Does anyone know what people are actually saying when they turn down sugary, carbohydrate goodness by saying, “I’m on keto” or “I’ve reached ketosis?”
Probably not. Nowadays, there are so many dieting trends making their rounds that it is almost impossible to be up to speed with all of them. This particular diet, though, should start to evoke some memories because most people’s mothers were on this diet—they just had a different name for it then.
“Atkins” was the name of the game a few years back, but now people are starting to call it by what it is, instead of the name of one of the doctors who initially advocated this type of diet. Ketosis. Basically, the ketogenic diet is a low-carb but high-fat diet that has been proven to cause weight loss and it also provides numerous health benefits such as maintaining blood sugar levels, for one. The idea behind it is to eat fat and lose fat. Seems simple and straightforward, right? Not exactly.
As with most diets, there is a science behind Ketosis, too. The human body is such a complex machine that it would be naïve to think that you don’t need some sort of added thought and attention when deciding exactly what you should be fuelling it with. The ketogenic diet involves adapting your body to stop burning carbs as a fuel source, rather using fat instead, and this is achieved once you bring your carb levels down to about 50 grams per day or lower. Once you have achieved this, then you are “ketogenic” or “in ketosis”.
The carbs that you do consume will not be a main source of your macronutrients but rather come from foods such as vegetables, which contain a small amount of carbs anyway. The toughest part of this diet is the first two weeks but once your body starts adapting it will get easier. An added bonus is that this diet lands up suppressing your appetite so you don’t eat as much as you would have normally. Other than the obvious benefits of losing fat, from a medical perspective, ketogenic diets may even have benefits against diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.
The downside to ketosis is that there are no “off days”. You cannot cheat because then it will set you right back to the starting point. There are many high-fat treats that you can tuck into when you feel yourself having a weak moment but the absolute no-no is falling prey to carbohydrates. High intensity athletes will struggle with this diet initially because carbs tend to be the best source of fuel for their type of activity as it provides an energy burst quickly.
You will know when you have reached ketosis when you experience what is commonly known as “keto-flu”. Headaches, brain-fogginess and fatigue are symptoms you will experience. Keeping yourself hydrated will help you get over this faster. Add some salt into your water because you will be losing a lot of electrolytes. Doesn’t sound like much fun but once you pass this stage the results will speak for themselves.