Keto Basics 101: A Helpful Guide | Understand the Keto Diet
Why do some people put grass-fed butter in their morning coffee? And why do some drink ketone drinks and even replace their pasta and cereals with avocados and eggs?
The ketogenic diet is now famous due to celebrities like Halle Berry and Kim Kardashian so now it has become a silicon valley mania.
Folks that follow this diet believe that if you get rid of most carbs (even fruit!) and adopt more fat, you can and will lose weight without feeling hungry.
The long history of the ketogenic diet in science also lends to its credibility. For nearly a century doctors have been prescribing it to treat epilepsy and they increasingly believe it may reduce and even treat people with type-2 diabetes.
But what many people forget is that “going keto” for losing weight today is that the keto diet is almost like the same one a Dr Robert Atkins and other low-carb pioneers have been talking about since the 1960s
Let's see how this ketogenic works.
To really understand the keto diet you need to know how your body gets energy. Today most people are fueled primarily by glucose, in other words, blood sugar, which we get from carbohydrates in food like fruits, bread, potatoes and candy.
Paleo, keto, Atkins. Do they really work in the long term?
If your blood sugar levels drop to really low levels we’d pass out or can even die. But remarkably, our body can’t store much glucose - only enough to last us a couple of days.
So if you don’t eat carbohydrates for a day or two, we will need other ways to keep us going. And amazingly one of those processes is called ketogenesis.
In this process, our liver starts using fat as a usable energy source called ketone bodies or “ketones” for short. “Organs like the brain that normally rely primarily on glucose for fuel can begin to use a substantial amount of ketones,” said Kevin Hall, a National Institutes of Health senior investigator. He has been studying ketogenic diet for years. Ketones can replace glucose as fuel for your body when there is a glucose shortage. “It is an amazing physiological adaptation to starvation that allows tissues like the brain to survive”, Hall added.
When ketone levels are elevated once the ketogenesis kicks in, the body will be in the state called “ketosis”, where your stored fat is used as fuel. And there are a few ways this can happen.
One is fasting, it’s when you don’t eat for an extended period of time, the body will increase the fat burning process and at the same time decrease its use of glucose. And this is why some people can survive for as long as 73 days without any food.
Going “keto” means living mainly on eggs, meat, fish, nuts, oils, cheese, butter and some green vegetables - and stay away from sugar, bread, grains, beans and even fruits.
A keto diet can be really simple, but it helps to learn some basic skills.
These tips and guides will help you answer all the common keto questions.
Click here for An Easy Detailed Guide to Follow for Beginners to The Keto Diet.
And another way to obtain ketosis is by eating no more than 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day. So those who are practising the ketogenic diet get about 15 per cent of their calories from protein, about 5 percent from carbohydrates and 80 percent from fat. This ratio will force the body to use ketones as energy and if you eat too many carbs or protein your body will be thrown out of ketosis.
The idea of using keto diet to treat epilepsy is robust due to its strong evidence of reducing this condition is proven correct. This is an old idea and it derives from the 1920s when doctors observed patients who fasted experienced fewer seizures.
Studies today has shown that adults and children whose epilepsy doesn’t respond well to medication seem to experience a large reduction in seizures when on a keto diet.
The thought behind a very low-carb diet is that it helps people burn more calories and in that way lose weight. Those who are advocates of the ketogenic diet for losing weight claims that it can lead to a metabolic advantage that will help burn 10 times more fat and an extra 500-600 calories per day when on this diet.
The scientists behind this theory called “carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis” are Harvard professor David Ludwig, journalist Gary Taubes, obesity code author Jason Fung and pediatric endocrinologist Robert Lustig among others.
This is due to eating carbs increases the insulin production, the hypothesis suggests causing the body to store fat and suppress calorie burn. But when you eat more fat and replace carbs with fat you subdue your hunger and boost your calorie burn so that your fat melts away. And with fewer carbohydrates, your body will not produce so much insulin and that will, in turn, increase the rate of ketogenesis and decrease the body's need for glucose.
There is also another reason why the ketogenic diet will help people lose weight and that is the proven effectiveness against hunger. The keto diet makes you feel fuller for longer due to its more nutritive content. There is evidence that it’s an effective appetite controller.
In type 2 diabetes the body becomes insulin-resistance so it can't use glucose as energy for the cells so effective. It can’t move glucose from the blood into the cells so good.
And eating a high carb diet increases the blood sugar levels and keto diet reduces it so its very effective against the type 2 diabetes. The keto diet will help your body to manage blood glucose if you are a type 2 diabetes sufferer.
So in that perspective, the ketogenic diet has vastly improved diabetes type 2 patients health.
One study showed that amongst 262 adults with type 2 diabetes on a ketogenic diet saw a drop on average to 6.3 of their haemoglobin A1C (a measure of blood sugar). That is under 6.5 which is the percent threshold for type 2 diabetes. And their need for insulin was reduced or completely eliminated in 94 percent of the participants who were using insulin when this study began. Also, their use of medication like metformin also declined from 71 percent to 65 percent and other medications than metformin used for treating their diabetes reduced from 57 percent to 30 percent. These are very impressive results.