What is the Keto Diet
The Ketogenic diet is a diet that is gaining more and more popularity not only because of how effective it can be to help people lose weight but also because of the benefits it provides to individuals with mild to serious health issues.
So how does your body function on the Keto Diet?
Normally, our bodies get energy from carbohydrates and sugar from food we eat that converts to glucose. With a ketogenic diet, you force your body to get its energy from fat and ketones by depriving it of those carbs and sugar.
This diet goes back centuries; even as far back as Hippocrates, the father of medicine, who studied fasting as a cure for seizures. Being in a fasted state sends your body into ketosis which makes the body get energy from stored fat in our cells.
When you fully transition to a keto diet you will most likely feel more cognitively alert, more energized throughout the day and you will lose body fat which leads to a healthier and happier life. You may also notice fewer cravings and feel less hungry throughout the day.
How does the process work and how does this help me lose weight?
When you switch to a keto diet your body goes through a process of switching fuel sources and that can be a difficult change. The timeframe for this switch varies per person. As you cut out all carbohydrates and glucose from your diet your body tries to use up the remaining glucose left stored in your cells. Carbohydrates are, after all, the easiest fuel source for our bodies to use due to the quick conversion to glucose. When those are gone your body tries to use any remaining resources left to keep fueling your body. It tries to take the easiest way out.
You may also experience a lot of water weight loss at this stage because each gram of stored glucose has 3 to 4 grams of water attached to it. As you burn through those last amounts of glucose the water goes with it. There’s no technical fat loss at this point because your body is just drawing out the water and glucose from your muscles, but the weight loss will come later on. You also have to make sure that you stay hydrated at this point because as your body is shifting its water amounts you can easily become dehydrated. Drink more than you think you need!
Soon after this phase you will begin to run low on your body’s normal fuel source and you may hit a wall that people like to call the keto flu. This is usually 2 to 3 days of nausea, headaches, low-energy, and lightheadedness. But everyone reacts differently – you could have minor reactions or full on flu symptoms.
Luckily, there are happy times after you pass through the keto flu. At this point your body will be in the fat-burning stage and will begin to use fat and ketones as its fuel source thus putting you into ketosis. The longer you stay on the keto diet, the easier it gets. With more time your body becomes more adjusted to its new way of functioning and can even gain benefits down to the cellular level as it regenerates cells and makes your body a super-efficient machine. You will also start to lose your cravings for carbs and sugary treats as your gut biome adjusts to your new way of living. This makes the process a lot easier!
It’s important to note that with the keto diet weight loss may not come within the first few days or weeks. It takes a while for your body to go through all the phases, but you will most likely experience a phenomenon called the “whoosh effect”. In the first few days or weeks, your body tries to keep its fat cells the way they are and as you begin to use the fat in those cells your body tries to refill the empty space with water just in case you will need larger fat reserve later. It is when your body realizes that you aren’t starving, and you can do away with that extra space that all the water “whooshes” out and there is a dramatic amount of weight loss. Again, dramatic is a relative word depending on each individual body but stick with the diet because you will reach this point! Every person is different, so the timing varies.
What can I eat on a ketogenic diet?
Some of your first thoughts may be, okay, the results of this diet sound great but what can I actually eat? You may be surprised to find out that you can eat a lot of things that feel almost sinful. We’re talking butter, cheese, oils – all those good fats.
There are so many great resources on the internet for good food to eat on the keto diet, so I’ve included a few links below to help you with your research. Basically, you want to stick to eating grass-fed animal meats, healthy fats and non-starchy vegetables.
When you make your trips to the grocery store it may take a little longer than usual since you will need to be looking at all the labels to make sure you’re not picking up something with added sugar. You would be surprised how sneaky a few grams of sugar can be in even healthy food items.
Bacon for example is one of those items. Even if you pick up a package of bacon that isn’t honey glazed or sweetened, some of the plainer types still have a few grams of sugar. Try to stick to items with less than 1 gram or none at all.
After your first few trips you start to recognize the trends of what nutrition is present in the food you should eat. Don’t get intimidated, it just takes some practice. Always remember that your main eating goal is to be sure to keep out the carbohydrates and sugars from your diet and still give your body the nutrition it needs. It’s as simple as that.
We’re Trying it Ourselves
We’ve read up and researched a lot about this diet and wanted to give it a try ourselves, from both a man and woman’s perspective. Stay tuned as we write about our weekly progress and our transition into ketosis. We will share with you the types of food we ate, the symptoms we felt, and the changes our bodies underwent. Hopefully we will have some tips and realistic expectations to help you along the way.
Rosalyn & Nick
If you would like to learn more about the topics discussed see below:
If you’d like to learn more about the ketogenic diet watch this Joe Rogan podcast with Dom D’Agostino.
If you’d like to learn more about the process of losing water weight check out this article.
If you’re interesting in a more in depth explanation of the “Whoosh Effect” check out this article.