A diet to help you lose these love handles while still indulging in some of the salty foods we all crave? Does it even exist? Actually, it does. Even better, this diet does not simply allow, but advocates the daily consumption of bacon, cheese, and peperoni. Welcome to the ketogenic diet.
The ketogenic diet, called the “keto” diet by adepts to make things simple, has been used for around a hundred years already. First applied to children suffering from epilepsy to calm their seizures (the diet has neuroprotective properties), a version of the diet was made popular as a way to remove excess fat by Doctor Atkins. Hence, most people tend to associate the keto diet with the Atkins diet.
How does it work?
The main rule of the ketogenic diet is to avoid carbs, whether simple or complex, while ramping up the amount of fat we consume. To put it simply, bread, pasta, rice, cereals, sugar are banned while consumption of fat or protein-containing food is emphasized – bacon, cheese, sausage, any kind of meat, cream, eggs, olive oil etc...
Our bodies are used to running on glucose, or carbs, which serve as the main fuel to allow our organs to function. When reserves of glucose turn dry, the body adapts itself by selecting fat as its primary fuel source. Stored fat from all over the body is converted to byproducts known as ketones. These ketones flow in the blood stream and are utilized by our organs in place of glucose. Hence, whether you eat saturated or essential fat, both can be used as fuel.
Of course, a caloric deficit must also be achieved for optimal weight loss, although I have read many testimonials from people who lost weight on this diet while consuming considerable amounts of food.
Why would someone choose the keto diet over a more traditional form of dieting?
The first obvious benefit of the keto diet is that it allows you to eat tasty food without feeling guilty.
You are also able to lose fat while retaining muscle tissue. This diet is often used by bodybuilding amateurs to cut some fat while keeping the muscle loss to a strict minimum.
The diet makes your stomach feel full and statisfied. Haven’t you noticed that you often feel hungry one or two hours after eating carb or sugar-rich food? Fat is digested much more slowly than carbs. For this reason, people on the keto diet often report feeling much less hunger, and stop obsessing over food.
The keto diet promotes steady energy levels throughout the day. Anecdotal reports from individuals claiming to think more clearly on the diet can be found all over the internet. The problem when glucose is used as the body’s primary fuel is that you are on a continuous blood sugar roller coaster. Whenever your sugar reserves run low, your mood and drive both crash, and you start feeling hungry again. In this regard, sugar can be very addicting. On the keto diet, the body has its own reserves of fuel, right there in your belly and your thighs. Therefore, skipping a meal won’t be such a big deal if you happen to be either busy or absent minded.
Is it a healthy way of dieting?
There is some controversy around the subject. However, many studies point towards the keto diet as a healthy way of eating. As long as you eat vegetables and some low sugar fruits, you’ll keep your vitamins and minerals in check. If you worry about that aspect, adding a multivitamin to your arsenal will be a great initiative. To further find some answers to your potential health concerns, you might want to join an online community discussing the diet, and you’ll learn more about the details.
Personally, I definitely would not say it is the healthiest way of eating, but it sure isn’t any more harmful than a diet containing ice cream, donuts, pizzas, sugar or high fructose corn syrup which are generally over-consumed in today’s society, especially in the US. Plus, you could switch back to a more regular way of eating once you’ve achieved the desired weight.
Please keep an open mind!
This is was a brief introduction to the ketogenic diet. Please research the subject in depth on the web if you ever feel interested.