When starting my own weight loss project, I found that ketogenic diet was the one that worked for me very well. Once my excess weight was gone, I did slightly add the amount of carbohydrates, enough to call my diet low carb, rather than ketogenic. I don’t think that continues ketosis is necessary to stay healthy. However, ketogenic diet does have numerous health benefits, so I tend to go back to it every now and then. Here are some of the benefits you’ll get with ketogenic diet:
Improved metabolic health
Reduced appetite and cravings
Improved brain function
Ketogenic diet slows down aging processes
Ketogenic diet protects you against cancer
When your body is using ketones which are formed when your body is burning fat, as fuel, instead of glucose from carbohydrates, the blood sugar and insulin fluctuate much less. This reduces the risk for metabolic syndrome and diabetes, as well as other conditions caused by high blood sugar. You won’t feel so hungry as ketones can suppress appetite by acting on the hypothalamus in the brain. Also as ketogenic diet has stabilising effect on blood sugar, you won’t feel hunger because of that either, and you are free of any food cravings. Meals high in fat are always much more satisfying also.
For many, ketogenic diet has a mood-stabilising effect. As your blood sugar stops from fluctuating, you don’t get mood swings and it also reduces feelings of anxiety and depression. Ketogenic diet has even been found to improve the symptoms in many mental illnesses and also prevent and even reverse the effects of neurodegenerative illnesses such as Alzheimers. Ketogenic diet supports mitochondria health and efficiently reduces inflammation in the body. It also reduces glycation processes in the body and so reduces oxidative stress.
Ketosis seems to also stimulate autophagy in cells which means that cells clean themselves by eating their own defective parts in order to recycle nutrients. As well as infections, autophagy can also protect you against cancer. It is also understood that cancer cells cannot feed on ketones, so ketosis is starving cancer cells while feeding the healthy cells.
Basically, a ketogenic is a diet high in fat and very low in carbohydrates and also low to moderate in protein. This forces the body to use fat for energy, instead of carbohydrates. The body will be in a state of ketosis where fat, both the body fat and the fat that has been eaten, is broken down to ketones by your liver. Approximately 70-80% of all calories should be from fat, 10-15% from protein and 5-10% from carbohydrates. This means that the amount of carbohydrates that you eat shouldn’t exceed 20-25g per day.
It is very important still to follow a healthy diet, which means eating foods that don’t cause inflammation, non-starchy vegetables, good quality protein and good fats. Still follow a three meals a day rhythm, preferably with a day or two of extended fasting when you skip breakfast and don’t eat until lunch. This may add extra health benefits and is very easy to do as it is natural for you to eat less hungry during ketosis.
Try to avoid these common mistakes: Too much dairy, too much protein, eating too much, not getting enough salt and minerals or eating too little non-starchy vegetables. Dairy can actually cause insulin-spikes so while butter is normally safe to use, I tend to be careful that I don’t consume too much cream or cheese when I am following a ketogenic diet. Too much protein is not good either as amino acids in it can be converted into sugar and this will prevent ketosis. Vegetables are important to be included in your meals as they contain lots of vitamins and minerals for your body. They also contain fibre important to your gut bacteria. Ketosis does cause the body to excrete more salt, so make sure you add enough to your food.
I have always felt great when following a ketogenic diet, and it did give me a very good kick-start to weight loss. It does seem to have extra benefits when cutting the carbs down to less than 25g a day, but once you return to “normal”, don’t forget to still keep them under 50-60g a day.
Please remember that with certain medical conditions, such as type 1 diabetes, you should not attempt ketogenic diet without medical supervision.