Diet fads change all the time, and many don’t pass the test in terms of proven weight-loss benefits and good health for the dieter. However, one that boasts results for many people who try it is the ketogenic diet, usually shortened to “keto.”
The Keto diet relies on a combination of low carbohydrates, healthy fats, and proteins to burn fat. As with any diet, it’s critical to understand how this diet works and how to work the recommendations into your everyday eating habits.
Everyone has different health requirements, and a diet that relies on drastically reducing a certain kind of food intake will impact individuals differently.
While the keto diet works weight-loss wonders for many people, understanding how it works will make it easier to customize a diet plan to fit your needs.
What Is the Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet originally started as a treatment for epilepsy, where it was shown to reduce seizures in pediatric and adult patients since the 1920s. But in recent decades, it gained popularity as a longer-term, more sustainable alternative to low-carb fad diets like Atkins.
This diet cuts carbohydrates back to around 10 percent of daily intake and protein to only 20 percent, emphasizing healthy fats instead.
This strategy might seem counterintuitive to the goal of weight loss, but it encourages the body to enter a state of ketosis. In this state, the body has minimal carbohydrates to break down and concentrates on processing fat into energy.
This makes it easier to drop weight quickly and teaches the body to be more efficient at processing calories. It’s important to approach this diet safely to ensure maximum benefits.
Diversify Your Fats
The trick to getting the most out of the keto diet is to make sure you’re still considering a diverse diet, even while prioritizing fats. Relying on a diet of red meat and dairy isn’t going to give you the diversified healthy fats you need.
Many healthy foods are packed with fats that offer their own health benefits, like omega-5 fatty acids. Salmon and avocados are two popular choices, as are low-carb nuts like almonds and hazelnuts.
Adding high-quality, cold-pressed olive oils are a great way to add some healthy fats to light meals like a salad.
If you’re looking for an added boost for hitting ketosis, MCT oil for keto dieters is a supplement that can help your body enter this state quicker. You can add it to most smoothies, salads, and soups without changing the flavor.
Get Your Veggies
No one can live on fat alone, and any healthy keto diet will need some low-calorie options to go along with the richer meals. Vegetables are a crucial part of any keto diet, and it’s important to find low-carbohydrate options that won’t throw off your body’s fat-burning balance.
You’ll want to minimize the consumption of starchy veggies like potatoes, but there are a surprising number of low-carb alternatives to make great salads, soups, or stews.
Broccoli and cauliflower are meaty vegetables that go well with just about anything. While tomatoes aren’t carb-free due to their sugar content, they have many vitamins and add flavor to dishes. Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables and makes an excellent base for a salad.
Also, don’t forget avocados, which offer healthy fats, add flavor and texture to salads, and make a great dairy substitute in smoothies and puddings.
Don’t Eliminate Carbs Entirely
One of the downfalls of many people on the keto diet is thinking they have to go cold-turkey on carbs. Not only can this be hard to stick to, but it can cause people to feel sick and weak if it goes on too long.
Remember, carbs can be up to 10 percent of your daily calories, but it’s important to stay smart with your diet. Focus on carbs with nutritional value, like brown rice.
However, if you have a craving for your favorite pancakes, don’t be afraid to indulge occasionally. Some keto diets cycle carbs in and out, abstaining for one or two days and then indulging.
This is the period where you should enjoy your favorite carb-loaded specialty to give you the strength to stick to your diet on the days ahead.
Keto and Weight Loss—Perfect Partners
It doesn’t matter whether this is your first experience with keto or you’re trying to take your diet to the next level. Like all diets, the keto diet works best when you remember that a healthy and stable diet is the path to long-term success.
The keto diet is adaptable to give you the nutrients you need to maintain fat-burning and a healthier approach to food in the long run.