A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein, and very low-carbohydrate diet. It works by drastically reducing the intake of carbohydrates, which forces the body to use fat as its primary source of energy.
When carbohydrate intake is low, the body enters a metabolic state called ketosis. In this state, the liver begins to produce molecules called ketones, which are used as an alternative energy source for the body, particularly for the brain.
When the body is in ketosis, it begins to burn stored fat for energy, which leads to weight loss. The high-fat content of the diet helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied, which can make it easier to stick to the diet.
Additionally, ketogenic diet may have other health benefits such as reducing the risk of certain diseases like type 2 diabetes, improving cognitive function and reducing the risk of certain types of cancer.
It’s important to note that a ketogenic diet may not be suitable for everyone, so it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional before starting the diet.
Here are the basic steps on how a ketogenic diet works:
- Reduce carbohydrate intake: The first step in following a ketogenic diet is to drastically reduce your intake of carbohydrates. This typically means limiting your intake to less than 50 grams of carbs per day, although some people may need to consume even less.
- Increase fat intake: To make up for the reduced carbohydrate intake, you will need to increase your intake of healthy fats. Foods such as avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish are all good options.
- Moderate protein intake: It’s also important to consume an adequate amount of protein on a ketogenic diet. Too much protein can kick you out of ketosis, so it’s important to consume a moderate amount of high-quality protein sources such as chicken, fish, and eggs.
- Monitor ketone levels: To ensure that you are in a state of ketosis, you may want to monitor your ketone levels using a ketone meter or urine strips.
- Stick to the plan: Following a ketogenic diet can be challenging, especially in the beginning, so it’s important to be consistent and stick to the plan.
- Adjust as needed: As you progress, you may find that you need to make adjustments to your diet to maintain ketosis. For example, you may need to increase your fat intake or reduce your protein intake.
- Consult with a healthcare professional: A ketogenic diet should be done under the supervision of a healthcare professional, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking medication.
It’s also important to note that a ketogenic diet should be followed under medical supervision and for a specific period of time.