Is it just a new trend or a truly helpful diet for losing weight and boosting our metabolism? The ketosis diet has grown in popularity over recent times.
So What Does a Keto Diet Mean?
This so-called “new” diet’s theory and philosophy as well as practice, turns out to be around for much longer before it became popular. Moreover, in the 20th century it was used as a treatment for obesity. This, however, fades into history as the propagation of “fats are bad” and “you are what you eat” took its toll.
One of the greatest myths is that fats are bad for you since fats are involved in the building of our cells- the membrane of the cell is made up of double phosphoLIPID layer (lipids are the same as fats and might be used interchangeably in this text).
Our body uses glucose as the primary source of fuel. The carbohydrates we intake get converted into glucose- in that form our body is able to use them. So, the body uses primarily carbs as energy, whereas the other main macronutrients- fats and lipids are used for building structures in our body.
However, when carbs are absent the body uses proteins and converts them into glucose instead of using them for building the body; and if there are not enough proteins, the body turns to fats as source of energy.
This diet embraces fats and excludes carbohydrates. The philosophy behind this is: if the body does not have carbohydrates and glucose available to maintain activity it starts using ketones. Ketones are a byproduct of the fats.
Therefore, our metabolism is producing them all of the time, but does not use them as fuel since it uses glucose instead. When the switch takes place, the body goes in a process called ketosis.
Read more about how to get the right amount of protein and get benefits fromhealthy keto diet.
Ketosis can be validated through blood, urine or breath tests: if ketones rise to a certain level it means that you have entered nutritional ketosis.
Ketosis is the goal of this diet: to switch from burning glucose to burning fats resulting in the production of more ketones. Again, our amazing machinery called the body and the extraordinary things it does to protect us in times of crises (in this case absence of glucose) and manage to survive.
As with any topic and diet there are always confusions and contradictions surrounding it. In this article we offer elaboration on 5 myths that have shaded the topic of the ketosis diet.
You Can Indulge in Any Type and Amount of Fats
Yes fats are the primary source of energy here; however, that does not mean you should eat any kind of fats if you want to manage a healthy diet. Lipids are made up of fatty acids which can be either saturated or unsaturated- you want more of the unsaturated ones in your system.
Avoid trans-fats which are abundant in processed foods and are very harmful. Saturated fats are certainly not as harmful, but still, have a negative impact on your health. Moreover, you can find these in red meat, butter and cheese. Unsaturated fatty acids are the best option- found in avocado, salmon, nuts and seeds.
As for the daily amount of fats, always eat enough- not too much, nor too little. Finding balance is the hardest thing in life!
You Can Eat Higher Amounts of Proteins as Well
You might find certain variations of this diet that allow a greater percentage of protein intake. Carbohydrates should make only 5% of this diet. Moreover, if you go over that percentage, your body might immediately shift to the glucose fuel mechanism.
The story with proteins might be a bit different- the allowed daily intake is around 20% and some variations might include a higher percentage than that. But protein is made up of amino acids and when the body becomes desperate for carbs and source of glucose, some of those amino acids can be converted into glucose and be used as a fuel, therefore shifting your body out of ketosis.
The keto diet aims to force the body to deplete completely its glucose so that it has no choice but to use body fats as a source. Keep in mind that you must intake certain amounts of protein as you need them for your muscle build and a normal body function.
Not Eating Enough Proteins Results in Losing Muscle Mass
Athletes and people looking for muscle build while on this diet, might be concerned about losing their muscle mass. While it is true that proteins are needed for muscle building, athlete’s diet might also get changed to some keto variation.
When the body lacks carbs as the primary fuel, it turns out to any other source it can find. Therefore, as we already have proteins in our body, it could turn to them to break them down and get the glucose. However, it turns out that when in ketosis, the whole mechanism of ketosis is constructed to preserve the proteins from conversion and therefore save you from suffering muscle loss and damage.
Ketosis is Linked to Diabetes
This is a confusion caused by the similarity of these two words: KETOSIS and KETOACIDOSIS. Both are completely different-ketoacidosis is a dangerous health condition that commonly accompanies diabetes. However, ketosis as it was already explained is simple switch in our body, starting to use fats instead of carbohydrates as fuel.
Quite the opposite, the ketosis diet has been shown to help the problems with diabetes. Diabetes is a condition that results in too much sugar in the blood- high blood glucose. Since this diet excludes carbs and sugars it is quite reasonable that it can help in the management of diabetes.
Just eat Fats and All Is Well
Excluding a major macronutrient such as carbohydrates might have its consequences on your overall well-being since there may be other important ingredients (micronutrients) you are missing.
Most of the fibre is limited since carbs are the ones that are rich in fibre, which is why a daily fibre supplement is preferred. When you start this diet you might get something called “a keto flu”. Don’t be afraid or scared that you are sick (of course not in all situations, please check with your medical guide) – more likely it is a positive side effect. When the body undergoes changes of habits it develops symptoms as if you are having flu. Moreover, this is a transitional phase where your body gets adjusted to the lack of carbs.
You may want to take electrolytes such as sodium, magnesium and potassium. Magnesium is needed since magnesium-rich foods are cut out of the diet, so you could take a magnesium supplement or add snacks such as nuts that are rich in magnesium. Sodium deficiency is also possible in this diet- you can use salt ( Himalayan pink is the best choice) or intake bone broth as well.
Potassium is also very important and you can include that micronutrient by eating avocado, salmon or mushrooms; take a supplement or add potassium chloride to your regular salt. Some might recommend intake of vitamin D.
If you want to be rest assured you are doing great with your keto diet, you can rely on a quality, all natural, all nutrients included, keto shake.
Please be careful when intaking extra micronutrients in the form of supplements- more does not mean better; you might get too much of some which cannot be excreted and could do more harm than good – enough is the key!
Always Choose Healthy Protein Sources
You’re going to be consuming a lot of protein while on keto, and that means it’s more important than ever to make sure your protein sources are high-quality and healthy. The last thing you want to do is consume an excess of unhealthy protein. For example, an excess of protein from soy has been shown to increase estrogen levels in men. The best sources of protein come from grass-fed cows.
Whether it’s whey protein or beef when it’s grass-fed it is far healthier. For example, grass-fed whey protein has four times the amount of conjugated linoleic acid as a whey protein that comes from corn-fed cows. Likewise, grass-fed beef has far more omega-3‘s then corn-fed beef, which also has excessive Omega-6’s. The easiest way to make sure you get adequate quantities of grass-fed whey protein, and the Conjugated Linoleic Acid acid it contains, is keto-friendly protein bars.
Check out more about how to get the right amount of protein and other benefits fromhealthy keto diet.