In recent years the keto diet has become increasingly popular mainly due to the huge amount of weight loss and health success stories many keto dieters continue to share with us.
These days it seems as if carbohydrates are very much a hot topic in the diet and nutrition word, with some people swearing by them, and others considering them the devil incarnate. In reality, all three macros nutrients: Protein, carbohydrates, and fats, all have one role or another in our diets, it all really comes down to exactly what our goals are and what we’re looking to achieve. For many people, the reasoning behind exercising more and changing their diets is to either lose fat, build muscle, tone muscle, or a little of the above.
As far as popular diet plans are concerned, two of the most popular and readily discussed diets are the paleo diet, and the keto diet, or ketogenic diet, and it is these two diet plans which we’ll be taking a more in-depth look at right here. So, without any further hesitation, let’s get started with a look at the keto diet.
What is the keto diet?
Though they could perhaps be considered slightly similar, the keto diet is still very different to the paleo diet for a number of reasons. The keto diet is also a low carbohydrate diet plan, though this one also incorporates moderate protein intake, and high, yes you did read that right, high fat intake.
Naturally the fats consumed come from healthy sources, and the main objective of a keto diet plan is to force the body into a state of ketosis, just like you do on other low-carb diet plans. Basically, ketosis is a form of metabolic state which forces the body to use stored body fat as fuel for energy, rather than carbohydrates.
The body has a great knack of being able to adapt to certain conditions, but naturally, diets rich in carbohydrates force the body to use carbohydrates as the primary source of energy because it is so easily broken down and converted into glucose sugar by the body, which is a preferred and convenient source of energy.
Simply put, if glucose is on hand, the body uses it for fuel because it is the easiest to metabolize. In ketosis however, the body, now starved of glucose, enters starvation mode and panics as it doesn’t have any energy. It then looks for the next available source of energy, which just so happens to be our body fat.
Once we enter ketosis, we burn fat at an elevated rate and have heaps upon heaps of energy. The keto diet has been found to promote weight loss at an increased rate, though what’s most unique is the fact that the diet requires around 15% carbs, 30% protein and 60% fats, so unlike other low-carb diets, the primary macronutrient on the keto diet is healthy fats rather than protein.
Typical keto diet foods include the following:
- Fresh lean meat
- Fresh fatty meat
- Non-starchy vegetables
- Whole eggs
- Leafy vegetables
What exactly is the paleo diet?
Whilst there are some similarities between the keto diet and the paleo diet, it’s important to understand the differences.
The paleo diet, sometimes referred to as the paleolithic diet, or the caveman diet, is a diet plan which basically requires individuals to consume a variety of foods which are extremely similar to the foods that our caveman ancestors used to consume in paleolithic times, millions of years ago.
The reason for this is that it is strongly believed, and there is very strong evidence to back up these claims, that our bodies have not yet evolved enough to be able to process and properly digest certain foods, namely grains and cereals. Think about it, for millions of years human beings used to consume foods that basically had to be hunted or foraged.
Because of this, the typical diet of a paleolithic era caveman would consist of fresh meat, fish, seafood, fruits, nuts, seeds, and certain vegetables and herbs. All of that changed around 10,000 years ago when we discovered farming and agriculture. Instead of having to hunt and forage food, we instead used to grow it, and process it, namely grains, wheat and flours, which were then used to make other foods such as bread.
A lot of people however, suffer with food allergies and intolerances which are often triggered by wheats, flours, or grains, which experts believe is down to the fact that we haven’t been consuming them for long enough to be able to properly digest them. These days, the paleo diet is not simply used as a method of losing weight and getting in shape, but also as a way of simply enjoying better health, increasing nutrient absorption, and increasing energy levels as a result.
All of this then carries over into weight management and physical performance as the diet is naturally low in processed foods and refined carbohydrates, and instead focuses on proteins and fats.
Typical paleo diet foods include:
- Fresh meat
- Healthy oils such as avocado, olive, or coconut
- Fresh fruit
- Fresh vegetables
What are the main differences between a keto diet and a paleo diet? – Basically, the main differences between the two are that the paleo diet is all about making choices when it comes the foods we consume which could benefit our health and well-being, whilst the keto diet is about manipulating each of the three macronutrients. Paleo diets eliminate processed foods such as dairy, grains, cereals, and instead focus on natural foods. Simply put, if cavemen didn’t eat it, or close variations of it, you don’t!
Keto diet vs ketoacidosis
Ever since the discovery of the Atkins diet, low carb diets such as the keto diet have been hugely popular amongst people of all ages, genders, shapes, and sizes. It wasn’t until the media decided to focus on them so much however, largely because many Hollywood celebrities were using them to drop body fat, increase lean muscle mass and build physiques to be proud of, that the general public began experimenting with them and trying them for themselves. In order for any low carb to be deemed as effective however, the body has to fall into a metabolic state known as ketosis. Ketosis is considered largely beneficial, but is also often confused for ketoacidiosis, which couldn’t be more different. Here we’ll be taking a look at what ketosis and ketoacidosis is, and exactly how and why they’re so different from one another. So, without any further hesitation, let’s get started.
What is ketosis? – Ketosis naturally occurs when blood circulating throughout the body contains naturally high concentrations of ketones, or ketoacids. Ketosis occurs because of a change in the body’s natural pathways of energy creation. Normally, the body’s preferred energy source is glucose, which is a form of sugar. Glucose can naturally be absorbed via the diet, and it can also be synthesised from other forms of sugar. When we take away glucose, sugars, and food sources that the body can use to convert into glucose however, the body then falls into starvation mode because it literally has no energy. The body will begin to panic as it will fear it is starving and it will therefore begin looking elsewhere for other sources of energy. It will begin using stored body fat for energy once it falls into a state of ketosis.
Ketosis is able to occur as a result of our livers actually burning body fat and using it as a primary energy source. A by-product of this process is the production of ketone acids. Once ketones and ketone acids are present in the blood, the body will now be in a state of ketosis, in which it will primarily burn body fat as its main source of energy. To knock the body out of a ketogenic state however, all that is required is a sugar source, or a carbohydrate source which will then be converted into glucose sugar. Withholding carbs and sugars however, will keep the body in a state of ketosis and will therefore allow the body to continue burning body fat as its primary energy source. This is what we call the keto diet.
What is ketoacidosis? – Though they may sound quite similar, ketoacidosis and ketosis couldn’t be more different from one another. Ketosis and ketoacidosis are both special metabolic functions within the body which involve the breakdown of body fats to be used as energy, but whereas ketosis is considered a normal and regular function within the body, ketoacidosis is actually a medical condition that is considered life threatening, especially to individuals that happen to be type 1 Diabetic. Ketoacidosis is best described as being a type of toxic state in which elevated ketone acids are found naturally within the blood stream.
Ketoacidosis often occurs once insulin levels become far too low and in an attempt to help to restore balance and energy levels, the liver will begin to metabolize proteins and fats because of a lack of carbohydrates and glucose sugars. The problem is that ketone acids actually slowly begin to degrade and breakdown into acetone, which can cause a person’s breath to smell as if they’ve drank nail polish remover, which is made from acetone. This can quickly escalate and if a person is not able to seek immediate medical attention, they can actually slip into a diabetic coma and even possibly die. Ketoacidosis is not something caused by the keto diet, but rather from pre-existing conditions such as diabetes.
What are some of the symptoms of ketoacidosis? – As with all medical conditions, catching them early and actually knowing and recognising the warning signs could quite literally be the difference between life and death. As mentioned, ketoacidosis is a very serious condition and as a result, here’s a look at a few of the more common symptoms associated with this dangerous medical condition:
Vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain – Common side effects and symptoms of ketoacidosis include vomiting nausea, and stomach pain. Excessive levels of ketones in the blood can actually trigger a nervous response in the brain which is responsible for vomiting. Nausea and abdominal pain also often accompanies alcoholic ketoacidosis, so if you notice any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
Thirst and dry mouth – Another couple of common symptoms of ketoacidosis are dry mouth and excessive thirst. The reason for this is that ketoacidosis causes the kidneys to secrete high doses of glucose and water, which in turn leads to increased urination. This then leads to thirst and dry mouth because the fluids are being excreted from the body so quickly.
Acetone breath – As mentioned, the ketones as a result of ketoacidosis actually begin to break down and degrade into acetone, which is used as a nail polish remover. If you or other people notice your breath smelling like acetone, or perhaps slightly sharp and fruity, this could be a sign of ketoacidosis.
Excessive rapid breathing – Another side effect is deep rapid breathing which is caused by the brain trying to correct the increased acidity levels within the blood. This change in breathing actually enables the lungs to remove a certain percentage of CO2, which is in itself a big contributing factor towards the overall acidity of the blood.
What’s so great about the keto diet anyway?
It sounds alarming, but having an excess of ketones in your blood stream can help you with weight loss, increased energy, and appetite suppression. Scientific facts prove that keto diets increase the body’s ability to exploit fats for fuel.
- Being in a state of ketosis for a short period will bring many benefits to your body. The main benefit is an increase in utilizing fats for fuel. Ketosis causes the body to be efficient when mobilizing fats as energy. As ketones “eat away” at fat stores, weight starts to come off
- Low-carb diets take away your appetite. If you are hungry when dieting, your resolve to stick to your diet flies out the window. Hunger is the reason people feel miserable on a diet. Eating a low-carb diet leads to a reduction in appetite. When you cut out carbs and eat more proteins and fat, you end up eating fewer calories that cut down on fat stores
- Low carb diets, or the keto diet tends to rid the body of excess water. It lowers insulin levels, and the kidneys start excreting excess sodium promoting rapid weight loss in the first few days on the diet. Do note that low-carb diets are effective for about six months. The weight might start to creep back because you stop eating right and start eating the same old processed foods and sugars you used to love
- Think of low-carb diets as lifestyles. Like any other beneficial processes, if you don’t stick to the keto diet you will gain the weight back. You can always add more carbs to your diet after you reach your desired weight
- Not all fat in your body is the same. Where fat is stored determines how your health will be affected. If you have subcutaneous fat or fat beneath the skin, you definitely have visceral fat in your stomach area. Visceral fat is inclined to surround your organs and cut off their productivity. A great deal of fat in your abdominal area gives you inflammation, insulin resistance, and metabolic dysfunctions. Use the keto diet to reduce the harmful abdominal fats that lead to heart disease and diabetes
- Your triglycerides are fat molecules. The main driver of high triglycerides is carbohydrate consumption. Sugar is also a huge villain in the fight to lower triglycerides. Cutting out the carbs causes a dramatic reduction in triglycerides. With lower triglycerides, your danger of heart disease and strokes is reduced
- Utilizing a lower carb diet is a very effective treatment against metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a medical condition that is associated with the risk of diabetes and heart diseases. Symptoms of metabolic syndrome include abdominal obesity, elevated fasting blood sugar levels, high triglycerides and low “good cholesterol or HDL” levels, plus high blood pressure. The keto diet reverses all these key symptoms that predispose people to type 2 diabetes and heart diseases
Ketosis is the state where your body and brain burn off fats. To encourage ketone production, you need to lower your insulin. In order to keep the ketones high in your body to burn off fat and melt away weight, eat a keto diet.
How to get started on a keto diet
When it comes to reducing carbohydrates in a keto meal it is never easy. We get used to carbs and in most daily situations we don’t even notice them in our mouth. Here we share 7 useful tips for breakfast, lunch and dinner in a keto meal. They will help you to manage your daily ration
- Eggs could make your life much easier. Cook them with bacon and cheese for breakfast. Make omelets; add some useful herbs, such as arugula and basil.
- Make your favorite pancakes from coconut flour. It tastes different but still very good. Coconut flour is relatively low carb, and isn’t toxic to our bodies like wheat is. Coconut contains natural MCT oil (medium-chain triglycerides) which can provide energy and accelerate the keto diet fat loss. It is exactly what you need. To sweeten your pancakes, use some low-sugar berries. If for some reason you don’t want to use coconut flour try to replace it with almond flour.
- Always eat salads for lunch. You need vegetables to balance your keto diet. Don’t hesitate to add as many different green vegetables as you can find. Pour a fatty sour cream and add some herbs.
- You miss pasta. We all miss pasta. A creative way out from this black hole is to add sauces we use for pasta to meat or fish. At least, it could make your dinner tastes like it used to be before you try a ketogenic diet.
- Or, if the tip number 4 is not good enough for you to replace pasta, get yourself a spiral grater and grate up some zucchini. You don’t need to boil it, just mix in your sauce, or stir-fry it with your meat and veges.
- And now we have to find out what to do with the rice, how to replace it. Try cauliflower, it is low carb and it cooks faster than rice. You can easily replace rice or quinoa with cauliflower, by blitzing it up in a food processor. Alternatively, there’s a “0 carb” rice by Slendier available, made from the vegetable konjac.
- And the last tip is for your snacks. Make them rich with protein. They could be nuts, boiled eggs or some tasty French cheese. A favourite of mine is to make little rolls of sliced sandwich chicken or ham, stuffed with cream cheese.
Now you can see that reducing carbohydrates for a keto diet is not as difficult as it seemed to be. You just have to be creative and give yourself some extra time to get used to the new way of nutrition.
How to eat out on a keto diet
As soon as a keto diet comes to your life you decline almost all friend’s requests for lunch or dinner. Of course you do it. How can you possibly have lunch being on a keto diet? How can you enjoy Mexican, Chinese or Italian cuisine? You think it is impossible, and I am happy to say that you are wrong. You can say “yes, let’s go” to your friends and enjoy your healthy lifestyle while being on a keto diet. With some creative tips you can remain in ketosis. Be ready for them to wonder how you can lose weight when you eat fried chicken or salad dressed with a heavy cream.
Ask for chicken with eggplants and some extra cheese. It could be parmesan cheese. Choose a big portion of salad, but check the dressings for hidden carbohydrates. Pay attention to sauces, as there could be some carbs too. A good choice in Italian cuisine is soup. They make it with seafood and vegetables, so you don’t have to worry about carbs. Just make sure to skip pasta in there.
You can freely enjoy foods with guacamole. But not with tortillas, though it is ok to eat one tortilla. Ask for salad again with fajitas. Remember that sour cream and all cheeses in the world are made for you.
Choosing an appetizer I would ask for ceviche. It is a popular citrus marinated seafood, which is served with parsley, onion and sweet pepper. This one is great for your keto diet.
This one is the toughest to keep you in ketosis. Chinese cuisine is rich for carbs, so you have to be very attentive while ordering your dinner. Always ask staff for hidden carbohydrates. If you are okay choosing pork, you can try Siu Yuk. However, I prefer chicken. It is an easier-to-digest meat. You can try the one served with cashew, but don’t eat them too much. Cashews have many carbs and can easily kick you out of ketosis.
Enjoy the healthy lifestyle, meet with your friends for lunch and stick to your keto diet. There is nothing impossible in your life.
How to deal with sugar cravings on a keto diet
We would all stick to any diet for weight loss, if we were not tormented by our sugar cravings. It manifests every time we pass by the shelves with amazing sweets. How wonderful smells the freshly baked pastries, we feel like its scent personally touches our olfactory organs and attracts us. The engrossed appetite simply cannot resist. And it leads us very far away. To the country of XXL size. It is a place where a big butt lives permanently, without leaving.
Which changes occur with the appetite on the keto diet? Are they occurring at all? Is it possible to pass bakery shelves easily and safe for the body? The answer is “yes”. Of course it is possible. When you stick to the keto diet, you get 80% of total calories as fat. Firstly, it helps you to be full. Thanks to the keto diet you will never starve. Secondly, you have to forget about the sweets. Do not eat cakes and sweets for a few weeks and you can be free of them forever.
It turns out that sugar, which is contained in all sweets, is addictive. That is why if you eat sweets, you want it again and again. And if you stick to the keto diet, then you will be free from them very quickly and you will be able to live without sweets quite happily.
A wise professor – Ethan Allen Sims, from the University of Vermont, had made a wonderful experiment. As a result the professor proved that even if a person eats 10,000 “carb calories,” he can stay hungry anyway. At the same time, just 800 “fat” calories saturate any adult person for a day. Another scientist calculated that if you stay a half of the year on the keto diet, your appetite comes back to normal, and no longer will require a regular chocolate or bun with poppy seeds.
So, my friends, if you are not with us, join those who are already in the keto diet. Let’s cast out our evil and hungry sugar cravings together. And move out from the country of XXL size.