We all hear about new diets, fasts, and certain superfoods, that we should be incorporating into our diets. The keto diet, or if you go by its full-name, the ketogenic diet, is a very unique one. The diet is designed to be low in sugars, but incredibly high in fats, an average amount of protein, and very little in carbohydrates. If you are a fruit lover, or enjoy eating a lot of vegetables, then this probably isn’t the diet for you. Three-quarters of the diet should be foods that are high in fats, like red meat, eggs, cheese, and anything else you can think of with a high fat content. The idea behind the diet is that your body stops using glucose as fuel, and instead converts to using ketones, which can be used for the entire body. Glucose is essentially sugar, and some people think it is an unhealthy fuel source for your body.
For those that are ready to take the plunge into the keto diet world, here is how to get started.
Step One: Say Goodbye To Carbs
The keto diet doesn’t really have any place for foods that are pure carbohydrates. Some foods that are carb-rich are potatoes, rice, bread, and any other food with a high grain content. For those of us, that enjoy starting our day with a bowl of cereal, or having a sandwich with thick slabs of bread, these will be difficult to say goodbye to. However, when you reduce your carb intake, your body will begin to work more efficiently. Foods, like fruits, produce glucose in the body, which is then used to power all of the organs in the body. When glucose is ingested, it is then stored in the body as glycogen. This glycogen is what is used as fuel, but when carb intake is restricted, the levels of glycogen decrease. This decrease, allows ketones to be produced in the liver, because glycogen is not being stored in high-levels anymore. This reduction in glycogen, tends to lead to weight loss as well.
Step Two: Exercise
This is a given for any diet, but you should work on upping your exercise level. If you typically head to the gym for an intense workout, or out for a morning run, then you are already exercising at an optimal level. For those, that are less-inclined to exert themselves, you should begin to exercise more. Exercise will help to decrease the remaining glycogen levels in your body, and therefore, induce the production of more ketones. The goal is to reach ketosis, in which your body is fueling itself with ketones, rather than glycogen. This process takes time though, your body will have to adapt as your eating habits change. It cannot run off of ketones immediately, the glycogen must be depleted first.
Step Three: Test Ketone Levels
Every body is different. Nobody’s body make-up is exactly the same. We all have individual nutrition needs, body types, and metabolisms. This means that your keto diet will need to be adapted to suit your body’s specific needs. It takes three weeks to make something a habit, and that is about the amount of time it will take for your body to adapt to the keto diet. Essentially, you can test your body for ketones to make sure that you are producing enough to keep your body healthy. The three you can test yourself for are: acetone, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetoacetate. That way you will know if you need to change-up your diet to meet your specific nutritional. Now, buy some meat, and get started!