What is the keto diet?
You’ve probably heard friends, family, co-workers or those crazy fitness buffs on social media talking about going keto. Your Instagram feed is full of fit ladies eating fat bombs, bacon and guacamole all day
What exactly is the keto diet and why is everyone talking about it?
This post explores what the keto diet is, why it is super popular now, and five benefits of following a keto diet. I’ll also link to some info on how to get started with the keto diet if you think it might be a good fit for you.
Definition of a ketogenic diet.
A keto diet is simply a diet that is high in fat, low in carbs and moderate in protein. It allows you to go from being a sugar burner (using glucose for fuel) to a fat burner (using dietary and, best of all, stored body fat for fuel).
This is the simple, non-scientific explanation.
When you eat carbs, whether it’s an apple, a donut or kale, your body converts the carbs into glucose which increases your blood sugar. Then it releases insulin to push the glucose into your body’s cells. When this happens, your blood sugar decreases and guess what? You’re hungry again.
But when you eat very few carbs your body runs out of glucose to use as fuel. So it converts fats (either fats you eat or, even better, stored body fat) into ketone bodies, which is an energy source for your entire body and brain.
You might think, so what? Why does being a fat burner matter? Now let’s explore some benefits of the keto diet.
5 reasons everyone is talking about the keto diet.
Why is your social media feed full of folks talking about the keto diet? It’s because real people, ladies like you and me, who are tired of diet hopping and feeling crappy are getting real results with this eating style. They are experiencing weight loss and reduced cravings and greater levels of health. Let’s explore five top reasons why people are talking about the keto diet.
1 – Weight loss without restriction or calorie counting.
Not only will many people experience effortless weight loss on a keto diet, but most experience a reduction in hunger. That’s because high fat foods are, well, highly satisfying. They will keep you full so you can easily go longer periods without food. No more eating every two hours and packing snacks just to go to the grocery store.
2 – Cravings are reduced or eliminated altogether.
Not gonna lie, this is the #1 reason I eat this way! Craving and binging and feeling out-of-control around food are my biggest problems. The only time I have felt peace with food is when I eat low carb. Within a day or two the nagging cravings disappear.
And it’s not just me. Most people eating a keto or low carb diet experience very few cravings for junk food or processed carbs.
3 – Stable blood sugar levels.
You know how you eat a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch for breakfast and then you’re starving an hour later? That’s because your blood sugar spikes with all the processed carbs, and then crashes. Blood sugar ups-and-downs are why people eating a higher carb diet are always hungry.
A keto style eating plan will encourage a healthy blood sugar balance and help end the vicious cycle of endless hunger and cravings.
4 – Healthy brain function.
Ever have trouble concentrating? Or walk into a room and totally forget why you’re there?
These are signs of brain fog. A keto diet supports brain health and many people in ketosis report an increase in mental clarity. Some studies show decrease in migraines and memory improvement in older adults.
This article explains in more detail some of the reasons a keto diet is good for brain function.
5 – More energy throughout the day.
Just like your blood sugar no longer spikes and dips throughout the day, most people following a keto diet report an increase in energy throughout the day. No more sleeping at your desk after lunch. Many people will experience sustained energy all day long.
What do you eat on the keto diet?
I’ll be doing more in-depth posts on keto nutrition, but wanted to give you a brief idea of what you do and don’t eat on a ketogenic diet.
Most keto experts recommend eating a ratio of 70% fat, 10% carbs and 20% protein. This probably sounds like a whole lot of fat, which can be scary, but check out the delicious foods you will enjoy…
You will eat healthy fats:
- coconut oil
- extra virgin olive oil
- nuts and seeds
Some people choose to include dairy, so you will enjoy:
- full fat yogurt
- cream cheese
- full fat cheeses
- sour cream
- heavy cream
Proteins such as:
And fruits and veggies too, particularly non-starchy veggies and berries:
You’ll avoid these foods:
- sugar, honey, high fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners
- grains, including wheat, corn, oats, etc.
- highly processed foods
- many people choose to exclude artificial sweeteners and zero calorie sodas and treats
How to get started on the keto diet.
Do you want to see if the keto diet is right for you? I strongly believe we are all individuals and need to experiment on ourselves to see what style of eating will give us good health, eliminate cravings, get us to an optimal weight. (Of course you should always check with your doctor for his or her advice.)
After winging it for a few weeks, I decided I wanted to really understand the basics of keto and have a little guidance. The Keto Beginning is where I started. It is a 188 page PDF guide to all you need to know about keto eating and how to get started. You can download it immediately and it includes a 30 day meal plan, shopping lists and recipes.
If you have been eating keto for a while and want to tweak things, get better results, have a more thorough understanding of the benefits (and have even more recipes and meal plans), this is a great resource. It’s a 324-page PDF guide you can download instantly that shows you exactly how to achieve hormone regulation, balanced moods, increased energy… while eating fats and following a keto diet!
So now you know a little bit about what the keto diet is and why so many people are talking about it. Many people experience weight loss, reduced cravings and an improvement in their health. As with anything in life, if this topic interests you I encourage you to do your own research or check out the resources above.