How Does the Ketogenic Diet Work and is it Right for You?


What You Need to Know About a Ketogenic Diet


It’s hard to go anywhere without running into someone who is talking about the ketogenic diet. What started out as a niche diet for bodybuilders has exploded in popularity. It used to be that only doctors and medical students ever talked much about ketosis, but now it’s coming up in the gym, the coffee shop, and everywhere else.


Here is what you need to know about the ketogenic diet and how you can decide if it is right for you.


What is a Ketogenic Diet?


The ketogenic or “keto”, diet is a hard-core low, or no, carbohydrate diet that is designed to force your body into a state called ketosis.


Ketosis is a metabolic process. It is triggered by your body when you do not have enough glucose to produce energy. Because your body still needs energy, it then begins to burn the energy stored in fats inside of your body. Ideally, fat is an energy reserve. Excess glucose is naturally turned into fat. Part of the ketosis process is the release of ketones into the bloodstream. This increases the acidity level of your blood.


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How Does It Work?


The ketogenic diet is designed to deprive your body of the glucose it would normally use to run and instead burn the energy stored in your fat. The idea is that most of us have more fat than we need and this diet forces the body to get rid of that fat.


In order to get your body into a state of ketosis, you first have to deprive your body of glucose. Most of the time we get the glucose from carbohydrates.


On a ketogenic diet, you need to avoid foods such as:


  • Grains
  • Sugars
  • Fruits
  • High starch vegetables


The point of the ketogenic diet is not to starve your body of calories, just to deprive it of foods that increase the production of glucose.


Foods that you should be eating on a ketogenic diet include:


  • Meats
  • Leafy greens
  • Above ground vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Berries
  • Avocados


What Are the Downsides?


Like all diet and exercise plans, the ketogenic diet may not be a good fit for all people. The ketogenic diet definitely works when it comes to burning fat. But, because it requires you to completely abstain from sugar, it can be hard to not fall off the wagon. Many people regain some weight in the year after trying a ketogenic diet.


It is also important that you pay attention to your body while on the ketogenic diet. Ketosis is related to a separate process called ketoacidosis. In ketoacidosis, too many ketones are released into the bloodstream. Typically, it is associated with Type 1 diabetes and it occurs when blood sugar levels and ketone levels are both too high. If you have diabetes, you should consult with your doctor before trying a ketogenic diet.


What Are the Advantages of a Ketogenic Diet?


There is a lot of science that shows too much body fat is a major risk factor for a host of different diseases and conditions. Using the ketogenic diet to burn fat and reduce your sugar intake can also help:


  • Lower your risk of heart disease
  • Lower your risk of developing several types of cancer
  • Prevent, or reduce the symptoms of, Alzheimer’s disease
  • Reverse or reduce insulin resistance
  • Reduce epileptic seizures
  • Improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease patients
  • Improve Acne


Reducing body fat and controlling your carb intake are well-known principles of living a healthy lifestyle. However, for many people, actually reducing body fat is difficult. The ketogenic diet is an effective way to burn excess fat and lose weight over the short term. However, the diet has its limitations as a life-long practice and it may have some health risks.


Before making any major changes to your diet or exercise routine, check with your primary care doctor.


Are you thinking about trying the ketogenic diet? Let us know in the comments.


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