Ketogenic Diet: Is It Doable Or Not?
The Ketogenic Diet is one of the unique types of diet that has gained popularity over the years. If your goals include weight loss, enhanced brain health, increased energy, improved blood sugar levels, or improved overall health, this may be the diet you have been looking for.
But before thinking of embarking on your keto diet journey, it is essential that you first gain a deep understanding of the diet itself and the reasons why it is so effective. Knowing the what’s and the whys behind the diet plays an essential part in the success of your keto diet journey as this may also help you evaluate if this is the right diet for you.
What is the Keto Diet?
Your body can run on two different fuels. One is sugar from the carbohydrates we eat. Sugar is what most people primarily source our energy from. The other source of fuel is fat. A Keto diet is a very low-carbohydrate diet, so low in carbs that your body has to switch to making fat as your source of fuel.
When your body runs out of sugar, fat is converted in the liver into energy molecules called ketones that fuel the brain. The diet that results in this, therefore, is called Ketogenic–meaning it produces ketones, and that’s why the diet is called the Ketogenic diet.
How Does it Work?
Generally, a standard Keto Diet type has the following macronutrient portion:
5% of carbohydrates
35% of protein
65% of fat
In this type of diet, while it requires very minimal carbohydrate intake, you have to maintain a moderate amount of protein and increase your fat intake.
This significant reduction in your carb intake allows your body to enter the metabolic state of Ketosis. Ketosis happens when your body switches its fuel supply from the typical sugar source and run mostly on fat. When your insulin levels drop, your body burns fat dramatically. This then becomes easy for your body to access your fat stores and burn them off.
What are the side effects of the Keto Diet?
While it is undoubtedly true that multiple science-based research has been done to affirm the benefits of keto, but it is also important to note that there might be some keto diet effects that are not aware of. Some of these effects may be beneficial for your health, but some may also have adverse effects on your body.
So before you decide on switching to a keto lifestyle, here’s what you should know about the possible dangers of the diet before you try it for yourself:
You might get a “keto flu.”
Keto flu? Is that even a real thing? Yes. Most people who switch from a high-carb to a high-fat, moderate protein and very low-carb diet usually experience the keto flu on their first few days of the keto diet.
Significantly cutting your carb intake not only makes you miss your favorite food but may also give you a cluster of uncomfortable symptoms like diarrhea, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, and nausea. However, these side effects are merely the result of your body as it switches from using sugar to fat as its primary source of energy. Kristen Mancinelli, M.S., R.D.N., the author of The Ketogenic Diet, explains that once your body starts to adjust to your new fuel source, you will begin to feel better as you adapt to your body’s new normal.
Constipation might be just around the corner.
If you are someone who experiences constipation problems or someone who has a family history of metabolic issues, Keto Diet might not be the perfect diet for you.
Constipation is one of the most common side effects of low-carb diets, and Ketogenic Diet is not of the exception. Why is this so? Significantly cutting your carbohydrate intake also means bidding farewell to high-fiber foods like beans, whole grains, and a high portion of fruits and vegetables. Constipation, combined with the fact that your body excretes more water, may lead to a potential recipe for clogged pipes.
Does this necessarily mean that you can never enjoy a keto diet? Not necessarily. You can still keep your pipes moving with some fiber-rich and keto-friendly food such as avocado, nuts, and other non-starchy veggies.
Initial weight loss could be gained back.
The Keto Diet is among the top diets known for its effectiveness in Weight Loss because carbs stick to more water than it does to protein or fact. Hence, when you stop eating high-carb foods, all that extra water gets released when you urinate. This then results for you to notice that you weigh a few pounds lower and look leaner. ‘
However, most studies don’t show that those pounds will stay off in the long run. A keto diet generally requires you to stick with a strict meal plan, and the moment you veer away from that diet, the extra pounds you lost can certainly pile back on.
You’ll probably feel thirsty all the time.
Excreting all the extra water on your body will most likely cause you to thirst for even more water. Don’t be surprised by this as it is something that usually occurs for this type of diet. So make it a habit to drink enough glasses of water a day to see to it that your urine is clear to pale yellow.
How Can I Start the Diet?
Starting your Ketogenic Diet journey may feel scary and daunting. You may find the specific macronutrients consumption overwhelming. But who said a Keto Diet should be complicated? Here, we’ll list down the three necessary (3) steps to starting your successful keto diet.
There can be many approaches you can try depending on what specific type of keto diet you are pursuing. However, most results will come from doing these steps:
Step 1: Eating the right food
It is crucial for you to know what food to eat and what to avoid when you are doing a keto diet. Always bear in mind that you need to eat Keto-friendly foods, avoid carb-ridden foods, and when you buy your food in the grocery, always check the ingredients label for hidden carbs.
Sticking to Keto-friendly options will most of the time do the trick as it allows you to get rid of the heavy Carbohydrates load in your meal. In this step, it is also necessary for you to track down your calories or net calorie intake. At the same time, you also need to effectively track down your carbohydrates consumption by planning out both your Keto Food List as well as your Keto meal plan.
What should you include and not include in your keto food list? As mentioned, you have to be conscious of the type and amount of either carbohydrates, protein, or fat you are consuming. For a typical keto diet, you have to be wary and be mindful of grains, sugar, fruit, and tubers. You should not eat grains such as wheat, corn, rice, or even cereal. For sugar, you have to remove honey, agave, and maple syrup and other sugar-rich ingredients in your food list. Even with fruits, it is recommended not to consume apples, bananas, and oranges, among others.
Despite removing the ingredients you have loved over the years, there are still several food categories you can enjoy and hopefully fall in love with. For instance, you can still enjoy meats such as fish, beef, lamb, poultry, eggs, etc. Even without sugar in your diet, you can still include sweeteners such as stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, and other low carbohydrate sweeteners. You can also have leafy greens with low carbohydrates in your keto diet meal plans such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and other low carb vegetables. High-Fat ingredients such as hard cheese, high fat cream, coconut oil, olive oil, and butter are also a must in your keto food list. You can also add nuts and seeds such as macadamias, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.or fruits such as avocados and berries, including raspberries, blackberries, and other low glycemic impact berries.
Sticking to a keto diet regimen will surely make you realize that there will be foods and ingredients you have loved and enjoyed over the years that you have to veer away from. This may sound heartbreaking, but surely once you feel the effects and result of your keto diet regimen, you can look back and see this as a good type of heartbreak.
Step 2: Eating the right amount
Eating the right amount of Keto-friendly meals is another winning step in your successful keto diet journey. It is essential not just to take note of what you eat but also of how much you eat. This means you have to be watchful of your daily calorie consumption. If you have been doing your keto diet for months and you still have not seen even a little change, tracking precisely how much you eat is another trick!
Your calorie consumption should be given a considerable amount of attention and scrutiny since it is a significant factor in your successful weight loss journey. It also another critical success factor in doing the right keto diet. As you continue to pursue the arts of weight loss by sticking to a keto diet, you should know when you are in a calorie deficit or surplus.
When you eat fewer calories than you’ll use throughout your day, you are in a calorie deficit. It also means you’ll lose weight. When you do the opposite, meaning you eat more calories than what you use throughout the day, you’ll likely gain weight. Both carbon deficit and surplus happen regardless of the fat and carb content of your diet, assuming that the calorie consumption is equal.
Indeed, a calorie deficit is beneficial to those who are pursuing their weight loss goals. However, it needs to be emphasized that severely restricting your calorie intake is harmful. For instance, extending fasts and sticking to a low carb diet will likely result in dramatic weight loss, which is dangerous since it increases the likelihood of hormonal issues and weight gain in the future. On the other hand, unmonitored and excessive calorie intake will increase your fat mass health issues such as heart diseases and type 2 diabetes.
In figuring out how much you need to eat on your keto diet, it is suggested that first, you have to measure your weight gain or loss results every 3-5 weeks. Depending on the findings, you need to fine-tune and adjust the macronutrients that you are consuming. If you lose weight too fast, you’ll likely feel fatigued, and in the long run, it will be harmful to you. If you’re barely losing any weight, then you may need to reduce the fat content. Remember, the key to a successful weight loss journey is a healthy pace and a sustainable type of diet.
Step 3: Dealing with the side effects.
Following a keto diet regimen likely means your robbing your body of its primary fuel source. If you have never tried keto before, you may likely experience an abrupt dietary shift, which may cause the keto flu.
Can you do something to prevent keto flu? Fortunately, you can. If you experience mental fogginess, fatigue, or even the keto flu during the first few days or weeks in your keto diet, you can try these three remedies. First, you have to drink more water. Hydrate yourself as much as you can. Second, you need to increase your sodium, potassium, and magnesium intake like MCT Oil for more energy. You need to find and consume keto-friendly options that have these nutrients. Lastly, eat more fat, the healthy kind of fat. In preventing and dealing with your keto diet’s side effects, you need to be objective about it. Check your macronutrient consumption, hydrate yourself, and keep a healthy pace in your weight loss goals.
How Long Can I Follow the Keto Diet?
Currently, there has been no conclusive evidence whether the keto diet is safe or not in the long-term (longer than a year.) However, studies have shown that keto is safe and healthy even when pursued in extended periods under three conditions:
(1) Healthy weight and body composition are continually achieved throughout your keto diet. So long as no adverse effect has been occurring during your keto diet, especially in your weight and body, you may continue to pursue your keto diet.
(2) Frequent physical and lab examination results should indicate that you are indeed healthy. Consistently checking yourself, especially with healthcare professionals, is another aspect of a pursuing sustainable keto diet. Self-diagnosis is not enough. You also need a professional opinion regarding the status of your health.
(3) Quality of life is sustained while maintaining a keto lifestyle. Your keto diet is not a mutually exclusive scenario. You can have a good body (and weight) at the same time you can have a good relationship with yourself and other people.
So the bottom line is…
Is it Doable or Not?
The Keto Diet may look simple, but it may be challenging to adapt to, mainly when you normally get most of your energy from foods that are rich in carbs. To switch from eating all the high-carb foods you have been accustomed to filling up on, fat for fuel may require a massive change and sacrifice in your physiology and even lifestyle.
Is the Keto Diet Doable? Certainly. But is this really the right diet for you? It may have to depend on your nutritional goals and current physical health. That’s why before you start a Keto Diet or any diet for that matter, it’s always best that you consult your body first or even see your registered dietician and know the perfect diet that works for you.