The term “keto diet” was one of Google’s top 10 diets searched in 2016, so let’s talk about why it’s trending and why it may be good for your body.
Keto. Ketogenic. Low-carb. Low-carb, high fat (LCHF). There are many ways to say it, and whichever way you choose, this diet is based on this core principle: lowering carbohydrate intake makes way for your body to burn calories from other fatty foods that you eat.
When following a keto diet, your intake should be high-fat, low to moderate-protein, and low-carb, with the breakdown for your day looking something like this: fat = 75-90%, protein = 6-20%, carbs = 2-5%.
Sounds simple enough, so let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what this means, why it’s trending, and if it might be a good choice for what your body needs.
Defining the Keto Diet
So, here’s the science behind the Ketogenic diet. When you eat something that is high in carbohydrates, your body produces insulin and glucose.
Since glucose is the simplest molecule for your body to brake down into energy, your body will always choose to burn it over other energy sources that you’re consuming.
This means that the carbohydrates you’ve eaten will be used for energy (great!) but that other fats will be stored (yikes!) since there’s little need for them to be converted into energy after the carbs have done their job.
This is where the keto diet comes into play. Ketosis is a metabolic process that the body goes through when it doesn’t have enough glucose to convert into energy, and therefore pulls energy from fats stored in the body. During this process, the liver produces ketones to provide your brain with energy. So, raised ketone levels become your new (maybe improved?) source of fuel.
A recent study done by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that obese men following the ketogenic diet had decreased hunger and food intake, and in a Spanish study a group of obese subjects lost 10 pounds per month over a 4-month period, in addition to a notable amount of belly fat.
These results are typical with that of a diet or weight-loss plan that cuts calories, while allowing you to increase your healthy fat intake, which may keep some keto dieters coming back to this structure. After all, calorie counting and hunger pangs are what cause many dieters to give up on their weight-loss plan. Beyond a leaner physique, the keto diet is also said to:
- Improve overall physical performance
- Prevent “crashing” after meals (common in higher-carb diets)
- Prevent Type 2 diabetes by lowering insulin production
Potential Ketogenic Cons
Now, the counter-argument: why might the keto diet not be right for you? First, an important detail to point out. When embarking on the keto diet, there is a period known as the “keto flu” which is good to take note of.
Within the initial days of transitioning into your new high-fat diet, your body’s adjustment to its new energy source may make you feel grumpy (perhaps it’s the drop in sugar levels from no carbs?).
It’s said to try and move through this part of the diet as quickly as possible so you can start to see results, as opposed to giving up from your body’s initial adjusting.
Other things to be aware of:
- Potential loss of electrolytes: Stay hydrated and look into proper supplements like magnesium, and sodium.
- Ketoacidosis: a rare case of ketosis going too far, and the blood becoming acidic. Most common in individuals w/ pre-existing conditions. Always consult your doctor before embarking on an extreme shift in your diet.
Keto vs. Paleo
Wondering what the difference is between a keto diet and other low-carb diets like paleo? Us too. The keto diet is referred to often as “modified paleo.” There are a couple of key differences to point out:
- Paleo does not mean low–carb or even high-fat all of the time, but does mean eating unprocessed and “like our ancestors” aka, a forager’s diet.
- Paleo doesn’t aim to eliminate insulin like the keto diet, so potatoes and root vegetables are approved.
- The majority of paleo eaters don’t consume dairy, whereas keto dieters use it as a good source of fat.
Eating Keto with CookUnity
How does this all tie into CookUnity? Glad you asked. Whether or not you choose to follow a ketogenic diet, or some variation on it, we want to give you different meal options to choose from so you can adjust your diet to your body’s needs.
One way to do this is by enrolling with a CookUnity subscription plan. This keeps you on a steady diet of meals that are tailored to your preferences, so you can sort of set it up and forget about it. Bonus is, we have a “keto diet” option for you to select when setting up your subscription.
Check them out @ cookunity.com/subscription/plan
Happy healthy eating! 😄