The Keto Diet for Beginners
In simple terms, a keto diet for beginners is one which contains a higher than usual volume of fat; moderate protein and very low carbohydrate diet content. It is also known by different names such as – ketogenic diet, low carb diet, low carb high fat (LCHF) diet etc.
Usually, when you eat stuff with very high carb content, your body converts it to glucose which is the byproduct of carbohydrate metabolism. It also makes insulin; a hormone which promotes glucose absorption into the body.
Here is where it gets interesting. Glucose is the energy currency of the body and the body depends on it to drive all of its activities. Since glucose is the chief source of energy for the body, your fats don’t get used. They simply accumulate leading to excess weight. But by reducing the intake of carbohydrates, the body is pushed into a state known as ketosis.
Ketosis is a natural metabolic process by which the body produces ketones from fat. Now these ketones can also generate energy for the body just like carbohydrates. Hence, the goal of keto dieting is to push the body into ketosis which is not achieved by starvation of calories but by reduction in carbohydrate consumption.
What Do I Eat on a Keto Diet ?
Looking forward to enjoying the very best benefits from keto dieting? Here’s a small list of what to avoid and what to consume:
- Starch: Rice, pasta, potatoes, bread, porridge etc.
- Whole grain products: Wheats, cereals, corn etc.
- Sugar: Honey, maple syrup, agave etc.
- Tubers: Potato, yam etc.
- Legumes: Beans and lentils
- Low-fat Yoghurt
You Can Eat
- Fish and sea foods
- Natural fat and high-fat sauces
- Vegetables growing above ground such as – Cauliflower, cabbage, avocado, broccoli and zucchini.
- High fat dairy products
- Nuts and seeds
- A moderate amount of berries
Let’s not forget that an ideal keto meal should be high on fat, moderate in protein and very low in carbohydrate. The nutrient composition should be something around 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbohydrate. We have a full library of easy to follow recipes that you can consume (pun intended) and enjoy too.
Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
The metabolic switch that brings about ketosis comes with numerous health, physical and mental benefits, some of which we shall explore here.
Ketogenic dieting tends to convert the body to a fat-burning machine by using your body fats as an energy source. This brings about an obvious decline in weight which is almost always the goal of going keto. But shedding excess weight would be just a portion of the benefits.
Lowers Blood Glucose
Low carbohydrate consumption means low sugar levels in the body. It goes without saying that ketogenic diets have been known to help the body maintain relatively low blood glucose and insulin levels. This is particularly helpful for patients suffering from Type 2 diabetes.
Increased Concentration and Mental Focus
Our mental strength depends on the amount of energy available for the brain’s use. Thankfully, the brain can also use ketones as an alternative energy source when low on carbs. Do you want to stay committed to completing your daily tasks with increased focus? You probably already have an idea of what kind of meals to eat.
Management of Epilepsy
Ketogenic meals have shown to be pretty effective in the management of epilepsy in children. Although it’s exact mechanism remains largely unknown, studies have shown a positive link between high-fat-low-carb intake and the management of drug resistant epilepsy in children.
It Keeps You Energetic
Keto dieting is majorly about fats; which are far more effective molecules to burn as fuel in comparison to carbs. In reality, carbs burn faster than fats, hence releasing energy quicker. However, they are not very efficient in generating energy for the body both in volume and quality. While a gramme of carbohydrates generates about 4 calories of energy when burnt, the same quantity (1 gramme) of fat will generate about 9 calories of energy which is more than twice what carbs can give.
Keeps Your Appetite in Check
Increased appetite for food or hunger is one of the many drawbacks of special dieting. However, low carb ingestion tends to reduce craving for food and for obvious reasons. Fatty foods tend to keep the human body satisfied for long. Part of the reason for this is that it does not deplete fast as is the case with carbohydrates.
Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Regulation
Elevated blood pressure isn’t necessarily something you can feel yet it poses one of the most dangerous cardiovascular health threats today. But the good news is that certain lifestyle changes as well as appropriate medication will help deal with it.
In addition to exercise and related activities, a lifestyle change that can help you take care of your heart is keto dieting. One of the ways it does this is by improving the level of high density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good cholesterol” while reducing low density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad cholesterol” levels in the body.
This helps deal with cholesterol build up in coronary arteries (atherosclerosis) and other cardiovascular health issues.