When to use keto diet?
What are the pros and cons of the ketogenic diet?
If these and several other similar questions are bothering you and you’re still on the fence, the following keto diet guide by Daniel Norwood will make your life easier by answering the most common questions and myths.
Thanks to Norwood for contributing this amazing guide.
Over to Norwood.
Diet is the most powerful and complex way of nutrition that not only determines one’s health but also the person’s weight, form, and stature. At least, it is one of the most effective changes of managing our health. There are various forms of diet proven by nutritionists and weight trainers as helpful in accelerating weight loss and maintaining good health, free from lifestyle diseases such as obesity or diabetes.
There is no perfect diet and therefore it is best to find out what works for you by trying the various methods. For almost 5 months now, I have experienced Keto diet and it has really worked for me. Though it is full of misconceptions, I have had a personal experience with it and it is not so daunting to try as it has always been perceived. As for me, I have slept well on the diet and has good recovery between the training sessions with a stable mental focus.
Table of Contents
Understanding the Ketogenic Diet
Keto diet is basically a high fat, very low carbohydrate, and adequate protein diet. In most cases, this diet is efficient in weight loss management and also as a therapeutic diet for pediatric epilepsy.
When taken for weight loss reasons, this diet should never be temporary. One ought to consistently reduce the intake of carbohydrates in order for the body to utilize or break down the fats for energy. Ketones are created when fats break down to release energy, in instances where the body doesn’t get enough carbs. The fats substitute glycolysis as a source of energy.
Misconception about the Keto Diet
Some people brush off the keto diet as they believe that one must eat carbohydrates because it is a basic requirement for the brain to function effectively. They perceive that the brain only needs carbs or glucose to survive, and not fats. Moreover, most people think that carbs are essential for survival and beneficial for athletes to perform at their peaks. This misconception is proven by the tendency of having our athletes drink Gatorade to source more ‘energy’.
However, this is so much untrue because ketones are soluble in water and easily cross the blood-brain barrier to supply energy to the brain. We can actually classify ketones as the 4th macronutrient after carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The energy produced by the fats breakdown is enough for maximal performance, no matter the sports one is undertaking.
Ketosis is administered or achieved by consistent restriction from carbohydrates. The limit should be about 25-50 grams of net carbs per day (fibers excluded) from the general quantity of 200-300 grams ingested per day on normal basis. The difference in carbs is then to be replaced with the healthy fats.
Ketosis takes effect after a couple of days because the initial glycogen supply in the system must first be exhausted. If you choose to exercise, then ketosis will occur faster, as more glucose will be used up during the exercise and the adaptation process will accelerate. Another way of accelerating ketosis is through fasting or starvation. This is however not recommended because our objective is nutritional ketosis that entails restriction from carbs.
Pros of the Ketogenic Diet
- Effective in prevention of diabetes and metabolic syndrome or obesity
- Appetite suppression and increased meal satiety. Keto diet makes it easier to avoid over-consumption of calories. It is also more satisfying than a low-fat diet.
- Reduced fat storage and a higher rate of fat loss facilitated by ketosis rather than glycolysis, as fats break down to give energy.
- Complete elimination of insulin resistance that is responsible for Diabetes Type II, and high blood pressure or hypertension.
- Lipid fat profile improvement since the LDL particle sizes increase (smaller particles are often more damaging and are associated with the risk of heart disease).
- Keto diet is a cancer suppressor and reduces its growth and metastasis. This is possible because cancer cells have damaged mitochondria that require more energy from glucose to replicate at higher rates. Cancer cells cannot survive on ketosis, with no glucose.
- It as anti-inflammatory effects, with a complete elimination of chronic systemic inflammation.
- The diet is an effective epilepsy treatment.
- Possible treatment of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
- It improves the cardiovascular health.
- Ketosis has a high muscle-sparing effect for body composition whereby muscle loss is lessened in ketosis even at low levels of calories.
Cons of the Keto Diet
- The diet on itself has no guaranteed weight loss. You have to maintain a calorie counting by choosing the keto-friendly foods until you have enough experience of the diet.
- Only 70% of people show a positive response to this diet while the remaining 30% do not respond well.
- The diet is so much restrictive since most people cannot easily avoid carbs in their diet
- It takes a longer period to adapt to the keto diet. It may be up to 2 weeks for complete adaptation.
These are sugars classified as either simple (monosaccharide), complex sugars (polysaccharides) or the naturally occurring sugars found in food. All these are broken down into their simplest form by the body. Carbs are not essential nutrients needed for survival because the body can create an alternative sugar from fats and proteins in order to regulate the blood sugar levels.
Examples of foods high in carbs include all grains/bread, rice, pasta, cereal, starchy veggies, ice cream, pudding, cakes, doughnuts, potato chips, vegetable chips, pita chips, cookies, crackers, soft drinks and fruits/fruit juices (except berries and avocados).
About the Author
Daniel Norwood is a fitness trainer based in Toronto area. He is a coach and train people in their homes, gyms and on his site at The Fitness Crab on how to set up home gyms, what equipment to purchase that suits their need, effective workout routines using equipment, such as rowing machines and nutrition plans that substitute to weight loss and lifestyle.