The Keto Diet: Everything You Need to Know and More
When you start a Ketogenic Diet, what you’re essentially doing is changing the way your body uses energy by drastically cutting carbohydrates and increasing healthy fats. This change forces your body to stop depending on glucose for energy and start burning fat instead.
What does this mean?
We are teaching your body to start using existing body-fat as a source of energy instead of glucose or muscle cells. This is our ultimate goal, and properly maintained, can help your body burn up to 2.3x more calories than someone who is not in ketosis.
Before we get you into that fat-burning state, there are some things you should know about the Keto Diet.
At the beginning of your diet, your body might experience some initial confusion, resulting in something called the “Keto Flu” – which, contrary to its name, is not an actual flu or sickness of any type.
Without going into too much detail, the “Keto Flu” occurs when your body has burned all of its existing stored glucose, but still has not learned to burn fat in its place. (Basically, your body burned all of the energy it knows how to use, and hasn’t started burning the energy it’s learning to use.) So before your body can reach Ketosis, there’s this little gap where your body learns to adapt to its new energy source.
This time can be especially difficult for some dieters, but this is all completely normal; you have to keep in mind that you’re body has been using glucose as energy for nearly your entire life, and now it’s suddenly switching to an entirely new energy source.
Understanding How Healthy Fats Can Keep You Satisfied
Think of these two sources of energy like a campfire.
Carbohydrates are like tinder, and healthy fats are the logs.
Logs might take a little longer to catch fire
The most important thing you can do is to push through this “flu” stage and stay vigilant with your diet.
I promise, once you break through the Keto Flu, you’ll find yourself with more energy than you had while eating carbs and sugars. It’s essential to eliminate those two danger foods. Doing so will result in your body going in to Ketosis – a constant fat-burning state in which fat is broken down into ketones.
This is going to help with energy levels, burning body fat, and keeping you full after meals; but, in order to maintain Ketosis, there are a few crucial components you must understand:
Ketosis is successful when insulin is properly regulated.
- Simply put, when too much insulin is in our blood, it hinders our body’s natural ability to burn fat.
- By eating glucose-rich foods like breads and processed sugars, our insulin levels in the blood stream spike, preventing the body from targeting fat cells.
- The more you cut out carbs, the easier this transition gets: without the sharp peaks and valleys in insulin levels, your body can start to regulate appetite at a healthy rate and protect against the urge to binge on high-carb, high-fructose snacks.
Learn to love fat.
- This is going to sound strange, but on this diet you can’t be afraid to eat a lot of fat. To properly maintain Ketosis, you need to get 70-75% of your daily calories from fat. I know, that seems like a lot – but remember, that’s the primary energy source for your body now.
- Fat is what your body is learning to use for energy, so it needs a lot of it to keep you energetic, happy, and satisfied.
Moderate your protein.
- Though it might seem counter-intuitive, too much protein during this diet can cause the body to break the proteins down into amino acids, which in turn get converted back into that “ketosis killer” glucose.
- For those looking to bulk up during ketosis, you can still maintain and build lean muscle mass with the correct fat to protein ratio.
Beware of “hidden” carbs.
- If you find yourself having trouble sustaining your Ketosis but can’t figure out where you’re going wrong in the diet, you may want to take a closer look at the ingredients in your foods.
- One of the biggest offenders? Bacon.
Virtually all packaged bacon contains added sugar! So if you’re counting carbs and glucose but don’t catch the sugar in bacon, you’re putting your diet at risk without even knowing it.
(For the bacon lovers, you can breathe a sigh of relief; there are some great low-sodium options available at most supermarkets that do not contain added sugars and can still give you the fat content you need.)
This is just one example; you need to be extremely careful with hidden glucose on the Keto Diet. Watch out for canned vegetables, high-fructose fruits, and overly processed almond butters.
If you follow these guidelines, your body will eventually become Keto Adapted. Which means your body has reprogrammed itself to seek out and burn fat instead of glucose.
Congratulations! Fat is far more capable of providing long-term energy than carbs, so now your body and mind will start to feel more alert and focused. After you successfully become Keto Adapted, the success of your weight loss simply depends on proper maintenance and dietary changes that relate to your specific metabolic fingerprint.
That’s why tracking your food and your ketone levels is so important. With the Keto Diet raising in popularity there are plenty of ways to track your ketosis. The most common way is to use urine strips, but some more advanced techniques include a breath test that can tell you your exact level of ketosis.
Please feel free to ask us any questions below, or let us know what diet strategies have worked best for you so far on your journey!