What Is a Keto Diet?
Keto, or the ketogenic diet, is simply a low-carb, high-fat diet. You get most of your daily calories from protein and fat, and a very small amount from carbohydrates. The Atkins diet is a popularized form of the keto diet which focuses on high-quality proteins, olive oil, avocado and other delicious fats along with leafy greens and some vegetables. After you reduce carbohydrates and start replacing it with fat it will put your body into a metabolic state called ketosis.
What Is Ketosis?
When your body doesn’t receive carbohydrates, and doesn’t have enough glucose for energy, it starts to take energy from your fat instead. After three or four days, when your stored glucose is used up, your liver will start to convert fat into chemicals called ketones, which will then be released into the bloodstream and used by your cells for energy. Your brain and muscles will be fueled by fat instead of carbohydrates.
The keto diet is primarily used to help reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures in children, but the diet has found widespread use in weight loss because your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy.
What Foods Should You Eat on Keto?
Some of the most popular foods to eat on a keto diet include high-fat protein sources, low-carb vegetabales, and quality oils. Our favourites are:
- Chicken Thighs
- Olive Oil
For a further breakdown of how much you should be eating of each as well as more specific food recommendations see the section below.
You have to start by reducing your carbs down to 5% of your daily calories. On a 2000-calorie diet this is around 25 grams per day. Most keto dieters aim to eat 20 to 40 grams of carbs per day to maintain ketosis. Any carbs you eat should come from high-fiber, low-sugar, and water-rich fuits and vegetables because they are low in carbs and will help naturally boost hydration. Some examples of these foods include: Avocado, tomatoes, blackberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, asparagus, leafy greens, cucumber, and bell peppers.
Men should aim for at least 30% of their daily calories from high-fat protein sources. This equates to around 150 grams for the average male. Another option is to consume 0.8-1 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. You should be careful to not eat less protein than recommended, because your body will turn to muscle tissue as fuel. A good example of high-fat protein sources are: Natural cheese, whole eggs, chicken (dark meat if possible, beef, fish and seafood especially fatty fish like(salmon, sardines, tuna), nuts, lamb, pork. If possible go for pasture-raised, grass-fed, and organic meat.
Start to add fat to your diet (70-80% of calories), on a 2000-calorie diet: 165 grams per day. Since you’re consuming a lot of calories from fat, it’s important to focus on fueling with options that are high-quality and unprocessed. A good example of these foods includes: Avocado oil, olive oil, flaxseeds, fatty fish, whole eggs, natural butter, full-fat yogurt etc. Avoid seed oils at all cost.
The Benefits of Keto for Men
The ketogenic diet gets credit for being a fast way to lose weight, but research has discovered many other benefits of the popular diet.
As we know, it takes more work to turn fat into energy than it takes to turn carbs into energy. Because of this, a ketogenic diet can help speed up weight loss. One study in obese adults found a low-carb diet to be more effective for the first six months compared to a conventional weight loss diet. Also, studies have shown that cutting carbs can reduce your appetite and calorie intake leading to less snacking and cravings throughout the day.
Increased Energy and Concentration
Because your body is no longer burdened by sleep-inducing carbs and high-calorie meals, many people in ketosis have said they don’t suffer from an afternoon slump anymore. A study carried out in 2019 found that cognitive function and energy levels were greatly improved after adopting a ketogenic diet.
More research needs to be done into the long-term effects of the diet, but as someone who as tried it for myself I agree with everything in that study. My energy levels and focus greatly improved, and I no longer felt the urge to take a nap after my lunch.
Healthy Gut and Healthy Skin
Eating a diet high in processed and refined carbohydrates can alter gut bacteria and cause more dramatic blood sugar fluctuations, both of which can have an influence on skin health. Therefore, by decreasing carb intake, it’s not a surprise that a ketogenic diet could reduce some cases of acne. But if your version of the keto diet involves eating a lot of dairy, it may contribute to acne flare-ups. Low-carb diets are very effective at lowering blood triglycerides, which are fat molecules that increase your risk of heart disease. Also these diets tend to be high in fat, which leads to an impressive increase in blood levels of good HDL cholesterol.
Lower Blood Sugar
If you want to lower blood sugar and insulin levels the best way to do it is by reducing carb intake, which can treat and even reverse type 2 diabetes. Also cutting carbs leads to a significant reduction in high blood pressure, and reduce our risk of getting many diseases that comes from high blood pressure.
Is the Diet Safe?
The state of ketosis may cause you to feel thirstier than usual, but high levels of ketones might cause you dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance and both of them can cause you muscle cramps and spasms. Also, headaches can be a common side effect, but interestingly enough some researchers are saying that ketogenic diets are potential treatments for cluster headaches and migraines.
In the beginning of a ketosis diet, you may feel more tired and weaker than you usually do. This is normal as your body adjusts to the lack of carbohydrates. Also, it can cause you stomach complaints, changes in sleep and bad breath.
Initially, the state of ketosis can cause all of those side effects, but these symptoms should fade away with time. Also other studies suggest that the keto diet may enhance cognitive function and provide neuroprotective effects.
Do You Lose Weight Faster On Keto?
Although it’s not a easy diet to follow, the keto diet has shown to be extremely effective for weight loss. It’s faster in the beginning, and after a while weight loss will slow down. But this is when most of the dieters gets frustrated and quit the keto-diet because they’re bored.
But everyone is different, so rate at which you lose weight will vary from person to person. It really depends on the state of health situation that you are and whether you have any underlying hormonal or metabolic issues.
What is your body composition? If you have excess weight in the beginning you will experience faster weight loss than someone who is slim.
What are your daily habits? Do you exercise regularly? Are you eating foods with healthy fats and not processed junk foods and meats?
All of these will have an effect on your goal to lose weight and maintain it, so it’s best to be realistic about the process and ask yourself these questions in the beginner to maintain proper expectations going into it.
What Are the Side Effects of Ketosis?
There are some short-term side effects of keto diet, including:
- Sweating and chills
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Anxiety and/or irritability
- Lightheadedness and shakiness
Also, some people experience constipation, but these short-term effects tend to improve when the diet is continued as the body adapts to the new diet. Maybe after the first few days or weeks. Women may also experience amenorrhea or other disruptions to the menstrual cycle.
“The ketogenic diet can definitely result in a drop in libido when starting the diet, as the dieter will be experiencing symptoms of carb withdrawal and potentially the keto flu,” noted Dr. Nancy P. Rahnama, a bariatric and internal medicine doctor based in California.
“Once the withdrawal and flu-like symptoms have passed, and the dieter has adapted to the lower-carb lifestyle, the libido will most likely reset and potentially be better than prior as a result of weight loss from the diet,” she said.
“There is a fear among health experts that such high intakes of unhealthful fats would have a long-term negative effect,” she explained
“Hundreds of studies suggest that diets rich in whole plant foods are linked with significantly lower levels of diseases like osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes,” added Sharon Palmer, a dietitian from California. “So, do people want to risk their long-term health just to lose weight more quickly?”
The keto diet is a very successful diet to lose weight rapidly as long as it is done safely but you don’t want to cause bigger problems in order to solve a smaller one.
Facts About the Ketogenic Diet
Does it increase cholesterol?
Ketogenic and low-carb diets on average improve the cholesterol profile and reduce most risk factors for heart disease. They tend to improve the cholesterol by increasing HDL and decreasing harmful triglycerides.
Is it bad for the environment?
A keto diet should only be moderate in protein – e.g. meat – and thus it’s no different for the environment than most diets, especially as you’re likely going to eat less calories overall. If you still choose to eat more meat than usual, the impact on the environment depends a lot on how the animals were raised more than anything.
Can you get nutrient deficiencies on keto?
Switching from a standard Western diet to a keto diet based on real foods is likely to significantly increase the amount of vitamins and minerals you get from your diet.
Will the diet damage your thyroid?
Eat enough to feel satisfied, and your thyroid will be fine. There aren’t any links between thyroid problems and high-fat diets.
Can keto damage your kidneys?
A low-carb diet is fine for your kidneys. In fact, by lowering elevated blood sugars a low-carb diet may actually protect the kidneys from one of the most common causes of damage. Especially for people with diabetes, low carb might help protect their kidneys by helping control their blood sugar levels. There are some reports that state high-protein diets will damage your kidneys, but this is absolutely not the case.
Can you get osteoporosis on keto?
Repeated studies show no effect on bone density in people eating keto diet, even after several years. Keto diet does not affect the bones.
Does a high-fat diet cause hair loss?
The large majority of people who try a keto diet diet never experience this. Furthermore, it’s likely possible to minimize the risk by not doing a low-carb and low-fat diet at the same time, i.e. by avoiding starvation. Make sure to eat enough fat to feel satisfied, and a moderate amount of protein.
If you are interested in trying the keto diet, give it a try and see how you feel. Even though the diet is restrictive and it can be difficult to follow, stick with it and give it a chance to work.
If you want the exact step-by-step process I used to transform myself from an out of shape, lethargic, and low testosterone dad into a Dad who has more energy and is fitter than his early 20’S then check out The ‘TT40 Method’ Program and start your journey today.