The science behind the Keto Diet
Ketogenic Diet - if I see another Instagram post of a woman after losing 300lbs in 3 weeks because of this diet then I am going to explode.
People who wish to commit to a ketogenic diet need to be very serious about their health goals. The Keto Diet is not a lose-weight-fast fad, contrary to what a lot of Social Media will tell you. This is a lifestyle aimed at those who wish for optimal brain functioning and boosted energy with an outlet, for example, a sporting achievement goal, and other serious health goals. Taking it just to lose weight, without first researching the biology of this diet, could have a negative health impact.
How ketosis works:
The starting and ending point of our daily functioning is our brain, and like the fuel needs to be ignited for a car engine to start running, our brain needs fuel to ignite our bodily functioning. Due to our modern diet, our brain fuel is glucose. Glucose is naturally produced by plants and most algae, a monosaccharide found in carbohydrates. We eat carbohydrate-rich foods, we extract the glucose, and then our brain taps into this storage to function. One issue here is that we eat too often refined carbohydrates which are full of refined sugars (table sugar and corn syrup) and refined grains which are essentially grains with the fiber and nutrition removed from them. It's these refined carbohydrates that are bad for our health, the cause of diabetes and weight gain.
Removing refined carbohydrates from your diet is a must. Already taking this action will have servable health benefits, like a higher concentration of nutrients in our system, less sugar intake, and the evident weight-loss. The thing is, removing healthy carbohydrates kick-starts an automatic survival response: the liver releasing ketones for the brain to continue to function. When our brain runs on ketones it is called ketosis. Essentially, the brain is pulling its fuel from our fat storage instead of our glucose storage. Often when we hear the word ‘starvation’ we let our minds drift off to third world countries in famine and drought. When we deprive our brain of glucose we are technically starving it, therefore this automatic response is one of survival from starvation. For me, this is when the Keto diet stops being a fad and starts to become a serious lifestyle change.
When in ketosis our brain is functioning at a higher, sharpened speed. The usage of ketones as fuel prolongs our brain activity and helps prevent age-related memory loss, so I have read. I have a strong belief, based on zero research, that this is how humankind survived and evolved as we have. Imagine the primates having barely anything to eat, way before agriculture of crops became the norm. These folk invented the wheel! The mother of all inventions, which hasn’t been topped since (although the British do claim that sliced bread is the best invention of all time). As a species, we survived and evolved to be more intelligent than any other species on this planet without the daily servings of pasta or bread and other sugary carbohydrates.
As a weight-loss diet (considered seriously and only for health reasons, mind you) we can see the many factors contributing to success - reduced refined carbohydrates, extra energy, fat burning energy source. This all may seem great written down, but such a huge chemical and biological change at such a quick pace can be dangerous. Your body is changing its chemical balance. People don’t realize but when you start a Keto diet you can get sick (Keto Flu). This is basically a carbohydrate withdrawal which can give you lethargy, a weakened immune system, and dehydration, to name a few symptoms. If you have underlying health issues, especially diabetes, then you need to speak to your doctor first, and that is prerogative.
Other reasons people go on a Keto Diet are the following (but I cannot guarantee the efficacy)
-Help with PCOS
-Help with diabetes and insulin levels
-Help reduce Acne
-Help against seizures
-Help improve heart health
A huge question many people have when considering this lifestyle is this: What do I eat?
Previously I created a quick guide of what NOT to eat, which you can read here
and a delicious omelet breakfast from Marilyn here