The ketogenic diet has been around for as long as mankind but has been used in the medical community since the 1920s. It has been all the rage this past year – among endurance athletes, physique freaks, and even among the average mom looking to shed a few pounds. I’m sure you’ve heard about the keto diet, but you might not know exactly what the diet is and why it supposedly works. Let’s dive deeper together as we explain more about the state of ketosis and why it might be beneficial for you and your family.
What is the Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate diet high in fat. The premise is that once you reduce your carb intake and supply your body with plenty of fat your body will rely on fat for energy. The reduction in insulin that comes from making this macronutrient switch, results in lower body fat storage. The keto diet is being used to manage seizures, headaches, diabetes and excess body fat with potential benefits in Alzheimer’s disease and autism.
The Role of Ketones
Now that your body is in a state of ketosis, metabolizing fat for energy instead of glucose, your body will make ketones. This results in the state called nutritional ketosis which is a normal metabolic state. This is a very different state than diabetic ketoacidosis which is a life-threatening condition in diabetics characterized by the presence of ketones while also having very high blood sugar.
The ketogenic diet has also been used in children and babies with epilepsy. Researchers are not sure why ketones have a positive impact on children with seizures. Studies are still in progress regarding the benefits of ketosis for people with seizures, acne, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and even Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Is Keto Safe?
For the average person looking to lose body fat, a well-formulated ketogenic diet is effective and safe. For people with diabetes it can be particularly effective but to be safe it should be done under the guidance of a physician. The medications used to treat diabetes are for the purposes of managing the intake of carbohydrates. Without the carbohydrates coming into the system, severe hypoglycemia can result if medications are not tapered down.
Foods to Eat While on Keto Diet
There is no one size fits all prescription for reaching ketosis but there are some pretty clear guidelines and most people can learn as they do what works best for them. Generally, the diet consists of healthy natural foods without the need for supplements.
Foods to avoid when on the keto diet include:
- Foods high in sugar (soda, candy, smoothies, etc.)
- Grains (pasta, cereal, rice, etc.)
- Fruit (small portions of berries are okay)
- Beans or legumes
- Starches: potatoes, peas and corn YES!
- Some alcohol is okay but avoid beer, sweeter wines and mixed drinks Unhealthy (unnatural or highly processed) fats
Now that you know what foods to avoid, here are some foods to eat while on keto:
- Nuts and seeds
- Healthy fats and oils (butter, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil)
- Low starch (mostly above ground) veggies
Finding keto diet recipes isn’t as hard as you probably think. The diet has become super popular, meaning keto-friendly recipes are extremely accessible.
Ketogenic Diet for Kids
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a parent wondering if the ketogenic diet is safe for kids. The simple answer is yes. If your child suffers from seizures or type 2 diabetes, the keto diet can be a life-changing solution. If your child is suffering from obesity, the keto diet can also be a solution. However, this is not the only diet sufficient for weight loss. Talk to your child’s doctor about the best solution to their weight loss.
The keto diet may seem like a fad, but we believe it’s here to stay. With several ketosis studies currently occurring, this diet will be popular for a long time. Hey, it’s been around since the 20’s!