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The Ketogenic diet has been around for a long time, but has currently re-surfaced as the best ‘new’ diet for fat loss. It was originally created to help aid those with brain dysfunctions such as Alzheimer’s, cancers, and stages of diabetes in order to help mitigate some of the effects that these illnesses can cause. So why the big fuss all of a sudden for your ‘every day dieter’? Well, put simply, it is due to the fact that Keto diets are not only great at fighting disease, but also quite efficient at reducing body fat and maintaining good health. Sounds perfect right? While there is an array of benefits to Ketogenic diets, it is nothing magic, and like all other diets it may not be right for everyone.
A Ketogenic diet is high in fats, adequate in protein and extremely low in carbohydrates. The key to a true Ketogenic diet is to consume next to no carbohydrates, depriving the body of its preferred fuel source in glucose, which is made by the body when we ingest a carbohydrate source.
When practicing a low carb diet your body doesn’t have what it needs to produce a spike in levels of glucose and insulin in the body, meaning we can no longer use that glucose as a fuel source, nor can we store excess glucose or excess fat as body fat. By staying in this energy deprived state for a succession of days our body then enters a state known as Ketosis.
Ketosis is the process involving the breakdown of fats in the liver to produce Ketones. Ketones then become the new source of fuel for the brain and body in the absence of glucose. This process allows the body to convert fat into fuel instead of storing it. It is also important to note that when in Ketosis we need to keep protein intake low (adequate), as in the absence of carbohydrates, excess amino acids in the body will convert to glucose through the process known as Gluconeogenesis to be used as fuel, this will knock you out of Ketosis, depriving you of any benefit Ketosis provides.
The most popular benefit for your every day dieter is the fact a Keto diet is designed to use fat as a primary source of energy, preventing the body from storing it. However, there is a whole list of benefits that we feel make a Ketogenic far more useful than simple fat reduction. The list below outlines some of the key benefits to a Ketogenic diet:
The Ketogenic diet is generally a safe diet for healthy individuals to practice, however there are some negative side effects that may be experienced in the initial phases of the diet, while the body is making the switch from glucose to ketones as a primary fuel source. These side effects are commonly known as “Keto Flu” and can be quite hard to deal with, however, once your body makes the switch into true Ketosis these effects will diminish and the benefits will start to set in. Some of the side effects of the Keto Flu are listed below:
The final drawback to the Ketogenic diet is its inefficiency in building muscle mass. If your main goal is to bulk up and try pack on some size, Keto is not the most optimal way to do this. Utilizing carbohydrates and a higher protein intake will be far more effective in this instance.
Adapting to Keto is difficult and due to the food choices you have to make can be quite hard to adhere to. By eliminating an entire macronutrient from the diet in the form of carbohydrates, the chances of overeating and exceeding your required caloric intake is significantly reduced. There is no question that Keto is effective for fat loss, as like most diets it holds you accountable and equates for lower total caloric intake. Due to the rules of thermodynamics, consuming less overall calories will in turn result in weight loss.
So Ketogenic dieting is nothing overly special in the way it reduces body fat, however, it does yield some amazing health benefits that could see it being a viable option for many. For this reason we like to recommend utilising Keto diets intermittently, going through 8-16 week phases of the diet a few times per year in order to gain some of the health benefits that Keto promotes.
Author Glen George from our Blackburn store! Come and ask us about your diet plan in store or online!
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