Switching to the ketogenic diet: why it’s really good for you

Ketogenic diets have really gotten stronger in the last year and a half, and for good reason. It’s a great way to not only lose those unwanted pounds quickly, but also a great way to stay healthy and stay that way. For those who have tried the ketogenic diet and are still following it, it is more than just a diet. It is a way of life, a whole new way of life. But like any major change in our lives, it is not easy, it requires an incredible amount of commitment and determination.

Good for some, but not all? – Although a ketogenic diet has been used to greatly improve people’s quality of life, there are some who do not share the way of thinking of the majority. But why is that exactly? We have been taught for as long as we can remember that the only way to get rid of the extra weight was to stop eating the fatty foods that we are so used to eating every day. So by instructing people to eat healthy fats (the keyword is Healthy) you can certainly understand why some people would be skeptical about how and why they would eat more fat to achieve rapid weight loss. This concept goes against everything we have known about weight loss.

How Keto started: discovered by endocrinologist Rollin Woodyatt in 1921 when he discovered that the liver produced 3 water-soluble compounds, Acetura, B-hydroxybutyrate, and Acetoacetate (known together as ketone bodies) as a result of starvation or if the person was on a diet rich in carbohydrates high in fat and very low. Later that year, a Mayo Clinic man by the name of Russel Wilder called it the “Ketogenic Diet” and used it to treat epilepsy in young children with great success. But due to advances in medicine, it was replaced.

My struggles starting Keto: I started Keto on Feb 28, 2018, I had tried the Keto diet once before, about 6 months prior, but was never able to get through the first week. The first week on Keto is the worst part of the whole process, this is when the dreaded Keto Flu, also called the carb flu, appears. Keto flu is a natural reaction your body experiences when it switches from burning glucose (sugar) for energy to burning fat. Many people who have followed the ketogenic diet say that it actually feels similar to withdrawing from an addictive substance. This can last anywhere from 3 days to a full week, it only lasted a few days in my case.

People who have had the keto flu report feeling sleepy, achy, nauseous, dizzy, and have terrible migraines, among other things. The first week is usually when people trying a keto diet fail and quit, just remember that this happens to everyone early in the process and if you can get through the first week, the hardest part is over. There are a few remedies that you can use to help you overcome this harsh spell. Take electrolyte supplements, stay hydrated, drink bone broth, eat more meat, and get enough sleep. Keto flu is an unfortunate event that happens to everyone when the body expels the typical day-to-day diet. You just have to pass.

What does a ketogenic diet look like? – When the average person eats a carbohydrate-rich meal, their body takes those carbohydrates and turns them into glucose for fuel. Glucose is the body’s main source of fuel when carbohydrates are present in the body, on a ketogenic diet very few, if any, carbohydrates are consumed, forcing the body to use other forms of energy to maintain body functioning properly. This is where healthy fats come into play, with the absence of carbohydrates, the liver takes fatty acids from the body and converts them to ketone bodies.

An ideal ketogenic diet should consist of:

• 70-80% fat

• 20-25% protein

• 5-10% carbohydrates

You should not eat more than 20g of carbohydrates per day to maintain the typical ketogenic diet. I personally ate less than 10g per day for a more drastic experience, but achieved my initial goals and something else. I lost 28 pounds. in just under 3 weeks.

What is ketosis? – When the body is completely fed fat, it enters a state called “ketosis”, which is a natural state of the body. After all the unhealthy sugars and fats have been removed from the body for the first few weeks, the body can now function freely on healthy fats. Ketosis has many potential benefits related to rapid weight loss, health, or performance. In certain situations, such as type 1 diabetes, excessive ketosis can become extremely dangerous, where in certain cases, along with intermittent fasting it can be extremely beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes. Dr. Jason Fung MD (nephrologist ) of the Intensive Diet Management Program is doing substantial work on this issue.

What I Can and Can’t Eat: For someone new to Keto it can be very difficult to go on a low carb diet, although fat is the cornerstone of this diet, you should not eat any type of fat. Healthy fats are essential, but you may ask what is a healthy fat. Healthy fats would consist of grass-fed meats (lamb, beef, goat, venison), wild fish and shellfish, pork, and poultry. Eggs and unsalted butter can also be eaten. Make sure to stay away from vegetables, fruits, and starchy cereals. Processed foods are not accepted in any way on the ketogenic diet, artificial sweeteners and milk can also pose a serious problem.

I have been 5 weeks now and have lost 34 pounds. and I feel great, I have a tremendous amount of energy and I don’t crash at noon during work like I used to. It will take serious commitment and a great eating plan to get where you want to be health wise. But the path to get there is always more satisfying than where you end up.

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