What is the Keto Diet?
The keto diet, also known as a ketogenic diet or low carb diet, is low in carbohydrates and high in fat and protein. Yes, fat! Years and years of misconceptions have taught us to avoid fats at all costs. Everywhere you turn, you can find food labels shouting “fat-free” or “low-fat”. But the sad reality is that when companies remove fat from their foods they must replace it with something else to maintain a flavorful product; in most cases, that something is sugar and a ton of chemicals.
Healthy fats (found in oils, nuts and fish just to name a few) have long been recognized as fine in moderation. Strangely, they’re still found at the very top of the food pyramid, deeming them as unhealthy as sweets. Fats play some of the most important roles in our bodies, including organ support, joint health, vitamin absorption and maintaining brain functions1.
Losing Weight on the Keto Diet
Studies today are shedding more light on fats and producing some interesting and unexpected results. There have been dozens of scientific studies which have concluded that low carb diets often cause more weight loss than low fat diets, and that they improve cholesterol, blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular risk. That’s huge! What was once deemed disastrous is now, through research and studies, shown to cause major improvements in individuals’ health.
The keto diet consists of 70-75% calories from fat. That means most of the things you will be eating will be very high in fat content. Foods like butter, dairy, oils, red meats, cheeses, nuts and fish become staples in your daily meals. You may be surprised how hard it is to actually meet your daily quota for fats when you first start. Maybe just as hard as it is avoiding that morning doughnut!
Where does the name “keto” come from?
Ketosis is the state in which your body begins to use fat as a source of energy instead of the carbohydrates it’s used to2. This point bears repeating: your body begins to burn fat for energy instead of relying on carbohydrates! When your body is relying on carbs (and their byproduct- glucose) for energy, the state is called glycolysis. In this state, your blood glucose is constantly spiked after eating which causes high levels of insulin to reduce the blood glucose. Higher levels of insulin promote fat storage.
It’s hard for us to shed stored fat because these days we rarely experience starvation. Excess fat is stored for the unfortunate situation of starvation, where the body can still function by using its fat reserves. Ketosis, on the other hand, regulates the levels of insulin (a miracle for type 2 diabetes sufferers3) and encourages the body to use its fat reserves for energy!
Ketosis naturally occurs when you sleep because you’re essentially fasting and your carb energy sources have long since depleted. When your body breaks fat down it produces ketone bodies. These ketone bodies are what the body uses for energy instead of glucose (when you’re eating lots of carbs).
Fun fact: the ketogenic diet was first used to alleviate harmful seizures in people with epilepsy. These patients (who reported more than a 50% drop in frequency of seizures!) also reported weight loss4. This prompted studies for the application of the diet for individuals with weight loss problems and here we are today.
Benefits of the Keto Diet
Studies5 consistently show that the keto diet will:
- result in more weight loss than high carb, low fat diets (specifically body fat)
- improve levels of good cholesterol (HDL and large LDL)
- reduce blood sugar and insulin levels (it can begin to reverse prediabetes and type 2 diabetes)
- reduce blood pressure
- reduce triglyceride levels
- improve brain function (the brain will run primarily on ketones instead of only glucose)
- decrease appetite (less snacking and less over-eating)
Along with these benefits, you’ll also find yourself
- being more alert
- having higher levels of energy throughout the day
- in a general optimistic and happy attitude
- getting your creative juices pumping making new dishes
- satisfied with meals (no need to restrict calories)
But what’s the catch?
If you have a sweet-tooth, you’ll have to avoid desserts and candy for a while (at least for the first few weeks)! Once your body and taste buds are adjusted to the new regimen, you’ll find you experience a lot fewer sugar cravings and won’t even think about sweets anymore. But if you can’t live without dessert, there are also some mouthwatering low carb desserts you can whip up using sugar and flour substitutes (spoiler alert: cheesecakes!). For example, substitute Stevia or erythritol for sugar, use almond meal instead of regular wheat flour, the list goes on!
Taking Your First Step!
Use our keto calculator to know what and how much you need to eat every day. If you’re not familiar with macronutrients (macros) and calories, read our guide to macros first.
- Sedentary - Typical desk job / Sitting most of the day
- Lightly Active - Walking around a good amount, retail jobs
- Moderately Active - Walking constantly in a fast-paced environment, waiting tables
- Vigorously Active - Very labor intensive, construction workers
- Extremely Active - Professional athlete
|Lose Fat||Maintain Weight|
You’ll also be able to make advanced changes by checking “Fine tune your goals”.
Learn more about the Keto Diet
Discover even more about the keto diet through our in-depth, science-backed articles. You’ll be surprised to just how many benefits you get from living a low carb lifestyle. Be sure to read our low carb food list to know which foods you should eat and which you should avoid.
Start eating low carb!
Jump right in and start eating our low carb recipes to begin losing weight immediately, feel good and become healthier! We make sure each and every recipe is delicious, nutritious and will keep you under your daily carb limit, even if you go for seconds. In addition, we provide step-by-step instructions to make the process as easy as possible. If you ever run into any issues or have any questions, be sure to leave a comment or contact us directly! We’re always happy to help.
|Read more about the keto diet! We provide dozens of in-depth keto articles with science-backed information. We recommend joining a few communities or forums online. The Keto Subreddit is a gold mine of information with hundreds of thousands of users and advice from real and very friendly people! Make sure to also consult a doctor if you have existing medical conditions (especially type 1 diabetes).|
|Learn about macronutrients and figure out your body’s nutritional needs. Use our Keto Calculator to determine how much fat, protein and carbohydrates you should be aiming to eat each day. In the beginning, it helps to track the nutritional content of the food you’re eating. A food scale really helps in meal prep and macronutrient recording. With time, you’ll find you need to use the scale less and less and you’ll be able to recognize an ounce of nuts when you see it.|
|We’ve got tons of low carb recipes right here on Tasteaholics.com! Check out all the amazing things you can make and get creative! Warning: you will get hungry seeing all the delicious things you can eat! Get familiar with keto staple foods like cheeses and avocados; they can be found in most keto recipes. You can also check out our Low Carb, High Fat Pinterest Board and see what you can make right now!|
|Cut out high carb foods! Foods that contain the most carbs include sugars, breads (bagels, pizza, etc.), fruits, candy, pasta, cereals, cookies, cakes, flour, potatoes. There are lots of easy substitutions for all of these, especially in baking! Sticking to the keto lifestyle, these substitutions are mostly higher in fat content (we make a low carb pizza crust that’s more delicious than the traditional doughy crust!)|
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