“Keto” or ” ketogenic” is a type of diet that causes your body to produce some small molecules called “Ketones”.
Ketones are produced by the liver once we eat fewer calories or carbs and they are used by the brain and the body as food source.
On a ketogenic diet your body supply its fuel mostly from the fat, the level of insulin in your blood can drop consistently and fat storage can be burned dramatically.
There are many benefits from this type of diet like a less hunger symptoms, a steady supply of energy, to avoid sugar peaks and to stay more alert and focused.
Studies have shown that Keto diet can be effective to reduce other pathologies like diabetes, epilepsy and beneficial for people who got cancer, Alzheimer and other diseases.
Why choose Keto
Keto is a diet plan that is based on food that should contain a good amount of healthful fat, a sufficient amount of proteins and a small amount of carbohydrates. A ketogenic diet in fact only allows 20 to 50 grams per day of carbs. The goal is to let the body take more calories from fat that from carbs intake. To let that happen the body need to produce molecules called ketones that the body uses as supplement also to burn fat.
When the body uses more ketones for fuel, you will feel more energetic as the brain creates more mitochondria that generates most of the power in the body cells. Ketone also suppress your hunger hormone and increases appetite reduction spending less time eating and craving for food.
A diet that consist in high processed and refined carbs can alter the balance of gut bacteria and blood levels in the sugar affecting also the health of your skin. Some studies have shown that a ketogenic diet can reduce acne in some people. Some research indicates that ketogenic diet can be used by some people with certain cancers because of some benefits effects related to oxidative stress produced in cancer cells, causing them to die.
A ketogenic diet can reduce the levels of bad cholesterol especially lipoprotein (LPL) and triglycerides based on the evidence that eating healthful fats for example avocados instead of pork chops, can improve many health factors including heart health.
Some studies have also discovered that a keto diet can also help to prevent some conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and reduce seizures in people with epilepsy for the benefits of ketones that have to protect neurons.
Keto diet can have also good effects on people that have hormonal disorders like PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) and diabetes 2.
From a study conducted in 2005 on five women with PCOS for 24 weeks, researchers have found that people who followed Keto diet were able to reduce weight, normalize levels of fasting insulin and to improve also hormone balance.
Fish and shellfish are welcome however, the quantity of carbs might vary for some type of shellfish so it is important to account for them to maintain a narrow range. Salmon, sardines and Mackerel are very high in Omega 3 and can increase insulin sensitivity in overweight and obese people. It is recommended to have at least two serves of seafood weekly.
Low Carb Vegetables
Most vegetables contains a small amount of net cabs even if some vegetables might contain starch that could increase considerably the carbs limit of the day. Low carbs veggie can be a good substitutes for high carbs food some can include:
- white mushrooms
- Swiss chard
Cheese is very low in carbs and it can fit well for a keto diet. There are different types of cheese, some are high saturated fat although some researches have suggested that dairy products can protect against heart diseases. Some type of cheese with less saturated fat might be more considered keeping the intake of fat like:
- Fresh Mozzarella
- Low fat cottage cheese
- Low fat feta cheese
- Swiss cheese
Avocados contain a low amount of carbs, several vitamins and minerals and potassium. They can help to improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Avocado is loaded with hearth-healthy mono saturated fatty acids.
Meat and poultry
Meat and poultry is essential food for a keto diet; they are rich in vitamin B, minerals like potassium, zinc and selenium. They are rich in proteins which help to preserve muscle mass during a low carbs intake diet. It is recommended to consume grass feed meat because it contains a higher amount of omega 3 and conjugated linoleic acid.
Egg is another essential food used in a ketogenic diet, it contains less than six grams of proteins and only one gram of carbs. Eggs trigger hormones that increase feeling of fullness and can low calories intakes up to 24 hours. Eggs can also modify the shape of LDL to keep it at a healthy level even if egg yolk are high in cholesterol. If you eat a lot of eggs’ yolk you better check your cholesterol level periodically.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are high in fiber, high in fat and low in carbs. Frequent consumption of nuts can reduce heart diseases, certain cancers and other chronic diseases some experts assert. Generally all nuts and seeds have a small amounts of net carbs you should check out the carbs count counts for 1 ounce of some of the most popular kernels:
- Pumpkin seeds ( 3 grams net seeds)
- Cashews ( 8 grams net seeds)
- walnuts ( 2 grams net carbs)
- Pistachios (5 grams net carbs)
- Almonds (2 grams net carbs)
- Brazil nuts (1 gram net carbs)
For most people Keto diet appears to be safe however if you belong to one of those 3 groups below you might need to consult your doctor or a diet specialist before start the diet:
- Taking medication for diabetes
- Taking medication for high blood pressure
Discuss with a specialist about any change in medication and lifestyle.
Food to avoid
Generally speaking on a keto diet you should avoid food containing a lot of carbs, starch and sugar like pasta, rice, potatoes, bakery products, sweets. You should also avoid high processed foods and check also on low fat products which some might contain not enough protein and fat required from the diet.
Drink and Keto
Water is the preferred drink doing Keto, black coffee and tea are also welcome preferably with no sugar or sweeteners. Use milk with moderation considering the amount of carbs that you can consume daily and a glass of wine occasionally is also fine.
What happen next I have reached my goal?
Once you have reached your goal you can maintain the diet adding some more carbs but if go back to your old habits you will return to the previous situation in relation to weight and health. Like if you stop exercising you lose benefits in short terms.
The Bottom line
A ketogenic diet can be helpful to reach health and weight goals. It includes a large variety of tasty and versatile foods that can help you to a lower carbs daily intake. Studies on the long term benefits of the ketogenic diet still need more research.
The keto diet might not be the best diet to keep in the long term as it might affect your physical performance and it can cause your heart to beat irregularly. The keto diet is also lacking in water-soluble vitamins and it can take in the long run to vitamin deficiencies.
It is always recommend to consult a dietitian or an expert on feeding before you would like to opt for ketogenic diet and also on the way you would like to maintain it in the long term.
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