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What Is the Ketogenic Diet?
Often referred to as the Keto diet, this popular way of life has been making waves recently in the health and wellness world, and with good reason; the keto diet is a great tool in helping an individual lose weight. But, you may be wondering what exactly is the ketogenic diet and how can it help you lose weight? We’ve got answers! The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high fat and minimal protein based diet. Similar to the popular Atkins diet, they both share the same low to no carb mentality. The word ketogenic comes from the word ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body has no glucose to burn for energy so it burns stored fats instead, resulting in rapid weight loss. Once your body has reached ketosis, it produces small molecules called ketones which help fuel and supply energy to the brain. So, how do you get your body to burn fat for energy and how do you reach this state of ketosis? The fastest way to get there is by fasting, but that’s not something you can do forever. Following a high fat, low carb diet is your best option, better known as the ketogenic diet!
Benefits of a Keto Lifestyle
Another question that probably has popped into your mind; why should I go on this diet? What are the benefits? This is a great lifestyle diet because you get all the weight loss benefits of fasting, without actually having to starve yourself! In addition to weight loss, there’s a slew of other health benefits you’ll receive when following this diet. Some of these include:
- You’re not stuck counting calories or tracking your food intake.
- You feel fuller, longer because you’re consuming high fat foods, while burning them off quickly. In the long run, your appetite will gradually decrease.
- Effective at reducing stubborn abdominal fat.
- HDL (good) cholesterol levels improve.
- Improves insulin sensitivity, so it’s great for someone with diabetes.
- Lowers blood pressure.
- Can slow the growth of tumors in some cancers.
- Has been shown to reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s.
- The keto diet reduces your consumption of processed foods, which decreases inflammation. This can help with acne, arthritis, eczema, etc.
- Aids in recovery from certain brain injuries, like a concussion.
- Improved energy levels and better sleep patterns.
Keto Vs. Other Diets
Keto is the one high-fat low carb diet that actually works. With many people finding success with this diet, we look at some of the main differences between similar, popular fad diets. These include:
- The Atkins diet, which is the most similar to a keto diet. It includes a low carb intake at first but then slowly adding carbs back in.
- The Paleo diet is high in carbs, incorporating fruits and starchy veggies like potatoes.
- The Whole 30 diet, is you guessed it, only 30 days long and reincorporates grains and beans after those first 30 days
- The Mediterranean diet consists of a healthy dose of fats and carbs, including lots of fruits and veggies
Who Follows a Ketogenic Lifestyle
Some of your favorite celebrities follow a keto diet because of all its amazing benefits. These following stars swear by it for weight loss and an overall increase in wellbeing:
- Vinny from the Jersey Shore
- Halle Berry
- Lebron James
- Kim and Kourtney Kardashian
- Gwyneth Paltrow
- Megan Fox
Foods to Eat (And What to Avoid!)
Your number one thing to remember when following a keto diet is to stay away from carbs! We’re talking about consuming as little as 20 grams a day. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests an average of 225 to 325 carbs a day based on an average person’s diet of 2,000 calories a day. On the keto diet, you’re aiming for low to no carbs. Foods that are naturally low in carbs and perfect for the keto diet include meats like chicken, pork and steak. Most seafood like shrimp, crab and salmon are a yes for this diet too! Butter and cream are welcomed on the keto diet, as well as eggs, cheese, nuts, seeds and low-carb veggies like onions, tomatoes and peppers. If you’re wondering what you can drink on a ketogenic diet, we recommend water, unsweetened tea and coffee. The occasional glass of red wine is okay too! What should you avoid?
- Starchy foods like pasta, breads and wheat-based products
- Processed foods like cookies, potato chips and cereal are a no on this diet because they contain a lot of extra sugar, salt and oil
- Say goodbye to sugar filled soda and fruit juices
- Most fruit is considered a food to avoid unless it’s a berry, like strawberries
- Beans and legumes like chickpeas and lentils
- Root veggies like potatoes and carrots
- Unhealthy fats like vegetable oil
- Condiments with added sugars
- Sugar-free or low fat foods which are often high in sugar alcohols and tend to be highly processed
- Alcohol which is high in carbohydrates
Recipes, Books, Meal Kits and Plans
Looking to study up on your new way of life? A quick Google search and you will see tons of keto friendly recipes out there. If old school cookbooks are more you’re thing, might we suggest grabbing The Keto Diet: The Complete Guide to a High-Fat Diet, Keto Diet Cookbook for Beginners and Simply Keto: A Practical Approach to Health & Weight Loss. All of these books are packed with easy recipes, like the Best Ever Chicken Stew and Greek Prosciutto-Wrapped Meatloaf. Also, many meal plans are available online for free! You can get a diet plan with menus, recipes and a grocery list, tailored to your keto liking. For the serious keto dieters, meal kits are also available! Keto Fridge, Ketoned Bodies and Green Chef are all meal delivery services specially formed for the ketogenic lifestyle and they take the guesswork out of your meal prep.
How Do I Get Started?
As with any diet, learning the in’s and out’s of your new lifestyle and way of eating is key! Do your research and learn as much as possible. Plan out your meals for the week then head to the grocery store and stock up on all your keto staples. Follow keto bloggers on social media for inspiration and new recipes. Start small, slowly switching over to this new way of eating. Remember that if you make a mistake, it’s okay! Following this diet is a lifestyle switch but once you’re committed, you will reap the health and wellness benefits of it!