What is Keto?
Keto or the ketogenic diet is a high fat low carb diet shown to benefit your body by offering an energy source other than glycogen derived from glucose. A keto diet relies on fat as your primary metabolic fuel. Once your body has switched to using fat instead of carbs as its primary source, it is said to be in ketosis.
In this state, your liver produces ketone bodies from fat, offering a two times more efficient energy yield than glycogen from carbs. A Ketogenic diet also operates on the premise that carbs have long term damaging effects on the body. This compared to healthy fats, whose metabolism is purportedly more constructive than destructive.
Why Try Keto?
As mentioned, fat is a more efficient energy source than carbs. So purely on that basis, ketosis is superior to glycolysis. The only drawback is ketosis functions systemically as opposed to glycolysis which operates endemically. This is because use of ketone bodies occurs through circulatory distribution while use of glycogen occurs on site within the cells.
This means glycolysis has an instant delivery mechanism while ketosis has a bit of a delivery lag. A minor drawback, the benefits of switching to keto are profound, especially when considering weight loss and blood sugar management. The health benefits of keto include:
- Decreased Risk of Obesity
Believe it or not, consuming more (healthy) fat actually leads to weight loss. This is because ketosis causes your body to use fat stores. It also discourages insulin activity leading to less stored body fat. Also, decreases the risk of obesity related complications such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer.
- Decreased Risk of Neurological Disease
Neurological illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s stand to benefit from a high fat, low carb diet. This is because fat plays a vital role in the structural integrity of nerve tissue.
Keto Diet: How to Get Started
So by now you know that Keto is all about high fat, low carb. Simple as this sounds, there are a few important things to remember.
Not All Fat is Good Fat
Gone are the days when the mere notion of fat was synonymous with poor diet. Today we know that fat can be more help than harm. The catch is, not all fat is good. Trans fats and excess saturated fats will only increase risk of disease. Stick to unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats as your key source of fat.
Carbs Still Matter
The goal of ketosis should never be to eliminate carbs, but rather to switch from using them as a primary energy source. The fact remains that carbs are and essential part of certain body functions. Take your red blood cells for example. They don’t have mitochondria to allow them to process fat for energy. They rely on carbs for energy. Carbs are also unavoidable. You can’t have a 100% carb free diet without compromising quality nutrition. You still get a source of carbs such as vegetables and nuts.
Top 5 Keto Diet Menu Items
Fish stands as a great keto food source. Packed with complete protein and healthy polyunsaturated fats, fish is ideal. It’s also a delicious, satiating way to nourish yourself.
Try to opt for top feeder, herbivorous fish when considering which fish to eat. These types tend to have a lower mercury yield and less bio magnification of toxins. Fish like cod, hake and trout are great options. Avoid too much tuna and other carnivorous species. Stick to wild-caught and avoid farmed fish.
Let’s Go Nuts
Tree nuts are a dense source of healthy fats. Cashews, walnuts and almonds are amazing sources of polyunsaturated, keto friendly fats. The beauty of nuts is that they also come packed with many other amazing nutrients. Zinc, magnesium and several other vitamins and minerals.
Stick to organic., fair trade nut sources.
An Avo Affair
Avocados are in at the moment. This is for very good reason. Not only are they amazingly delicious, they are also the ultimate keto food source. Densely packed with healthy, unsaturated fat, avocados form a no fuss foundation for any keto-centric meal. Always try to go organic.
Butter Be Ready
Butter has often gotten a bad wrap for its unadulterated saturated fat composition. However, butter has its place in a healthy diet. Used mindfully, butter is a good source of saturated fat which is healthy in limited quantities. It is also your healthiest option as a frying fat. This is because it is stable when heated. Keep your eyes peeled for organic, grass-fed.
Eggs are an amazing source of protein and healthy HDL cholesterol. They’re also delicious, depending on how you prepare them of course. The lack of carbs in eggs makes them an essential part of a good keto meal plan. Stick to free-range, pasture fed eggs or omega-3 whole eggs.
Eating Out: Keto Style
It’s easy enough to make your meals keto friendly when preparing at home. When it comes to eating out, you are at the mercy of a preconceived menu. You’re in luck though, because most eateries offer food that falls into the keto category by default. Meat-centric dishes like steak are a keto win. When it comes to burgers, just order yours without the bun.
Substitite rice, potatoes, and other starches. Ask restaurants to substitute starches with an avocado or vegetable. Many restaurants and food establishments offer Atkins Diet menu variants which are great for keto living.
A keto diet is a great way to optimize your health and metabolic activity. By switching to fat as your primary energy source you ensure that you are using more and storing less. It is important to learn how to do keto right. Which foods to avoid and which will benefit you. Whenever embarking on a new dietary journey, remember to consult a qualified nutritionist or healthcare expert.
And Check Out Our Vast Library of Keto Diet Recipes