In the world of dieting, it’s hard to decide which eating style or plan will be easiest for you to follow and give you the best results. One of the most popular and successful diets for losing body fat and becoming leaner is the keto diet. Let’s take a look at how it works and why it proves to be largely successful.
What is the Keto Diet?
The keto diet involves a high fat, moderate protein and no carb intake. Carbs are usually the body’s main source of energy, and without them the body must turn to an alternative energy source: fats. When the body breaks down fat to be used for energy, it produces a byproduct called ketones (hence the keto diet).
The keto diet draws from our understanding of the metabolism of primitive humans. Before grocery stores and farming existed, humans were hunters and gatherers, living off only what they could kill or find, when they could kill or find it. This largely meant meat, fruit and vegetables, and periods without any food at all.
In addition to losing body fat/weight, people who follow a keto diet tend to report increased energy, and that they don’t feel they need as much sleep as normal. An increased sex drive can also result, as the foods primarily eaten (meats and cheeses, for example) contain high levels of cholesterol, which increase testosterone production. And to top it all off, unlike most other diets, followers tend not to feel hungry or deprived once a state of ketosis (aka being keto-adapted) is reached.
Where to Begin?
Start by slowly cutting carbs out of your diet until you aren’t eating any. A common mistake is to treat the keto diet as a low-carb diet. You have to cut out all carbs entirely in order to achieve ketosis. Once you successfully eliminate carbs from your diet, your body must deplete your carb and glucose stores before moving onto fat and reaching ketosis. This can take 4-7 days.
Are We There Yet?
You can buy keto strips at drug stores, which test for the level of ketones in your body via urine tests. If you see the keto levels dropping, you’ll know you’re getting close to a state of ketosis. Most people tend to fall off-track before truly reaching ketosis, as the process of getting there can be unpleasant; you may feel fatigue, weakness, and lightheadedness as you transition and your metabolism changes.
Who and When?
A keto diet is not to be done on a permanent basis. It’s best used if you want to get lean quickly or prepare for a competition. As with any exercise program or nutrition plan, always do your research first to make sure you know as much as possible about it. For those dealing with medical issues such as high blood pressure, kidney issues, etc., the keto diet is highly discouraged. If you’re in the clear to start the keto diet, and you have the willpower to stick it out, you may just be surprised by the results.
Learn alternative diet plans and more with our virtual personal trainer, a useful resource for weightlifting and nutrition.