What is the Keto Diet and how it Works?

A keto diet is one where you rely more on fats to provide your body with fuel as opposed to glucose. Most of your diet will then contain more fats, few carbohydrates, and protein. When you are on a keto diet, you consume less of foods such as bread, legumes, rice, milk, cereals, fruits, potatoes, corn, and meat. This forces your body to use fat as the primary source of fuel instead of glucose.

When you eat carbohydrates, this leads to an increase in insulin production which causes you to feel hungry making the body not to use stored fats for energy. Any suppression in calorie burning is unhealthy to your body and can lead to weight gain. When you substitute carbohydrates with fats, you can overcome hunger and enhance the burning of calories and fats.

A keto diet helps lower insulin levels, which helps your body to switch to ketosis easier. Ketogenesis has low tolerance levels to insulin. Low insulin levels in the body force it to start burning fats for energy since it is unable to draw glucose from the blood to keep the cells alive. A keto diet aims at subjecting your body into a metabolic state where fats become the only source of fuel by starving it of carbohydrates rather than calories.

How a Keto Diet Works

In a keto diet, fats contribute the majority of calorie intake per day: 70%, carbohydrates account for 10% while proteins account for 20%. Carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel in the form of glucose, to our bodies. Your body converts the excess glucose into glycogen/adipose tissue and stores it in the liver for use when glucose levels plummet. A decline in the level of glucose leaves us low on energy and in fact, an extreme drop can even make you faint and die. Since your body can only store too many amounts of glucose in the form of fats, it has to use a different mechanism to generate energy in the absence of carbohydrates. Ketogenesis is one of the ways through which the body generates energy by breaking down fats in the liver. Fat is broken down into a form that can be readily absorbed into the bloodstreams, known as ketone bodies. Ketones are residual acids from the burning of fats in the liver.

The breakdown of fats into ketones enables normal functioning in organs that solely rely on glucose such as the brain. Ketosis is the state when your body starts to rely on ketones to sustain its functions. For you to maintain this state, you require to increase fat intake and reduce carbohydrate consumption. Your body can get to the state in some ways. Fasting is one of the ways through which your body can transit into a state of ketosis.

Ketogenesis enhances the rate of metabolism which helps burn more fats and calories. When you feed on carbohydrates, your body’s water retention rate increases to dissolve glucose for easy absorption into the bloodstreams. Unlike glucose, the breakdown of fats during ketogenesis does not require water, which makes you achieve weight loss. It is easier for you to lose weight on a keto diet since feeding on fatty foods keeps you satisfied for long, thus curbing food cravings and overeating. Unknown to many people, keto was designed to minimize seizures and not for weight loss. The diet produces decanoic acid, which when combined with ketones, help minimize seizures.

The following are the benefits of a keto diet:

Mental Focus

A keto diet is used by a majority of people to enhance mental performance.

Ketones provide a steady source of fuel to the brain. When you reduce your carbohydrate intake, you minimize blood sugar spikes which help increase focus and concentration.

Increased Energy and Normalized Hunger

Fats are a more reliable source of energy compared to carbohydrates. Thus, a keto diet will leave you energized for longer. Additionally, fat is naturally more satisfying than carbohydrates which end up leaving you satiated for longer.

Cholesterol & Blood Pressure

A keto diet helps lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Saturated fats are the primary cause of arterial buildup which can lead to cardiovascular diseases. A low-carbohydrate diet helps raise High-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels while lowering Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels.