The ketogenic diet has been gaining traction and a lot of attention. As the rights and wrongs of the diet get debated, the message seems to get jumbled along the way.
By the time it makes its way to you, it’s hard to decipher what’s worth noting and what’s better left alone.
Keto, short for the ketogenic diet, is a diet that is high fat, medium protein and low carbohydrates eventually putting your body in ketosis. Ketosis is the process by which the body breaks down fat for fuel.
This process results in compounds called ketones that circulate in your blood and act as a substitute for carbohydrates (which are your body’s preferred source of energy).
The idea of the keto diet is that achieving ketosis (burning fat for energy) will help you reach your weight-loss goals.
Although it’s not quite that simple, it’s not completely off base. Achieving ketosis leads to your body becoming “fat adapted” and burning fat at a higher rate than it would otherwise.
Since many people gain weight due to overeating carbohydrates, especially processed carbs, getting rid of them can be an easy way to automatically cut calories.
Research shows that a keto diet can actually increase satiety and curb cravings, thanks to its high fat content.
It is important to realize that the diet wasn’t originally designed for weight loss, so when it comes to how to best use the diet for weight loss, there’s a lot of confusion.
The following are some popular keto diet myths and the facts that refute them. These are provided to help you decide if the diet’s right for you, and how to get the most out of it.
MYTH: KETOSIS AND KETOACIDOSIS ARE THE SAME THING
Ketosis, as mentioned earlier, is when your body is in optimal “fat burning” mode, and that can only happen once your body is using fat stores for energy and producing ketones.
But this is not to be confused with ketoacidosis.
Ketoacidosis is a potentially life-threatening state in which the body’s blood is highly acidic, and is most often seen in people with diabetes.
However, ketoacidosis can occur in people following a ketogenic diet, as extremely high levels of ketones can cause the condition.
Symptoms of ketoacidosis include abdominal pain, weakness, thirst, shortness of breath, confusion, and blurred vision.
MYTH: THE KETO DIET IS HIGH IN PROTEIN
In order to stay in ketosis, people on a keto diet must reduce, rather than increase, their protein intake.
When protein intake gets too high, it is converted to glucose, causing a blood-sugar spike and an anti-ketogenic effect.
About 6 to 8 percent of your daily calories should come from protein in order to remain in ketosis. (Meanwhile, carbs should contribute about 2 to 4 percent of your daily calories.)
MYTH: YOU CAN EAT ANY TYPE OF FAT
The keto diet may seem like a fat free-for-all, but experts emphasize that a keto diet doesn’t give you the green light to fill up on saturated fats only.
Replacing saturated fat, (bacon, sausages, ham, etc.) with unsaturated fat, (walnuts, flax seed, fish, etc.) is more effective in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease than simply reducing total fat consumption.
Focus on getting the bulk of your fat from high-quality, unsaturated sources like extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds, and fatty fish.
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Good luck on your journey!