If you’re interested in taking your health and fitness to the next level, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the myriad benefits of a ketogenic diet. But can this fat-forward diet plan truly deliver? Find out whether a ketogenic diet lives up to the hype and discover if it’s right for you.
While many people refer to a ketogenic diet as a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet, it involves much more than such a simple term suggests. A standard low-carb diet could help you lose weight and burn fat, but a keto diet prompts your body to enter an entirely different metabolic state known as ketosis.
In this state, your body stops relying almost exclusively on glucose for energy while storing fat to use as energy at some later date. Instead, your body prioritizes using ketones for energy, which it sources from the fats that your liver breaks down. As your body draws on ketones for energy, you’ll effectively enter and strive to stay in ketosis.
If that sounds unnatural, don’t worry. Ketosis is a state that your body can enter naturally whenever your caloric intake is too low, such as when you’re fasting. When you’re following a ketogenic diet plan, however, you don’t have to fast. Instead, you’ll lower your carbohydrate intake while increasing your fat consumption and maintaining a steady level of protein.
Keto diets may sound more complex than some simpler diet plans, but embracing a keto lifestyle can offer some surprising benefits. First, you’ll be relieved to hear that a keto diet can be great for weight loss. Since being in ketosis prompts your body to lower insulin levels and burn fat, going on a ketogenic diet can help you reach weight-loss goals.
Insulin levels aren’t the only important indicator that a keto diet can affect. Over time, following a ketogenic diet plan can help lower your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level while keeping your blood pressure in check.
Since adopting a keto diet requires you to consume much fewer carbs in favor of fats and proteins, you’ll also have an easier time keeping your blood sugar level under control. If you’re constantly struggling with high blood sugar or if you’re pre-diabetic, a keto diet could be just the solution you’ve been seeking.
Once your body enters ketosis, you’ll notice that you can more easily maintain energy levels throughout the day. You won’t feel the strong highs and lows that usually go hand in hand with blood sugar surges and drops and you might even experience greater mental clarity and focus, too.
The first step toward adopting a keto diet plan is understanding the right macronutrient balance. Since a ketogenic diet is so high in fat, your macros will typically include 70 percent fats, 25 percent protein, and just 5 percent carbs.
Next, you’ll want to get a sense of what types of food to eat and what to avoid. In general, you should make a point of avoiding carb-heavy foods, including sugary treats and additives, grains like wheat and rice, most fruits, and starchy vegetables like potatoes. Instead, focus on fat- and protein-heavy foods including:
While you should avoid sugar, honey, or maple syrup on a ketogenic diet, you don’t have to skip sweeteners altogether. Instead, try to focus on low-glycemic sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit.
If a ketogenic diet plan sounds substantially different from what you normally eat, you might be worried that living on keto isn’t for you. Adopting a keto diet isn’t as difficult as it might seem, however, especially if you create and stick to a healthy meal plan every week. Use our Lifesum app to get inspiration for your weekly meal plan. You’ll find all kinds of LCHF recipe ideas that will keep you satisfied for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
You’ll also want to take the time to prepare meals for the week so you have a nutritious breakfast to start your morning, a healthy lunch to get you through the workday, and a satisfying dinner to round out the day. When you take the time to prep meals for the week, you can also ensure that work events, social engagements, and family commitments won’t throw a wrench into your healthy eating plan.
Of course, you might not be able to cook or prepare every meal ahead of time, especially if you have a social life or if you want to relax with your family from time to time. Fortunately, you can still stick to a keto diet by following the basic guidelines for what to eat and what to avoid, even when you dine out. Try checking menus on restaurant websites or calling ahead to ask about ingredients so you know exactly how your meal will fit into your keto diet plan.
When you use our app to plan and record your meals, you’ll also track your calorie intake and your macros to make sure you’re always striking the right balance. Taking a proactive approach to tracking your meals also helps prevent your macros from getting out of balance and keeps you from slipping up when life gets busy. While you’ll need to navigate the learning curve that accompanies a keto diet, fitting this type of diet plan into your lifestyle is certainly within reach.
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