Keto diets are a very popular form of low carb diet plan at the moment. So, what’s it all about? Here we’ve outlined some of the key information about keto. In this article there are links to products and books that can help you learn more about a low carb lifestyle. If you choose to purchase from these links I may make a small commission at no cost to yourself.
A Keto diet is an abbreviation for “ketogenic diet,” this dietary program is all about reducing your carbohydrates and boosting your fats to get your body to use fats for energy.
Whilst every human body and needs are somewhat different, a Keto diet typically means: 60 – 75% of your calorie consumption is from fat, 15 – 30% of your calories from proteins, and 5 – 10% of your calories are from carbohydrates
That often means eating only 50 grams of carbs a day (some stringent keto dieters even choose only 20 grams a day).
What is ketosis?
After about a few days to a week of following a keto diet, your body goes into ketosis; it starts to make ketones from fat because it does not have enough carbs for your cells to use as energy. Your body then uses these in place of those missing carbs. So your body starts burning fat to produce more energy.
How do you know if you’re in ketosis?
There are a few side effects that can tip you off, like breath that smells a bit like pear drops / nail polish remover, you can also use devices like keto testing strips (which you pee on) or a breath analyzer to tell you. These detect the acetone ketone which is eliminated from the body in your urine and exhaled breath.
Other side effects can include fatigue, digestive upsets, and difficulty sleeping. Luckily these only usually last up to a few weeks whilst your body transitions to its new way of making and using energy.
How was the keto diet developed?
This diet was originally designed to help people who suffer from seizures. However persons who started following a keto diet plan also noticed weight loss.
Weight loss happens for a couple of reasons:
– When you eat carbs, your system also retains fluid as a way to store carbs for energy, so when you’re not eating carbs you lose some water weight.
– Loading up on fat and protein keeps you feeling more satiated for longer, so helps to curb cravings and snacking
– Ketosis encourages your body to use your stored fat for its day-to-day energy requirements.
Are there different types of Keto diet?
There are several types of keto eating plans dependent on your dietary goals and lifestyle, however they all follow the same theme of low carb and high fat.
Some well know types of keto diet are:
High protein keto:
This diet involves increasing protein calories within their keto food plan and is aimed at those who want to build or protect muscle mass, like body builders or older people.
Lazy keto diet:
This is a simpler version in which you only monitor your carb intake. In lazy keto there’s no need to track calories, fat and protein consumption.
Cyclic keto diet:
This is when the dieter will eat keto for around 5 days a week then have 2 days eating more carbs (but healthy and unrefined/ non-processed). This is often followed by athletes who need to replenish glycogen in their muscle stores.
Targeted keto diet:
This is when the dieter follows the normal keto guidelines, but they will eat some carbs before powerful exercise to help them feel better during their workouts. The carbs are used up pretty quickly so overall they shouldn’t affect weightloss.
Mediterranean keto diet:
This is supposed to be a healthier version whereby fats come from fresh good quality monosaturated fats like fish and olive oil
Clean keto diet:
This focuses on non-processed healthy organic sources and whole foods.
Vegan keto diet:
This diet is for those who do not want to eat animal products. It can be a bit difficult as traditional keto diets rely heavily on animal fats and proteins. However it’s definitely possible. Common sources of fats and proteins in a Vegan keto diet are from olives, nuts, seeds, avocados and oils like coconut and olive oil. High protein foods inclue tofu, tempeh, beans, pulses and legumes.
What are the possible benefits of a Keto diet?
Most people use this diet for weight loss, however ketosis can have some other health benefits too:
– reduction in appetite
– loss of abdominal fat (high abdominal fat can be associated with inflammation and insulin resistance)
– decrease in blood triglycerides (high blood triglycerides are a strong risk factor for heart disease)
– increased ‘good’ cholesterol (lowers your risk of heart disease)
– reduced blood sugar and insulin levels (this can be helpful if you are at risk of or have type 2 diabetes)
– may lower blood pressure.
Are there any risks to eating Keto?
Before trying any new diet, you should always first consult with your physician to see if it is suitable for you. Those people who have underlying health conditions such as heart disease, kidney problems, pancreatic, liver, and gallbladder diseases, or are pregnant / lactating may need to find an alternative to the traditional keto regime.
Some people can find it hard to get all their micronutrients on Keto diets, as vegetables and fruits contain carbs so they may be limited in amount on some regimes. No matter which diet you choose to eat, we all know it’s healthy to have a good amount of veg and fruits in our diet.
What are some other lower carb type diets?
If Keto sounds a bit too intense for you, try lazy keto, or just try to stick to these low carb diet hints.
For me personally, I love the Harcombe Diet, which isn’t strictly a low carb diet, but it’s more about eliminating refined and processed foods and not eating fats and carbs in the same meal, so your body can process either one or the other as energy. For many followers this diet often morphs into a lower carb diet as people find themselves craving carbs and sugars less and being full up from their ‘fat’ meals.
Eating low carb has been revolutionary for me, I have more energy, don’t get sweet cravings, have less headaches, have better digestion, and feel less bloated. And the bonus is I’ve maintained my weight for several years now just eating this way and not having to resort to yo-yo dieting like I did previously.
If you want to learn more about the Harcombe Diet head over to the website.
If you’ve found this article helpful and enjoy finding out how to eat healthily, why not try out growing your own food too! Here’s our handy guide on growing peppers indoors.
If you have any questions or comments please reach out here.