The Keto Diet Explained

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The ketogenic diet, or keto diet as it’s more commonly known, is a high fat, low carb diet that offers many health benefits. Research has shown that the keto diet can increase weight loss and improve overall health.

What Exactly Does Keto Mean?

The keto diet lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, shifting the body’s metabolism from processing carbs for energy to processing fat and ketones. Reducing your carbs and replacing them with fats forces your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. Studies have revealed that this makes your body more efficient at burning fat for energy, supplying energy to the brain, and turning fat into ketones in the liver.

Generally, when following a keto diet, your diet would break down to approximately 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% carbs.

What Is Ketosis?

Ketosis is a metabolic state which forces your body to use fat for fuel instead of carbs. When you significantly reduce your carbs consumption, you limit your body’s supply of glucose. Following a keto diet is the most effective way to induce ketosis; typically, this looks like restricting your daily carb intake to 20-50 grams and instead filling up on healthy fats such as eggs, fish, meat, nuts, and healthy oils.

What Are the Benefits of a Keto Diet?

There are many keto benefits, for example, studies have shown that a ketogenic diet can be an effective way to lose weight, as well as lowering risk factors for disease. A review of 13 scientific studies found that following a keto diet was more effective for sustainable, long-term weight loss than a low-fat diet.

Interestingly, the keto diet originated as a method for treating neurological diseases, and studies have shown that there are keto benefits for various health conditions. It has been shown that the ketogenic diet can help improve risk factors like body fat, cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and blood pressure, therefore reducing the risk of heart disease. Keto is currently being explored as an additional treatment for cancer because it may help slow tumor growth.

In addition, the ketogenic diet has been shown to help lose excess fat, which is closely linked to metabolic syndrome, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes.

Who Should Follow a Keto Diet? And Who Shouldn’t?

The ketogenic diet can be great for many people: those who have diabetes, are overweight, or are looking to improve their metabolic health. However, elite athletes or those who want to bulk up and build muscle may find the keto diet less helpful. It may also not be suitable for specific lifestyles and preferences.

Before you make any decisions, speak with your doctor to discuss your goals. They’ll be able to advise if a keto diet is right for you.

How Do You Get Started With a Keto Diet?

As with any diet, it can be challenging when you’re first starting on the keto diet. Here are some tips to make the transition easier:

  • Begin by familiarizing yourself with food labels and checking the grams of fat, carbs, and fiber. This way, you’ll find out how your favorite foods can fit into your diet.
  • Plan your meals out in advance, or even meal prep for a week at a time to give yourself extra time throughout the week.
  • Look online at websites, food blogs, and keto-friendly cookbooks for inspiration and recipes.
  • Take meals and snacks with you when visiting friends or family to ensure that there are food options for you at social gatherings.

Foods to Eat

Generally, it’s best to base your diet on whole, single-ingredient foods. On a standard keto diet, you should be aiming for 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% carbs. Therefore, you should base most of your meals around these foods:

  • Meat
  • Fatty fish
  • Eggs
  • Cheese, butter, and cream
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthy oils
  • Avocados
  • Low carb vegetables
  • Condiments

Foods to Avoid

Any food and drinks high in carbs should be reduced or eliminated from your diet. Here’s a list of foods to avoid on the keto diet:

  • Sugary foods and drinks
  • Grains or starches
  • Fruit (except for small portions of berries like strawberries)
  • Beans or legumes
  • Root vegetables
  • Low fat, sugar-free, or diet products
  • Most condiments or sauces
  • Unhealthy fats
  • Alcohol

If you’re interested in keto benefits, or you’re concerned about a health condition and would like to try the keto diet for yourself, consider speaking to a men’s health physician.

Here at Opt Health, you can seek specialized advice in a discrete setting in the privacy of your own home. Speak to an expert physician one-on-one over video conferencing, get test results, and medication delivered, all from the comfort of your own home.

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