A ketogenic diet is a low carb (sometimes zero carb), high fat, high protein diet used primarily for two reasons. Firstly in the medical field to control epilepsy seizures, and secondly by people generally to achieve weight loss. Where weight loss is concerned, the aim of a ketogenic diet is to remove carbohydrates from the diet and deplete the liver of glycogen stores so that fat burning occurs rapidly. The name ketogenic refers to the process of ketosis. Ketosis is the state the liver enters when it is deprived of glycogen. Stored fat is then broken down into ketones and used by the body as fuel. The overall goal of a ketogenic diet is to encourage the body to use fat as its primary energy source.
Undertaking a Ketogenic Diet
One issue many people face during the first few days of a ketogenic diet is tiredness. The body will feel weak and lethargic due to the absence of carbohydrates. When the state of ketosis occurs, these symptoms will subside and energy levels will balance out. However, often people aren’t mentally strong enough to make it through the first week and seldom feel the positive effects of ketosis kick in. Ketones also regulate insulin in the blood which helps to sustain energy levels throughout the day, eliminating big dips of tiredness and allowing an individual to exercise at a high level of intensity.
A key factor in combating lethargy is to replace the missing calories with fat to encourage the start of ketosis. Some people maintain that a real ketogenic diet contains no carbohydrates at all. This is because having even a small quantity of carbs feeds the body energy and prevents the process of ketosis occurring, or at the very least minimizes its effectiveness and pace.
The 5-key Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet
- High energy levels
- Maximum fat burning ability
- Minimal muscle loss
- Able to eat substantial amounts of food
- Ability to exercise at high intensity levels
Eating On the Ketogenic Diet
A ketogenic diet takes determination and effort and will come as quite a shock to the system. Many people don’t realize just how many carbs they eat in their regular diet, for example, fruit is not allowed on a ketogenic diet. With a ketogenic diet you will eat fish and meat for pretty much every meal, but the good news is you can eat a lot more in comparison with other weight loss diets. Foods often restricted by regular weight loss diets are permitted in the ketogenic regime. Below is a list of ketosis friendly foods:
- Olive oil
- Flaxseed oil
Drinking on a Ketogenic Diet
Where drinks are concerned it is advisable to avoid even diet soft drinks. The citric acid content will interfere with the ketosis process and thwart your progress. Hard liquor and wine contain virtually no carbs at all so these can be consumed if necessary, although if you want to encourage maximum ketosis then avoid any alcohol and stick to water. Another thing to be careful of is that ketosis lowers your blood sugar; therefore alcohol will have a pronounced effect on the body. Fruit juices are a definite non-inclusion as they contain high carbohydrate levels.