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The word "Keto” seems to be the new trend that everyone is talking about, but what exactly is it? The Keto diet is a diet plan that focuses on a low intake of carbohydrates and high intake fat. This diet has been used since the 19th century for the treatment of several medical conditions such as diabetes and epilepsy.
However, it has gained a significant amount of attention in recent months, mainly because people have focused on the weight-loss benefits the diet creates. The low carbohydrate diet craze that was followed by the Atkin’s diet (low in carbs, high in protein), and has been overtaken by the Keto diet.
Other low-carb diets like the Paleo, South Beach, and Dukan diets have high protein content but are moderate in fat. On the other hand, the keto diet is different for its high-fat content, normally around 70% to 80% of your daily caloric intake, with only a modest amount of protein.
How the Keto diet works
When you deprive your body of glucose, which is obtained from consuming carbohydrates, the energy levels begin to deplete. An alternative source of energy, called “ketones” are produced in the body in the form of stored fat. When your body uses ketones for fuel in your body, this process is referred to as “ketosis”.
While on a high carbohydrate diet, glucose is supplied steadily to the brain (only about 120 grams per day, as the brain, cannot store glucose). When carbs are not consumed for 3-4 days, the body begins to obtain the stored glucose first. When it is fully depleted, the insulin levels begin to decrease and the body tends to use fat, which then releases it and burns it for energy. This fat can be used as the substitute energy source for glucose.
It is predicted that our ancestors obtained food by foraging and often fasted. They used to consume very low carbs and protein, and thus were running on ketones. The process of converting stored fat into energy is hardwired for our survival since long before our time. Our body burns fat to use as energy and produces ketones (biological fuel for the body) whenever the sources of glucose are close to empty, such as times when we are fasting or after prolonged exercise. We can train our bodies to experience this process as well, through the keto diet.
Weight loss with Keto diet
It is scientifically proven that if we eat more than our body needs to maintain itself, we will gain weight. Similarly, if we eat less than our body needs, we will lose weight. It sounds simple, but in reality, it is not so easy. This is where the Keto diet can come in to help.
The trick is to significantly limit the calorie intake, which can be achieved by a few different ways.
The first is by eating a diet that consists of protein-rich and fiber-rich foods because they satisfy cravings and keep our bodies full longer.
We can also eliminate all calorie-rich and processed foods from our diet because these foods make it easy for us to gain weight and contain unhealthy ingredients.
Following the keto diet and committing to these principles will help you to lose weight and keep it off. This diet mainly consists of highly-satiating foods like meat and low-carb vegetables while trimming out all carb-ridden, highly-palatable foods. This way, most people experience significant fat loss, not because it lowers insulin levels, but because keto dieters tend to eat fewer calories than high-carb dieters.
When carbohydrate intake is limited for a few days, the body starts producing ketones. This substitute fuel source has many benefits for the body, while it promotes weight loss at the same time.
As the body goes into ketosis and starts to burn ketones as fuel, most ketogenic dieters experience increased levels of energy and reduced appetite, leading to less food consumption, which ultimately results in higher weight loss.
Ketones are also connected to weight loss because they have a mild diuretic effect. This is important to know because many people will mistake their quick weight loss at the beginning of the keto diet as all fact-based, which is not true. During the beginning stages of the Keto diet, much of the weight loss that occurs is mainly due to water loss.
Quick weight loss with the Keto diet
Normally, during the first week of the keto diet, people see a very rapid drop in weight, ranging anywhere from 2 to 10 pounds. This is uncommon in most other diets, but remember that this weight loss is going to come from water-loss.
During the first stages of the Keto-diet, along with water loss, you will likely experience flu-like symptoms as well. This is common and is known as the Keto Flu. It will not last for more than a couple weeks but remember during this time to stay hydrated.
How long would it take to lose weight on a keto diet?
Once you make it through the first week on the Keto Diet, you will begin to steadily lose body fat. The average weight loss during this stage is around 1-2 pounds per week, and at this point, the majority of the weight loss will be caused by the increased fat consumption in your diet.
As you get closer to your goal, your overall body weight will decrease, and eventually, the weight loss will slow down. This is natural to plateau at some point during the keto diet. It is important to check that you are following factors which will help determine how fast and how consistently you will continue to lose weight.
Keep an eye on your calorie deficit. This is one way that will lead to a significant and consistent weight loss pattern.
Continue to observe your health status. Your overall health plays a major role in how fast you will lose weight, and how easily your body will become adapted to the keto diet.
Focus on your daily habits. Your sleeping habits, diet, and eating patterns are daily tasks that you must observe to ensure you are giving your body consistency. Consistency is the key. Make sure to check in from time to time. Are you eating clean keto foods or high-fat junk foods with low-quality ingredients? Are you watching out for hidden carbs? Are you exercising? All of these questions will help you to better understand the things you need to do and be aware of to lose weight.
Staying consistent and following the proper ketogenic diet by implementing these tips, you can achieve incredible results and lose weight efficiently long term.