We are all part of a generation that simply loves food. We love the process of cooking and preparing our meals whether it be an intricate 3-course meal or a plain sandwich. We love to savor the taste of the food we eat along with enjoying the company of people we love. We love everything about food especially the part where we get to eat a lot of food. But our passionate obsession for food does not come without a price. There is always a catch and the most basic and perhaps the simplest form of endeavor when it comes to food is the weight you gain after you consume it. There is nothing wrong with eating, it is a basic human need. The food we eat becomes the fuel that drives our mechanisms but what comes after when all the good stuff is already taken out of the food you eat well that is the nightmare. The pounds and pounds of evidence of our obsession with food. But staying healthy is catching on like grass fire nowadays and one way of doing so is by going on a lifestyle change. I don’t want to say diet because a diet is a passing phase in one’s life but a lifestyle change is something you will get into for the rest of your days. Move over South Beach Diet and say hello to the Ketogenic Diet or Keto for short. These are the things that keto diet beginners should look out for.
Ketosis, Ketones and Ketogenic Diet
Right off the bat, a ketogenic diet has something to do with the process of ketosis which is a biological process that our body undergoes under certain circumstances. More specifically it is the biological process in which our body uses fat from the food we eat as fuel instead of carbohydrates. Ketosis is only possible in the advent that our body has very little to no carbs to burn up as fuel. This process can also be observed in people when they are pregnant, starving, fasting and during the earlier stages of life, infancy.
Ketones, on the other hand, are literally the fuel that makes ketosis possible. When someone goes on a low-carb and ketogenic diet their bodies will dramatically start to compensate by releasing fatty acids and lowering insulin in the body. A number of the fatty acids will go to their liver where oxidation then occurs thus producing the so-called ketones. Now, these magnificent molecules, in turn, can most likely be able to give our body enough juice as energy.
You’ve probably guessed it already a ketogenic diet has something to do with low-carbs and more on nutritious fat. I know it sounds downright crazy. Fat, are you saying to lose weight I have to eat fat? Isn’t that ironic? Well, the ketogenic diet is as I have said not just another hobby it is a lifestyle. You have to commit to the idea that you want to get healthy and this is just one of the many roads out there.
Going back, a ketogenic diet is removing most of your carb intake, which means very little to no rice, potatoes or pasta. Sounds hard right? But that is not all, there are at least four kinds of ketogenic diets. And if you are a beginner in this diet, you should be familiar with each. These are the following:
SKD or the Standard Ketogenic Diet
As the name suggests this is the standard norm when it comes to keto diets. It involves a combination of fat, protein, and carbs. The meals will have to have a high concentration of good fat at around 75%, a good size serving of protein with about 20% and last but not the least is a very low amount of carbs with the remaining 5%. This standard keto diet needs dedication in keeping everything in check, this is not a hit and miss. It’s more like you should hit the bullseye or don’t try at all. If you’re up to it then, by all means, be my guest.
HKD or the High-protein Ketogenic Diet
High-protein Ketogenic Diet is a variation of Standard Keto Diet that follows the same principles but rather concentrates on having a more substantial amount of protein. Protein adds weight in the form of muscles and so be prepared to be a little bit buffed.
CKD or the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet
If the SKD is a little bit overwhelming you can try the cyclical keto diet. It is composed of a series of intervals. A number of days dedicated to ketogenic meals and then days for meals packed with carbohydrates. In the example, you might want to have 4 days of CKD and 3 days of high-carbs. This type of keto diet is strategic enough if you are just breaking into the scene as a keto dieter.
TKD or Targeted Ketogenic Diet
This particular type is has something to do with adding meals rich in carbs to a high burning and tiring workout since the body will eventually burn the carbs as a source of energy. However, one must consider that one must be able to strike balance when it comes to this method because it is easy to get too many carbs into your system which will result in you hitting a plateau when it comes to your goal.
Eating the Keto Way
Now that you know how you might alter your lifestyle with the various types of a keto diet it’s high time to get to know the kinds of food you will be spending your days with. Afterall going keto is a life-altering decision. Here is a rough list of the kinds of food typically being gorged at in a keto diet.
Vegetables with low carbohydrates
You always want to start your diet with a load of vegetables. They are both healthy and delicious. Some vegetables that best suit the ketogenic diet are those that have very little or no starch at all. Starch is carbohydrates. So you might want to lay low with potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, and beets and you might want to try going green with the green leafy vegetables. You can try out squash, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, and other non-starchy vegetables.
Eggs, Meat, and Poultry
As part of one of the types of ketogenic diets is the HKD, you can probably guess that eggs, meat, and poultry here will be the source of protein. Of course, you have to choose and consume lean cuts of meat. This way the protein from them can boost your muscle mass and perhaps prevent sagging due to weight loss.
You can still enjoy your favorite fish but in moderation of course when you undergo a ketogenic diet, as it packs less calories and it has the omega-3 fatty acids. A kind of fat that we all need and want in our bodies. You can also try on munching on some shellfish, squid and octopus as they only have very little carbohydrates in them.
If you’re a cheese lover then don’t worry about going keto because as it seems you can still enjoy any variety of cheese and not worry about the carbs. As it turns out they are very low in carbs but high in calcium and a little bit of protein as well.
Coconut and Olive Oil
The wonders of coconut oil are astounding. It contains fatty acids called the MCT or medium-chain triglycerides that are directly converted into ketones by the liver which is then used as energy. The humble coconut oil has also been found in some studies to aid adults to lose weight who have a problem with their obesity. Though the study is not yet conclusive on itself.
The Olive oil, on the other hand, is not just a garnish to your favorite vegetable salad. There is more to it than meets the eye. It is said to contain oleic acid which is a mono-saturated fat most duly noted for its ability to decrease the risk factors of heart diseases. But not only that it also contains phenol which is an antioxidant that decreases the inflammation of the heart and improves the functions of the arteries.
Variety of Nuts and Seeds
Never shy away from peanuts, cashew nuts, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and other nuts as well as sunflower seeds, squash seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and other kinds of edible seeds because as it turns out these nuts and seeds are very rich in fiber and fat that help fight off heart diseases, some cancer types and depression as well as other chronic diseases.
Different kinds of Berries
When you go keto you will have to say goodbye to most of the fruits out there as they are high in carbohydrates. But you need not worry about saying goodbye to berries like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries because they have low carbohydrate content but are rich in fiber.
Butter and Cream
There has been a debate about whether it is wise to consume butter and cream in large amounts. Well, several studies say that consumption of unsaturated dairy fat can help in maintaining good heart health. Quite ironic unlike what most of the world says about eating butter and cream. But if you really plan on going keto you have to be prepared to consume the healthy kinds of fat.
Coffee and Tea (unsweetened)
If you need your daily dose of caffeine but are not sure if it still fits into your newly found keto diet then you’re in luck. You can still have that coffee or tea caffeine fix without worrying about the carbs since both beverages have low carbohydrates but contain caffeine. The caffeine in coffee and tea has been said to decrease the risk of having diabetes, increase your metabolic rate and of course give you a boost in performance and alertness. Stay away from lattès and creamed coffee as they already contain milk.
Cocoa Powder and Dark Chocolate
A good dose of pure unadulterated cocoa powder and dark chocolate is a plus for any keto dieter. Dark chocolate contains flavanols which is tagged to be able to lower the risks of heart diseases and high blood pressure. Remember only dark chocolate and pure cocoa powder are allowed since they don’t contain dairy milk that may contain high carbohydrates.
Dangers and Risks of going on a Keto Diet
Before you go and try the latest fad in weight loss called keto diet you have to know the risks and some dangers that may go hand in hand with the keto diet. These are the following things you really should know about going on a keto diet.
- Diarrhea: Some dieters who go on a keto diet often report that they go to the bathroom several times a day. Experts say that this is due to the gallbladder being overwhelmed with processing too much fat and very little fiber from food because of the keto diet.
- Having the Keto-Flu: First-time keto dieters will most likely report a feeling of fatigue, gastrointestinal distress and vomiting this is because the body is burning fats instead of sugar for energy. It goes away after a few days.
- The Occurrence of Ketoacidosis: Ketoacidosis is a very dangerous condition that happens when the body stores too many ketones and when the body burns fat its byproduct is acid this then goes into the blood making it too much acidic. This acidity in the blood can cause damage to the kidneys, liver, and brain. Ketoacidosis often happens in people who have type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
- The trouble of weight regain: The problem with any dieting is that when you decide to stop you have the trouble of regaining all the weight you’ve lost and if not more. This is because your body is compensating for the loss of carbohydrates in your diet.
Going keto is not a joke it is a serious decision. Now if you have decided to really go on a keto diet, I hope you pay heed to things that beginners should look out for. I hope it serves as a guide on that important decision you’ve just made.