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Lifting the lid on the keto diet: a beginner’s guide

Do you know what the most frequently Googled diet over the past year is? We’ll give you some clues: it’s one that is claimed to make you lose more fat than a low-fat diet, despite recommending a high level of fat intake, and has actually been used medically since the 1920s to control seizures in epilepsy. It’s the reason you’re seeing a rise in grass-fed butter used in coffee and breakfasts of avocado and egg rather than cereal and toast.

What is the keto diet?

Also known by its full name, the ketogenic diet, this eating plan consists of consuming a high-fat, low-carb diet. The goal for keto dieters is to gain approximately 75% to 90% of their daily calories from fat, 6% to 20% from protein, and only 2% to 5% from carbohydrates.

The idea is that the body, after 3-4 days of this type of diet, will reach a state called ketosis – in this, it will use up fat as its primary source of energy rather than carbohydrates. As a result, the body will appear leaner as you begin to lose weight.

What does the keto diet claim to help?

Despite once being used simply for the treatment of epilepsy, as people over recent years have started to look for not medicated options, it has now been adapted into primarily a weight-loss diet.

Studies have shown that the keto diet can not only cause rapid weight loss (up to 40lbs over 4 months) while maintaining muscle strength, but it can also reduce appetite and thus food intake too.

Will the keto diet work for me?

While the keto diet can be especially effective for those with Type 2 diabetes who need to carefully maintain their intake of carbohydrates and sugars, and it may work for those who enjoy a high fat diet, it’s not without its flaws. There are risk factors with this diet including the small potential for ketoacidosis, a condition in which your blood becomes acidic due to the build up of excess ketones in your body which can result in muscle cramping, headaches, constipation, and in very serious cases, coma.

The one thing that’s being overlooked most though is that the keto diet is effectively a fad diet that returns every decade or so under a different, sometimes fancier, name; remember Atkins diet of the 60s?

It’s difficult to say whether a fad diet like this can work for you personally without having more of an insight into the way that your body metabolises certain types of food and nutrients, as well as knowing how well you do with diets in general. A diet will only work if it becomes a lifestyle change that you stick to and if it’s one that your body agrees with, after all, a diet shouldn’t just be about losing weight; it should aim to improve your overall health and wellness. Some have reported feeling unusually low moods while on the keto diet, having trouble sleeping and becoming overly obsessed about their food, showing that it’s not only physical health that your nutrition can affect.

Finding out your genetic predispositions towards putting on weight and losing it via a fitness and nutrition DNA test can prevent that period of casting around in the dark trying to find a nutrition plan that works for you that could potentially have unwanted consequences in the meantime. This way you can get on the path to wellness quickly and efficiently, with a nutrition plan that’s designed specifically for your body so you can perform better in all aspects of your life.


 

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