Keto diet has surged popularity in just a few years because of its ability to quickly burn body fat. Many renowned personalities are accepting to have followed this diet and have experienced its benefits. A Keto diet is a very low carbohydrate diet which leads to quick fat loss. The diet has countless benefits like improved weight loss, fat loss and enhanced health and performance. Here is everything that you should know about this diet.
What is the ketogenic diet?
The keto diet tweaks the way your body converts food into energy. Eating a lot of fats and very less carbohydrates take your body to the state of Ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body gets deprived of the carbs and starts converting fatty acids stored in the liver into ketones – which is an alternative source of energy. Burning ketones in place of glucose present in carbohydrates reduces the inflammation and speed up the weight loss.
The ketogenic diet is not a new diet; it has been around for quite a time now. It was originally developed to treat the patient of epilepsy. The raised level of ketones in the blood led to less epileptic seizures in the patient. This diet is still very popular and followed by patients who don’t respond to the anti-epileptic drug.
Benefits of the Keto diet
There are numerous benefits of the Keto diet. Let’s take them one by one:
- Burns fat – With the help of the Keto diet, you can burn a lot of weight and that too in a very less time Ketones suppress the hunger hormones known as –Ghrelin and increase the release of Cholecystokinin (CCK), which makes you feel full. Reduced appetite is directly associated with weight loss. The diet encourages your body to use its fat stores for energy.
- Fuels your brain – Ketones provide energy to your brain when you limit your carbohydrate consumption. Your brain needs a lot of good fat to keep it running. Good fats like Omega-3 can help your brain to grow and develop while saturated fat keeps myelin (a layer around the brain) strong so that neurons can pass the signals easily.
- Reduce inflammation – Various studies have proved that the keto diet is an anti-inflammatory diet which prevents the human body from major degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Cancer.
- High energy – Ketosis creates more mitochondria in the brain. Mitochondria are the power generators in your cells. More energy means that you can do more stuff without getting tired.
- Reduced blood sugar – The keto diet may reverse or even cure diabetes. The diet stabilizes insulin levels and lowers the blood sugar in the diabetic patient to a level from where he can come off the medication.
Types of Keto diet
Keto diets can be of three different kinds, and a person can pick whichever is suitable for him:
- Standard keto diet – In this, you eat very low carbs <50 grams of net carbs. Some keto followers limit their carb quantity to as low as 20 grams.
- Cyclical Keto – This is little different than Standard Keto diet. You eat high fat and low carb diet for five to six days of the week, and on the seventh day, you increase your carb intake to approx. 150 grams which is called as carb refeed This way a person can manage the symptoms of Keto flu like fatigue and dry eyes.
- Targeted keto diet – Targeted keto diet is best for the sports people and high workout lovers because their bodies demand extra glucose to boost their performance. In this, a person eats extra carbs right before a high-intensity However, there are no scientific studies to show that low blood sugar level affects the weight lifting performance of a person.
How to know that your body is in Ketosis?
Human bodies go in ketosis when the Ketone level is anywhere near 0.8 mmol/l. If you are on Ketogenic diet and you want to check if your body has gone in the state of ketosis, you should look for the following signs and symptoms:
- Reduced Hunger- When your body is in Ketosis, you will feel reduced hunger as the raised levels of Ketones can help you feel full for a longer
- Keto breath – A person in ketosis will experience a metallic like taste in his mouth due to his raised ketone levels.
- Weight loss – When you are on ketosis, you will see yourself shedding a lot of weight and that too in the very less amount of time.
What is Keto Flu?
During Ketogenic diet you restrict the intake of carbohydrates, your body learns to burn its backup energy source and therefore changes happen from cellular to hormonal levels. When you severely cut down the carbs, there are few changes that take place in a healthy human body:
- Water and sodium flush – By consuming a very low quantity of carbohydrates, the insulin levels in the body drop significantly which signals your kidneys to release sodium from the body. As the water pushes sodium out of the body, there is a loss of around 10 pounds of water weight. This usually happens in the first five days of the diet. The low blood sugar and insulin levels cause dizziness, muscle cramping, nausea, cramping, headaches and gastrointestinal issues like diarrhoea and constipation. You should take plenty of fluids and electrolytes to alleviate such symptoms.
- T3 thyroid hormone levels may reduce – T3 is a hormone produced by the thyroid gland and the level of which is closely related to the intake of the dietary carbohydrates. When you cut down the carbohydrates from your diet, T3 levels also fall. T3 along with T4 hormone regulate your body temperature, metabolism and heart rate. The lower level of hormones causes your brain to fog and fatigue.
- High cortisol levels – The change in the level of T3 hormones affects the level of cortisol in the body. When you are on Keto diet, your body gets a signal that you are on starvation mode. To increase energy levels on a restricted carb diet, your body starts to release cortisol which is a stress hormone. So you start to feel irritability and insomnia. As your body learns to utilize fats and ketones, the cortisol level again falls back to normal.
How to deal with Keto flu?
- Take a lot of fluids – Drink plenty of water by adding some unrefined salt. To determine the right amount of water intake, use your current body weight and divide it by two. This is how much water you should drink.
- Drink bone broth – Bone broth keeps you hydrated and also provide you with the right dose of electrolytes – Sodium and Potassium. This will relieve some symptoms of Keto flu.
- Don’t miss your supplements – When you are in ketosis, three minerals play a key role – potassium, magnesium and sodium. You should take them in adequate
- Potassium – If you are feeling cramps, muscle fatigue and constipation; take potassium supplement with 1000-3500 mg per day. The dietary sources of potassium are – fish, leafy green vegetables and winter squash.
- Magnesium – Magnesium helps in addressing symptoms like muscle cramps, fatigue and dizziness. Take 300-500 mg of magnesium per day. The dietary sources of magnesium are spinach, chicken, beef, pork and fish.
- Sodium – You can alleviate muscle cramping by proper intake of sodium. It is especially true if you are living in a hot climate. Get sodium supplement with 5,000-7,000 mg per day.
- Take proper sleep – If you want to conquer the symptoms of keto flu, get at least 7-9 hours of sleep which will keep your cortisol level checked.
- Exercise and meditate – Exercise and meditation both can help you in reducing your cortisol levels. Anything that keeps your stress in check is great. Mild yoga or gentle walks are a good way to reduce your stress hormone. It’s better to avoid heavy exercise until your body does not get used to a keto
- Exogenous Ketone supplements- Exogenous ketones help you with fatigue and tiredness by raising the ketone levels in your blood. Exogenous ketone supplements are very useful in quickly pushing your body in the state of ketosis.
- If nothing is working for you, increase your carb intake – If your symptoms do not go away, you should increase your crab uptake just a bit. This will ensure that you start to feel better. This will also give your body the time to adjust to ketosis.