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Health and Fitness News

Have You Reached Ketosis?

What you need to know about the ketogenic diet.

Low-carb diets have been around for a while. Chances are you’ve tried going low-carb yourself. Since simple, refined carbs are a leading cause of weight gain, it makes sense that cutting out carbs will help you lose weight. Two of the most popular low-carb diets are the Atkins diet and a ketogenic or keto diet. These two diets start out similar, but the Atkins diet transitions to different diet phases while the ketogenic diet stays the same.
Read on to see if the ketogenic diet is something you should try.

The Basis

The ketogenic diet has gained popularity in the past few years, but it was first developed in the 1920s as a treatment for epilepsy. After anti-epileptic drugs were introduced in the 1930s, the ketogenic diet was no longer necessary. With today’s obesity epidemic and low-carb craze, the ketogenic diet has made quite a comeback. Here’s how it works.

The body uses carbohydrates for energy. So what happens when you don’t eat enough carbs? Your body must turn to protein and fat for its energy. This process is called ketosis, and it’s what leads to weight loss.

Ketosis is the body’s natural way of survival. When food intake (or in this case, carb intake) is reduced, the liver produces ketones for energy as it breaks down the fat you eat and the fat that’s stored on your hips, thighs, and belly.

The Plan

A ketogenic diet is also known as a low-carb-high-fat (LCHF) diet or just a low-carb diet. The goal is to eat fewer than 50 grams of carbs each day until your body runs out of glucose for quick energy and you enter ketosis. It normally takes three to four days to reach this point. For the duration of the diet, you aim to stay in ketosis and keep burning fat.

Instead of eating carbs, you eat a variety of healthy fats and protein. There are four different types of ketogenic diets, each with a set ratio of macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbs) to eat, but The Standard Ketogenic diet is the most common. Its ratio consists of five percent carbs, 20 percent protein, and 75 percent fat.

The Benefits

A ketogenic diet is used most often by people seeking to lose weight, but the diet is also known to provide additional health benefits. Besides weight loss, a keto diet is known to help control blood sugar; increase your energy level; improve mental focus; reduce acne; lower blood pressure and cholesterol; and treat epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and sleep problems.

The Foods

The fewer carbs you consume, the sooner you’ll enter ketosis. A low-carb diet means no grains (pastas, cereals, and breads), sugars, starches (potatoes and sweet potatoes), and almost no fruit. What you can eat is meat, high-fat dairy products, vegetables, nuts, seeds, berries, avocadoes, low-carb artificial sweeteners, and dressings and oils with a high saturated fat content.

Drinking lots of water while on the ketogenic diet is highly recommended, snacks should be limited or avoided, and regular exercise is encouraged.

The Side Effects

So how do you know when you’ve reached ketosis? While a blood or urine sample could tell you, your body also tells you. You’ll have to urinate more often, you’ll have breath and dry mouth, and eventually you’ll experience increased energy and reduced hunger.

Some people experience negative side effects on the diet including headaches, dizziness, irritability, grogginess, leg cramps, constipation, indigestion, hair loss, heart palpitations, or an itchy rash. Eliminating fruit from your diet may lead to nutritional deficiencies that must be monitored. Dehydration is also a risk since carbohydrates are used to retain water.

So if you choose to take the ketogenic diet for a spin, be careful and stay healthy!