When it comes to the keto diet, the secret sauce lies in the ratio of nutrients. But we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves. First, what is the keto diet? And second, why should you care?
Keto – Short for Ketogenic!
A ketogenic diet is simply a really low-carb diet that helps turn your body into a fat-burning machine. Which, when you do, triggers more health benefits than you can shake a dry skin brush at.
Ketogenesis is the production of ketones during the metabolism of fats. Ketones are essentially used as an alternative fuel source if and when your glucose levels run low. They’re made in the liver and delivered throughout your body, particularly your brain, as it consumes the most energy.
So, if you’re feeling a bit foggy, a ketogenic diet may help to clear things up.
When you reach that ketogenic state, which doesn’t take as long as might think, your insulin levels decrease and your fat-burning increases.
*If you take medication for high blood pressure or diabetes, including insulin, or are breastfeeding, you may want to consult with your doctor before beginning a keto diet plan.
The Secret Sauce
Ratios can vary a bit, but a general guideline is:
* 75% fat
* 20% protein
* 5% carbs
How do you know how much fat or protein, or how many carbs, you’re consuming?
Cronometer – This handy tool is free and will show you exactly what nutrients you’re getting from your diet, and those you’re not. Including the secret sauce ratios that the keto diet is built upon.
What Can You Eat?
Let’s assume that we’re always talking about organic, and naturally raised, and wild caught, and so forth.
Healthy fats are the most important, or at least most prolific, part of this diet. And while you may think it’s difficult to eat 75% of your calories from fat, keep in mind that fat calories are dense calories. A little goes a long way.
For cooking, your best choices are coconut oil, butter, and ghee. Olive oil is a very healthy oil, but it becomes rancid (which contributes to free radicals in the body) when heated. Other healthy oils include flax, avocado, walnut, hemp, and many others.
Vegetable oils are not healthy. Eliminate at all cost.
Protein sources include fish and seafood, meat, eggs, cheese and other dairy products. And, of course, round out your diet with a great variety and amount of vegetables. Sadly, fruit will likely put you over that five percent mark.
(The good news is that getting into ketosis is harder than staying in ketosis. In other words, fruit-eating days may lie ahead. In moderation, of course. Always consult with your chronometer to keep an eye on the special sauce ratio.)
What Can’t You Eat?
That includes sugars and starches, meaning vegetables grown underground. That’s also why fruit is out, at least for now. And why healthy foods like sweet potatoes and carrots may even tip the scales a bit too far past that magical five percent mark.
Nuts will be a gray area. Opt for high-fat nuts like Brazil and macadamia nuts. And always consult your calorie counter if not sure.
Not sure if we have to say it, but fake sugars, while maybe not contributing to a carbohydrate count, are contributing to things far worse, like the C word. Avoid as if … your life depended on it.
Tip for coffee drinkers: More fat means less sugar, when it comes to dairy. Which means skim milk is completely out of bounds (and a watery disaster of a drink) on the keto diet. While heavy whipping cream will certainly keep you inbounds. And happy!
What Can You Drink?
Mostly what you’d expect to see here: Water, coffee, tea, bone broth, and limited amounts of red wine. The answer to what you can’t drink is A) Everything else.
Why Switch to a Ketogenic Diet?
To say that there are a lot of benefits to adopting a ketogenic diet would be like saying the Pacific Ocean is big. So, let’s tackle some of the more obvious benefits.
When you turn your body into a fat-burning machine, that means you burn more fat. Wherever that fat may be stored. Rather than the sugar you just put into your body. That’s huge!
Yours will be satiated. Imagine that! Feeling full and satisfied. You can thank the 75% fat in the keto diet for that.
3. Bye Bye Brain Fog
Your brain loves fat. Well, actually the ketones that the fat produces. Either way, a keto diet is a brain diet. Mental clarity, improved concentration and focus, and an overall increase in energy (mental and physical) is what you can expect.
4. Blood Sugar Levels
Studies have shown that a keto diet can help control blood sugar levels, and even reverse type 2 diabetes. High insulin levels will be a thing of the past when burning fat for fuel.
5. Increase in Physical Endurance
Want access to constant energy when you need it most? Your body’s supply of stored carbohydrates only lasts for a couple of hours during exercise. Your stores of fat, however, can lasts weeks, if not months.
Other benefits of adopting a ketogenic diet include:
* Lower cholesterol
* Lower blood pressure
* Improved digestive health
* Fewer migraines
* Less acne
* Less heartburn
* Fewer food cravings
The list goes on beyond that, as we’re still finding new benefits for turning our bodies from inefficient sugar-burners into extremely efficient fat-burners.
Getting your body into a state of ketosis doesn’t take long if you closely follow the secret sauce. Expect about two to four days. You may notice some side effects, but they’re likely to be minimal.
Two ways you’ll notice that you’re in ketosis: Increased energy. Decreased hunger. Imagine how easy it will be to stay in ketosis once you’re feeling good and feeling satisfied. And those wonderful feelings are just two to four days away.
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