The Ketogenic diet (keto) is an eating plan that features a very low intake of carbohydrates, which are macronutrients found in food.
Low carb diets are eating plans that typically lower the intake of carbs to below 100 grams per day, the Ketogenic diet is the most strict of these and limits intake to less than 50 grams per day, preferably starting with 20 grams.
It is most important to understand that keto is not a fad diet, or a temporary solution to weight loss, it is actually designed to be a lifestyle plan that not only results in successful weight loss, but also promotes overall health, energy and vitality.
It eliminates junk and processed food by definition, as most carbs are just that allowing you to eat clean, whole food for better overall health and wellness.
While some may question how sustainable it really is to drastically lower carb intake, in reality, it is quite easy with the wide variety of whole foods available, and several studies show they offer better results for weight loss than low fat diets, or even low calorie diets.
One of the reasons for this, besides various metabolic processes in the body, is that reducing carb intake naturally regulates the appetite, so people find they eat less naturally because they are satisfied and without starvation.
In general, a keto diet may be ideal for the overweight and obese, diabetics, anyone who needs to improve their metabolic health and for various other health reasons.
Types Of Ketogenic Diets
Keto is flexible and there are three distinct plans that target different goals.
Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)
This one is very low in carbs, with moderate protein and high in healthy fats.
- The ratio is typically, 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs
High-Protein Ketogenic Diet
This plan is similar to SKD, but incudes more protein.
- The ratio is typically 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs
Cyclical Ketogenic Diet or CKD
This plan is widely used by athletes, body builders, weight lifters and anyone participating in high intensity exercise and features short periods of high carb intake.
- 5 keto days followed by 2 high carb intake days
Targeted Ketogenic Diet or TKD
This plan is also used by bodybuilders, athletes and those who workout regularly to fuel intense workouts.
- High load carb intake based around workouts
Fuel Utilization In The Body: The Main Principle Of Keto
The body has three storage depots to use as fuel:
- Carbohydrates from food
- Protein that is converted to glucose in the liver and used for energy
- Stored body fat and ketones
In a regular high carb diet, carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for the body.
- Carbohydrates, specifically starches and sugars are readily broken down into glucose in the bloodstream, giving the body its principal energy source.
- At this point, the hormone insulin steps in to remove glucose from the bloodstream as too much sugar can lead to a dangerous condition known as glycosylation.
- Insulin converts glucose into glycogen. Some glycogen is stored inside the liver as a fuel reserve for the brain, and the rest is stored in the muscles as fuel reserves for the body.
- When that muscle glycogen is not used through a lack of energy expenditure or exercise, it stays in the muscles.
- The human body can only store so much glycogen, about 1800 calories worth. When that reserve becomes full both the muscles and the liver send a signal to stop insulin production and excessglucose from dietary carbs begins to build up in the bloodstream, calling for more and more insulin to be released to remove it.
- Insulin levels surge, and eventually this leads to insulin resistance.
- At this point, the liver then sends any excess glucose to be stored as body fat.
- As high carb intake continues, glucose floods the bloodstream, insulin levels increase, and so do the body’s fat stores.
Eventually this leads to metabolic syndrome, a set of conditions caused by insulin resistance, which includes obesity, fatty liver, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other metabolic issues.
While this carb cycle may not occur in everyone, for many who are obese, have a sensitivity to carbs, or who do not expend the required amount of stored energy, this is often the case and the main culprit behind obesity.
A VICIOUS CYCLE
High Carb Intake = High Glucose In The Blood = High Insulin
= Body Fat Stores