What is keto?
Usually the body uses glucose as the main source of energy for energy. If you are on a ketone diet and eat very few carbohydrates with only a moderate amount of protein (excess protein can be converted into carbohydrates), your body changes its fuel intake so that it is mainly operated on fat. . The liver produces ketones (a type of fatty acid) from fats. These ketones become a source of fuel for the body, especially the brain, which consumes a lot of energy and can be operated on with glucose or ketones.
When the body produces ketones, it enters a metabolic state called ketosis. Fasting is the easiest way to get ketosis. When you fast or eat very few carbohydrates and moderate amounts of protein, your body burns stored fat as fuel. This is the reason why people tend to lose more weight on the keto diet.
Benefits of the keto diet
The keto diet is not new. It was used as medical therapy for the treatment of epilepsy in children in the 1920s, but until recently, when anti-epileptics came on the market, nutrition has been forgotten. With success in reducing the number of seizures in epileptic patients, there is growing research into the ability of the diet to treat a range of neurological and other types of chronic diseases.
- Neurodegenerative diseases
New research shows the benefits of keto in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism and multiple sclerosis (MS). It can also protect against injuries and traumatic brain strokes. One theory for the neuroprotective effects of keto is that ketones produced during ketosis provide additional fuel to brain cells that can help these cells resist the inflammatory damage caused by these diseases.
- Obesity and weight loss.
If you are looking to lose weight, the keto diet is very effective in that it helps you access and lose body fat. Constant hunger is the biggest problem when trying to lose weight. The keto diet helps avoid this problem because reducing carbohydrate consumption and increasing fat intake promotes satiety and makes it easier for people to stick to the diet. In one study, obese subjects lost twice as much weight on a low carbohydrate diet (20.7 pounds) compared to a low fat diet (10.5 pounds) within 24 weeks.
- Type 2 Diabetes
In addition to weight loss, the keto diet also helps increase insulin sensitivity, which is ideal for people with type 2 diabetes. In a study published in Nutrition and Metabolism, the researchers found that diabetics who consumed low-carb keto diets could significantly reduce and perhaps even reverse their dependence on diabetes medications. It also improves other health indicators such as lowering triglyceride and LDL (bad) cholesterol and increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.
Many people are unaware that the main fuel for cancer cells is glucose. This means that eating the right food can help suppress cancer growth. Since the keto diet is very low in carbohydrates, they deprive cancer cells of their primary fuel source, i.e. sugar. When the body produces ketones, healthy cells can use them as energy, but not cancer cells, so they starve effectively. As early as 1987, studies of ketone diets have shown that a number of cancers slow tumor growth and improve survival.
How to formulate a keto diet
To achieve ketosis (reaching ketones above 0.5 mM), most people need to limit carbohydrates between 20 and 50 grams (g) / day. The actual amount of carbohydrates varies from person to person. In general, the more resistant a person is to insulin, the more resistant it is to ketosis. Some insulin sensitive athletes who train vigorously can consume more than 50 g / day and remain in ketosis, while people with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance may need to be closer to 20-30 g / day.
In the calculation of carbohydrates, it is possible to use net carbohydrates, i.e. total carbohydrates less fiber and sugar alcohols. The concept of net carbohydrates is to use only carbohydrates that increase blood sugar and insulin. Dietary fiber has no metabolic or hormonal effects, like most sugar alcohols. The exception is maltitol, which can have a non-trivial impact on blood sugar and insulin. Therefore, if maltitol is on the list of ingredients, sugar alcohol should not be subtracted from total carbohydrates.
The amount of carbohydrates that you can consume and stay in ketosis can also change over time, depending on the regulation of keto, weight loss, exercise habits, medications, etc. Therefore, you should measure your ketone levels regularly.
In terms of the general diet, carbohydrate-rich foods such as pasta, cereals, potatoes, rice, beans, sugary sweets, lemonades, juices and beer are not suitable.
Most dairy products contain carbohydrates in the form of lactose (milk sugar). However, some have less carbohydrates and can be used regularly. These include hard cheese (parmesan, cheddar cheese), high fat soft cheese (brie), cream cheese with fat, heavy whipped cream and sour cream.
A carbohydrate content of less than 50 g / day is generally the following:
- 5-10 g of carbohydrates from protein foods. Eggs, cheese and shellfish contain a few grams of carbohydrates from natural sources, as well as additional marinades and spices.
- 10-15 g of carbohydrates from non-starchy vegetables.
- 5-10 g of carbohydrates from nuts / seeds. Most walnuts contain 5-6 g of carbohydrates per ounce.
- 5-10 g of carbohydrates from fruits such as berries, olives, tomatoes and avocados.
- 5-10 g of carbohydrates from various sources such as low carbohydrate desserts, high fat dressings or drinks with very low amounts of sugar.
Many people need at least half a liter of total liquid per day. The best sources are filtered water, organic coffee and tea (normal and without coffee, unsweetened), as well as unsweetened almonds and coconut milk. Diet sodas and drinks are best avoided because they contain artificial sweeteners. If you drink red or white wine, limit yourself to 1-2 glasses. The drier it is, the better. If you drink alcohol, avoid sugary mixed drinks.
A keto diet is not a protein rich diet. This is because proteins increase insulin and can be converted to glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis, which inhibits ketosis. However, a keto diet shouldn’t be too low in protein, as this can result in loss of muscle tissue and function.
The average adult needs about 0.8-1.5 g per kilogram (kg) of lean body mass per day. It is important to perform the calculation based on lean body mass and not on total body weight. The reason for this is that proteins are not needed to maintain fat mass, just muscle mass.
For example, if a person weighs 150 pounds (or 150 / 2.2 = 68.18 kg) and has a body fat content of 20% (or a lean body mass of 80% = 68.18 kg x 0, 8 = 54.55 kg), the protein requirement can vary from 44 (= 54.55 × 0.8) to 82 (= 54.55 × 1.5) g / day.
Having figured out the exact amounts of carbs and protein to eat, the rest of the diet comes from fat. A keto diet is necessarily high in fat. If sufficient fat is eaten, body weight is maintained. If weigh loss is desired, one should consume less dietary fat and rely on stored body fat for energy expenditure instead.
The best foods for obtaining high quality fats are:
- Avocado and avocado oil
- Coconuts and coconut oil
- Herb butter, clarified butter and beef fat
- Organic pasture cream
- olive oil
- Lard of willow pigs
- Medium chain triglycerides (MCT)
MCT is a certain type of fat that is metabolized differently than normal long chain fatty acids. The liver can use MCT to quickly produce energy even before glucose, which allows for greater ketone production.
Concentrated sources of MCT oil are available as supplements. Many people use it to achieve ketosis. The only food that is uniquely rich in MCT is coconut oil. About two thirds of the coconut fat comes from MCT.
Who should pay attention to a keto diet?
A keto diet is very safe for most people. However, there are some people who need to exercise special care and discuss with their doctors before following such a diet.
Those who take diabetes medications. You may need to adjust your dosage when your blood sugar drops on a low carbohydrate diet.
Those taking medications for high blood pressure. You may need to adjust your dosage when your blood pressure drops on a low carbohydrate diet.
Those who breastfeed should not follow a very low carbohydrate diet, as the body can lose around 30 g of carbohydrates per day through milk. Therefore, when breastfeeding take at least 50 g of carbohydrates per day.
People with kidney disease should consult their doctor before starting a keto diet.
Is Keto Safe in the Long Term?
This is a controversial area. Although no studies indicating long-term adverse effects of a keto diet have been conducted, many experts now believe that the body can develop “resistance” to the benefits of ketosis if it does not retract and retract regularly. In addition, a long-term, high-fat diet may not be suitable for all body types.
Cyclic keto diet
Once you are able to consistently produce more than 0.5 mM of ketones in your blood, it’s time to put the carbohydrates back into your diet. Instead of eating only 20-50 g of carbohydrates per day, these days you can increase them to 100-150 g with carbohydrates. As a rule, 2-3 times a week is enough. Ideally, this also happens on strength training days when the protein intake actually increases.
This cycling approach can make dieting more acceptable for some people who don’t want to permanently eliminate some of their favorite foods. However, it can also reduce determination and commitment to the keto diet or trigger seizures in vulnerable people.