The concept of the ketogenic diet is not new; it has become known in many variations and under many names. There are many similarities with the Atkins Diet, and it is close family of other popular diets such as the South Beach diet and the Paleo diet. Today we look at the arguments that speak for a ketogenic diet. Shortly afterwards attention will be paid to the arguments against a ketogenic diet.
First of all, we distinguish between three different types of ketogenic diet:
- The Standard ketogenic diet
- Cyclic ketogenic diet
- Targeted ketogenic diet
These types of ketogenic diet are close to each other, but there are differences in the limits and timing of carbohydrate consumption. The standard ketogenic diet is discussed below, unless it is stated that this is a different specific type of ketogenic diet. Most information goes on no matter what type of ketogenic diet you follow.
- ketogenic diet is simply any diet that “puts the body in a state of ketosis.
- where fats are burned in place of carbohydrates to be used as energy.
- A good ketogenic diet requires that those who follow the diet eat relatively much fat, sufficient amounts of protein and very few carbohydrates.
Our bodies are used to convert carbohydrates into glucose and send this as energy throughout the body. When the body falls into ketosis, by sufficiently reducing carbohydrate intake, our liver begins to break down fat cells into fatty acids and ketones, which are then used as energy sources.
Why does the ketogenic diet work?
The ketogenic diet works just like any diet: by reducing the number of calories that you take, and thus creating a calorie deficit where the body burns more energy than it consumes. That is the basic science of weight loss and few people will disagree with the statement that all successful diets are somehow dependent on reducing the number of calories in the diet.
Well, the ketogenic diet also depends on eating fewer calories. Why don’t we go back to the traditional way of counting calories and eating low fat, as most diet books and dietitians recommend? What is the benefit of the ketogenic diet?
Less hunger due to ketogenic diet than other calorie-restricted diets
When you consume fewer calories than you are used to, it is not strange that this can lead to a feeling of hunger. In practice it is often the feeling of hunger that makes it difficult to maintain a diet. However, research shows that you can limit this increase in hunger by achieving the reduction in calories mainly by reducing the number of calories instead of the amount of fat [johnstone, gibson].
Although these absolute changes in appetite were small, they occurred within the context of energy restriction, which is known to increase appetite in obese people. Thus, the clinical benefit of a ketogenic diet is in preventing an increase in appetite, despite weight loss, although individuals may indeed feel slightly less hungry (or more full or satisfied). Ketosis appears to provide a plausible explanation for this suppression of appetite.
-A.A. Gibson. The Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney
A large part of the success of a ketogenic diet consists of the fact that the hunger that normally accompanies a diet is limited. However, this takes a few days. Your body is first used to burning carbohydrates that run out at a given time. Until the switch to burning fat is made you can feel really starved. This is therefore a matter of just taking that threshold and then taking advantage.
When you eat carbohydrates, your blood sugar level rises quickly. This causes an equally rapid insulin response from the pancreas. The insulin removes the excess blood sugar by giving off the signal to make fat from the excess glucose.
Lowering insulin levels is the key to success, according to the theory behind the ketogenic diet and many other diets. Insulin is, as I just told, the hormone that makes your body store fat. By keeping the amount of insulin low, you ensure that your body stores less fat and stimulates fat burning.
A ketogenic diet lets you eat foods that are filling and saturated
Many people find that reducing the number of calories with the ketogenic diet is very easy. If you follow a ketogenic diet in the correct way, you will get the most calories in the form of fats and proteins, which both fill well and can be very tasty.
As soon as you remove things like refined sugar and simple carbohydrates from your diet, you will find that eating 2,000 calories (or how much you have as a guide) per day is enough to feel saturated. Many people who follow a ketogenic diet even find that they have difficulty getting enough food in every day!
How do I follow a ketogenic diet?
Successfully following a ketogenic diet is all about keeping the amounts of nutrients or macronutrients in balance. It is generally recommended that a person following a ketogenic diet obtains about 60% of the nutrients from fats, 35% from proteins and 5% from carbohydrates.
You try to keep the number of carbohydrates per day at less than 50 grams per day. When you start a ketogenic diet, it is recommended that you eat up to 20 grams of carbohydrates per day, because strictness at the beginning helps you to bring your body into a state of ketosis. It also helps you learn all the rules of successful low carbohydrate diets.
During the first few weeks, it is good to keep a very accurate and obsessive record of every bit of food and fluid that enters your body. Many dieticians who follow a ketogenic diet use their smartphones to keep track of their diet
After a while, you begin to sense how many grams of carbohydrates are in different types of food, and you quickly learn to adjust your dietary habits to your low-carbohydrate lifestyle.
How do I know if I am following the ketogenic diet properly?
A very good way to check the ketone level in your urine is to buy “Ketostix”. When your body is in a state of ketosis, it will secrete excess ketones through your urine, sweat and breath. This is useful because we can check with Ketostix whether there are ketones in your urine. If they are found in your urine, your body is in ketosis and you know for sure that you have sufficiently reduced your carbohydrate intake.
Ketostix can be ordered fairly cheaply, but compare well. The prices on the various websites want to vary considerably.
When you begin to master the principles of the ketogenic diet, you will be able to keep your body in ketosis continuously and effortlessly. You can then increase your carbohydrate intake until you find the ideal amount, whereby your daily amount of carbohydrates is just low enough to keep your body in ketosis.
Just because your body is in a state of ketosis does not mean that your keto is doing well; keeping the amounts of nutrients well balanced is also important. Your body needs enough protein to hold your muscle mass, and you also need enough energy to keep your brain, organs, and muscles happy.
Counter-arguments: “Keto diet – simplified representation of the effects of carbohydrates, insulin, fats and protein”
The simple idea behind the ketogenic diet is that carbohydrates cause an increase in insulin and that insulin subsequently converts fat from excessive amounts of sugar to keep your blood sugar stable.
However, there are a few problems with this reasoning that a separate article will be devoted to.
Studies have shown that protein can also increase insulin. What happens with an excess of fat and protein? Insulin also produces proteins in muscles and thus for muscle growth. What happens to the muscles if insulin is kept low all the time, and what happens if the body suddenly receives a lot of sugar again?
Only after writing this article with contradiction will the balance be made and a conclusion be drawn about the usefulness of a ketogenic diet.
By.S.van der Tap.Internet Marketer Founder Of digitalstico.com
A. Johnstone et al. Effects of a high-protein ketogenic diet on hunger, appetite and weight loss in obese men feeding ad libitum 1,2,3 Am J Clin Nutr January 2008vol. 87 no. 1 44-55