Diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol levels have become pretty common in the USA in the past few decades. These diseases often have a fatal outcome and are directly linked to the unhealthy diet we all lead. The American diet is full of sugar and refined carbs which can cause leptin and insulin resistance, leading to weight gain, cellular damage and even death. Luckily, all of this can be prevented if you’re willing to make some lifestyle changes. Switching to a healthy diet and staying physically active will help you get back on tract and prevent the damage the aforementioned diseases can do. You can also try the ketogenic diet which has become wildly popular in the last few years.
What is a keto diet?
A ketogenic diet is a diet which is based on consuming a minimal amount of carbs and high amounts of protein and fat in order to shift the body’s metabolism and enter ketosis. This is a state in which the body starts burning fuel for fat instead of carbs. The ketogenic diet can help you lose weight, but it also has numerous other benefits for our health. Here’s what it can do for you:
Our bodies “run” on sugar and fat – it’s usually sugar, but fat is the better type of fuel as it doesn’t release free radicals in the process. Eliminating sugar from your daily diet will make the body burn fat instead, which will result in significant weight loss.
Reduces the risk of cancer
Many experts have suggested that the keto diet can indeed destroy cancer cells. The theory is that all cells use glucose as fuel. Our healthy cells may also use ketone bodies as fuel, but cancer cells can’t due to the lack of metabolic flexibility. As the keto diet produces a high amount of ketones in our bodies, it will eventually starve the cancer cells to death.
Increases your muscle mass
According to Jeff Volek, a nutritionist specializing in keto diets, ketones are similar to amino acids in their structure and can be used to increase muscle mass.
Make you feel fuller
Constant hunger is detrimental for weight loss, but a keto diet can fix this problem by reducing your appetite while making you feel fuller.
Reduces your insulin levels
The insulin spikes caused after high-carb meals can lead to the development of diabetes, but luckily, a keto diet can help. Studies have shown that altering your diet to a keto diet can significantly reduce the risk of diabetes and regulate your blood sugar levels.
There are many types of a keto diet who fit different people. For example, the Standard Ketogenic Diet fits all and is highly effective. It involves almost no carbs, 25% of protein and 70% of healthy fats in the meal plan.
The so-called targeted keto diet is aimed at fitness enthusiasts. It allows the consumption of one meal allocating lal the carbs you need during the day just before you hit the gym. The idea is to use the energy provided by the carbs before it stops the process of ketosis.
The cyclic keto diet is also focused on fitness enthusiasts and focused on bodybuilders. It is called cyclic because you cycle through a keto diet and something known as carb-loading, or days in which you’re allowed to eat carbs.
The high-protein keto diet is a variation of the Standard keto diet and is aimed at the obese. In this variation, you reduce the amount of healthy fats by 10% while increasing the amount of protein you consume by 10% as well. Studies have shown that this type of keto diet can help obese people lose some weight.
Finally, the restricted keto diet is aimed at cancer patients. The diet restricts your calorie and carb intake, which makes your body lose glycogen and produce ketones which can feed energy to the healthy cells and slowly kill off the malignant ones.
What to eat and what to avoid when on a keto diet?
Before starting a keto diet, you must make sure to avoid unhealthy foods such as sugar, starch and processed foods and focus on healthy alternatives. Avoid drinking milk as well as it contains a high amount of carbs. Vegetable oils, soy products and soda drinks should also be out of the question.
On the other hand, you should include coconut oil, grass-fed butter, avocado and ghee in your diet. You should also add some fiber in your body, so make sure to consume veggies such as broccoli, parsley and spinach. Not all fruits are suitable for a keto diet, but you can eat cranberries, blueberries and blackberries which are rich in antioxidants that will boost your overall health.
From beverages, you can drink only water, black coffee with no sugar or coconut milk.
Who should avoid the keto diet?
The keto diet is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women, athletes before the start of a new season, people with history of kidney stones, people with a removed gallbladder, naturally thin people, people suffering from anorexia and people with metabolic disorders. For best results, we suggest consulting with a doctor before the diet.
The possible side-effects of a ketogenic diet include short-term fatigue, bad breath, frequent urination, hair loss, sugar cravings and some digestive problems including constipation.
If you think that the diet tastes bland and there’s just no tasty recipe, you’re wrong. Here’s a nice keto dessert you can easily prepare at home:
Chocolate fat bomb
- ½ oz. cocoa butter
- 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon organic ground eggshells
- 1 scoop Dr. Mercola’s Organic Greens
- 1 tablespoon black cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon flaxseeds
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon psyllium (organic)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 avocado
- A drop or two of stevia
Mix the seeds first, then put them in a bowl of water and let them soak overnight. In the morning, add the other ingredients as well as more water to reach the ideal consistency, which should resemble a pudding. Blend the mixture with an immersion blender for less than a minute, then enjoy this healthy and delicious dessert.