Lately, it seems as if everybody who’s anybody in the fitness community has an opinion on ketogenic diets. Some people swear by them, while others have less-flattering things to say about them. One thing that is for certain however, is the fact that they get people talking. No matter how you feel about keto diets, the simple truth of the matter is the fact that they have been found to be very beneficial for people looking to lose weight and get in shape. The diets promote weight loss and are useful for people looking to maintain healthy energy levels while preserving muscle tissue in the process. For people that enjoy their meat, the keto diet sounds too good to be true. After all, there aren’t many diets out there that actively allow people to eat foods like: steak, bacon, pork chops, cheese, whole eggs, and cream. Keto however, encourages the consumption of all of these foods, and many more besides. If you’re thinking of trying keto but want to learn more about it, here’s a look at several fun and interesting keto diet facts for you to sink your teeth into.
Not all fats are good
On paper, the keto diet is a low carb, moderate protein, high fat diet. Great, that means you can eat as much fat as you like, and still lose weight and be healthy, right? Wrong. While you can enjoy the occasional treat on keto, the vast majority of your fats should in fact come from healthy sources. Although the prospect of eating a plate full of butter fried bacon may sound appealing if you’re hungry, the truth of the matter is that not all fats are permitted on the diet in large quantities. Too many unhealthy fats will still pose health risks and could still hinder your weight loss. The majority of your fats should come to you in the form of healthy fats like salmon, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds.
Most keto dieters eat far too much protein
We’ve already established the fact that keto diets are high in fat and moderate in protein, but many people don’t realise how little protein they actually need. People wrongly associated keto diets with the Atkins diet, when in reality the two are very different. Most people on keto simply consume too much protein, which again, sometimes hinders their weight loss. If you want the diet to be successful, you need to get your macronutrient ratios as close to perfect as possible. Your daily caloric intakes from carbs should be around 5%. Your daily caloric intakes from protein should be around 20%, which means that 75% of your daily caloric intakes should come from healthy fats. Most people that follow keto diets end up eating far too much protein, and they wonder why their health suffers and why they don’t lose as much weight as they may have hoped.
The origins of the name
Keto diets, or ketogenic diets, are known as such, because of the fact that they rely on the production of ketones in the body. Ketones are produced by the liver and are used for energy. In order for the liver to metabolize ketones however, it first needs to utilize stored body fat. Although the body actually gets its fuel from ketones, in order for ketones to be produced, fat needs to be metabolized, which means that we’re basically fuelling our bodies with our own body fat reserves. Normally, the body utilizes glucose for energy, which is makes from carbohydrates. When you take carbohydrates away however, the energy has to come from somewhere else, which is where ketones enter the fray. People also often assume that the diet is relatively new because it’s only just recently started getting attention. The truth, however, is that the ketogenic diet is close to a century old now, as it was discovered back in 1921.
There is a thing known as keto-flu
When you first start following the ketogenic diet, there’s a strong chance that you’ll feel awful. This is due to something known as ‘keto flu’ and it is a very real thing. Keto flu is basically a collective term used to describe a variety of side-effects associated with cutting carbs out of your diet as you make the transition over to ketosis. You see, when you cut carbs out of your diet, you are basically taking away your body’s natural and preferred source of energy. The body finds it very easy to convert carbohydrates into glucose, so when you take those carbs away your body doesn’t know what’s going on. Your body basically goes through withdrawal symptoms as it craves carbs. Keto flu is basically this process. When you suffer from keto flu, you’ll experience cravings for carbs and sugar, you’ll suffer from a headache, you’ll feel dizzy, nauseous, tired, lethargic, and irritable, and your stomach will likely suffer too, so diarrhea is also a very real possibility. This will generally last for 3 – 5 days on average, as your body makes the initial transition over to ketosis. Once you enter ketosis however, your keto flu will be a thing of the past and you’ll feel great. It’s also worth noting that, after trying keto once, if you decide to get back on carbs and try keto months, even years later, your body will likely remember when you first tried keto and so your “keto flu” symptoms will not last as long as you will enter ketosis much quicker the next time around.
Keto works very well when accompanied with intermittent fasting
Lately, there has been a lot said about the health benefits of intermittent fasting, or IF for short. Intermittent fasting is basically a process whereby you will alternate between periods of fasting and periods of feasting. One common form of IF is the 16:8 approach, whereby you will fast for 16 hours of the day (including when you sleep) and will be permitted to eat during the 8 hour window which is left. Many people that actively follow the ketogenic diet however, have found that the diet works incredibly well when accompanies with an intermittent fasting approach to dieting. People have found that combining keto with IF is a great way of speeding up the metabolism and speeding up weight loss in the process. There are also a number of other health benefits associated with IF, but as we’re focussing on keto today we’ll save those for another day.
Keto diets don’t permit certain “healthy” foods
When you walk down the aisles of your local supermarket or grocery store, you’ll see that many food labels will use terms and phrases containing the word ‘healthy’ in them. Many of these foods contain artificial chemicals and preservatives which are actually very bad for you and so they are not permitted on the diet. What’s more, foods such as fruit, and starchy vegetables, are also not allowed on keto. Even though these foods do naturally contain healthy nutrients like vitamins and minerals, the problem is that they are rich in simple sugars, that could knock you out of ketosis. It may sound bizarre, but the truth is that the high fat foods permitted on keto diets can be healthier and more beneficial than sugar-laden fruits and refined grains and carbs.
Keto isn’t purely a weight loss diet
When people hear the word ‘diet’ they automatically think of weight loss. The truth about keto, however, is that in actual fact, the diet isn’t designed for weight loss at all. Initially it was created to help treat seizures in epileptic children. Keto does promote fat loss, and when you follow a ketogenic diet, you will lose a significant amount of weight, especially in the early stages of the diet. The longer you follow the diet however, the slower your weight loss will become. The diet is instead designed with health and wellness in mind and is a great way of maintaining a healthy weight and gradually burning fat without sacrificing energy.
You can overeat on keto
Some people are quick to sing the praises of ketogenic diets because they incorrectly believe that they can eat as much as they like, whenever they like, and still lose weight. Keto does allow you to eat foods like eggs, bacon, steak, cheese, and oily fish, but if you consume too much fat and too many calories, your weight loss will still stall. Yes, it is indeed possible to overeat on keto, so you still need to monitor your caloric intakes and try to keep tabs on your macros. Put simply, if you consume too many calories, even if they are healthy, you can still overeat and your weight loss progress will stall. Some people have even been known to gain weight on keto, despite them having barely touched a carbohydrate.