A keto diet is a low carb diet, where the body produces ketones in the liver to be used as energy. It’s referred to as many different names – ketogenic diet, low carb diet, low carb high fat (LCHF), etc.
When you eat something high in carbs, your body will produce glucose and insulin.
- Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy so that it will be chosen over any other energy source.
- Insulin is produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream by taking it around the body.
Since the glucose is being used as a primary energy, your fats are not needed and are therefore stored. Typically on a normal, higher carbohydrate diet, the body will use glucose as the main form of energy. By lowering the intake of carbs, the body is induced into a state known as ketosis.
Ketosis is a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low. During this state, we produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver.
The end goal of a keto diet is to force your body into this metabolic state. We don’t do this through starvation of calories but starvation of carbohydrates.
Our bodies actually adapt well to what you put into it – when you overload it with fats and take away carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones as the primary energy source. Optimal ketone levels offer many health, weight loss, physical and mental performance benefits.
I’ve been super impressed with how responsive my body has been to this way of eating, though hard to maintain and very unsociable – especially at weekends! I have seen weight loss- 2kg, clear thinking- my brain fog has gone, good sleep and brighter skin. The only side effect has been….. Diarrhoea!
What “keto” means
The “keto” in a ketogenic diet comes from the fact that it makes the body produce small fuel molecules called “ketones”. This is an alternative fuel for the body, used when blood sugar (glucose) is in short supply. Ketones are produced if you eat very few carbs (that are quickly broken down into blood sugar) and only moderate amounts of protein (excess protein can also be converted to blood sugar). Ketones are produced in the liver, from fat. They are then used as fuel throughout the body, including the brain. The brain consumes lots of energy every day, and it can’t run on fat directly. It can only run on glucose… or ketones.
On a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run almost entirely on fat. Insulin levels become very low, and fat burning increases dramatically. It becomes easy to access your fat stores to burn them off. This is great if you’re trying to lose weight, but there are also other less obvious benefits, such as less hunger and a steady supply of energy, keeping you alert and focused.
When the body produces ketones, it’s said to be in ketosis. The fastest way to get there is by fasting – not eating anything – but nobody can fast forever!
What I’ve eaten
Breakfast: One keto coffee (2 spoonfuls of grass-fed butter + 2 spoonful’s liquid coconut oil mixed with a double shot espresso, made up to 350ml hot water and blended). Sounds disgusting but I actually quite like it! The amazing thing is this has kept me fueled until lunchtime all but 1 day.
Morning tea if I need it: A babybel cheese or protein shake
Lunch: Chicken salad or tofu & salad or egg salad. With lots of avocado and oil. One day I had steak and eggs for lunch – yum!
Afternoon tea: cottage cheese/ egg/ jerky/ nuts and celery and lots of it!
Dinner: Normal dinner without any non-keto foods
Dessert: Haven’t needed it but I had greek yoghurt available!
Foods you can’t eat
Here is the best list I can find:
Check out this link:
Enjoy the links, I broke my ketosis this weekend and I am feeling bloated and sluggish and looking forward to getting back on it on Monday. I like this way of eating but it is hard to maintain. Let me know if you would like to talk more about this way of eating.