I keep hearing more and more people talking about being on a Ketogenic Diet or “Keto Diet” and wanted to discuss it here.
Honestly, the only reason I have any idea what the Keto Diet is all about is because I use to work at a weight loss company called Medifast where we put clients on a very low carb diet to get their bodies into ketosis (fat burning state). Once my clients were in ketosis their bodies could burn fat more efficiently helping them to lose weight quickly.
I was 100% supportive of this because #1 they were doing it with scientifically designed foods that offered all necessary nutrients, #2 had someone monitoring their diets/body composition and #3 these were people with pretty significant amounts of weight to lose.
So I was kind of shocked to hear that fellow runners, CrossFit athletes and just regular people were doing a Keto Diet and immediately started doing some research to share with you all.
What is the Keto Diet?
The Keto Diet is a very low-carb, high fat diet that puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
When your body is in ketosis it becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat. Actually, your body completely switches from burning carbohydrates for energy to fat which can help people lose excess body fat very quickly, boost energy levels, normalize hunger and more. For a more detailed explanation about ketosis click here and here.
So how low-carb are we talking?
To get into ketosis you need to limit your total carb intake to about 30-50g of carbs per day. To put that into perspective 1 cup of white rice contains 45g of carbs!! So yes, this is a very very low-carb diet!
It can take about 2-7 days of consistently eating low-carb to get into ketosis and the process isn’t always a pleasant one. Often when people are first getting into ketosis they experience something called the “keto flu” where they may have headaches, nausea, brain fog, bad breath, dry mouth, cravings…etc. This should only last a couple of days then you should experience high energy levels, lower hunger levels and a more clear mental state.
What are the benefits of a Keto Diet?
So why put your body on such a restrictive diet? Well there are actually some pretty impressive benefits of eating a low-carb, high fat diet like the Keto Diet.
Please remember I am not a doctor and before considering trying the Keto Diet I highly recommend consulting with a medical professional!
Benefits include but are not limited to:
- Weight loss
- Loss of body fat- especially fat in the abdominal area
- Possible cancer prevention
- Balanced blood sugar
- Diabetes management/ prevention
- Decreased blood pressure
- Increased mental focus
- Increased levels of healthy HDL cholesterol
- Lower triglycerides
- Increase in energy
- Normalized hunger
- Improved sleep
What do you eat on a Keto Diet?
Like explained above the Keto Diet is a very low-carb, high fat diet where carbs make up about 5% of your total calorie intake for the day, protein 20% and fat 75%.
If you’re curious about what exactly you can and can’t eat on the Keto Diet check this link out but I think showing what a sample day of eating on the Keto Diet is more impactful.
Sample Keto Diet:
- Breakfast: 2-3 eggs (any style), bacon or sugar free sausage, coffee with heavy cream
- Snack: half an avocado with salt and pepper
- Lunch: Tuna salad (tuna, mayo, salt, pepper) served over romaine lettuce + 1 cup chicken broth
- Snack: 12 almonds and 2 string cheese
- Dinner: Chicken thighs, cheesy cauliflower puree, 2 cups baby spinach with carb-free dressing
Notice there’s no breads, rice, fruit, starchy veggies…it’s primarily fats, protein and some low-carb veggies.
Would I ever try the Keto Diet?
I’ll admit I’m very intrigued by the concept of having my body switch from burning carbs for energy to burning fat. I already don’t really eat fruit, limit starchy carbs and almost never eat processed crap but I think the Keto Diet may be a little too extreme for me.
Also, with running my body craves carbs…and maybe that’s because that’s all it knows but I couldn’t imagine running 12 miles and restricting carbs AHH! Yet some athletes and researchers argue that having your body in ketosis may actually be incredibly beneficial especially for endurance athletes and preventing “hitting the wall”.
Who knows? I think everyone’s bodies are so different and the take home message is to do what works for you.
I may try a month of Keto in the future just to see how my body responds but for now I’m 100% okay just focusing on eating a balanced whole food diet.
Have you tried the Keto Diet?
Do you think you could do the Keto Diet?
What questions do you have about the Keto Diet?