent articles.
Ketones vs glucose
Glucose is the most widely known form of fuel for the body. In fact, many people don't know that the body can still function using other sources of energy when glucose levels are low.
In the event of low or lack of glucose availability, the body starts using another form of fuel known as ketones. While glucose is obtained from the break-down of carbohydrates (like starch or sucrose), ketones are formed from the break-down of fats (triglycerides).
This brings us to the underlying principle behind the keto diet.
Before delving deeper into the wonderful benefits of the keto diet, it is important to understand the underlying concept behind this diet- ketosis.
Ketosis is the ultimate aim of being on a keto diet.
In the earlier section we discussed the formula of a keto diet as being low-carb and high-fat. When you reduce the external supply of carbs, your body first uses up the stored carbohydrates and then moves on to a fat-burning state.
The state of the body wherein fat becomes primary body fuel for the body is called ketosis.
Key point: The state of the body wherein fat becomes primary body fuel for the body is called ketosis.
In this state the fat that you supply in your diet is metabolized into ketones.
Why is this a big deal?
Besides leading to weight loss, being in a state of ketosis has several health benefits:
- Rapid weight loss
- Stable energy levels
- Low blood sugar
- Improved focus
- Reduced risk for neurodegenerative disorders.
Moreover a keto diet is very delicious. Imagine getting to eat tasty dishes and lose weight at the same time! Sounds like a dream come true right?
Common misconceptions about the keto diet
While we are talking about keto diet, it's important that we get some misconceptions out of the way early on in the discussion. This way you can get started without preconceived notions that could hamper the way you go about this process.
#1 Ketosis and ketoacidosis
Ketosis must not be confused with ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is a condition characterized by abnormally high levels of ketones in the blood. This lowers the pH of the blood to acidic. It is a rare condition that affects people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Risk for ketoacidosis in people who do not have diabetes is very low.
#2 Ketosis and loss of muscle mass
It is true that you lose muscle tissue when you don't eat enough. However, if you follow the ketogenic diet correctly, you would be supplying your body with sufficient proteins to prevent loss of muscles.
#3 Eating to much unhealthy fat
As with any diet, there is a right and a wrong way of approaching it. Just because a keto diet encourages intake of high fat food does not mean that you gorge on unhealthy fat continuously! While beginning a keto diet keep the following in mind:
- Eliminating junk food is the key to success.
- Reduce processed food and eat home-cooked keto meals as much as possible.
- Exercising to supplement your keto diet will have added benefits.
- Drink plenty of water
- Get 7-9 hours of sleep everyday.
There, you have it!
You are all set now to begin a lifelong fulfilling keto journey.