The ketogenic diet has been shown to provide a whole spectrum of health benefits, but getting the balance right requires time and effort. Done well, going keto can have a long-term positive impact on your overall health and wellbeing. Read on to discover the basics and benefits of a ketogenic diet – and how to get started!
The ketogenic – or ‘keto’ – diet follows three basic principles; high fat, low carbohydrate and adequate protein intake. It really is as simple as that!
This balance of macronutrients encourages the body to enter a metabolic state known as ‘ketosis’ – where it burns fat for fuel rather than carbohydrates.
The standard keto diet recommends getting 75% of your energy from fat, 20% from protein and no more than 5% from carbs. As we are all wonderfully different, we’d recommend using an online calculator to calculate your individual requirements.
So how does it work? Put simply, when your intake of carbs is really low you don’t have enough blood glucose for energy and so your body turns to fat for fuel – hey presto, ketosis!
Tip: Not all fats are created equal, so choosing the right ones is crucial to nailing the keto diet in a way that optimises nutritional status. You can find out everything you need to know about healthy fats here.
There’s no debating the evidence supporting the spectrum of health benefits associated with a low-carb, high -fat diet – from promoting weight loss to preventing disease.
Getting the bulk of your energy from fat and not carbs underpins most of the benefits of a ketogenic diet. In fact, the low-carb part is just as important as the high-fat part!
That’s because when we get most of our energy from carbs our body struggles to convert it to energy quick enough, so it stores it instead. Carbs are stored in the body as either glucose (in our blood) or glycogen (in our muscles). This causes the elevated blood sugars and increased insulin resistance that contribute to so many diseases.
The good news is that by adopting a ketogenic diet you can avoid this and even reverse the damage.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the proven benefits of a ketogenic diet…
· Promote Weight Loss - A very low-carb diet is more effective than a low-fat diet for weight loss, especially in the long-term
· Maintain Muscle Mass – Which in turns boosts metabolism and calories burned at rest – further promoting weight loss!
· Prevent Disease – Linked with reduced risk of Parkinson’s Disease, Heart Disease, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Diabetes, Alzheimer’s and even some Cancers
· Reduce Blood Sugar Levels – Which prevents things like stroke as well as nerve, kidney and vision problems
· Balance Cholesterol – Increases HDL or “good” cholesterol and reduces LDL or “bad” cholesterol
· Improve Blood Pressure – Reduces diastolic blood pressure and so prevents cardiovascular disease
Tip: It may take some time to get to know the ropes, but it’s most certainly worth the effort to reap these amazing benefits in the long-term! Don’t expect miracles straight away, going keto is a lifestyle change not a fad diet.
How Do I Know I’m Doing it Right?
Not only is ketosis something which we understand completely, but it’s also something which can be monitored and measured to ensure all your hard work is paying off!
You can find out if you’re in ketosis by testing ketone levels in your blood and urine. These handy urine strip tests are a convenient, reliable and minimally-invasive way to find out if you’re in ketosis!
Tip: Testing your blood or urine may sound extreme but it’s really useful to monitor your ketones every now and then– for peace of mind that the diet is working. Otherwise, it’s really hard to know either way.
Let’s Go Keto!
Now you know what it’s all about, here’s a guide to the types of food you should enjoy and avoid when following a ketogenic diet.
Foods to Include
Lots of these please…
• Oily fish
• Nuts and seeds
• Low-carb vegetables
• Healthy Oils
• Herbs and Spices
Tip: The keto diet isn’t about eating as much meat and fat as possible, which you’ll find in abundance in many junk foods. Avoid trans fats and processed meat and opt for real foods as close to their whole food source as possible.
Foods to Avoid
No thanks, I’ll go without…
• Starchy vegetables
• Fruit juice and fizzy drinks
• Starchy vegetables
• Beans and legumes
• Refined vegetable oil
• ‘Low-fat’ foods (full of hidden sugars)
Tip: It makes sense to get to know which foods are high in carbohydrates when going keto, you can find out more here.
Doing Keto Well, in a Nut Shell…
Calculate your Macronutrient Requirements
Balance your Diet
Plan your Meals
Monitor your Ketone Levels
So there you have it! A simple, easy to follow, go-to guide on all things keto. As always, we appreciate your feedback and if this has helped you find out something new or encourage you into a new way of eating/thinking, let us know! Emails can be sent via the contact us page or follow us on instagram and send us a DM!
Team CGF x