The ketogenic (or “Keto”) diet has been creating a lot of buzz recently, and for good reason. The low-carb diet offers several health benefits, but there still seems to be some confusion around what it entails. Over the last two years, my wife and I have implemented a more ketogenic lifestyle. Below, I discuss several benefits as well as what you can expect before committing.
Diet vs. Lifestyle Choices
First, I want to start out by acknowledging the difference between a diet and a lifestyle. A diet is temporary. Once an individual achieves his or her desired goal, the person tends to go back to his or her normal way of eating. Lifestyle choices involve more manageable, longterm habits that include other things like physical activity. For this reason, I recommend focusing on implementing a healthy lifestyle over a diet.
Benefits of a Ketogenic Lifestyle
A ketogenic lifestyle offers several benefits, including:
- Decreasing appetite
- Lowering blood sugar/insulin levels
- Shifting the body’s metabolism toward a more fat burning (ketosis) state
- Cleaning out damaged cells
- Supporting a healthy brain and cognitive development
- Increasing cellular energy
What to Expect
If you’re thinking of trying keto yourself, it’s important to know what you’re up against. Here are a few things to consider before getting started:
If you’re like most Americans, you probably think fat is bad for you. But that’s not necessarily true. In addition to making food taste good, fat plays an important role in a healthy, balanced diet. At nine calories per gram, fat is the most calorie-dense of the macronutrients, making it crucial for energy storage. It’s also key to the ketogenic diet, which focuses on high fat and low carbohydrates.
The goal of the ketogenic diet is to enter ketosis or a state where the body burns fat for fuel rather than carbs. Doing so requires limiting carbohydrate and protein consumption to 20 to 30 percent of calories, while increasing calories from fat to 70 to 80 percent. Typically, this involves cutting out legumes, fruits, starchy vegetables and processed sugar.
When your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy, it turns to fat, a process known as ketosis. For most healthy people who don’t have diabetes and aren’t pregnant, ketosis usually kicks in after three or four days.
You can also start ketosis by fasting. The process stimulates cellular cleanup, restores metabolic balance, triggers longevity pathways and stimulates brain cell growth and connectivity, according to Marisa Moon, Intermittent Fasting (IF) Instructor and Certified Primal Health Coach. Many experts also suggest that intermittent fasting is similar to how our ancestors ate and she explains why it’s a good idea to incorporate the practice into our lives.
The Keto “Flu“
Our bodies prefers to get their energy from carbohydrates, so it can be natural to feel a little lethargic when you start removing them from your diet. Typically, the feeling will go away within about a week. Consider adjusting your diet gradually (decreasing carb intake while upping fat) to make the transition smoother.
While keto may be trendy, it requires lifestyle changes that aren’t for everyone. Do your research, experiment and see what works best for you, and consider reaching out to an expert for help getting started.
In addition to traditional chiropractic techniques, Dr. Wiechmann specializes in nutritional counseling. Together, him and his wife are passionate about helping people life healthier lives. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call 712-249-8231.