You may be thinking that the Ketogenic diet is not a review… and it isn’t. But it is an adventure of a lifetime.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The Ketogenic Diet or simply Keto is a method of reducing glucose and burning the bodies Glycogen stores out and replacing them with an alternative fuel source called Ketones.
How does it work?
Ketosis is a natural process that the body does in order to keep energy high in a time when carbohydrates are unavailable. It is also commonly referred to the caveman diet. The idea behind it is to limit processed foods and rely on whole foods for energy such as meat, and leafy vegetables.
Ketosis occurs typically during periods of fasting, such as overnight before you have breakfast and your glycogen stores are depleted.
Don’t you need Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are transformed into various types of sugar in the body and used to fuel your muscles and brain. But we come equipped with backup fuel sources, namely ketones. The brain actually functions better on ketones than glucose.
I could go into so many more details but I will refrain. Instead I will tell you what it did for me.
So Initially I started the diet for weight loss, I had been struggling for a couple of years to actually lose weight. I tried low fat, and going to the gym every day with running, and hard training but never really lost much. I did have success with some calorie counting, but not much. Maybe 5 or 10 pounds over a 6 month period. I Jumped into keto full force and was on it for about a month and a half and lost almost 25 pounds. I got down to 186 and then fell off the wagon. But I noticed other effects of the diet, namely my headaches went away.
I did some research and it seems that the Ketogenic diet causes anti-inflamatory responses within the body as if you are on a constant dose of tylenol or motrin. The diet was also used to treat epilepsy and other neurological diseases with an outstanding success rate (nearly 80%). In watching several documentaries on sugar, and insulin as well as reading up on diabetes and heart disease. I decided that this lifestyle was the way for me.
It’s hard but in general keep carbs to a minimum (below 20g per day), and protein around 80-100 and fat no more than 110. Pretty simple. But the body goes through some changes when you jump into it so it may be more difficult that first realized.
The benefits far outdo the risks, and I recommend it to so many people who simply look at me like I am crazy.
And if you are truely interested in the science behind it check out Dr. Lyle McDonald’s book The Ketogenic Diet
This diet has changed the way I look at food. I check the labels on everything almost to an OCD level. I make sure that whatever I eat is right for me and to keep me on track. There are no cheat meals with Keto… If you cheat, then you lose the effects of the ketogenic process and you have to start from square one.
Bacon, Bacon, Bacon! Some people say you can eat all the bacon you want, while I eat a lot of bacon, it isn’t 100% true. You still want to eat foods that are high in fat but that also have nutritional value in them like salmon, and avacados. We eat the fat because it fills us up. We eat the protein to sustain our muscles, and we minimize our carbohydrates so that our bodies will create ketones from our stored fat causing us to lose weight by burning our stored fat reserves for energy.
Yes we can eat a lot of fat and still lose weight, but if you eat less fat, and at a deficit you will lose more faster, and not even have to exercise. Exercise becomes for health benefits and because one wants to rather than to lose weight.
Why is is a lifestyle and not just a diet?
When I go into a diet, I know there is an end date. When I hit my goal weight, after 2 months, once I can benchpress 200 lbs. Whatever that goal is, that is when the diet ends. Keto is a little different. While you can go back to the way things were, staying with it will have the cognizant affects that you will grow to appreciate, like more energy, better sleep, better focus and clarity of thought.
However, the fact that no long term studies have been done and the only real ketogenic study that was done was performed over 70 years ago leave us with little to no actual long term data on the effects over time. There are many people that have stayed in ketosis for many years with no ill affect but none that have been studied. “The consequences of alternating between a ketogenic and non-ketogenic
metabolism are a total unknown. For this reason, it is not recommended that a CKD, or any ketogenic diet, be followed indefinitely” (McDonald, 1998)
McDonald, Lyle (1998) The Ketogenic Diet, Austin, TX.
So as with any diet, exercise, and lifestyle change it is done at your own risk and should be done under the consulation of a medical doctor.