How Does the Keto diet work?

If you’ve been surfing the internet trying to find the best ways to lose weight, then most probably you have heard about the Ketogenic diet. Unlike other weight-loss diets, the Keto diet is the most baffling.

Ordinarily, we know fat as the culprit in weight gain. When you have gained too much weight, even without a stranger saying it, you will always hear ‘cut it’. You begin to self-loathe and might even begin an intense exercise routine to break down some fat, but the keto diet preaches the opposite— eat fat, fat, and more fat!

This sounds crazy. Doesn’t it?

How do you eat more fat, when you want to cut fat?

Well, if you’ve been scratching your head trying to figure out how the Keto diet works, Hurray! I’ve got you covered. By the time you finish reading this post, you will know the science behind the Keto diet and why it is such an amazing health plan for you.

To grasp how the keto diet works, you first need to know how the body is naturally engineered to satiate its hunger, create energy, and keep all the systems working.

Here is how the body feeds itself normally

Your body depends hugely on sugar for energy. The most common source of sugar is the carbohydrates. When you eat high-carb foods or excess proteins your body will break them down into glucose which provides ATP energy; the fuel that powers every activity of the body.

However, we tend to eat more carbohydrates than the body needs, which compels that body to store the excess glucose as glycogen through a process known as glycogenesis or as fats through the lipogenesis process.

Fortunately, the body will use up the stored glycogen within 24 hours. As for the stored fats, they take longer because they are only used as an alternative fuel when the body has exhausted the supply of glycogen.

The body is accustomed to using sugar as primary source of energy, therefore your weight will increase when you have too much fat stored in your body.

What happens in Keto Diet?

Well, the keto diet adapts the body to feed from fats as opposed to carbohydrates. Instead of the body breaking down carbohydrates into glucose, it will break fats into fatty acids and glycerol for energy.

However, the brain cells cannot use fatty acids and glycerol, therefore the liver must synthesize the fatty acids and glycerol into more efficient energy molecules that the brain cells can utilize.

In the liver the glycerol are broken into glucose through gluconeogenesis (even in keto diet, glucose is still needed as there are cells that can only use glucose) while the fatty acids are broken into ketones through ketogenesis.

The formation of BHP and Acetones

The process doesn’t end with formation of ketones. Through ketogenesis, the ketones are synthesized to produce acetoacetate which is further converted into two distinct ketone bodies;

  • Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) – BHP is more a more efficient energy source than acetoacetate. Your body will naturally convert acetoacetate into BHP after a few weeks of being in keto. The brain loves BHP as it utilize it 70% more efficiently than glucose.

 

  • Acetone – Though acetones can still be broken down into glucose, they are majorly excreted as waste through urination. Acetones are responsible for the smelly breath known to keto dieters.

Understanding Ketosis

The condition of having more ketones in the body is referred to as Ketosis. It is the goal of every keto diet enthusiast. For you to be in the ketosis state, you must limit carbohydrates while ensuring that you consume adequate proteins and high-fat foods.

So the keto diet is built on the premise of starving the body of carbohydrates so that it forms a new metabolic pathway— using fats as the primary source of energy. Keto diet aims at almost 0% carbohydrates and 70 % fats.

This however shouldn’t fool you that the focus of keto diet is solely to reduce carbs, it is also to provide adequate supply of fats and proteins (this is the difference between keto diet and starvation).

The keto diet is very effective in weight loss, but is has a lot of benefits. Several studies have recommended it as an effective alternative therapy in combating epilepsy in children. When you do it right, you will be amazed with the results.

 

Author :  George O.

A diet that allows you to lose weight without having to give up your love for bacon isn’t that the stuff full of dreams? Well, that’s what the keto diet does. A ketogenic diet or “keto diet” as it is popularly called, is a low carb, high-fat diet that puts the body in a physiological state called Ketosis. Ketosis is a natural process where the body uses ketones produced in the liver as its primary source of energy instead of the usual glucose.

When the body uses glucose as its fuel – the most natural compound for it to break down, the body fat is not required in the metabolic process and stored away, accumulating and thus preventing weight loss. The body gets its glucose from the carbohydrates ingested. In the absence of glucose to be broken down for the body’s energy needs, it turns to stored fats breaking them down to produce ketones, its fuel alternative. It aims to direct the body to use ketones as its primary source of energy by depriving the body of carbohydrates and thus glucose, through low carb, high-fat diet.

Fats are your friends

The nutrient breakdown of a ketogenic diet would be composed of 70% fats, 25% protein and 5% carbohydrates. In a keto diet, you can include a wide range of meats from beef to bacon, pork, poultry, turkey and steak in moderate quantities. Factory farmed meat and fish high in Omega 6 are the few things that one should avoid. Fats like butter, coconut oil, avocados, eggs, cheese and mayonnaise can be included. You can load up your plate with all vegetables except starchy ones like potatoes, and only take them in small quantities. Fruits other than avocado and berries can occasionally be included as these are high in sugar which the body converts into glucose.

Grains like wheat and rice should be strictly avoided as these are high in carbohydrates, this means bread, even the brown one, breakfast cereals, pasta, pizzas and burgers are out of bounds too. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up your burgers entirely, just replace the bun with your choice of meat, include veggies, cheese and mayonnaise as usual. You don’t even have to opt for low-fat cheese and mayonnaise, the regular hard cheeses, high fat cream and mayonnaise are perfectly fine. You have to see that your meal’s nutrient composition is high fat, moderate protein and low carbs. Double down burger anyone?

Benefits of keto diet

Weight loss is not the only benefit of this low carb, high-fat diet. It has numerous other benefits like keeping blood sugar and insulin levels in check, that promote overall health. Insulin is another by-product of ingested carbohydrate, and it helps the body to process the glucose in the bloodstream. By eliminating carbs and sugars, including natural sugars present in fruits, mainly from the diet reduces the production of insulin and glucose, thus helping to control blood sugar. Keto also helps to reduce acne and skin inflammations.

A diet that includes more fat and moderate protein keeps you fuller for longer; this helps to avoid cravings and over-indulgences. This factor is a significant difference that regular low carb or high carb low-fat diets do not provide. By merely cutting out carbohydrates or fats you will still feel the hunger pangs, leading to cravings and resulting in over-indulgence.

Overall, keto diet is the best option to lose weight and promote good health without having to give up most of your favourite foods! While this diet is perfectly safe for a majority of people, those with type 1 diabetes are advised to get your doctor’s nod before trying this diet.

 

Author: Nidhi J.